Male infertility struggle: I beat cancer but it robbed me of my ability to have kids – Stuff.co.nz

CASEY SMITH/SUPPLIED

Casey Smith and his wife Molly.

OPINION: In 2006, I was diagnosed witha tumour in mypituitary gland the size of a tomato. I was an otherwisehealthy 24-year-old guy.

After several operations, somecomplications and years of fighting the cancer, I thought I had finally seen the back of it. Little did I know, 15 years later, it would have one final lasting effect.

The cancer I had fought so hard against had left me infertile.

Nine years after I beat cancer, in 2015, I met Molly. She was the girl of my dreams and since then we have not spent a day apart. From the beginning we completed every aspect of each other's lives and like every couple deeply in love, we set off on our life journey together, excited to fulfil the dreams we shared.

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Our relationship was full of excitement, laughter and love. After we gotmarried we decided to start trying for our own little family, excited to share our love and passion for life with a baby.

But as time passed, our anxiety grew.First it was weeks, then it became months and soon we realised we had to look for help. We went to afertility doctor.

We found out I am infertile due the damage inflicted on my pituitary gland during surgery. The news was very emotional andfrustrating for us both. It felt like our dreams were shattered, that we were now experiencingthe effects of a cancer I had fought so hard to put behind me several years earlier.

Funding for my treatment is not covered. Molly is a secondary school teacher and I have lived and worked my entire life in New Zealand. We do not smoke, drink, are young and honest. But still, my wife does not meet the strict eligibility criteria.

All of the medication and needles Casey has had to take during his fertility treatment. (CASEY SMITH/SUPPLIED)

I had the opportunity to be supported by the government after my brush with cancer, but I did not take it. Instead I went touniversity, and backinto the work force, striving to better my life. Butwhen I needed help the most I was denied it.

Through everythingwe have always triedour best to remain positive. We organised our lives and started treatment; this was the start of our fertility journey.

After a year-and-a-half trying a medication that would hopefully help us achieve our dream of having a familywe have met a dead end. The cost of more treatment is beyond our means.

There's another type of medication we could try that has a very positive prognosis, however it costs more than $500 a week -close to most Aucklanders' rent. Our journey has come to an end, but we have certainly learnt a lot during this time.

For a topic that is often spoken about we were surprised by the lack of information around mens fertility. All the documentation given to us not once gave any clarification or detail about other situations like ours. In our experience most fertility websites or blogs seem to focus onwomens treatment journeys more so than men.

Infertility issues takeatoll, mentally and emotionally. You ride the waves of hope and crash in the white wash of disappointment each day of the month and each month of the year. Often the smallest and simplest of waves come in the form of seeing happy families with young children, which only reminds you of what you are missing from your life. Despite these feelings, we always put on a brave and positive attitude, scared of impacting others with our worries and problems.

This journey has really made us reflect on the way that we would have once interacted with others who may be in the same position as we are now. How do you treat a couple who are having these troubles? Just reading this post and having a little more understanding about how difficultfertility can beis more than we can ask.

Here are some handy tips on what to say and what not to say, because we know we wont be the only ones who you meet along the way who are going through fertility.

We still have hope that one day we will have a family; we created a Givealittle page because we are not ready to give up.

Asking for help is never easy, especially knowing there are always people who are going through harder times. But asking you, our family, friends and community for help could mean that we can make our very own baby.

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Male infertility struggle: I beat cancer but it robbed me of my ability to have kids - Stuff.co.nz

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