The Doctor Who Devotes His Career to Helping Men Become Fathers Finally Joins the “Club”
It’s 2:00 a.m. as I write this. My wife is up nursing our nearly seven-week-old daughter and I can’t fall back to sleep. This newborn phase, though I know it will pass quickly, is equal parts exhausting and amazing. I imagine like any new parent, much about life and the way I lived it pre-fatherhood has been revealed to me with the birth of my baby. Tonight through the haze of sleepiness (Luckily no surgery tomorrow morning), I’m pausing to ponder the absolute joy that parenthood brings and in my own personal way – why my patients seek this “right” with such passion and unwavering determination.
To be fair, my long journey to fatherhood was somewhat smoother than the often steep and bumpy road my patients must travel but it did take several years, a few minor procedures for my wife, and some anxiety (on her end). Though I became a dad for the first time at almost 50 years old, it was more about life’s timing and a bit less about Biology saying “NO.” I take great pride in helping men stare that biological denial in the face and tell it: you can’t stop me from the baby my partner and I have dreamed about for so very long. Because at the end of the day, no matter what it takes to make it happen, holding that precious bundle in your arms for the first time is just plain awesome. And now I get it.
If you’ve ever seen the inside of my office in Los Angeles, you’ve noticed the wall covered with hundreds upon hundreds of birth announcements and family photos: pictures of children who were merely a gleam in the eye and hope in the heart of so many couples – brought to life with love, sheer will and the right kind of medical care when it was needed. I still get such a rush of joy and triumph every time I receive one of these “proof of success” photos in the mail. Nearly 20 years into this specialty, there could be no medical career more rewarding for me than helping men who think they’ll never have a child of their own do just that. And now I get it.
When many patients come to me with their hopes crushed and the feeling that the joy of parenthood will be denied to them because too many doctors who aren’t aware of the possibilities or technology have told them so, I take great pride in helping many of them defy the statistics. Babies aren’t statistics. They’re an essential part of the life cycle for most humans. They tend to make everything about life and the way you lived it before “come full circle.” I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true. And now I get it.
What I want my current patients and those who have yet to step through my office door to know is that my own parenthood journey, though new to me, has further ignited my passion, drive and commitment to helping men overcome their fertility struggles to become the fathers they’ve always wanted to be. There truly is no greater joy. And now I get it.