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Wellness

Why Should Men Be The Only Ones Who Can Have Kids?

I am about to hit the reset button a bit and have decided that it’s not my place to question our societal beliefs on sex and reproduction. I don’t have all the answers and don’t understand them all, nor should I assume everyone has.

In 2007 a group of scientists released a study about the role of a fetus’s gender during conception. According to their findings, the “fetus’s gender is the best predictor of whether (i) it is a female infant or (ii) an intersex term infant.” However, most of us, including the authors of the paper, think the study’s findings are overly simplistic and lack any real biological basis. I’m reminded of the time when my mother was in her mid fifties and began exhibiting symptoms of ovarian cancer. When it came time to discuss our options, my mom did not want the doctor at our local hospital to tell her that our chances of survival were no greater than our chances of getting a divorce. Instead, she’d prefer to talk about how she “might” be able to have children if she chooses to. That’s how powerful and valid a choice this was to her.

But it is also the same reason why, when men get sick, they often don’t seek treatment. Some are unwilling to admit their symptoms. Some think that, because they’ve had sex, they’ve already given their lives to this process. Many don’t believe their symptoms are serious and think of it more as a “messing around.”

And I can imagine how this must feel for women. In many cases, women will tell me they know a man who gets sick in his fifties, goes to the doctor, and is given the news that he’s not going to die from the cancer that’s already begun to eat away at his body. The doctors tell him that while they can’t change his sex, their best course of action is to treat it as a late stage infection. To avoid the shame and stigmatization that usually comes along with a diagnosis of cancer for men, they are informed that he has to start taking anti-inflammatory pills. That doesn’t have to be the case, but I find it hard to believe that it’s been a very long time since a health professional told a woman that the best course of action was for her to undergo a mastectomy.

It is not all bad news. Many men suffer the full gamut of infertility, but their infertility is often treated medically, resulting in them feeling better and living more longer. In my experience, they often become very comfortable with their infertility after they’ve recovered and have been able to start a family. In an ideal world, I think they would continue to take a few extra medications to ease their symptoms, but as it is, this is their decision.

But I would argue that I have an important duty to society. I feel that everyone has a role to play in helping a group that might feel misunderstood about what they’re going through – men, who might be experiencing the “worst of the male experience”. That’s why I wrote this post and I hope you’ll read it.

For now, I believe we all have to accept the facts about boys becoming men and start talking about this a little more openly. But until society and our medical institutions acknowledge the reality of this phenomenon, we will never truly heal.

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