It's Time To Talk About Male Factor Infertility

I was the reason my wife couldn't conceive naturally. Now I'm raising money and awareness to help other families.

by Brian Mazza

Infertility wasn't something that I had thought much about before my wife and I began trying for a family. I considered myself a healthy, young, energetic, man (I'm a fitness professional). But the reality is that men account for nearly half of infertility issues and studies show 2% of men have low sperm concentration or issues with motility and morphology. I am now proudly part of that statistic.

This is why on December 12th, I’m running 50 miles to raise money and awareness for male factor infertility. I’m calling it "Run For A Chance." My goal is to cover the expense of IVF for someone in need and to hopefully destigmatize the issue for other men going through it. Let’s face it, IVF is expensive and my wife and I know first-hand how the price tag can add to the stress of an already tense time. Few couples have insurance that will cover their treatments. Couple the financial strain with a pandemic and you’re right in the center of a perfect storm.

I’ve had people reach out to me on social media because their fertility treatments were put on hold when their clinic temporarily closed due to the pandemic; I’ve also received messages from couples who’ve told me they had to allocate funds that were set aside for IVF to cover unexpected bills due to Covid-19. I want to eliminate the financial hardship of this journey for someone, which is why I partnered with Weill Cornell Medicine Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine. The center is where my wife and I went through our rounds of IVF to conceive our two boys.

I want men who are going through this to understand that you are no less of a man for having this problem!

Male factor infertility isn’t spoken about very much. My fertility issues weren’t something I disclosed to anyone, not even my own family. Hearing the news from our doctor that I was the reason that we weren’t able to conceive naturally was a devastating reality that I didn’t want to face. Was I confused? Sure! Was my ego bruised? 100%. Was I embarrassed? I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. Was I letting down my partner? I thought so and that was the hardest pill to swallow.

Once I gathered up enough confidence to speak about my issues and go public with our journey for Romper in 2019, it was shocking how many messages I received from men about infertility. This was the moment I realized the sheer number of guys who were dealing with the same reality as me and they were keeping it bottled up.

I want men who are going through this to understand that you are not less of a man for having this problem! What we need to do is come together and spread awareness. Many people feel like IVF is the end of the road but it’s actually only the beginning. My wife and I are extremely blessed that IVF worked for us, and we now have two perfect little boys. They are our miracle babies, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

My hope is to give this chance to someone else.

Courtesy of the author

Click here to support Mazza’s fundraising efforts — or apply for a grant — via the Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine of Weill Cornell Medicine.