I still remember watching the original Jurassic Park in 1993, where Jeff Goldblum uses one of his most quoted lines: “Life finds a way.” I was in my mid-teens and I was staring ahead at what I hoped would be a long and satisfying life.
As I got older, I started looking ahead at the adult aspects of life and some of the issues that I may face being a Type 1 Diabetic. One of the most prominent ones that got thrown at me repeatedly through my twenties, was that I was unlikely to have children. My childhood doctor (may he rest in peace) used to always say that 1 out of 3 male Type 1 Diabetics could not conceive children due to sterility. Although that statistic wasn’t entirely correct, even then, it was a cause for concern that I may have to live my life without ever conceiving a child of my own. Although I was well aware that there are other venues that can be pursued, such as adoption (my father is adopted, in fact) it still weighed heavily on me and I made attempts to clarify the issue and seek out medical help.
Remarkably, most doctors were unwilling to do something as simple as perform a sperm count. In my twenties, most doctors had asked me if I was in a permanent relationship and looking to have a child. When I would respond that I wasn’t, they would often refuse to perform the tests. I simply wanted to know IF I could conceive children as this can often be a relationship-defining characteristic when getting involved with someone. But unless I was part of a couple who had been actively trying to get pregnant, they declined to test me. Granted, this was decades ago and perhaps things have changed.
Just to clarify on what potentially CAN happen, I did some digging and spoke to some medical practitioners and discovered some interesting information. According to an article posted to WebMD written in 2007, “Men with type 1 Diabetes may have more DNA damage in their sperm,” and “men with Diabetes had lower semen volume than the men without Diabetes.” Both these aspects can contribute to infertility in these men. The article is pretty short and indicates that none of these aspects proved that Diabetes caused infertility, but the article can be read here: https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20070502/diabetes-may-affect-mens-fertility
In consulting with a medical doctor, it was explained that certain effects of Diabetes such as decreased blood circulation, would make it difficult to conceive, and erectile dysfunction would be a very real possibility as well. Bad control of blood sugars, insufficient diet and any combination of other Diabetic side-effects could cause the secondary effect of infertility. Last but not least, increased use of alcohol or drugs (illicit and prescribed) can also cause some issues in the ‘ol bedroom.
I spoke to a psychiatrist in New Brunswick last week, who explained that certain conditions could also affect the possibility of conception. Don’t get any ideas, folks. I was just asking for the sake of knowledge!
But I should probably get to my point, since I’ve been typing quite a bit already and I haven’t gotten to the focus of this post. I spent the majority of my twenties and well into my thirties believing I would never conceive a child of my own. In the past few days, I mentioned that my trip required a significant amount of sacrifice. Well…
I was unfortunately running around New Brunswick when my wife went into labour for this little guy. Her due date wasn’t until a week later and I didn’t really have an option of rescheduling my New Brunswick appointments, so we rolled the dice. Evidently, the dice had other ideas in mind…
I’ve mentioned my son Nathan in previous posts. He’ll be five years old, next month. After many trials and heartbreaks, we got pregnant with Alex. And now he’s here, with his Daddy’s attitude and all! But I missed out on being there for his birth. Given the recent work-related issues I’ve been facing, it’s just one more thing that’s been taken away from me. But I’ll take a healthy child over being there for his birth. Sometimes, life doesn’t let us choose.
So, here I was, thinking for so many years that I would never have children of my own. And now I have two sons. My life and my world changed overnight, and in the words of Jeff Goldblum, Life Finds A Way…☯