Topical Guide 438
Embarrassment, Humiliation, Losing Face
Lying and Truth-Telling
From Reservations Recommended, Chapter 2:
When Liz didn’t become pregnant after three years of trying, her gynecologist suggested Matthew have a sperm count done. Matthew made an appointment, but as it approached he dreaded it more and more. He couldn’t stand the idea of masturbating on demand, in a toilet with girlie magazines. Then there was the possibility that he wouldn’t be able to. What if he couldn’t get an erection under those circumstances? He’d have to face nurses, wouldn’t he? He’d have to walk through a waiting room full of other men, and he could imagine them snickering as he passed. Matthew decided that he probably did have a low sperm count. It was a good explanation; why not just accept it without verifying it? He canceled the appointment but told Liz that he kept it. A couple of days later he reported the results, which he fabricated from Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary and Our Bodies, Ourselves: a low sperm count, low percentage of motility, high percentage of abnormalities. Liz was understanding.
While Richard talks about the children — something about school, television, shoes — Matthew is distracted by the conversation between Effie and Belinda. It seems to be entirely about work, but he keeps thinking — hoping — that they’re about to start talking about him.
From Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary online:
In men, infertility usually is caused by failure to manufacture adequate amounts of sperm (due to exposure to environmental toxins, viruses, or bacteria; developmental or genetic diseases; varicoceles, or endocrine abnormalities). . . .
The male should have the seminal fluid examined for the number, motility, viability, and normality of the spermatozoa, and occasionally other tests (as of testosterone levels). . . .
Concerns about fertility may have powerful emotional impacts on couples who would like to have children and raise a family. Health care professionals, including both primary care providers and fertility specialists, should explore with infertile couples their visions, goals and desires for family life. . . .
The initial test for men is semen analysis to assess sperm morphology, motility, and number. This should be done after 2 to 3 days of sexual abstinence. At least two to three ejaculates, obtained at no less than 1-week intervals, should be examined because of the variability in sperm counts.
See also: Egoism TG 47; Ego, Egoism, Egotism TG 75
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