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The Constant Loneliness of Navigating Infertility as a Black Man
In my conversations with other Black men struggling to become biological parents, the message was clear: We do not talk about this sort of thing.
On the morning of November 25, 2020, I sat in a New York City fertility clinic, waiting to submit a deposit for a semen analysis. Recently, my wife and I had begun discussing the prospect of having children, but she insisted that I get tested due to what we had noticed was thin ejaculate. I obliged, landing me in a cold and quiet waiting room with Maury playing on a television in the corner. The place reminded me of when I would visit my grandmother in hospice. Nobody was there because of something good.
The most glaring detail of that day reflects one that has followed me my whole life: My name is Jared Wright, and I am 34 years old, six-foot-three, and weighed over 330 pounds at the time. I am a Black man, and I was the only person who looked like me in a room filled predominantly with white women. I felt completely alone.
This would come to be the first of countless instances where I could not relate to anybody in the room about my diagnosis of male factor infertility. After receiving my diagnosis, it has been evident that, through no fault of their own, those close to me with whom I have shared this news with do not know what to say about low-sperm concentration or poor sperm motility. It’s been incredibly difficult to find reading material on how to handle infertility, let alone finding anything on supporting infertility in Black men or Black health care professionals who respect the hardships that come with the diagnosis.