Men supporting men in “The Man Cave”

Introducing Kevin Burron, founder of The Man Cave, a website dedicated to supporting men who have been diagnosed with infertility. Here, Kevin talks to us about his own story and how it inspired him to help other men.

Sitting in that waiting room 6 years ago I never thought I would be where I am today…..

It all started 8 years ago I was in a long term relationship and after a year of trying for a baby, we decided to go to the doctors to get some help. We both had the usual tests but I was advised to go down the hospital to provide a sperm sample.

I thought nothing of it at the time – I went in “did the deed” and went home. A few days later I was asked to go down again to do a retest, and the receptionist assured me that these things happen, nothing to worry about.

Guess what, a few days later the sample was the same as the first, a low count!

It was only now I started to realise that maybe this was serious. I was referred to a Urologist where I underwent a sperm retrieval operation to find out what the problem was. The Urologist said more than likely it is some kind of blockage.

I remember coming round from the anaesthetic and the Urologist came in and said that the operation was a success but he was unable to retrieve any sperm!! He could have worded it better!!

A few days later I had an appointment with the Urologist. I must have been in that room for no more that two minutes. He basically told me I had two options – sperm donation or adoption and there’s the door!!!

I left that room in a daze, I remember saying “how is this possible? I come from a big family with no history of anything like this?” He said it was genetic and I was diagnosed with Sertoli cell only syndrome.

The next 12 months turned out to be the worst of my life

My relationship with my girlfriend broke down, I lost my flat and had to move back in with my Dad, and to top it off I got made redundant!!! Triple whammy, and I blamed it all on that terrible disease called Infertility.

Trying to get back on my feet was hard. I kept wondering “what woman would want to be with me now?” I started drinking heavily, I was sleeping around and I’m ashamed to say, I was taking drugs. I went on dates but when the topic of kids came up I would change the subject and then blow the woman out a few days later, making excuses that I would rather just be friends.

My life changed for the better when my amazing wife Nicci walked into my life!

The same thing happened though – we had a lovely first date but the kids topic was brought up and a day or so later I told her that I’d rather be friends. A month went by and I realised enough is enough. I thought to myself “what do I have to lose?” I like this girl! So I reached out and told her everything, and the rest is history as they say….

After a year with Nicci (aka The Boss) we decided to go on our fertility journey

We had two attempts on the NHS that both failed. One was IVF and the other was ICSI. It was a heartbreaking time but we both have each other and that’s what counts. We decided to take a break and to go on a few holidays. Then we got married!  We are now mentally in a good place and ready to give it another go, and are hopefully off to California next year to have another attempt.

It was last November (2019) when I decided to set up a page on Instagram called “them_ancave”

It’s all about spreading awareness regarding Male Infertility and Mental Health, as I believe they go hand in hand. Following my diagnosis, I wasn’t offered any counselling at all, and it’s been like this for so many years and that’s why I’m so passionate about getting aftercare for these men!

 I lost my cousin to suicide in December 2019 and it made me realise life’s too short. This made me more determined to make a difference and reach out to as many men as I can.
My main goal is to make sure men have the aftercare they truly deserve after getting their diagnosis, because trust me, I’ve been there and I had nothing. If I’d had the support and care when I was first diagnosed it would have been an immense help and surely only what I deserved?!
When you get diagnosed with any other life-altering disease or health condition you are signposted and given support but not Male Infertility!!
I have recently set up my own website https://them-ancave.co.uk with loads of information for guys on what to do, where to turn, advice and guidance on this topic, as well as details of my fund raising attempts. Every year I plan to do some type of challenge to raise money for the Fertility Network UK. This year I will be attempting the 3 welsh peaks challenge.
If you are a man struggling with your infertility diagnosis, please do reach out to me. You can also follow me on social media. (Twitter- @them_ancave, and Instagram- @them_ancave)
We really do recommend you watch this Cope Talks episode with urologist Jonathan Ramsey on Male Fertility.
https://www.ivfbabble.com/2020/06/cope-talks-episode-seven-male-infertility/

 

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