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We were ready for a baby. We weren't ready for the news we got from the doctor.

We wanted to have a baby. We weren’t expecting this.

Embarrassed doesn’t even begin to explain how my husband felt.

We’d been married for nearly a year, his younger sister had just had a baby and his older sister had just fallen pregnant.

We were ready to be parents too, and it was time to bunker down and start trying for a baby.

It didn’t happen instantly and everyone told us that was normal, so we kept trying, and trying, and trying. But a year later nothing had happened.

Related: Fertility. And why everything you thought you knew is wrong.

There was something wrong with me – there had to be. I just knew something was wrong.

So I got tested, but all the results came back ‘normal’ – there was nothing wrong with my fertility. But my GP was concerned that we’d been trying for so long with no luck, and he suggested that I bring my husband in to have his sperm tested. I nearly fell off my chair; it had never really occurred to me that men could be infertile. Naïve, I know.

“It had never really occurred to me that men could be infertile. Naïve, I know.”

When I got home, I took a deep breath, sat my husband down, and asked if he could get his fertility tested. I explained that I wasn’t suggesting there was anything wrong with his manhood, but that it was just worth knowing to put our minds at ease.

Related: MIA: For every woman struggling with infertility who feels like a failure right now.

When the results came back, he just sat in silence. For a long time he wouldn’t look at me. He had a low sperm count – three million sperm instead of 15 million. He felt that his manhood had been stripped from him.

I tried to comfort him, but for the first week he barely spoke to me. He walked around as if he could only see through things, through me.

“He just sat in silence.”

 Just as an FYI, this post is sponsored by IVFAustralia, Melbourne IVF and Queensland Fertility Group. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

He went to work and came home like a zombie, just going through the motions of each day. He withdrew from his family – because how could he find joy in his nephew and soon-to-be niece when he couldn’t give me that same gift?

I wanted to support him and show that we would get through this together. So I started researching. I had only studied women’s infertility during our struggles because I was always convinced it was something wrong with me. So I looked up male infertility.

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Related: “Infertility is a secret club. One that you never really leave”.

I found out that besides a woman’s age, male factors have the greatest influence on a couple not falling pregnant. It is more common than I ever realised. Through my search I also discovered that most issues can be overcome – including a low sperm count.

“We talked for hours, with me comforting him and reassuring him he was still 100 per cent the man I loved.”

I summoned the courage to talk to him about it, and I told him he was not alone, that it was not uncommon. I also told him we needed to see someone so we could start trying again, because now was not the time to give up.

We talked for hours, with me comforting him and reassuring him he was still 100 per cent the man I loved.

Related: Rocking the bump: Glamorous photos of Carrie Bickmore, 8 months pregnant.

I booked an appointment with a Fertility Specialist. We sat in the room and listened and absorbed everything we were being told. It was treatable, and we had a high chance of falling pregnant.

What they had to do was collect semen from my husband for artificial insemination. They then separated the healthy sperm from the rest of the semen and a Fertility Specialist put them directly into my uterus at the time of ovulation.

Ultimately it placed his sperm closer to my egg, cutting down the distance the sperm had to travel.

“It was the toughest challenge we had ever faced.”

It was the start of another tough journey, and there were failed attempts along the way. But on our third try, a sperm made it. We got pregnant. We did it.

Now, two children later, my husband has a swagger back in his stride. And our family is finally complete.

It’s not easy to tell this story. It has been the toughest challenge we’ve ever faced. But if you’re in a similar position, you are definitely not alone. And there is help out there.

Queensland Fertility Group

, IVFAustralia and Melbourne IVF represent Australia’s leading fertility clinics. Our network of Fertility Specialists offers the greatest collective fertility expertise in the world.

If you and your partner have been having difficulties falling pregnant for more than 12 months (or 6 months if you’re over 35), it’s time to seek advice from a Fertility Specialist. Our Fertility Specialists can help you understand the reasons for the delay, and offer a comprehensive range of fertility treatments to help you on your path to pregnancy.

To find out more about male fertility, and how you and your partner can be assessed, visit our websites:

Queensland Fertility Group

IVFAustralia

Melbourne IVF

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