A new member talks about how he confronted his fears when he and partner came to their first DC Network meeting.

It was with some anticipation that we came on Saturday, because we didn't know what to expect. We only recently found out that I am azoospermic because of a childhood disease and medication that I am still taking. I am discussing my fears and concerns from a 28-year-old male's perspective, and I hope some other men might find what I am saying helpful in their struggle to come to terms with childlessness.

The word struggle surely defines this ongoing process since it is still worrying to be faced with something that you have no control over. As men we often pride ourselves in what we achieve, and being able to have children is in my view the biggest achievement a man can have. The continuity of your family name and your own parents' traits seem like the ultimate way of being immortal. For surely something of who you are will go on forever. In my case even more so because I am an only child and my parents already lost a daughter.

So to realise that this is the end of this dream was the hardest part, and it still manages to open up a heartache that might never entirely go away. The thing about it is that I feel guilty for not being able to give my wife and parents something of me to go on into the future, and the fact that our love for each other will never be fulfilled in a child of our own. This is something that only time will heal and I have a loving and understanding wife and parents to deal with this, which I think is crucial and very important. I believe it is something that only they who have experienced it will understand, and we all have our time in which to grieve. I think men take longer to come to terms with something like this, and it is important that people close to us are aware of this.

Something that also bothered me is what will I do if my children reject me, since I'm not their biological father? They could come to me at the age of 15, and in trying to discipline them reject my authority as their father. This question was raised at the meeting, but apparently nobody had experienced it. So the question might come up in future meetings, since DI children as an open subject is still in its infancy.

The same could be said for when they try to find out more about their biological parent, and then reject you. The fear of this made my stomach turn. I say made because then I realised that there is no answer for any of these questions for each family that has go through this. I have found comfort in my Christian faith, which has been of great importance in the easy and difficult times. If we should decide to have DI children I will love that child unconditionally. And yes we always risk heartache and pain in giving love to someone in that way, and this is what I saw from parents at the meeting that gave me great comfort. The joy and fulfillment each of those parents experienced, in the face of what I have said above, made the fear look so small and insignificant.

This was not even in the minds of parents there, which seemed to make my question appear really silly, but I think this is the whole idea of meetings like this. I had a fear of something, which at the end seemed irrelevant in the greater scope of things.

This brings me to the end of my little article. I would like to compliment the DC Network for all the hard work and effort, for it accomplished what it set out to do. I would like to thank everybody for all the support, and it is very important to continue with this work for I am sure there are a lot of men like me and there will always be men like me. Good luck with everything and hope to see you all again.