Male infertility: One couple’s story
DAYTON, OHIO— Jason and Ellen Wheatcraft had a plan. The Wright State University graduates had been married for a few years, and they were ready to begin their family. Ellen had gone off birth control. The couple was dreaming of welcoming a new little bundle of joy.
However, their plans were brought to a screeching halt when Jason noticed that something wasn’t right. Alarmed, he scheduled an appointment with his physician, who diagnosed him with testicular cancer. They learned that he would need to undergo three months of chemotherapy.
“She was a basket case,” he said.
She agreed. “I was, the first week,” she said. “I think he handled it better than I did.”
Not only were they fighting for Jason’s life, but they also were losing hope of creating a family. The Wheatcrafts learned that he would probably not be able to have children.
“We didn’t know what our options were,” he said. “We were told that there was no chance of reproducing.”
They had lost all hope, but their brother-in-law encouraged them to seek a second opinion. Encouraged, they scheduled an appointment with Steven R. Lindheim, M.D., M.M.M., director of the Wright State Physicians Obstetrics & Gynecology Fertility Program. He is a reproductive endocrinologist who is known nationally and internationally for his expertise in infertility, in-vitro fertilization, third-party reproduction, oncofertility, cryopreservation, bioethics and minimally invasive surgery.
So before Jason started chemotherapy, they met with Lindheim. He worked with the couple to help them develop a treatment plan. Through sperm extraction and in-vitro fertilization they hope to be able to create a family.
“Dr. Lindheim has been such a blessing,” Ellen said. “He has given us a little bit of hope,” Ellen said. “The in-vitro is such a great option, to be able to have that child and to have that family together. We’re thankful to have that.”
After three months of chemotherapy, Jason was declared cancer free. The couple plans to begin the in-vitro fertilization process this summer.
The Wright State Physicians Obstetrics and Gynecology Fertility Program offers infertility treatment options for both men and women. For more information, go to wrightstatephysicians.org/fertility.