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This Couple Overcame Male Infertility and Bore Two Healthy Children
PHOTO BY courtesy of Mary Jane Kaillis
  • Infertility is a sensitive topic that is talked about in hushed tones because of the stigma associated with it. A woman who wishes to become a mom but is unable to bear a child may feel incomplete for her inability to conceive, even if the cause of the condition is beyond her control. Even less talked about is the matter of male infertility where the husband is unable to impregnate his wife. Fertility is often equated with masculinity, and those who are suffering from it feel ashamed to admit it.

    According to Mayo Clinic, there is a fertility issue with the male partner in about one-third of cases of infertility in the U.S.  Some of the common causes of male infertility are abnormal sperm production, problems with the delivery of sperm, overexposure to chemicals like the ones contained in pesticides (found in food), cigarettes, or drugs. A lot of times, because infertility has no other visible symptom apart from the couple not getting pregnant, it takes a while before the condition is found out.

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    Such was the case of Greek commercial chef Kon, 44, and his wife Mary Jane Kaillis, 46, a Filipina. The Australia-based couple had been together for 10 years when they decided to consult the doctor because they wanted kids.

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    "We were both subjected to an extensive (and intensive) reproductive examination," Mary Jane tells SmartParenting.com.ph, "and only then was it discovered that our challenge lies with my husband Kon who was diagnosed with Male Factor Infertility." (He had a low sperm count and low sperm motility.)

    Naturally, Kon was upset. "He apologized to me for being the reason of our inability to have children —something that he knew I have been longing for. It was hard to admit on his part that the deficiency was from him," Mary adds.

    Moving on from the initial shock, Kon and Mary began searching for the next best thing. If they couldn't conceive naturally, they could have a child by alternative means. Their first option was in vitro fertilization (IVF).

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    However, they were on a race against time. Mary Jane was already in her mid-30s  at the time, so after doing a lot of research, they resorted to intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) instead, a procedure where sperm cells are directly injected into an egg for higher chances of fertilization.

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    Mary Jane had to endure daily injections on her belly as part of the preparation for ICSI. When it was time to harvest, Kon's sperm was put under a microscope so the doctors could select the healthiest ones, which were then extracted and injected into Mary Jane's harvested egg cells. After a few days of incubation, only three were deemed viable for transfer out of the 10. 

    Luckily, on the first attempt, the procedure was successful. Four months later, Kon and Mary Jane's doctor informed them they were pregnant, and that their baby was due first quarter of the following year. 

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    Mary describes the whole process as emotionally and physically taxing. "We had to juggle our careers, endure various tests while trying to handle the pressure from our parents who have been anticipating grandchildren from us, but whom we could not tell about the ordeal," says Mary.

    Zechariah was born to Kon and Mary Jane in March 2008, and the Kaillises could not contain their happiness.

    And, miracle of miracles, just five months after their son was born, Mary Jane got pregnant, this time through natural conception. 

    Kon and Mary Jane with their two miracles, Zechariah and Hannah.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Mary Jane Kaillis
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    Says Mary Jane, "It was not an easy road to traverse, and the strength of our relationship was tested during this period. It was an emotional roller coaster, but we are grateful for all the blessings." 

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