When you think about male infertility the image that pops in your mind probably isn’t of a 6’6’’ 215 lbs. hockey player with a great career as an effective teammate- a strong, tough, professional athlete. However, what most people didn’t know until a few days ago is that the NHL’s Dave Steckel struggled with infertility and when he and his lovely wife Diondra decided to start a family, they couldn’t.
As told in the Washington Post, when Dave was a child he had two surgeries to correct a problem with undescended testes. Although he was told there could be problems later in life, Dave moved on, playing hockey at Ohio State, getting drafted by the LA Kings, and during that time, marrying.
While he was playing with the Washington Capitals, Dave and Diondra decided it was time to start their family. For a period of time Diondra, like most women, believed that their inability to conceive was her fault. It was only when Dave talked to his team doctor did he learn that he might be the cause and the doctor suggested Dave and Diondra visit Shady Grove Fertility, ultimately seeking treatment with Dr. Stephen J. Greenhouse, in Virginia.
Dave’s willingness to talk to a doctor is in itself unique. One reproductive urologist recently remarked that societal stereotypes about masculinity and virility might explain why men are suffering in silence. For a professional hockey player these stereotypes are only heightened and magnified.
The Steckels went to Shady Grove Fertility for testing and learned that Dave had very low sperm counts and low sperm motility. They began IVF treatments and on their second round Diondra got pregnant and they now have a beautiful toddler, Harper.
Dave’s story may seem unique, but it’s not. Male infertility can effect anyone, even professional athletes. Dave and Diondra weren’t afraid to talk about their fertility issues. Their story is inspiring and we are proud to be a part of it. This is a real health issue and studies have shown that nearly half of infertility problems can be linked to a male problem.
- Washington Post Magazine: “For men, infertility often becomes a private heartache”
- Read Dave Steckel’s story at washingtonpost.com
His advice to other men? “Get yourself tested; it could be you. And if it is, no big deal. You go from there. Doesn’t matter how big of a hard-ass you are.”
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist, please speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons at 877-971-7755.