After 13 years of marriage, Ibrahim Amin still has not become father. Medical reports recently revealed that his infertility is because of an injection he was given while in jail.
Amin and the rest of his family were captured by Iraqi army forces during the 1988 Anfal Operation. They resisted land and air bombardments for a week before they surrendered to the army outside their village of Talaw in the Dawda area, southeast of Kirkuk.
His father was separated from them in the first days in jail. He never saw his father again. Amin, two sisters, two brothers, and their mother survived the operation after spending a long year in several jails.
After his father, Amin had to grieve for his youngest brother, Yunis, whose head was severely injured the day they were transported from a jail in Tikrit to the famous jail of Nugra-Salman in the deserts of Samawa, south of Iraq.
“We were put on a bus—the guards were insulting and hitting people. One guard pushed my mother. She and Yunis—just a small baby—fell down, and he hit his head,” said Amin. Yunis’s injury led to brain injury because there was no medical help at Nugra-Salman.
His mother still cares for her injured son; she also works as a cleaner in one of the Erbil hospitals. As for his part, Ibrahim Amin’s tragedy started when medics came to the jail to treat detainees suffering from disease and hunger.
“If the so-called doctor injected any of the elderly people, the patient would die within a few hours…but the children were injected with something different,” said Amin, who was 12 years old when he received one of the injections.
“After getting married in ‘97, I found myself infertile. I visited several doctors until I was told by a doctor in Baghdad that the injection had taken the life in my testicles.” He considered himself a walking “dead man” after he got that answer.
He visited many other doctors until he was sure, and he knocked on several governmental doors—including the Kurdistan Region presidency—asking for financial help so as he could seek treatment. The answer has received was that his case is “complicated,” he said.
Amin still thinks--from information he has received—that there is a second type of injection that can remove the effect of the first one and bring life back to him. But the treatment is expensive and unavailable in the country, he said. Working as a Peshmarga soldier, he can hardly afford his and his mother’s families as well as medical costs for his sick brother.
A treatment for Amin’s case sounds “scientifically impossible,” according to Dr. Mazin Yunis, one of the doctors Amin had seen.
Dr. Yunis explained for the “Globe” that whenever testicles become unable to produce sperm because of a certain reason, normal activity must return maximally in two years. After that period of time, a man becomes completely infertile.
According to Dr. Yunis, a man becomes permanently infertile when his testicles take a direct hit. He may temporarily become infertile for between six months and two years when he is poisoned with chemical weapons, certain types of hormones, or types of chemical medications such as those used for cancer treatment. For Amin’s case, the doctor said, “20 years is too much.”