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Looking down the barrel of MF...

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  1. #1
    rb
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    Looking down the barrel of MF...

    My wife and I are trying to conceive (ttc, I think? I have never seen so many acronyms) since the beginning of the year. I had my first SA on 9/8. The results were comprehensively demoralizing. 1.5 mil/ml, 30% motility, morphology 2.5%. Went into a dark place for one month.

    My wife was extremely supportive. She told that she didn't marry me for my sperm, and that bad sperm have nothing to do with being a man. I told her that she was sweet to say that, even though it isn't true (at least, I don't believe it). MF rips out every positive image that you might have, leaving nothing but emptiness inside. Any accomplishments that you might have are meaningless. You are a biological failure. An evolutionary dead end.

    You learn growing up that if you work hard and do your best, you will succeed. That is disproved with MF. It doesn't matter how hard you work, you are still a failure. Some might say that perhaps it is not God's will that you have a child. Perhaps you would not make good parents. If God is sitting in judgment as to the suitability of potential parents, why do meth addicted 16 year olds give birth, only to leave their babies to die in dumpsters? I think that it is more likely that Nietzsche was correct. God is dead, at least to me.


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  3. #2
    Sunnie
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    I'm so sorry. My DH has #s similar to yours and we're going to do an IVF cycle early next year. I know this is all very demoralizing but there IS hope. Allow yourself some time to grieve but keep your eyes on what's important: having a child. It may not happen in the way you wanted or expected, but it CAN and WILL happen. Modern medicine is amazing and your #s are more than adequate for IVF/ICSI. Take care!


  4. #3
    Mondayschild
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    I am so sorry RB

    Please do not lose hope. MF is not without challenges, but you can overcome IF. DH and I have not yet had our success, but we are not even finished trying. MY DH had results not much better than yours. He has been taking supplements(pycnogenol,lycopene,etc) and vitamins since 2-06 and since 6-29-06 he has been taking traditional chinese medicine herb tea. We just had another failed cycle, but he is having another SA on Thursday to see what improvement we have made. We are trying to improve his sperm, our first hope is to conceive on our own, if not we move onto IU in January. So many things effect sperm. My DH has made a lot of changes.

    Is there a medical reason for the results of your SA?


  5. #4
    rb
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    Well, aside from bad karma, I have a varicocele. Two, in fact. I have surgery scheduled for next month. The urologist/surgeon gives me a 50/50 chance that it will work. It could take as long as a year to see any results. It is equally likely that it won't work, and I will have to suffer the pain, scarring and humiliation of having my private parts manipulated with surgical instruments, to no avail. Excellent. After a year, we'll likely be in the middle of an IVF/ICSI cycle. Then I can watch as the woman I love goes insane from the drugs and hormones. Awesome. Which will probably fail, due to DNA fragmentation. I'm sure that I have that as well.

    I'm on Zinc, Vitamins A, C and E, CoQ10, a multivitamin, and I will probably pick up some Selenium, L-carnitine and Pycnogenol as well, based on the recommendations of you wonderful ladies. I am also looking into acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. I'm so angry about all of this.


  6. #5
    Mondayschild
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    That is very tough. I am so sorry. I have read that some doctors do not even recommend having a variocele repair because of everything that you mentioned. Can you try the extra supplements and TCM herbs for 3 months before having the variocele repairs? A good TCM specialist can look at your records and your SA, and he/she can tell you if they can help you with your sperm count,etc even with a variocele.


  7. #6
    AMF
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    PG mentioned in Sig.


    Up until a few years ago, there was nothing that could have been done about MF. AND, I don't know if you have seen a UR or not but we have been told that count/morph/forward progession...none of that has to do with the genetic payload that is in each little swimmer.

    The current, proven method of treatment for male factor is IVF w/ICSI.
    It took my dh 5 years to come to terms with this.
    He blamed himself, his "lifestyle", whatever it took to hate himself, he did it.
    Good golly, don't do that to yourself.
    It is a real time waster.

    I cannot imagine what it must be like to feel the way you do, but I have seen what MF can do to a man, and it ain't pretty. Take care of yourself and be kind to yourself. You have lots of options, and I am sure above all else, you will have success one day.

    Best of luck!


  8. #7
    rb
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    The urologist/surgeon that I have seen is a specialist in MF. The varicoceles are large enough to warrant surgery. I don't really have time to wait for the antioxidants and TCM alone to solve the problem. I am 36 and my wife is 37. I will be doing everything that I can simultaneously.

    I want to believe that I will be cured, but I have no faith in that. If I am not cured, I will spend the rest of my life compensating for this failure. Now, I must be stronger, smarter, faster, better looking, and just overall better than everyone else on the planet, but nothing will overcome this failure. It is too fundamental to being a man. For me, everything is now serious. My sense of humor, outgoing personality and occasional charm are but a memory.

    My fear is that nothing, not even ICSI will work, and I will be faced with the possibility of using donor sperm. My wife and I have talked about this. I am opposed. She is OK with adoption and donor embryos, but I know that she wants a biological relation to the child, and if I deny her that opportunity, I expect that a part of her will feel resentment and anger towards me for the rest of our lives.

    Right now this feels like the beginning of the end.


  9. #8
    poppan
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    Rb.

    What I am about to say is harsh. I don't say it to be mean, but because I think you need to hear it.

    To this woman (me) at least -- and I will venture to say that most women would agree with me -- sperm is not the measure of a man. How you deal with the unexpected things that happen in life, is. We don't give a crap about whether you father our child through regular intercourse or we have to go through IVF and ICSI or even donor sperm. The measure of a man, to me, is:

    - does he whine about each "sample" he has to give or does he suck it up and just do his part
    - does he focus on what he can do to maximize the chances of our IVF working (cut down/out alcohol/caffeine/smoking, take all your vitamin/supplements)
    - is he emotionally present and there for me when I am having a tough day
    - is he a good husband
    - is he a good father

    You do the above, you will be the manliest man alive. And rb, your numbers are FINE for ICSI. I would seek an RE's opinion on the varicocele before going ahead with the surgery. Don't rely on just the urologist's opinion. The urologist wants to fix your sperm problem. The RE just wants to get your wife pregnant. The former is for your ego. The latter is for your life.

    EDITED to add: I think I was a little overboard on this last bit about the varicocele surgery -- apologies. I don't know your medical situation obviously. But I do mean what I said about getting a second opinion from your RE, possibly a third opinion, before doing the surgery, because I honestly think your numbers are good enough to do ICSI and if that's the case, why bother with the surgery. Dr Silber, a very well-known IVF doctor, thinks these surgeries are a waste of time. You may want to read the section on varicocele surgery in his book, How to Get Pregnant.
    Last edited by poppan; 10-24-2006 at 09:35 PM.


  10. #9
    rb
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    Dearest poppan,

    Thank you for your post. I apologize for being so morose. My commitment to my wife and our future children is beyond reproach. I have been with her though the deaths of her grandparents, a breast cancer biopsy, unemployment, her struggles with her weight (down to 190 from 270), and just the miscellaneous, day-to-day hassles that we all have. In turn, she has supported my through my bouts of darkness. I have a very low threshold for personal imperfection. That is just the way that I am. This has been very hard for me.

    I have redoubled my efforts toward improving my health. I am lifting weights twice a week, and running 4 miles four times a week. I have cut back on both caffeine and alcohol, and I have dropped 10 pounds in 4 weeks. I have never smoked. I'm consistent with my vitamins/antioxidants (and will be adding to the regimen based on the suggestions on this board). I have done my tests (2 SAs and a blood hormone test) without a second thought, and my only complaint has been about the quality of the ****ography in the “collection room” at the fertility clinic. Honestly, one can definitely tell that it was chosen by women (no offense meant).

    Penultimately, I have been able to work full time and make progress on my PhD while struggling with all of this. After all, I'm going to need a raise when the kid(s) get into Harvard (or Stanford or Princeton).

    Finally, any husband that whines or is emotionally unavailable is weak. Weakness in unacceptable.


  11. #10
    poppan
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    Rb -- Then you are already 100 times better than so many husbands I have encountered on my IF journey. I am a perfectionist too and I understand how it is to be one's own toughest critic. My post was not meant to make you feel bad for having been honest about your feelings. That's exactly what these forums are for. But I hoped to point out to you the positive things you can do, and it sounds like you are already doing all of those things. Keep your focus on the positive -- your wife will thank you for it. Many men have found themselves in the same place as you, my own husband included. He has proven to me with his attitude and how he has chosen to deal with the cards he was dealt, just what kind of man I married. You sound like a wonderful husband. Keep being that wonderful man she married! Don't let this destroy your sense of self-worth. It has nothing to do with it, OK?


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