Friday, 29 January 2010

His boys really can't swim

Our file has arrived from the clinic where we had IVF #1 and #2, and I've been having a good look through it.

DH had a sperm analysis when we had our first appointment, and it was pretty disastrous - volume <1 ml, number of sperm 0.6 m/ml, progression 1 (out of a possible 4), motility 30%, morphology 3%.

Since then I've sort of fantasised that his sperm could be getting better. I feed him fairly healthily, with liberal servings of all the foods that I've read can help fertility, and I've had him on Wellman vitamins, a daily dose of brazil nuts and an extra supplement of selenium and zinc. Every so often I would have a little moment where I remembered that he'd only ever had one sperm analysis and thought, "Well, after all these supplements, it's bound to have improved." And after we got embryos both times we tried ICSI, I thought, "Well, there are definitely some decent guys in there."

The file shows that they did a little analysis of each of the samples that he produced for our IVF cycles. The one he produced for IVF #2 was even worse than the original - volume 0.7 ml, number of sperm 0.5 m/ml, progression 0-1, motility 20%, morphology still at 3%.

And the one he produced for IVF #1? It must have been OK, because we originally got three embryos out it - right? I mean, OK, one of the embryos stopped dividing before transfer time and the other two didn't manage to implant, but there were three decent sperm in there, right?

Well, apparently three is about the limit. They didn't even bother to write numbers down for this sample - just scrawled across it "occasional". And I'm guessing that "occasional" sperm are not brilliant news.

I kind of knew it all along - that's one of the reasons I said we would never bother with donor eggs and DH's sperm. I knew his sperm were crap.

But I didn't know they were getting worse. I didn't realise the utterly crap result we had last July was him on a GOOD day.

So the dream that we might get a miracle BFP while we're waiting for our appointment at XXXX clinic has receded just that little bit further. And my faith in the supplements we've spent a fortune on and the healthy diet that I'm trying to keep us to has also taken a bashing.

And I have to say, I'm a little bit gutted.


  1. *HUGS* honey - it's a rough hand to have been dealt :( I still think the healthy diet is a good idea, for you both. Especially with the strapping making exercise difficult, grrr. Thinking of you both so much XXXXXXXXXX

  2. I can't imagine how crushed you feel by getting this news. Even when you know something deep down, seeing the numbers laid out before you really makes it hit home. I am really sorry.

    I did have one thought ... KK over at "Adding to the Pack" (see my sidebar of blogs) just got a surprise BFP after her DH was on Arimidex to help his SA. I know his analysis post-drugs was markedly improved. Of course, I am not saying this to give false hope ... maybe the drug only works for certain situations, but it could be a thought -- not that you'd end up with a surprise BFP but that it could help you get better results at your next IVF?

    *hugs* I agree with Jeannie, you have been dealt a rough hand, and I honestly think you are handling it with such grace.

  3. To tack on to what Sonja said, I've heard some clinics are somewhat experimentally giving men Clomid and find that in some cases it's helping with sperm issues. Crazy, right? Anyhow, certainly worth asking about. Also, I put PB on a handful of almonds, a multivitmain, and daily fish oil tablets because they've all been rumored to help. We also switched to boxers. Since we made all these changes, his volume, counts and morphology have all improved (his counts improved the most). Don't know if any of that really helped, but we wouldn't stop now because we've seen improvement.

    Our MFI isn't quite so serious, but still...I know how much it sucks to get that dx. In my mind, I always felt like there is more that can be done to work around female IF dx, but with're mostly stuck with it which is just horrendous (or you're left guessing and trying everything). It's devastating to hear the news again, when you've been secretly hoping the last SA results were a fluke. Sorry that you're having to wrestle with this information again. :(

  4. Oh I have so much to say but am in such a rush and i've been away for a few days so thats why i've been absent in commenting. I just want you to know i'm thinking of you and will write more later when I have more time. Theres still hope, and remember with ICSI they only need 1 sperm per egg so playing the numbers game isn't so helpful. Theres still hope my friend, chin up. xx

  5. Thanks for all the sympathy and suggestions. I've had DH on Wellman vitamins (supposed to be the best preconception vitamins for men), a handful of brazil nuts and an extra supplement of selenium and zinc for a few months now - and look where it's got us. I think that's why I'm feeling a bit disillusioned with it all now I know that his results are getting worse rather than better, but I'll look into the other suggestions - thank you.

  6. I remember when I spoke to my specialist in the beginning (before we knew that all our IF problems lie with my crappy eggs) and at the time we thought it might be a MFI issue. My specialist said that unfortunately there is not much that you can do to improve sperm quality (its like trying to improve the quality of females eggs and as I know from experience here, thats pretty hard). But the good news is that there are generally huge variances in the quality/quantity of sperm per sample, so someone who has a really bad sample one month, might have quite different results the next month. And the thing is that the reason any of us are here in this IF war to begin with is because there is something wrong with us. Something about us, or our husbands doesnt work properly, which is why we are labled infertile. But that is also the reason why they use IVF and ICSI to get around these problems and those scientific advances do put us on a more even playing field with fertile people. So please please please please don't be too hard on yourselves because ICSI doesn't need 40000 million sperm to succeed, it only needs one. If you were trying to concieve naturally then i'd say yes, it would seem a bit hopeless, but surely there is still some hope? Somewhere? Please? When is your appointment with the XXXX clinic?

  7. There's always hope of a miracle. We need to send our notes from the old clinic with our application for an appointment at XXXX clinic - they require a LOT more detail before we even start than the old clinic did. So as they only arrived this week, we haven't sent the forms off yet. We've been out EVERY night this week, busy at work, and now we're about to go away for the weekend, so hopefully the forms will go off by the middle of next week.