After 3 years, 4 doctors, countless tests, several misdiagnosis and a lot of frustration, this couple was able to overcome a genetic condition known as Y Chromosome Microdeletion which is when tiny parts of the Y chromosome are deleted impairing sperm production, often leading to Azoospermia. With the help of FertilAid, they were able to boost his count from around 100,000 to something closer to 1 million which they were able to use with IVF where they successfully conceived a little girl. Here’s their story:
After 12 years on Depo Provera, it was time to ditch the birth control and take a stab at making a baby. Doctors warned us that it could take up to 2 years to get ovulation going but once we got a period, we’d be fine. After a year of waiting, we asked for birth control pills to jump start the cycle. They did and we were ready to go, or so we thought. Another year and many tests later we couldn’t find any issues with me besides a slight thyroid issue so we picked up a home test for him just to see where things were.
The home test came back low, so we scheduled a semen analysis with our primary care physician. Zero. Zero? nothing? Zero? We went to a local urologist who confirmed the zero and referred us to a specialist. Getting in to the specialists clinic was really helpful. His lab was more precise in the way they count and we found out that it wasn’t really zero. It was just really really low. Well, at least there was something to work with.
The specialist did a physical exam and ruled out varicocele. One testicle measured a tad smaller. He wasn’t entirely sure what was causing our issues. Recommended exploratory surgery to see if there was a blockage. It would cost about $8,000 and he was only 50% sure that a blockage was the problem. We decided to save our money for IVF. In the meantime, we ran across Fertilaid for men on Amazon. It had a ton of positive reviews, so we decided to try it out. We asked the specialist about it and he knew the guy who developed it and actually believed in the product. He said if the issue was a blockage, it wouldn’t help but it couldn’t hurt either.
In August 2012 we got in to see a reproductive endocrinologist. The situation looked grim our numbers were low enough that we might not even have a success even with ICSI. After going through our case, I emailed the urologist and suggested running a couple of genetic tests, which we did and provided us a firm diagnosis of Y Chromosome Microdeletion. The IVF clinic was closing for the fall for a major remodel. Our plan was to wait until they re-opened in January so that we could both save money and freeze sperm along the way to give us a better shot a success.
We went in to freeze our first vial of sperm after 1 month on Fertilaid. We were estatic to learn that our count had improved and that we had some grade A motile sperm. Yay! We froze one vial that day. After 3 months on FertilAid, we returned to freeze a sample freeze and his count / motility had increased 4 fold! We got 3 vials to freeze. We decided to order the Count/Motility boost from FertilAid for the final 3 months before our IVF cycle.
Our IVF cycle was a success and we are expecting a little girl.
Living With Infertility
The doctor’s appointments, tests, and all the decisions about how to move forward were definitely a source of stress and put a burden on our marriage. More difficult though, was watching all our friends get pregnant and feeling isolated. Not knowing why we couldn’t. Not knowing if we ever would.
Once we got to the root of the problem, it was in some ways easier. We knew what we were up against but in other ways it was harder. He had to live with a type of guilt feeling like it was his fault I couldn’t have a baby. I felt isolated not knowing how to reassure him that I didn’t blame him. We kept our heads down and focused on work a lot. Trying not to let it get to us.
Finding ways to open up to each other. To keep communication lines open about such an emotional topic was difficult but worth it. We’ve seen a lot of other couples have their relationships destroyed by infertility. It’s an opportunity to get closer and stronger if you fight for it. But it can tear you apart if you don’t.
One book we found useful is What to Expect When She’s Not Expecting. It was written by a man for men who are experiencing infertility. We used it to help understand each other’s perspective.
Things That Really Helped Us…
- Seeing a specialist. They can narrow down the issue much quicker because they have more experience.
- Doing research and trying to rule out causes can help avoid expensive tests / treatments
- Used FertilAid and saw great improvements
- Waiting to do IVF gave us time to boost count
- What to expect when She’s not expecting was a great resource for helping deal with emotions, communication and stress
- Finding space and ways to communicate helped relationship
If We Had to Do It Over…
- Initial semen analysis was done at primary care doctor and the result was a zero. They didn’t count carefully.
- Took a long time to diagnose. Docs didn’t run enough tests to rule out causes
- Lack of communication added to stress on both sides. Facing this as a team made it easier on both.
- Assumed it was her and wasted a bunch of time and money. Should have tested him sooner
- Watching friends get pregnant and not knowing if we ever would