I haven’t updated my blog in a very long time and there is a lot to be said.
In August we made the decision to skip all the BS with the OBGYN and go straight to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. I researched all of the centers I could find in Belgium and settled with the reproductive clinic at UZ Brussel a major university hospital in Brussels and their fertility clinic is the 2nd best fertility clinic in Europe. With just those stats I was ready to work this thing out with them. Making an appointment was easy and they were able to get me an appointment almost right away. The appointment was on my husband’s 39th birthday in August. When we got married we always said our goal was to have a baby by the time he turned 40 and it just seemed perfect that the appointment was at the one year mark for that resolution to come true. That day was also CD 1.
The appointment was great and the doctor answered all of my questions before I could even ask them. I was blown away and so ready. She mentioned she wanted to put me on Clomid a fertility drug used to not just help a woman ovulate, but to make sure that the eggs are a decent quality when they are released. I ovulate on my own every cycle, but she wanted to make sure that my eggs were nice when they were released. That day she sent both my husband and I to have blood work done. I had an ultrasound where I had a total of 28 follicles waiting to mature, which is awesome.
A few days after the first appointment I had an appointment with a nutritionist and my husband had an appointment to have a Sperm Analysis done. My follow-up with the fertility clinic was set for October 8th. Well there was a whole screw up with the appointment and they called me 24 hours prior to tell me it was cancelled. I was devastated and there was a lot of screaming and cryings going on that afternoon. After sending emails to the doctor she called me and everything was straightened out. I now won’t be seeing an RE again until December 17th, but from my phone conversation with her I got a lot of information and my treatment will be changing dramatically.
The good news is all of my blood work and my husband’s blood work came back perfect and based on that with my ultrasound we should have been able to get pregnant by now naturally with now medical intervention. Well obviously that has not happened. My husband’s SA (Sperm Analysis) then explains that. In an SA they check everything from how fast the sperm swim, how many there are, how they swim, what they look like, everything. Most of those qualities were actually fine except his morphology, which is the shape and sizes of the sperm. Some of them are too big, some are too small, some have weird heads, others have 2 tails any of that can make morphology low. The normal range for morphology is 4% out of the millions of sperm, my husband was at 1%. This really changed how we are going to approach things.
The doctor now suggests that we start doing rounds of IUI aka. intrauterine insemination. It is not the #1 option for a low morphology, but in many couples it can work. I will still be put on the clomid because with IUI everything has an order and the clomid will help the egg to be ready for the sperm that will be introduced into my uterus. This is our last resort before IVF or IVF with ICSI. We didn’t think we would end up skipping so many steps, but it has come to this. I never really paid attention to male factor infertility and I never thought much about it because all of this time I assumed it was me and my PCOS. Luckily my PCOS is 100% under control and the doctor doesn’t see any need for medication. I am happy that I am good, but it bums me that I spent so much time and energy trying to fix myself when I should have paid my husband a little more attention on this.
Don’t worry we have started our fight. My husband just received his bottle of FertilAid for men in the mail and we are upping his vitamin intake. I have read great things about walnuts and fruit smoothies for morphology and believe me I am getting all of that into my husband. It is like the roller coaster never ends sometimes. We were ready to get in line for a new ride. I even started a registry at Babies r us because I was planning on starting my treatment and ready for it to work. The disappointment of not being able to go through with or original plan was horrible and I went between being angry and mad for about a week. It doesn’t help that everywhere I go and everywhere I look there are pregnant people and there are babies. I have met great people through the TTC community who are fighting the same fight and it is amazing to have people to talk to, but it sucks that none of my personal friends are really able to relate. There are many times where I feel like I am in this fight alone because nobody I know understands. Most people I know can have sex and get pregnant like normal people and we have to get pregnant by going to a doctor’s office and having them introduce the sperm directly into my uterus and there is still only a 10% chance that this will even work.
I am fighting on until our next appointment. I was also given the task of losing 8 kilograms (17 pounds) before my next appointment to determine if I can be treated or not. I have lost some weight and I only have a month until I see the nutritionist and her verdict can say if we get to go along with IUI in January or not. I try so hard to only get disappointed and I don’t want any more disappointment.
That is my update for now. I will try and update again after I see my nutritionist in a month and when I see the RE again in January.