Monday, February 15, 2010

A little background

I find it helpful on others' blogs to know specific details, so I will shine a spotlight on our baby-making complications for a moment.

October 2008 kicked off our efforts. A year went by with no luck, so we met with my OBGYN and had some tests done (FSH & TSH levels and hysterosalpingogram-HSG on me, and a semen analysis on my husband). We had good news until the semen analysis (SA) came back, which showed low count and 0% normal morphology.

When our OBGYN office called to give us the first SA results, we received very few details other than "you would benefit from assisted reproduction." I called back and pushed for specifics, but it was frustrating and confusing. They referred us to a fertility clinic, who then referred us to a Urologist. Emotional ping pong!

I couldn't stop googling morphology and wrapped myself up in a hopeless swirl of recommendations from online non-doctors. What I've learned since then is this:
  • Never trust a single semen analysis (SA) - Morphology changes over time and is impacted by many factors, including both physical (varicocele, fever, etc.) and environmental (toxic chemicals, cleaners, etc.)
  • Morphology is an inexact scientific measurement based on a lab tech's judgement of the shape and size of the sperm
  • Defects can be to the head, midpoint or tail
  • SA tells you where the defects are (head in our case), but nothing more specific. Contrary to my hopes, they do not let you see pictures of your husband's sperm.
  • Abnormal morphology may impact the sperm's ability to fertilize the egg
  • Interesting post on Morphology

Our Urlologist, Dr. B, is wonderful - a very peaceful, calming presence when we met with him in November 2009. He gave us enough information to calm us down, and scheduled two more SA tests to verify results. These subsequent tests continued to show low counts, BUT the third test resulted in 2% normal morphology! While 2% is still low, it gives us a wee bit o' hope knowing there are a few perfectly shaped and sized sperm swimming.

Our current options are:
  • IVF with ICSI
  • Adopt
  • Donor sperm
  • Hope and pray we "win the lottery" and get pregnant on our own
We are leaning toward IVF with ICSI. We have investigated adoption in depth and are very open to it, but since I am already 35 we feel the push to try IVF now since it will only get harder as I get older. Adoption may be in our future as well. We'll see how things progress.

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