Oh ever loyal bunnies of mine, here’s the story.
We’re not TTC anymore.
In the plainest English I can manage- it’s not going to happen for us.
I am 35. In fertility terms, that’s getting old.
I had several tests done, and blood drawn, and the simple result is that I have a hopelessly underactive thyroid- for which I will now be on meds like Eltroxin forever. The medication’s not an issue, but an underactive thyroid can affect egg quality. I also seem to have a high attrition rate in terms of egg loss for my age. Each month, when a woman’s body is preparing an egg for maturation and release, about 100 eggs are “used up” at the same time. For some women this number is higher, and for some women its lower. Considering a woman has around 1 million eggs at birth; and around 300,000 left by puberty, losing a hundred or so every month may not seem a lot… but when you want to consider treatment, the number of eggs you have left is important. My uterus and fallopian tubes are fine according to the tests done. No blockages or scarring, which is a good thing.
We knew at the start that my Glugster had been through a testing process with his ex-wife and we knew he had a low sperm count. His experience with the previous doctor was a bad one, with the receptionist giving him his test results and then lecturing him on his diet and lifestyle… which was one of the reasons we weren’t going to seek professional help.
This time however, Vitalab treated us very professionally and my Glugster felt a lot better about the whole process.
The test results were the same, but a lot more professional and a lot more detailed.
So what’s a low count? Well. An average sample is two milliliters (yes, that’s all), and should contain twenty million or so healthy swimmers, with a minimum of forty percent healthy normal swimmers.
At six hundred thousand with only around ten percent healthy swimmers, we don’t have enough for treatment. And unlike female treatments, there’s nothing anyone can do to make more… It could also have been genetic- where my sweetheart is actually a mutant and his body simply won’t allow him to reproduce… but I already knew that wasn’t bloody likely. 🙂 My sweetheart was born this way. After all sorts of tests and examinations and having blood drawn, its confirmed. And there’s nothing to be done.
There are a few options for infertile couples.
There is human artificial insemination, where the sperm is injected into the woman with very specific timing. You know the classic turkey-baster reference?
Then there is in vitro fertilisation, where the medically induced, harvested eggs are put into a special solution, and three hundred thousand healthy sperm are added to each egg’s “space” to ensure fertilisation. We don’t have enough viable swimmers for that.
And there is also ICSI, where one sperm is injected directly into the egg. We have enough swimmers for this one… but it is hellishingly expensive at around R40K a try…
And for all these treatments I would be the one getting the shots every day to promote egg maturation and release. And there’s no guarantee on any of them.
I like numbers and graphs and pictures and statistics. And having it explained to me the way the doc did helps me deal with it.
The bare bones of it is that we have a fifteen to twenty percent chance of conception WITH ICSI treatment.
In other words, slim to none.
My darling Glugster made peace a long time ago with not having his own children, and I feel really guilty some days for putting him through this again and waking sleeping dogs… but he keeps reassuring me that it was different this time. That the doctor treating us was a lot more professional and caring than the other one he saw. And that it’s different with me as well…
We’ve worked at making sure that our life as a couple, and our sex life doesn’t suffer and become purely a baby-making exercise, as this was a major concern for both of us. And it really wasn’t terribly hard to do… 😀 But we’ve been lucky. The stress if this whole process often tears a couple apart.
See, when we embarked on our little adventure, we decided to give it a year, 18 months at the most, to see if it was possible to have a baby of our own the “normal” way. We also decided on a time limit for sanity’s sake. We had originally said that we would not seek professional help or treatment because its not only expensive- it’s also invasive, stressful, time consuming, and there’s never a guarantee. We eventually went to Vitalab simply to find out where we stood. To be able to make an educated decision on whether or not to continue “trying” and taking the Fertiboost and so on.
We do not just want to have a baby- we want to have our baby, so donor eggs or sperm are not an option for us. Neither is adoption. And surrogacy isn’t necessary because I wouldn’t have a problem actually carrying a baby.
I know what you’re thinking, and I know you want to tell me that you would do whatever it takes and how we should do whatever we can whatever the cost for as long as it takes.
You still may not understand, but I have put it out there for myself to read and mull over.
This is also the reason I have closed the comments on this one. I don’t want to hear the platitudes and clichés about “…it’s when you stop trying that it’ll happen…” and “…I know a woman who was told she’d never have children…” I KNOW all that. I know how positive you all are about us having our own baby… and as much as I love you all for it, it makes me heartsore to hear it. I’ve heard it over and over and over again. And I also know a lot of people who were told it won’t happen and it did. I don’t want to hear stories about how long someone else tried before it worked for them.
I’m being a bitch, but I just don’t want to hear it.
And to my friends and family who are preggers now, I love you to death- you know that- and I am going to do my best to get “over” this as fast as I can so that I can celebrate with you. But forgive me any meanness or mutterings or tears for a while, okay?
…come play on my rollercoaster…