dealing with male factor infertility
Infertility Male Factor Infertility

Dealing with Male Factor Infertility

We found out early on in our journey that we were dealing with male factor infertility. However, we went for a few years without really knowing what else was wrong. In all honesty, we didn’t know where to start and didn’t have the money to go see a fertility doctor.

I happened to be following a blogger who mentioned they used an ovulation predictor kit and that helped them get pregnant. I had no idea those existed, and so I bought one too. After a while, even with checking ovulation, we still weren’t getting pregnant.

Up movie and experiencing infertility, dealing with male factor infertility

About a year after that we finally went to see our doctor, and found that Chase had a sperm issue. The doctor never said how bad it was, just that it was bad. A few months later, we started IUI’s and did did 3 total rounds with a different doctor at the same clinic. We paid $300 in cash for each, with no success. This doctor told us he wanted to do 6 IUI’s before starting any fertility medication like Clomid or Femara. We don’t think he really knew what was going on. He wasn’t a specialist, and didn’t refer us to one either. So we did 3 IUI’s with him and then stopped.

A couple years later a friend referred us to an actual fertility clinic. They did all sorts of test, including one called the Kruger test, which tests sperm morphology. They said Chase’s sperm were moving forward, but in circles. So they suggested In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). They were giving us numbers between $10,000-$20,000 for one round of IVF. We were broke and we didn’t want to take out a loan to pay for IVF.

Chase’s SA from the RE’s office:

  • Volume: 6ml (which is normal)
  • Total Sperm Count: 24 M (normal is > 39)
  • Motility: 58% (normal is > 40%)
dealing with male factor infertility semen analysis WHO reference

In 2014 we happened to get into a male factor clinical trial with the University of Utah that looked at sperm every two months for up to 6 months. Those usually cost $50-$150 depending on the clinic, and if insurance covers it.

The initial Semen Analysis October 2014:

  • Volume: 5.6ml
  • Sperm Count: 6.6 M/ml¬† (normal > 15)
  • Total Sperm Count: 37.2 M
  • Motility: 54%
  • Total Progressive Motile Sperm: 15.7 M (normal >12.5)

December 2014 Semen Analysis:

  • Volume: 3.2ml
  • Sperm Count: 8.0 M/ml
  • Total Sperm Count: 25.4 M
  • Motility: 66%
  • Total Progressive Motile Sperm: 7.9 M

Those running the study, mentioned that his December sample looked consistent with a varicocele, testicular dysfunction, or an endocrine imbalance.

No doctor or RE had ever mentioned a varicocele. At a fertility seminar that we had gone to, Chase mentioned that he may have one.

A varicocele is a varicose vein in the scrotum. The symptoms are; pain in the scrotum, gradually worsen over the course of the day, and relief when lying down. From what Chase said it sounds like he has several symptoms. He didn’t know what the cause was before we learned about them.

Surgery would be best to fix a varicocele. You can be back to work within 1-2 days. However, it takes at least 3 months for sperm to mature, so it would be a while before before there was any difference.

And, if we would need to do an IUI, the surgery probably wouldn’t be worth it, since they clean and take a concentrated amount of sperm.

February 2015 the final Semen Analysis:

  • Volume: 3.6ml (normal)
  • Sperm Count: 21.1 M/ml (normal > 15)
  • Total Sperm Count: 75.8 M (normal > 39)
  • Motility: 59% (not the best but still in his average)
  • Total Progressive Motile Sperm: 34.5 M (normal > 12.5)

At the end of the trial we knew Chase was on the supplements they were using in the trial, Folic Acid and Zinc, because he had a normal count.

We waited until the trial is over to switch fertility doctors. We’ll also get more testing done, and see how much it’s going to cost to get pregnant! We’re very hopeful at this point.

P.S. Are you needing help paying for IVF? Sign up for my newsletter and get my free printable on “10 ways to pay for IVF.”
P.P.S. Read about our first NaPro appointment here.
P.P.P.S. Check out this post about my experience with Mercier Therapy.
P.P.P.P.S. Be sure to check out my Etsy shop!

If you can read this knock me up doc socks

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