Back in December the majority of our testing was completed. We had an appointment December 27th with Dr. Schinfeld to review our results. I remember struggling through the holidays because the unknown of what could be the problem was killing me. I needed to know. Christmas day was especially hard because the Christmas prior I remember thinking that this time next year we'd have a baby. Not so. I tried not to get jealous of Chris's brother who has two beautiful little boys. I wanted to play with them but it's a difficult and rather painful reminder of what we don't have. I too wanted to experience what's it's like to take my kids to the grandparents for a fun day and spend family time together. Instead, Chris and I came empty handed.
I remember being so anxious the weeks prior wondering what could be wrong. As reality started to hit home that we really had a problem, I became obsessive about learning possible causes for infertility. I already knew that most of my other tests came out with good results. While you may think this is good, it's actually more difficult to treat unexplained infertility. How can they fix something when they don't know what's broken? Statistics show that couples with unexplained infertility have a more difficult time conceiving. I was absolutely convinced this was our problem. As I suspected, my results were normal...plenty of eggs, no tubal blockages, no cysts or fibroids, normal hormone levels, I'm ovulating, no genetic disorders or STDs and no scar tissue. Unfortunately there is no test for endometriosis so this is always a small possibility. As far as I know it can only be diagnosed through exploratory laproscopic surgery. At the time, our doctor didn't feel this was necessary since the tests were normal and I'm pretty regular with my cycles and ovulation. So onto Chris. Chris's blood tests came back normal, however from the semen analysis he was diagnosed with teratozoospermia. As much as it was difficult to hear we had a problem, I was relieved they at least found the cause of all our months of heartache and anguish. I can now empathize a little with people who have unexplained and undiagnosed diseases.
Semen is analyzed for the following:
Total volume : normal is between 2-5 ml..........Chris's was a little below normal
Total sperm count: normal is over 20 million per ml. Oligospermia means low count ..........Chris had
an outstanding 108!
Motility (are they swimming)? Obviously you want good swimmers. Sperm are graded A, B, C, and D.
A means you have a great swimmer that swims in a straight line
B means the sperm are swimming in crooked lines
C means they are moving but not swimming forward
D means they are not moving at all
While not 100% normal, most of Chris's were pretty good swimmers
Morphology (shape of sperm): Sperm are supposed to have one oval shaped head and one long tail.
They are assessed by head deformities (such as a cone head), midpiece deformities, or tail deformities (such as having 2 tails). These deformities can cause the sperm to swim poorly or have the inability to penetrate the egg. The standard of assessing morpholgy is via the Kruger Strict Morphology.
Over 15% is normal, 5% to 14% is sub optimal, and less than 5% is poor often requiring IVF with ICSI (intracystoplasmic sperm injection) to achieve conception. Chris fell in the 2 to 4% range. So we had a diagnosis. Teratozoospermia, or abnormally shaped sperm.
While Chris isn't as active with this blog as I am, he supports me and feels it is a good idea. I can't speak for him and how he feels, but I'm sure there's alot of weight on his shoulders. We have learned there is no cause for teratozoospermia...it's not something he did, ate, smoked. It just happens and medical research is not advanced enough to determine why. For all they know it could be genetic or the way he was born. Sadly, there is no cure. Besides being sterile, it's the worst case scenario. If it were any other problem, it could be fixable. I think we are at least both relieved to have an answer but at the same time a little pissed since we both come from a family of "fertile myrtles". Why us? What did we do? Since it's not something that can be changed, we have few options. Two to be exact. Our first is IUI or intrauterine insemination and the second and more expensive is IVF with ICSI. So we are now in the process of completing a few rounds of IUI. I'll explain them later in my upcoming posts. I'm hoping and praying with each breath that one of them works.