So, so frustrated.
Mr. S’s second analysis results came back. Morphology WAY better, not great, but in the “normal/good prognosis” range. Motility was OK, not great, but OK. This time his count was bad.
Last time his count was stellar, 86 million/mL and 2 mL, so roughly 172,000,000 little swimmers ready to go. (Thankfully the count is still valid even if you murder all of your sperm like Mr. S did.) This time…21 million/mL and 1.3 mL, so around 27,300,000. Where did 144,700,000 sperm go!?
My doctor’s nurse called and said because of the low number they think Mr. S should go see a urologist. “But what about the numbers from the last test?” I asked, “They were so much higher. With those numbers we’d have a chance.” She said she’d send a message to the doctor and get back to me.
In the meantime I researched what the nurse said Mr. S might have, a varicocele. You can read all about it here. Or you can take my quick explanation (from my limited understanding) that it’s a widening of the veins that hold up the testicle. These can cause the spermatic cord to function improperly because of blood flow blockage or increasing the temperature of the testicle.
More awesome, the only treatment is surgery. Better yet, it doesn’t always solve the problem. Oh and there can be side effects and it can come back.
So now, I have to try to talk to doctor into ordering ANOTHER semen analysis, because I feel like we need more information. If one test comes back super high, and the other super low, it seems like you’d try it again to get more data. I also have to talk Mr. S into doing another test. I have read that sometimes men under stress give worse samples, and I guarantee he was stressed at the lab. If we did another I’d let him do it at home and I would take it in.
I still think that Mr. S might need to go check in with a urologist because his pH level was 8.5 and is considered a little high. High pH can really screw with sperm too. Maybe a varicocele would impact that too, I really don’t know. However, I still think that the urologist would want another test done. I would if I were a doctor.
So right now, I’m presented with 4 possibilities. 1.) Mr. S has another analysis and has great numbers. 2.) Mr. S goes to a urologist, has an infection or inflammation or something easily treatable and we go on our way with natural conception. 3.) Mr. S goes to a urologist and has a varicocele. He had it treated with surgery and we maybe go on to conceive naturally. 4.) Mr. S goes to a urologist and has a varicocele. He doesn’t have surgery. We go right to IVF.
While I’m really pulling for numero uno, I’m not going to be too hopeful for it. Option 2 would be great as well.
Option three is attractive because the surgery would likely be covered by insurance. But, there are complications that could happen, there’s also the possibility it happens again. Lastly, it might not work. Studies have been across the board showing numbers as high as a 69% natural conception rate after 2 years, and as low as 22%. Moreover, it may take 5-7 months and as much as 2 years to produce “normal” sperm after the procedure.
Option 4 is costly, but would avoid potentially negative outcomes to Mr. S. It might not take us as long. But, for my age bracket there’s a 50% chance it won’t work.
I’m not really sure what to think. We haven’t even been trying a year yet, in fact we’ve only been trying for a few months, and yet all the sudden we might be dealing with male infertility. I’ll admit that I am very conflicted even with this tidbit of information.
On the one hand, if Mr. S does have a real problem knowing sooner rather than later means we don’t spend as much time fruitlessly trying. On the other hand, isn’t the definition of fertility not being able to conceive after a year. Doesn’t it only take one sperm and one egg? If Mr. S’s last test was for some reason a fluke and the volume and concentration levels from the first test are more on par, then he’d have over 15 million perfect sperm.
So tonight I get to tell Mr. S that his results were once again sub-par. I’m going to have to talk him about potentially doing another test, or if he’s going to have to see a urologist.