Thursday, March 24, 2011

World's Most Expensive Lottery Game

Just 12 days later, on September 29, 2010, we visited my husband's specialist to find out why his samples came back with zero sperm in it.  I must admit that his specialist looking nothing like I expected.  I had, of course, looked him up with the help of Dr. Google and found out that he had done a lot of mission work and study in Mexico.  When we got to his office, the decor was very desert-looking with lots of cacti (that's the plural, right?).  I expected something very different than the brawny, Mr-Clean-Looking, could-have-ridden-a-Harley-to-work man that walked in to talk to my hubby.  We'll call him Dr. Mr-Clean.

He went through the entire spectrum of questions with him and a physical exam.  I felt a little funny being in the room during the exam, but figured that I'd already seen everything Dr. Mr-Clean was looking at...  Within the first minute of the physical exam, the doctor mumbled, "It's not there," and proceeded to go to the other side of the table and continue the exam.  While shaking his head and taking off his gloves, he informed us that my dear hubby was missing the vas deferens - the tubes that carry the sperm up and out from where they're made.  Dr. Mr-Clean said that, basically, Mother Nature had given hubby a vasectomy.  Darn her!  He said that this is not a common problem.

Dr. Mr-Clean went on to state that we had 3 options:
Behind Door #1 was adoption.  He said that there are multiple ways to go about adoption, but that the costs would be somewhere around $15,000 - $20,000 and there is no guarantee that we'd actually have a child at the end of it all.  Was that supposed to be reassuring?

Behind Door #2 was In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) - a newer, special form of IVF called Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).  This would require a great deal of difficult steps including lots of genetic testing, a surgery to retrieve his sperm, egg retrieval surgery for me, injecting sperm into the eggs to make embryos, and then transferring them back into me.  Whoa!  Can you repeat that list so I can write it down and look on Dr. Google later?  This ICSI procedure, developed in Belgium in the 1990s, was required because hubby's sperm don't learn to swim like normal ones do when they mature and make their way up and out of the tubes in a typical male.  If his sperm were put into a dish with my eggs, nothing would happen.  Slackers!  They actually have to take an egg and inject a single sperm into it.  Again, the costs would be someplace around $20,000 - $22,000 per try and there was no guarantee that we'd have a child after this either.  However, this is the only way we would be able to have a biological child of our own.  (This is assuming that hubby actually has sperm to deal with.  We wouldn't know that for sure until retrieval surgery, even though his bloodwork and hormones came back normal.)  That was even less assuring than the previous option!

Door #3 involved going home and dealing with living a life with just the two of us.  Forget that.

Well, we knew what was causing the zero sperm count.  We knew our options.  What if we didn't like them?  I've got a better one - the stork brings a baby of our own - let's say tomorrow.

When we left Dr. Mr-Clean's office that day, my hubby and I were in two different places.  I was overwhelmed.  It sounded like so much effort and money to hope to maybe have a baby - like the world's worst, most expensive lottery game.  Hubby, on the other hand, was happy.  This was really the first time he'd been happy leaving a doctor's office since we started this mess.  He told me that he had hope - that there was a way to have a child of our own.  He was right, as usual, but I wasn't going to admit that.  It was just too much for me to handle at once.


  1. Holy crap! I am so sorry!

    That would be a huge hit and I am at least glad that your hubby is taking it in stride and hopeful.

    Boy if only you had known that you never had to be on birth control right!?

    I wish you the BEST of luck. If the hubby's sperm isn't up to par, maybe you could go with donor sperm. Not that it would be the same at all! But you have a choice to at least birth a child, which is always a blessing.

    Good luck on your decision, it is impossibly hard. Trust me, I know.

  2. Wow, I didn't even know that was a possibility. Tough decisions, especially with no guarantees. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you!

  3. I love the title of this post, so accurate! I have never heard of mother natures idea of a vasectomy, and I wish you and your DH all the best. I know they make great financing plans for IVF with ICSI. Whatever you choose, I am keeping you in my thoughts=)

  4. I can understand why your hubby was relieved. I guess some hope is better than 0 hope. I'm glad not all was lost, and you were at least given some options. I'm really enjoying this're a great writer!

  5. wow - haven't heard of that before. At least you know why and even with three options, at least you have some stpes to move forward. best wishes as you figure out the best one for building your family.

  6. Happy ICLW - I don't know if this will give you hope: I have a close friend whose husband didn't have quite the same problem but he had an incredibly low, almost non-existant sperm count. She now has 2 beautiful daughters now through ICSI - Her first daughter was 'made via ICSI' with 14 eggs collected from her - and 17 - yep, 17 sperm collected from him: It is possible.

    I wish you every love and luck


  7. Happy ICLW. I love your blog, and the title of this post is so true. It should be a newspaper editorial, it really hits home and would educate a rather ignorant population when it comes to the painful world of infertility. All the best...

  8. I'm sorry to hear. :( Take your time to think over your options is all I can tell you. :(

  9. I was in your position a year ago. Presented with many options that require tough decisions to make. I wish you goodluck!