infertility, IVF, Pregnancy

Surprise! You’re infertile

Back at the start of November, me and my husband went for our baseline fertility tests. We’d been referred to the Reproductive Medicine clinic for further investigation, and potentially IVF, after suffering our third miscarriage. 

We were expecting a long wait, but our appointment with the consultant ended up being only 4 weeks after our tests. Nice work, NHS!

I was particularly nervous about my results, as I’ll be 41 in a few months. I’d had a blood sample taken to test my anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) levels, which would indicate whether my ovarian reserve is running low. The thinking is that, if the hormone level is low, I would be less likely to respond well to IVF. 

I was also expecting to hear the report from my scan, but having had so many of those over the last 18 months, I wasn’t expecting anything I didn’t already know about. Fibroids, still there. Retroverted uterus, still retroverted. That kind of thing. 

My results came first. And it turns out that my AMH level isn’t altogether bad. For someone turning 41 in March, my level of 8.7pmol/l is adequate, not great, but adequate. Also, my antral follicle count (the number of ‘resting’ follicles across both ovaries) is 9, anything below 5 would be a worry. 

So far, so good!

Then the consultant moved on to my husband who’d had a sperm analysis done for the first time. We had asked to have this done multiple times before, but had been told that there couldn’t be a problem because his sperm had got me pregnant. 

  • First measurement, number of sperm in the sample = 73 million. Above average. 
  • Second measurement, motility of the sperm = 74%. Above average.
  • Third measurement, amount of sperm with normal morphology (shape) = less than 1%. 

Wait, what? We have male factor infertility?

This was something we were not, in any universe, expecting to hear. Having been told time and time again that sperm couldn’t be the issue, it appears that sperm may now be the issue. 

So that’s the bad news. The good news is that being newly diagnosed as infertile, we are now eligible for IVF. Or at least we will be when I make my slightly over-generous figure a bit less so. Or, in other words, when I lose a stone (14lbs) in weight.

Goal-weight day is 26 February next year. We’ll meet with the consultant again and – all being well – will work out our way forward with IVF ICSI. 

I’m already finding myself baffled with the lingo surrounding IVF though. FET, 12dp5dt, ICSI, MF. I have a lot to learn over the coming months. 

But first comes the keeping positive part. We thought miscarriages were our issue. Now we find we have another one, it adds another layer to the worries already stacked up in my head. If we go through the IVF process, which – best case scenario for someone like me – has around a 15% success rate, what’s to say we won’t just have another miscarriage? 

But I’m trying not to go too far down that rabbit hole just yet. Live in the day is my aim. And roll on the next stage of the journey.  

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