Research on Male Infertility lagging behind.

I recalled thinking how few men were present during my many trips to a fertility clinics.

Understandably it’s the woman who has to take the shots of injection to stimulate her ovaries.

Even in cases where the problem is male related, yet woman still has to be stimulated to produce eggs.

The male factor regarding infertility is not often talked about. In my previous post i talked about how it is automatically assumed to be a woman’s issue.

The following article talks about tackling the stigma surrounding Male Infertility.

Click on the link to assess it.

https://www.raconteur.net/healthcare/tackling-stigma-around-male-infertility

Your Partner in Hope

D’Ebi

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Exploring Other Options: ICSI

I have previously written on exploring other options when it comes to seeking fertility treatment. This POST will examine one of those options the ICSI.

According to the HFEA.

the cause of infertility in around half of couples having problems conceiving is sperm-related. ICSI offers hope to these couples most common and successful treatment for male infertility.

ICSE means – (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection )ICSI is a specialised form of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) it is used for the treatment of severe cases of male-factor infertility.

It is intended for couples with the following problems.

very low sperm count

abnormally shaped sperm (poor morphology) or where the sperm move abnormally (poor motility)

previous IVF TREATMENT.

A situation Where the sperm needs to be collected surgically from the testicles or epididymis (a narrow tube inside the scrotum where sperm are stored and matured); possibly because of vasectomy,

The process involves the injection of a single sperm directly into a mature egg.

Just like IVF the process involves stimulating the ovaries to produce a mature egg. Once the eggs are matured they are retrieved and fertilised with the sperm.

When the egg is fertilised it is left in the lab for a few days.

The embryo is transfer

embryo transfer can be two in some cases the number of embryo transferred depends on the woman’s age, once transferred it is recommended that the woman reduce their movement for the next 24 hours. the remaining good-quality embryos will be frozen and stored to be used in future cycle if necessary.

After the transfer, then begin the wait, before the all-important pregnancy test.

Availability:

according to the NHS website couples undergoing IVF treatment can use ICSI as a method of insemination if required.

The University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust was one of the first in the country to be licensed to offer the treatment.

How is ICSI different from IVF?

The steps are similar at the early stages however with IVF the eggs are placed together with the sperm fertilization occurs when the sperm swims to the egg.

In ICSI there is a bit more interference by the embryologist. Here the sperm is selected and injected directly into the egg.This maximises the chance of fertilisation taking place as it bypasses any potential problems the sperm will have in actually getting to the egg.

the success rate?

generally the success rate for both IVF and ICSI are similar. According to the HFEA fertilisation happens in around 90% of cases.

Fertilisation doesn’t necessarily means a successful pregnancy.

One of the deterring factor for success is a woman’s age and any previous difficulty.in conceiving. After transfer there is a 2 weeks wait at before pregnancy can be confirmed by a blood test.

I hope you found this useful. For more in depth information please visit the Following website

NHS UK

HFEA

And your family Doctor

Your Partner in Hope

D’Ebi

Fearful Wait.

Do I dare to hope?

Do I dare believe?

Do I dare trust that it will all work out?

Do I dare take a peek at the future?

Do I dare dream that this will be a reality?

The story of the waiting soul goes through endless questions which may seem stupid?

Hope, faith and trusts don’t come easily to the soul that’s weary from waiting.

The roller coaster of emotions we feel is as a result of the uncertain brought on my our demise.

I remember how I felt after being told “my condition was unexplained”. I couldn’t get the thought that medicine had no explanation for my ailment. I was deeply troubled. How can I embark on a treatment without knowing the cause?

I had questions without answer. I feared that I was going to face life without kids. Every appointment was fear filled, every test result waited upon with apprehension,

Fear and uncertainty are constant companion to those waiting.

Mary the mother of Jesus was afraid at the news that she was to become an unwed mother to the promised Messiah.

So many thought ran through her mind.

Fear Not”, said the angel.

She was reassured it would be alright and she held on to that word.

Fear not fellow travellers, when the road seem endless and you become weary from waiting.

Release your fears to the messiah and he will soothe them away.

Trust the path he has chosen for you and walk in faith.

Your Partner in Hope.

D’Ebi

Infertility: A lonely Journey

I grabbed a magazine and waited my turn in the Dr’s waiting room. I decided against reading and instead struck up a conversation with the lady next to me. We immediately bonded and exchanged tales of our plight. Half way Into the conversation she commented, it’s so lonely though, to which I replied,  yes it can be.

I previously shared how lonely infertility can  be here; Christmas and waiting:: Although we do have friends and family who care, when it comes down to it the pain of disappointment is all yours, nobody else’s. The trips,  appointments for endless test and procedures are all yours. Just you and your partner’s as the case maybe

How do you explain a pain so deep to those who are not in it. How do you explain the constant tears, how do you talk about the ache from that first, second and third loss? It is unexplainably and our reaction to it is can also seem unreasonable.

Loneliness at Christmas is especially pronounced. Sitting at the dinner table with the laughter of nieces and nephews only serves to highlight the empty nest waiting for you back home.

If you feel especially lonely now or at any other time, remember the name ”IMMANUEL”. Meaning God with us.

This is one of the names of the promised Messiah. “God with us.

He is with us

In the waiting room,

At the dinner table,

At the operating theatre,

As we suffer another miscarriage

As we face the questioning stares and audible alterations of others.

The promised Messiah is with us. Holding, soothing, caring and reassuring us.

His presence brings peace, hope, joy and answers.

He was certainly my hope and strength during my wait. I had his presence which gave me strength every step of the way. Some people questioned my lack of intense misery and mistook my inability to conceive as a conscious decision not to have kids. The opposite was true.

I exhibited my pains in his presence and he in turn he infused me with joy for the journey as a result of his presence, the journey was no longer lonely. I can talk with him and pour out my heart to him because he is with me.

Be encouraged today, the promised child is the risen saviour who is always with you. You can count on his present as you journey through Infertility.

Your Partner in Hope

D’Ebi

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A Huge Cost:

40 years ago the first IVF baby was born. Since then thousands of babies have been born via this process at a huge cost.

The decision to undergo the IVF process is very often the last resort after other means of conception has been tested without success.

It is the last choice for couples because undergoing the procedure comes at a huge cost. And very few couples succeed at the very first try. We certainly didn’t. It took 3 attempts before we fell pregnant.

What price would you pay to have a child? So many couples have remortgage their properties, incur huge debt and lost their health in their quest to have their precious baby.

As I ponder over the Christmas story it struck me that God gave Christ to us at Christmas to redeem the world.

Redeeming mankind came at a huge cost to him. He gave up something precious to gain many sons and daughters.

If you are struggling and trying to come to terms with the cost you have to put to get your a child, be conformed in the knowledge that your Heavenly Father took a very painful decision to give up His Son for the redemption of mankind.

You may have paid a great price in your quest for a baby. Subjecting your body to endless probe and test, enduring the pain of lost pregnancies and stillbirth,

and determined to try again.

Your Heavenly Father walked where you walked, he suffered lost for a greater joy.

At Christmas while Earth welcomed a baby, heaven moaned a lost.

My prayer and hope for you this 4th day of Advent is that you too will have the outcome you so desire. That your pain will not be in vain and the price you have had to pay will be worth it in the end.

Because, He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:32

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. Luke 1:68.

Your Partner in Hope.

D’Ebi

Comfort & Joy: in the mist of infertility.

O the pains brought on by this infertility is excruciating. It reaches deep into the soul and affects every facet of our lives. It is visible for all to see and It stands out like a sore thumb.

It looks insurmountable like a great big mountain.

Our womb like a rugged road incapable of holding a child.

Our sperm seems so dead that all hope seems lost.

The outlook so bleak we become blur by endless tears from our pain.

The picture of infertility does not inspire joy.

So too was the picture of a child in a manger. Picture the manger with farm animals and a baby inside, this was not the beautiful nativity scene we see today.

I imagine it was smelly, with hen droppings, bleats of goats, very small and uncomfortable indeed. But inside that manger was a child promised to bring comfort and joy to the world.

Yes, the picture of a baby inside a manger was not inspiring but the baby was.

He came to make every crooked path straight,

Every mountain  brought low.

Every rugged places plain.

Every valley raised.

Every rough ground level.

What does this means for us today? To me it means he made the impossible possible

I can find the different causes of infertility in all of what Jesus came to change. Crooked paths, rugged places, rough patches and low valleys, what infertility represents.

Picture your situation and picture the child who came thousands of years ago, to bring hope, comfort and Joy to all.

Christmas isn’t just a feel good story, Christmas happened. Christmas is Christ in every difficult situation making them better. As you celebrate his birth this Christmas, whatever your diagnoses, picture him bringing comfort and Joy into it

Your partner in Hope

D’Ebi.

A Little Town, A Great Outcome: The Christmas PromiseHope Against HopeDon’t tire, keep trying.

A Little Town, A Great Outcome:

There were times during my wait I felt like my problems were too little to border God with.

God had more important issues to handle not to be hounded by my constant request to have a baby. I felt my needs were little compared to the millions of others suffering around the globe.

I was so consumed with my desires and my inadequacies that I gave myself a timeline to stop trying.

So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered this passage in Micah 6:3.

That great things can come out of little insignificant things.

But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth to me.

The one to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Bethlehem was a little insignificant town, but was significant enough for the Messiah to be born there.

He who already existed from everlasting came from Bethlehem.

This was a light bulb moment for me, though my issue maybe little, God can bring a great testimony out of it.

You may be at a cross road right now wondering if it will all make sense in the end.

You may feel small, insignificant amidst the buzz around you this Yuletide.

Be assured that Your infertility story is not insignificant.

Your faith though weak and small, is not insignificant.

Your diagnoses thought unexplained, is not insignificant.

Your many miscarriages though discounted by others, isn’t insignificant.

Just as God choose Bethlehem to be the birthplace of Jesus, who is the the messiah,

So too, he will bring something great and worthwhile out of your story. The little town of Bethlehem became a significant town throughout eternity.

As you reflect today, let hope infuse you with vigor. Place your trust in God who accurately predicts the future. He has chosen you.

Your Partner in Hope

D’Ebi

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Don’t Settle 

I choose this title because the easiest thing in the world is to stop trying.

Trying brings pain and in that moment when one is trying, we are tempted to stay where we are and settle.
There was a time I tried unsuccessfully to get another job.

I stopped trying for a while and lost track of where I was. I was encouraged to start again and was shocked at how far back I have to go to start over.

What happens when we settle:

I have come to realise that settling for less and giving up takes us back a few steps when and if we do decide to start again. 

So my encouragement to you today is “ don’t settle”.

Don’t settle for a present when you know your future is more than what you have right now.

Don’t settle for a life without children when you know you can be a parent.

Why should you quit? Yes you have tried and failed several times, believe, find a way to keep going if you so wish.

But never settle for a lesser future when you know you can have more.
The pain of settling maybe worse than your current situation. This is because settling may take the pressure off temporarily, but may not bring you joy unless it is what you want deep within, joy will elude you.

As you may never know what is on the other side if you had kept trying. 

You may pause while trying to figure things out, and seek guidance for the next step, but don’t stop when difficulty or pain comes knocking.

You can begin where you are right now to start over if you have settled and given up. Don’t settle, but rather set your goals and set yourself up for the next phase of your life….

Go back, what new test can you taken?

What new treatment can you afford?

What have you over looked?

And even after you have done all you can,
Don’t settle.

Your friend and faithful partner
D’Ebi

Past Pains. 

Today I met a beautiful friend of mine with 3 special people in tow. Over coffee we reminisce our past. The pains of waiting. 

The tears we shared over unwanted medical results and the fears we entertained on the possibility of never being a mum.

The sadness at being judged for not having kids, the trepidations we felt while waiting at the Dr’s office and the intense pain from yet another failed cycle.  

The endless questions of when will it be?

Today we drank coffee while our kids played with play doh. Together we watched them played snakes and ladders and them boss each other around.  

Today we smiled, laughed and scolded those little monkeys, but most of all today we looked back with gratitude. We counted our blessings and said a prayer for those still waiting for their miracle. 

Today was the yesterday we hoped and prayed for. 

Nothing is special about us, except we choose to hope and continue in the faces of negative results and reports.

We never gave up hope. 

When against all odds we were told our wombs cannot carry a child because it was badly scared, we hoped.

When we were told our situation was unexplained, we hoped.

When we were told no egg was viable from yet another IVF treatment we just, we hoped.

When friends after friends had babies and we go away from every christening crying, because we felt like failures, we hoped.

Today our hope is a reality. Our desires, living, talking, breathing and laughing. 

Today I encourage you to hold on, draw strength from within and keep hope alive. 

I can only ask that you look at my story and believe that perhaps your you desires too will become real. 

Choosing an IVF Clinic

hope-never-failsI knew I wanted treatment but I did not know where to go. Even though my hubby is a medic who knew the process, knowing which clinic to use for our IVF treatment took quite a bit of research on our part.

We went with our GP’s recommendation for our first and second treatment, and were referred to a teaching hospital. We thought being a teaching hospital this was a good idea, so we did no background checks.

Checks like: success rates, services on offer, facilities or any such things, we just assumed being a teaching hospital and a research centre we will be fine. we were disappointed with the whole process. It wasn’t the fact that the process failed it was the handling of the process and the treatment we received.

Our experience was so bad that we waited another year and a half before trying a different clinic. During my break from treatment, I did a proper research to IVF clinics, procedures and what my top 10 clinics offered.

Choosing a clinic is a very personal decision one that involves so many criteria. See related article Exploring Treatment Options. After my experience with the first clinic, we checked the fertility regulator websites which was full of so much information that it was impossible to pick one clinic without having to read everything about it.

I decided on a clinic after months of research, reading newspapers reviews and comparing stats. After my research, we decided to write down our expectations from a clinic and the criterial which helped us decide on the clinic to go with:

I don’t want you to go through the same problem so I have compiled a list of 10 questions to asked yourself and the clinic before you choose:

  1. How to search: know what you want from a clinic. It is important that you know what you want and which clinic is good at it. I know you want to be pregnant and have a baby, any clinic has some success rate. But what is your diagnosis and which clinic is best suited to dealing with that? As mentioned above, get up to speed with fertility information.

    Read, read, read, by so doing, you will come across a wealth of information which will help you decide on a clinic. I came across my clinic while searching for the top 10 IVF clinic in the UK, with this search I was able to review the 10 top clinics and decided on the one I eventually used.

  2. Your first port of call: Every clinic has an overview page, which gives detailed information about what the clinics offer, their success rates by age, the treatment they administer and weather they are involved in any research. crucially the price is there somewhere. This page will also provide information on staffs, facility and the location enabling you to make the best decisions based on what you have read in comparison to other clinics.
  3. What’s on offer: what services does the clinic offer in addition to the treatment cycle? do they offer support group where you can be part of during the process? Do they also offer counselling as part of the package? I was a total mess after my first 2 failed experience, some counselling would have gone a long way to help ease the pain, but the clinic offered no such services and did not suggest it. I was shoved out of the door and told better luck next time. my support system where my husband and strength from God.
  4. High up on my list was the support system of the clinic. Soon after my initial consultation, immediately I joined their online forums where we supported each other and gained valuable information about the clinic and certain other procedures. Some clinic offer counselling services to talk you through before you begin, it can be part of the cost or may not be. Find out at your initial consultation, what is offered and if it is included in the overall price.

  5. Location and opening times: This was important for us as my husband and I both worked full time. It was important the clinics offered appointments which were flexible enough to fit within our time. Check if they have early and late openings appointments.

    Also, factor the cost of hotel, taxi trips, if you happen to find a clinic which ticks all the box but not local. My clinic was nowhere near where we live but luckily it was near my office so it was a case of popping out during lunch breaks for tests and scans.

  6. Find out the treatment on offer: Given my pre-existing health conditions I wanted a clinic which offered more than the basic test and treatment, but one that understands how autoimmunity affects fertility.  my research lead me to believe that the clinic we choose offered more than the basic IVF which was reassuring. The More I read about them the more convinced I was about using them. So, it is important to know what clinic is good for what. If you are over 40”, you may want to select the clinic with the highest success rate amongst over 40.

Other questions to ask during your first appointments:

  1. Number of cycles offered by the clinic: Find out the number of cycles they offer and the what stage they choose to stop, if you don’t fall pregnant. I was told at my previous clinic that they won’t offer another treatment as there was nothing they different they will do. This was very devastating news, see related post Surviving Treatment Not only could they not explain why I had such bad results, I was turned down for another treatment without explanation.  It is therefore important to know how far the clinic is willing to go, especially if you are over 40.
  2. Their inspection report: every clinic have an inspection report, what does it say about them? They should have it visible or on their website: go through it and see what it says about how they perform and operate. If it’s not visible ask them for one.
  3. Success rates: it is only natural for you to want to know your chances: what are their success rate per age group.

    Choose a clinic which has data on the number of treatment carried out yearly and the number of successful treatments leading to live births. This should be a guide not as an indication that you will be pregnant. It is good to know as it is reassuring. I was reassured to find out that my clinic was consistently top. Also, compare their success rate to the national average;

  4. Waiting times: regardless of your age you do not want to be waiting endlessly for an appointment, during your research find out the waiting times before your initial appointment. Depending on the popularity of the clinic waiting times can be from 1-6 months. So, ask them during your telephone conversation, to have an indication of how long before your first appointment.
  5.  First impressions matter. How did your initial contact with the clinic went:  where they professional? did you feel welcome? Did you feel like this is the place you should be having treatments? Are the staff courteous, polite, friendly and helpful?

I don’t want you to go through the same problems we faced, which is why I have written this piece. I hope that you have found it helpful, and hope that you will find place where you can have a treatment which will result in what your hearts desires. Please share and leave comment if you have found this helpful.