The Insemination Games
I’m really not good at speaking with strangers. Small talk just bores me to tears. I gave up trying to socialize at bars, because I can’t stand it. I’ll sit there and watch two people carry on a conversation when clearly, to me, neither of them knows what the hell they are talking about. I’ve tried joining their conversation if the topic was one I found interesting. Politely steering them away from ideas like hurricanes are government conspiracies. Only to be looked at as the jerk for ruining their fun conversation of ignorance. Sure there are a few interesting people to talk to once in a while. But you never know until you actually talk to them if they are a person who actually knows their facts, or one who just makes stuff up as they go. That being said, I do enjoy once in a while pretending to know more than I actually do.
Obviously since I’m actually dealing with severe male factor infertility, I must know more than those who’ve actually studied it for years right. (Hey, quit ruining my fun and just go with it as fact!)
Anyways, during our meeting last Thursday with the doctor, I realised how fundamentally flawed the sperm selection process for ICSI truly is. The process is completely superficial.
The doctor explained the process to me and it goes something like this. The semen is taken out of the cup and spun around so the sperm cells are concentrated. Under a microscope, they find the sperm then add an agent to increase the viscosity of the liquid the sperm are swimming in. This slows the speed of the sperm allowing them to be caught and injected into an egg. How does the specialist choose which sperm to catch? The ones that “look good” based on experience and training of the person. Somehow they just know which sperm are healthy.
I immediately thought, “Well obviously looks aren’t everything or this wouldn’t be the reason for our failed IVF.” As the doctor moved onto topics my ADD found boring. I considered ways to isolate the few healthy ones (I’m sure I have some in there somewhere) from the duds. Just like searching for a good conversation at a bar, you can’t expect to find one just based on looks. Sure your chances of a good conversation are better with someone who looks healthy. But would you really want to spend thousands of dollars looking for a good conversation for the next 20 years based on looking at the individual for only a few seconds?
Then I thought about how it happens naturally. The army of sperm is deposited in the arena. They fight and race for the finish line where there can be only one winner and the rest die. Nature has already figured out how to eliminate the unhealthy ones from the rest. Now that doesn’t mean the winner has the best DNA. We all have that one relative where we wonder how their sperm form ended up winning the race. But I’m guessing it is more likely to have what it takes to create a baby.
Why not have the Insemination Games? In the simplest form it would be a race.
Put whatever attracts sperm at the finish line and as they hit the viscous solution, pick from those for ICSI use. I would feel better about my chances if my sperm actually had to prove themselves in some fashion besides “looking good” to someone under a microscope. There has to be something out there.
While looking for information on poor sperm quality I found a new test that checks DNA fragmentation and there may be possible treatments to help reduce the oxidative stress causing the DNA fragmentation. Now I’m left with how do I find which fertility firms are using this process and do I just go with them? Or do I contact our current doctor and see if they are considering an upgrade that could check for DNA fragmentation?
Where would I go to find this information? The internet isn’t being helpful and I feel weird asking our clinic to help us find another firm that is more advanced in treating Male Factor Infertility.
I guess I’ll just keep googling until I find something.