Balls!

Alright I’ll admit it. There is more to my new found drive to lose weight than simply wanting to be healthy and feel better about myself. I keep reading over and over about a possible link between obesity and male infertility. While I don’t buy for one second my weight is the root cause for my infertility…it may well be a secondary factor in making my condition much worse than it needs to be.

The whole purpose of the testicles residing in the scrotum is to regulate their temperature for optimum production.  I look at my situation below and my balls are basically incubating between too large thighs all day long.  A perfect condition for roasting nuts, and not at all an ideal situation for sperm production.

There is also that small varicocele my Urologist found. All these questions on what to do next. Do I go ahead with a surgery with another uncertain outcome? Shall I walk around with ice packs shoved down the front of my pants all day long? Should I invest in Snowballs, underwear designed to keep the family jewels cool? Or do I commit myself to losing the weight?

With the bank account begging for mercy, I weighed my options. Although surgery could see an improvement, and insurance would cover part of the costs, that’s another $1000 or more out of my pocket.  A debt I’d be happy to take on if there was a good chance of the surgery leading to an improved sperm count.  Even if the improvement was only enough raise my chances for the next IVF round to work, surgery would be worth it. Right now with too many unknowns, this is another shot in the dark just like those HCG injections that work for some men, but not for me. So I’m holding off on the surgery.

Forcibly cooling the area with ice packs or specially designed underwear sounds promising on the surface. But this is just another one of those crazy infertile ideas like when I tried using a depilatory cream on the sack under the same reasoning. That crazy idea lead to several days of agony. Ice packs in the pants will definitely be uncomfortable and would need to be worn continuously for 3 months before finding out if this treatment is even working. I’m not walking around with my junk on ice for another long shot.

That left me with weight loss. It’s something I need to do and the hope of increasing my fertility is certainly additional motivation to keep me focused. I already had the weight set just sitting in the spare room, so there is little in additional cost required. I’ve found a work out buddy who is at the same level of strength as myself. This option just seemed to fall into place.

For me, the biggest reason I’m going with weight loss is that if in the end my fertility doesn’t increase, I’ll still feel good about accomplishing something. I can put my energy into a task where the results will be good, or could be great. Right now I need this, because few paths on the infertility journey have a lesser outcome that is still a benefit. I need a vacation from the heartbreak or euphoria result set.  And if weight loss does result in some form of an increased sperm count, I’ll feel much better about going under the knife to improve my fertility further.

I’m 3 weeks into my weight loss plan. Although the flaky home scale says I either lost 2 more pounds or stayed the same this week depending on its mood, I’m down another belt notch and see a big difference all over my body that my plan is in fact working. I’m also feeling a lot better and seeing a noticeable increase in my energy level.

Finally a journey that only looks up. The only question that remains is, how high?

© copyright 2011-2013

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About ivfmale

Just a guy dealing with infertility.

Posted on February 1, 2013, in Purgatory, Weight Loss and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. This is so great! I like your outlook, that there is an up-side to losing the weight even if it doesn’t increase your fertility. AND – this way, you know you did everything within your power to increase your fertility.

    Great work sticking to it – good luck with the rest of your trek!

  2. Good luck! My husband has just started to really try to lose weight, too, through both diet and exercise. I know it’s tough for him, but he’s done it in the past. His sperm quality was poor during our last IUI a few months ago, so we figure that weight loss could only help- and at the very least, he will be healthy and in-shape again. Good luck to you, and let me know if you happen upon any good tips!

    • Thanks. Best of luck to your husband on his weight loss plan!

      For me finding a workout partner is a big help. I don’t know why, but we both find ourselves motivated to stick with the routine knowing the other is expecting us to be there. By ourselves it’s so easy to put it off or only do half a workout. Plus the company and conversation keeps the workout from being monotonous.

      Also I’m not super strict on the diet and looking at this as a lifestyle change. Once a week I eat a meal I enjoy, I just make sure to limit the portions to a proper size. I know of two men in the past who put in a lot of work to lose the weight. Then after achieving their goal, they both fell back into their old habits and ended up gaining it all back. I don’t want to end up like that. Make sure whatever diet plan he is on is one he won’t mind continuing in a modified form the rest of his life.

      If he is doing both strength and cardio in the same session, strength first, then cardio. Using the fresh energy to building muscle will force the body to spend more energy repairing those muscles long after the workout is over. If one does strength after cardio, there is less energy left for strength resulting in a sub par workout, resulting in less energy needed to repair muscle. Basically to maximize the amount of energy the body is burning compared to the time spent actually exercising over the course of the week, focus on strength. Cardio is important don’t get me wrong, but the body recovers quickly afterwards. Sixty minutes on a treadmill and my body will be fine after a couple of hours. Sixty minutes lifting weights and my body will still be repairing itself the next day while I sit at my desk programming.

      Those are the 3 basic tips I’m following.

  3. I had this surgery and whilst it worked technically, it had no effect on my sperm generation, in fact one specialist told me it was pointless. Whatever happens good luck!

    • It’s one of those treatments that some have had success with, many do not. Research on Male Infertility is still relatively young and I feel many of the treatments are simply a craps shoot. Doctors know they sometimes work, but they have know idea how to determine when a treatment will work and when it will not. So they try them just in case.

  4. Good luck! I think if I was in your shoes, I’d probably go with the weight loss too. Hope you can lose all that’s necessary..

  5. Im so glad I found your blog ivfmale. I was looking fro added support for my own blog on Males and Weight Gain on IVF and Assisted Fertility Therapies. I recently have a male client who is expecting twin girls at 50yo after being on IVF for over 4 years.
    Im Lifestyle Trainer (fitness, yoga nutritional coaching and intimacy coaching for couples) and I was looking for stats on male weight gain. This guy has put on 45kgs (he was 142kgs when I met him). We determined weeks after training that his emotional trigger in eating and weight gain was the stress of IVF.
    Ive read most of your blogs now, and I like your style and information you share.
    I can agree with your fitness advice you shared above too!

    Thanks for being open, out there and being a voice on male infertility. I work with couples for the same reason – so as a partnership, no one gets left behind!

    Fertility blessings,
    Helen Zee of Fertile Cosmos

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