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Wrapping Up Infertility

I’ve found what I consider the perfect gift for an infertile.

Feel free to believe the fact I appear to be riding the roller coaster to be pure photographic brilliance on my part.

Feel free to believe the fact I appear to be riding the roller coaster to be pure photographic brilliance on my part.

Give your fellow infertile the gift of a bottle of Roller Coaster Wine. Each sip of the wine brings with it a different flavor. Travel the twist and turns from a Syrah to a Petite Sirah. The hills and valleys from Merlot to Cabernet Sauvignon. Feel the rush traveling through Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Barbera, Petit Verdot, Carignane, then finish off through the corkscrew of a Malbec and Grenache!

Produced by Meeker Vineyard’s, every sip is like a trip to the doctor’s office. You never know if the next sip will be one you’ll enjoy, or one you’ll regret, but you keep drinking anyway.

Soon you’ll be suffering the 2 minute wait while your partner takes their time finishing their own glass. Then you test to find out if the bottle can fill the glasses again for the ride to continue, or if the bottle is empty causing the ride to abruptly end.

With 14.6% alcohol, this wine has the power to have you flying on top of the world one moment, then knock you flat on your ass the next. Leaving you writhing in pain wondering if when you get past the agony is it worth opening another bottle, or is it time to just throw in the towel.

This bottle of wine wraps up nicely how the year 2012 was for me. Full of joy, wonder, hope, pain and agony, but opening the bottle was still well worth it.

© copyright 2011-2012

Dear Ivfmale, cum injection needle?

Works been keeping me busy, busy, busy. But I’m taking a break anyway to bring you this weeks Dear Ivfmale. 😀 Some searches were sad, some were funny, lets sample a few of both shall we?

— i’m ashamed of my infertility i don’t want to talk about it
Perfectly natural to feel this way. It’s a hard pill to swallow after months of trying to conceive. Each month thinking this would be the one. There is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s not your fault. Staying quiet about your situation is a typical response. Few will understand the emotions we’re dealing with and offer platitudes that hurt rather than help. Ask your doctor about counselors or support groups in your area to connect with others that understand. Or you can start an infertility blog when you’re ready to talk about it.

— ivf failed wife left me
My heart goes out to you. You need to talk to a professional, not Mr. Google. I sincerely hope you find happiness.

— semen dessert
I bet if someone wrote a recipe book using semen they would make at least $5.

— cum injectionneedle
It’s called a penis.

— hvac ivrf fault finding
How in the hell did you find this blog with that search?

Sorry to cut it short this week, back to the grindstone. Hope everyone is having a good Holiday Season.

© copyright 2011-2012

Reality award

I’ve been nominated for the Reality Blog Award courtesy of  madoqua. If you haven’t visited his blog yet, please take a moment and check it out. Wonderful stories about the places he’s visited with some amazing photographs. He almost always includes a little tidbit of inside information which makes me feel like I’m right there along for the ride.

Some samples of his work…

http://madoqua.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/sunrise.jpghttp://madoqua.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/giraffe.jpg

A big thanks to madoqua for  the Reality Award nomination. I am truly honored.

There are a lot of misconceptions infertile’s are facing. And part of the reason they continue to exist is the lack of a dialogue about infertility. Because it’s so painful for us. To be looked at as less than a man or woman because we’re unable to have a child.  Suffering ridiculous suggestions by others, knowing you’ve done things 10 times more ridiculous hoping for parenthood. Dealing with our own demons every time someone announces a pregnancy. All the while being subjected to questions on why we’re still childless. We hide our infertility to protect ourselves. And that’s okay. I certainly don’t begrudge anyone for staying in the shadows.

But this is why these misconceptions continue. Before I found out I was infertile, I associated the IVF procedure as something celebrities and rich people did to have children. Never considered it could be one of my neighbors.  I remember thinking how sad two married college professors chose never to have children. Never occurred to me that maybe they couldn’t.

Our stories need to be heard so others might understand. In order for Infertility Awareness to occur, there must be a discussion. Before one side can listen, the other must speak.

That is my hope for this blog. If I can keep this blog interesting for those not dealing with infertility, maybe something good can be accomplished. If I can reach those still in the shadows and support them in their journey, then this is all worth it.

We are your neighbors, your coworkers, your friends and maybe even your family…and we suffer in silence.

——————-

Onto the questions.

If you could change something what would you change?

It’s still wishing I enjoyed exercise.

If you could relive one day, when would it be?

The last time I visited my paternal Grandmother so I could remember her. I was a small child when she passed away. I remember my mother trying to explain to me what death was and that she died…but I don’t remember her.

What’s one thing that really scares you?

Idiots, they’re everywhere…even the mirror!

What one dream have you not completed yet and do you think you will be able to complete it?

Duh? As far as will I be able to complete it…I just don’t know. More interested in moving on with life while keeping my options open. And supporting others during their struggle.

If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?

Still would be my RE to grant us a free cycle of IVF.

———–

I would like to nominate the following bloggers for this award.

http://1suburbanchic.wordpress.com/
For her ability to reflect on her own viewpoint reminds me to keep an open mind. It’s okay to have an opinion, but it’s healthy to challenge yourself and listen to others.

http://diannegray.wordpress.com/
For reminding me I still have other dreams to strive for.  That dreams are achieved through hard work. I wish nothing but the best on her dream of being a full time writer.

http://scrambled-eggs.org/
For her magic ability to make me laugh and cry at the same time. Her candid posts touching on her own insecurities, fears, joys and heartbreak are always worth reading.

http://www.theonehandman.co.uk/
For being candid and open about his own infertility journey. He gives an inside look into the adoption process in the U.K. Exposing how adoption is not as simple as going to “Kids R Us” and picking one out. All the while finding the humor to be had along the way.

http://infertileginger.wordpress.com/
The reality is we have men and women serving our country that protect our freedoms, liberties and families. Yet if they suffer from infertility, there is no assistance to help them attempt a family of their own. Her letter to the First Lady is a reminder of the fight ahead of us against the concept that IVF is an “elective procedure.” I’d like to take this time to thank both Mr. and Mrs Ginger for their service to our country. As well as all the men, women and their families in the military. Thank you!

© copyright 2011-2012

Two Sperm Tales

I had a request for poems about “the journey of a sperm for kids” from Mr. Google this week. Inspired by the challenge I created the following poems.

A Sperm’s Tale

By Matthew Wanner

In a moment of love,
during a time of joy;
an army of sperm
shot out of the boy.

First order of business
we instinctively knew,
find the cervix door
and march right on through.

Many didn’t make it,
a high price we paid.
But now in the uterus
a choice must be made.

Some swam to the left,
but I chose the right.
We could only guess
where the egg took flight.

In the tube we waited,
wondering how lucky we’d be.
When out of the depths,
an egg we could see.

We sprang into action,
the first I was not;
but none of the others
had found the right spot.

Wiggling my tail,
giving it my all;
I punched my way in
through the egg wall.

The egg gave a shutter
as it split into two,
and then it repeated
until we – became you.

———————————–
BUT WAIT! What about those of us not able to have children naturally? Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you. 😀

A Sperm’s Tale – ICSI Style

By Matthew Wanner

The scouting reports wrong?
How could that be?
We’re in a plastic cup
from what I could see.

Yes it’s a cup
which is now enclosed.
Glad it’s not the floor,
but man this blows.

Placed in a door,
left with a bell ring;
a woman picked us up
who couldn’t even sing.

Scooped into a tube,
then spun really quick.
Packed in so tight
I thought I’d be sick.

Sucked up and spit out
onto some glass,
with a light so bright
I wished this would pass.

Sperm were then taken,
captured one by one.
First Frank, then Paul,
we knew they weren’t done.

I was selected,
an egg my new place.
This is the life,
and I didn’t even race.

Five days we divided,
our progress was tracked.
We were then selected,
the rest frozen and packed.

Finally in the uterus,
we made our estate.
While the parents would suffer
the dreaded two week wait.

A ring of the phone,
followed by tears of glee.
That my sweet child
is how you came to be.

© copyright 2011-2012

Is IVF destructive?

The decision to attempt IVF is not an easy one to make. For most it is a financial gamble on a dream that will take years to recover from. But this is nothing compared to emotional struggle a couple will face when IVF is their last option for a biological child.  Moral, ethical and religious questions weigh heavily on the minds of any couple facing IVF.

There is a disturbing need by some to connect embryonic losses during IVF with the concept of destroying a life through an abortion. Regardless of your view on abortion, not all losses during the IVF process are cases of destroying life.

Even more insulting is the assumption couples attempting IVF are blasé about these losses; we only care about the take home baby. Nothing could be further from the truth. When my Wife and I heard 9 mature eggs were harvested, realistically I thought 5 would grow after being fertilized. Reading the statistics from other IVF couples, I knew 5 was a reasonable number, even if still optimistic. The fact is our Reproductive Endocrinologist, the Embryologist, the nurses, techs, my Wife and I were all HOPING every one of the 9 eggs fertilized would result in a viable embryo.

If a farmer plants 15 corn seeds, and only 6 grow into stalks of corn, we don’t say the farmer “destroyed” 9 plants do we? Why do some feel the need to label these losses as destroying or killing innocent life when everyone involved was doing everything they could avoid it? Clinics don’t transfer multiple embryos hoping all but one survives, it’s simply the odds the doctor’s are dealing with. Most clinics are responsible about the number of embryos transferred into the womb, a few aren’t. We can’t let the case of Octomom tarnish and warp how IVF is viewed to those not dealing with infertility.

To be honest, my biggest fear during the IVF process wasn’t ending up empty handed. My biggest fear was facing the need for selective reduction.  A situation our clinic tries very hard to avoid. Holding clinics responsible for relying too often on selective reduction is certainly a cause I could get behind. However, transferring two embryos into a womb that both split isn’t a situation any doctor could have predicted. Selective reduction would be needed for the life of the mother and to avoid risking the lives of all the children.

There is one aspect to IVF that is sadly destructive. The discarding of frozen embryos.  Our clinic provided us with the option of what to do with our remaining frozen embryos should we decide to stop having children. To discard or donate for embryonic adoption? There should be more literature provided discussing the benefits of choosing donation to help other infertile couples. An option all clinics should provide to their patients.

I’m not defending the IVF process against all the ethical questions against it. It disturbs me to think how this process could be abused to select designer babies with the right eye and hair color. Or when I hear about it being used for gender selection.

The limited destructive aspect of the IVF process can be reduced through education and holding clinics responsible to keep the number of selective reductions needed as low as possible. But we must fight against the idea that all embryonic losses are destroying life. The majority of losses are because they didn’t survive when everyone involved were hoping they would.

IVF is overcoming an obstacle preventing a couple from conceiving. That’s all. We don’t withhold glasses from those with poor eyesight because they see the way God intended. Nor do we condemn those with a genetic disorders and prevent them from treatments. We treat children suffering leukemia, cyanotic heart defects causing “Blue Babies”, those with cleft pallets, all natural conditions we have overcome using science.

Unlike embryonic stem cell research, none of the embryos created during the IVF process were done so with the intent of being destroyed. The IVF process is about creating life.

With only about a 20% success rate for a couple trying naturally to conceive, the success rate of IVF is much higher. But we have statistics we can point to regarding the losses during IVF. We just don’t know why a fertile couple only has a 20% chance of getting pregnant. While a large number of them are cases of the egg not actually fertilizing…we just don’t know how many did fertilize and didn’t implant like we do with IVF.

I understand the choice of attempting IVF is a difficult one. But don’t let anyone tell you it is against God’s will. If God were that against IVF, wouldn’t its success rate be zero?

Dear IVFmale, ivf and accomplishments

I’m constantly amazed how some people find this blog using search engines. Take my top 5 search terms this week…

One of my reasons for starting this blog was to help get the male’s perspective of the infertility story told. When I first found out about my condition, I searched the web for answers and guidance about the journey I was just starting. Most of what I found were women dealing with infertility due to a male factor condition. While helpful, it missed the mark in what I was craving. A male’s understanding of the shock I was feeling. To connect in some small way with another also dealing with the emotions of my Severe Male Factor diagnosis. A couple of good male perspective blogs were found, many were not.

One male blogger put everything in terms of Star Wars. I love Star Wars. I’m a total Star Wars geek. George Lucas turned into the Evil Empire…Han Solo shot first…Phantom and Clones are an abomination that Lucas should be ashamed of…I get the attraction of Star Wars.  I don’t want Star Wars ruined even further by linking it with infertility. Just NO!

My ivf accomplishment has been creating this blog. A place to laugh at infertility when you’re just tired of crying about it. Yet still put forward real emotion which others may fear admitting. The search engine verification process was my attempt to reach out to others just beginning their struggle with infertility.

Where men can come and understand it’s normal to feel a sense of loss after hearing bad news about you’re condition. There is still hope. Always remember, a couple will survive the hard times by working together. Sometimes you support her, other times she will support you. Don’t feel ashamed to talk to your wife about your struggles. She is probably wanting you too.

A place where a woman can learn what their husband is feeling, but he won’t speak about.  To understand men struggle just as much with the emotions of infertility that they are. We don’t go quiet because we’re cold and heartless…it’s because we care and we’re afraid to cause the woman in our life even more distress. We don’t understand that talking about what we are feeling would actually help her.  Let your man know talking about his feelings will help you both. And be a little forgiving if the words don’t come out right, because we’re not used to talking about feelings.

I’m very proud of this blog. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would be so popular with folks wanting to make meringue from semen and puppy pictures. Three of my top five search terms are for Bandit! Now you’re probably asking yourself, how “missing half of face” could possibly be attributed to Bandit?

I’m glad you asked; I wondered the same thing. My request to Mr. Google left me scratching my head. Nothing related to my blog, and I wasn’t about to scan several pages of people missing half their face to find out why. Tagging “ivfmale” onto the end made it clear why this person found me.

Cocker-teseIn my post The Cock-tese I talked about Bandit being half Cocker Spaniel and half Maltese. Then pointed out the adorable face and stated he was missing his momma since we just picked him up from the breeder.

Even while looking at the grotesqueness of people with only half a face, Bandit snatched them away to look at cute adorable puppy pictures!

Simply amazing.

Further down the list we have…

— male nut cursher

Quit being sexist. A female can cursh nuts as well as any male can. What is a nut cursher anyway?

— ivf “calling in sick”

Go right ahead.

— punishment needle
— i gave my wife a needle injection as afun

I bet you both have no problems procreating…but you still need to seek help!

— 4dp3dt and lots of cm

STOP! STOP! STOP! The ups and downs are bad enough from the doctor, quit adding to it. I understand if checking your cm now brings you comfort from doing it so often…but lay off googling about it. You can pee on a stick in a few more days. GOOD LUCK!

— male hospital exam funny stories

Have you heard the one about getting a testicle and prostate exam from a urologist while the wife watches?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

© copyright 2011-2012

Staring down the infertility train

The challenge for this week is to write about a moment when our lives changed in an instant. Couples struggling with infertility are all too familiar with these life changing moments. For the infertility journey isn’t a single instance, but a series of life changing instances.

We start with a dream, built into our instinctual biological fiber, to procreate so a form of our DNA will live on. To have a family of offspring to raise and guide into adulthood hoping they too will continue the process. Thus allowing our DNA to survive our own mortality. A need shared by all living creatures.

After a year of attempting to naturally fulfill this dream, I was asked to submit a semen sample for analysis. The results started the train of life changing moments. Finding out I have a “very low” sperm count and I was the reason behind our struggle to start a family was truly a shocking moment. This left me dazed and confused about my own masculinity, but there was still hope. Hope the problem could be fixed.

This hope led me to a Urologist and was my rookie experience with the infertility waiting game. No longer were these life changing moments a surprise, I knew they were coming. There was a time and place on the calender advertising the event. “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst” became my motto. There was nothing to prepare me for the utter devastation I felt with the news my Urologist couldn’t find anything correctable. I was left picking up the pieces of a shattered dream and told to take them to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE).

I never knew anyone who had tried IVF before. I had little experience with the procedures available to help infertile couples get pregnant. My high school health class was about how the reproductive system worked, nothing about what must be done if it’s not working. The internet was a scary place of confusing abbreviations and high ticket prices to even play the IVF game. My wife and I carried our shattered dream to our RE. With my low expectations, the RE pieced together our dream with information on procedures where men like me could still become a father.  He then presented a price list with rates we could reasonably afford despite our lack of insurance coverage for IVF treatments.

We agreed to give IVF a try. Our hopes now rested with a team of doctors to get my wife pregnant, with a backup plan of a few frozen embryos remaining to be used in a second attempt if needed. For 12 days I administered injections into my wife’s lower back, tricking her body into produce more eggs than nature designed it. When the day arrived to collect the eggs, we were so happy to have 9 mature eggs harvested. Followed 2 days later with the terrifying news only 6 fertilized and none of them were growing as expected.  The elation the next morning when we arrived for our early transfer and discovered one of the embryos grew to be a top grade, making our RE very positive about our chances.

For 3 days we waited, hoping the remaining 4 embryos would continue to grow to the point they could be frozen and stored. Hearing zero embryos would be frozen guillotined our back up plan, leaving us with our one hope. The date marked on the calender said September 17, 2012 and it would be our moment of truth.  The day blood would be drawn to see if my wife was pregnant or not, and it was still 10 days away. Friends and family were reading my blog looking for the latest news. I promised I would update it with the information as soon as we heard from the RE. If the news was good, the writing would come easy. However, a negative result…there was no way I could bring myself to write anything afterwards.  I began writing the poem A Dream Lost, pouring all the emotions I thought I would be feeling, but still hoping it wouldn’t be necessary.

The day finally arrived, blood was drawn for testing, and my wife and I sat impatiently by the phone. It barely had a chance to ring when I answered and heard, “We received the results and I’m sorry……….” I hung up, then looked at my wife shaking my head. I held my emotions together long enough to sign in and press “publish” before snapping the lid closed allowing grief to consume me.

The dream was lost.

Relatives offered to pay for another IVF attempt, but the news from the RE was my sperm just isn’t healthy enough to keep embryos growing after the 3rd day. I’ll never have a biological child. Fatherhood may still be in my future, and I will of course raise it as my own. Right now I just need time. Time to grieve my loss. Time to accept my fate. Time to open my heart to other possibilities.

© copyright 2011-2012

Dear IVFmale, Sperm Out!

Sorry folks. Works been keeping me busy, but we all need a break once in a while…right! An interesting group of searches this week. Let’s get started…

—ivf male blogspot

Uhm. I’m on wordpress. But you found me anyway so you’re forgiven.
Nothing against blogspot, I just like wordpress.

—4dp3dt temperature spike

Stop! I know it’s a long wait and old habits die hard. Give the basal thermometer a rest. One thing I’ve learned is symptom checking during IVF isn’t helpful. It might mean implantation is occurring, but it could also be a hundred other reasons too. You’re just making the roller coaster ride worse. Good luck with your beta and I’m wishing you a BFP!

—poem for a ivf couple trying

Well since you asked…

There once was a couple trying to conceive,
hopes for a family they would soon achieve,
a doctor they would pay
IVF’s the only way
a journey harder than any would believe.

—the sperm out last time

😆 I honestly haven’t a clue what you’re hoping to find. Something about this search reminded me of the song Le Freak by Chic and what Weird Al Yankovic might have done with it. Let’s have some fun shall we?

Le Sperm by IVFmale.
(Satire of Le Freak by Chic)

Chorus:
Ah, sperm out!
Le sperm, c’est chic
Sperm out!
Ah, sperm out!
Le sperm, c’est chic
Sperm out!

Have you heard about the new fun craze?
Listen to me, I’m sure you’ll be amazed
Big fun to be had by every male
It’s up to you, it surely can not fail

Young and old are doing it, I’m told
Just one try and you too will be sold
It’s called ‘Le Sperm’, I’m doing it right now
Allow me, I will show you how

(chorus)

All that pressure got you down
Has your head been spinning all around?
Feel the rhythm, there’s no crime
Come on along and have a real good time

Like the days of jerking as a boy
Now we “sperm,” oh, what a joy
Just head on in through the bathroom door
Try not to shoot it on the floor

(chorus)

Now sperm
I said sperm
Now sperm

All that pressure got you down
Has your head been spinning all around?
Feel the rhythm, there’s no crime
Come on along and have a real good time

Like the days of jerking as a boy
Now we “sperm,” oh, what a joy
Just head on in through the bathroom door
Try not to shoot it on the floor

(chorus)

© copyright 2011-2012

Dear IVFmale, Fun IVF games

It is becoming clear to me that Bandit is more popular with the search engines than I am. Which perplexes me since I only have a few posts dealing with our new puppy. “Cock tese” has been my top search hitter the last few weeks. I went to Mr. Google and typed in “cock tese” and my website was the first one! I then tried it on the image search and saw…

Well no wonder he is getting so many hits. Who could possibly resist that face!

Let’s see what else the list has this week.

—menopur green box

I guess someone was wanting a picture of menopur in a green box for some reason. Who knows.

Yes menopur comes in a green box.

—wife pressed
—insemination games

Either someone is messing with me, or my blog is getting some word of mouth advertising and this is how they found me. Strangely enough, both options I think are positives.

What else…several I’ve already answered…oh this one looks good!

—fun games to explain ivf

???

I’m just going to assume this is a school teacher looking for activities to help explain IVF. I think I can come up with a few…

Instead of pin the tail on the donkey you could play “Poke the infertile with a syringe.” Have the kids cut out paper syringes. Put a little tape on the back of each one. Put up a poster of a woman’s lower back and draw circles on both sides by the hipbone. Blindfold, spin and send forward. Whomever is closest wins!

How about fresh semen relay races? Fill a small paper cup with milk. Have a team of 3 members. First is the donor, second is the technician, third is the embryologist. Have them run around a track passing the cup to each stage. Penalties for each ounce of milk spilled. First team to cross the finish with the fewest penalties wins!

Or maybe an “unhealthy sperm grab bag.” Collect a bunch of dead AA batteries, add 2 or 3 good AA batteries. Then have the kids pick them out of a bag. Plug them into some device needing an AA battery and if it turns on…they win a prize.

Does anyone else have any suggestions for games to help explain IVF to kids?

Now if this is an infertility party for adults to help explain IVF, well then…

Pee on a stick! Points off for getting it on your hands.

Try to achieve an erection in a bathroom on a folding chair while people talk about what you are doing on the other side of the door! Fastest wins.

Instead of the the 2ww have the 10 minute wait. Sit on a chair holding 2 electrodes. If you move, you get shocked. If you last the 10 minutes you may get shocked, or you may get a cookie.

The female pumped up on hormones game. If the male can last 10 minutes of verbal abuse and frantic crying, he wins a prize.

Any more ideas for the adult infertility party?

© copyright 2011-2012

Poem for my blog

Yesterday fellow blogger rarasaur caught the poetry bug and wanted to write a limerick or a haiku about other blogs and was asking for requests. Curious and amused by this request, I submitted my blog for consideration. I was completely blown away with the result. The request line is still open if you’re interested. Without further ado…

 

 

IVF Male and the story of his folding mistress and battle for children to be.

A man tells a tale of fertility,

from a bathroom designed for sterility,

a small folded chair

keeps him grounded in where

parenthood is founded — humility.