Monday, 23 September 2013

Surviving the thaw

We froze a sperm sample last week in advance of the super major endocrine crashing surgery (for which we still don't have a date). They take the sample, divide it into 8 "straws" and then this morning they thawed one to test. The good news is they survived the thaw. The bad news is that enough survived for ICSI, but not for natural fertilization. I was hoping to avoid ICSI. A big part is the extra cost. $1500. Not covered by OHIP. Nor is the sperm banking by the way, even though both have become "medically necessary".

FYI - the original page from which I found this image is well worth a read, 
I mean with a headline like "will swallowing semen make my girlfriend gain weight" how could you resist?

Under normal circumstances, the "best" sperm win the race. This is what makes me nervous about ICSI. Despite what the clinic doctors said, I am an avid pubmed user and I know there is data out there to suggest that there may be more risks of fetal abnormalities with ICSI simply because the best, healthiest sperm didn't win the race. Whether the sperm was not strong enough to do the job on his or her own, or whether the egg was developing a harder less penetrable zona (shell if you will, although it's not a shell per se), the need for ICSI arises when one or both parties are not in tip-top shape. It's giving a helping hand sometimes to genetic material that otherwise wouldn't make the cut. It's not the process of ICSI, it's the selection of sperm to use. The success rate for ICSI (and there are twice as many as non-ICSI IVF done in my clinic) is not nearly as good. This, and the studies that show more potential problems with ICSI outcomes all reflect pre-existing problems. If only a small number of sperm survive the thaw, they are clearly the best, so I guess the selection process is pretty simple. It just makes me nervous. I wanted to make this as natural as possible, just by-passing my damaged tubes. I want minimal ovarian stimulation. I want 6 follicles. I want them to fertilize because they want to, because they are healthy, and develop the same way, and I dream of 3-4 good embryos, transfer one and freeze the rest for later. And never have to do another retrieval cycle. Maybe I'm being naive.

I also had a dream the other night that I was asked to care for 3 foster babies, infants, but they were all boys and all I could think was why are they all boys? I hope it's not a sign.

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