Insights into Living with Male Factor Infertility (MFI)
Guest bloggers, Morgan & Wyatt, share their story and knowledge of Male Factor Infertility (MFI)
The biggest question we get when we tell people we are trying to conceive with the gift of donor sperm, is “why?”. On the road of infertility, people and often doctors typically look at the woman first as the one who “has the problem” for lack of a better word, and the man is usually the one looked at after all testing on the woman has been exhausted. However, male factor infertility (MFI) is actually a lot more common than people think.
We first started trying to get pregnant shortly after we were married in August of 2018, and after several unsuccessful months later as I was speaking to a friend about it, she mentioned it seemed like my husband could have low testosterone (he had low libido, extreme fatigue, and mood swings among other symptoms) and recommended I ask our doctor about it. We were lucky to have an amazing doctor who knew we had been trying for a bit, and instead of insisting we wait a year as most doctors will tell you, he agreed to check his testosterone along with a semen analysis. Of course, the results came back with low testosterone and the semen analysis comments were, “no sperm were identified in the initial evaluation” at that point, they centrifuged the sample, and saw “a low concentration of sperm” in the pellet. After the second analysis, the results were the same and we were referred to a urologist who specializes in MFI.
Our urologist did an entire workup and did some blood work to check and make sure there was not anything like a pituitary tumor or blockage, the results came back clear and we moved onto a TESE (testicular sperm extraction) procedure. The TESE is when the doctor makes a small incision in the testicle and obtains sperm directly from the tubules, however, because my husband had such low results from his sperm analysis, the TESE procedure was more for us to see if he even had any sperm to extract and use for IVF. Unfortunately, his procedure came back with, “not enough usable sperm” and we were then told our last hope would be a microTESE (microsurgical testicular sperm extraction) which is a far more complex type of surgical sperm retrieval compared to the TESE.
We had to wait three months after the TESE procedure to do the microTESE, and we had it scheduled for July of 2020. However, as we hung out in quarantine, we discussed together the chances our doctor gave us regarding finding sperm with the microTESE (we were given a less than 5% chance), the cost, and the pain it could cause us emotionally to be let down if nothing was found, we approached the idea of using a sperm donor to complete our family. During the months between April and July, we listed the pros and cons, talked for hours, and read and watched stories about others using a donor. When we finally decided on using a donor, we made the decision with clear minds, and open hearts, and we felt so at peace with the choice we made. We were finally on a more clear path to begin our family, and a future pregnancy and child felt closer than anything we have done in the past, our next step; finding a reputable cryobank and picking a donor.
For more information on how Fairfax Cryobank supports couples facing infertility, visit our resource page.