Insights into Living with Male Factor Infertility (MFI) – Being Diagnosed with MFI
Wyatt & Morgan Honeyman share their reaction and response to being diagnosed with MFI
Throughout our trying to conceive journey, as I spoke with friends, family members, and acquaintances, the first thing they often said to us was something along the lines of, “well, has Morgan been checked?”. The entire year we were trying to get pregnant before going to see a fertility specialist, the common idea was that it was me. Having my husband diagnosed with Male Factor Infertility (MFI) was not something we or anyone else had expected, we honestly didn’t even think about it. MFI was so rarely talked about, that we just didn’t have the knowledge that he may have had it.
What MFI looked like for us, was not what it had looked like for people we knew who had MFI, they had histories with cancer and illness, Wyatt had nothing like this. The main symptoms he had were extreme fatigue, and low libido, which ultimately prompted the doctor to perform a semen analysis and testosterone workup on him. His testosterone levels came back as “low normal” which alone wouldn’t have been enough to diagnose him with MFI, however, the semen analysis and confirmation analysis that followed both came back with the results of low/no sperm. The actual comment on the lab report was, “no sperm were identified in the initial evaluation, the sample was centrifuged and a low concentration of sperm was identified in the pellet.” and we were referred to a urologist.
After no success with Wyatt’s sperm count after six months on Clomid (although his Testosterone levels did rise significantly) we were told the next step would be a testicular sperm extraction (TESE) procedure. The TESE procedure is when the doctor makes a small incision in the testicle, to expose, remove and examine the tubules for sperm. This was performed while Wyatt was awake under local numbing to his testicles, and aside from the initial injection to numb the area, he felt no pain during it. Our urologist let me be in the room during the procedure, it was incredibly amazing to watch, and also I felt blessed to be there to support Wyatt. Unfortunately, the procedure did not provide enough sperm for us to use for successful IVF, after examining around ten million slides with tubules, they only located around ten sperm.
We were told after the TESE had failed, that our last option would be for Wyatt to have a microTESE, which is a more invasive procedure as they go deeper and further into both testicles. The urologist told us that this procedure would give us a less than 5% chance of finding usable sperm and because he had just had the TESE procedure, we couldn’t do the microTESE until a minimum of three months later, so we booked it and waited. As the weeks passed, Wyatt and I discussed our low chances with the procedure, we talked about the cost and shared our emotions and feelings regarding the entire MFI diagnosis. It was actually Wyatt who came to me with the idea of a donor and we discussed this option at great lengths, weighing pros and cons, and really having a heart-to-heart about it. Eventually, we decided that using a sperm donor would be the best option for us and our future family, we have done three IUI’s with donor sperm and have felt continually at peace and confident with our decision.
For more information on how Fairfax Cryobank supports couples facing infertility, visit our resource page.