One Good Sperm -- Patient Odyssey

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One Good Sperm -- Patient Odyssey

February 16, 2007

I had been trying to get pregnant for six months and didn't want to wait any longer. In the past, my husband had gone through chemotherapy, but when we decided to begin our family, we never contemplated that his medical history would make conceiving a challenge.

Once we were ready to take the next step, our urologist recommended Pacific Fertility Center. Patients he referred to PFC had been successful, so we were very hopeful that they might be able to help us. We lived a distance from the center and had to make the 6-hour drive each way for treatments. We were determined to get the best care available.

Our cycle began way back in August of 2005. Initially we worked with Dr. Paul Turek, an urologist from UCSF in conjunction with PFC in cases like ours. He performed testicular mapping, looking for pockets of live sperm. Since only one pocket was found, Dr. Turek recommended my husband undergo FSH injections 3 months prior to our cycle, to increase sperm production. Fortunately, this experimental protocol worked better than expected and we were able to avoid invasive surgical removal of sperm. It only takes one good sperm to fertilize an egg and he was able to find more than enough.

In order to get my eggs to fertilize with my husband's sperm, I went through IVF including FSH injections. The needles intimidated me, but I was able to get past that fear. Everything turned out OK and I made it through the procedure really well. During my retrieval they collected 20 eggs.

As it turns out, after fertilization with ICSI, we had 8 grade 1 and 2 embryos. Three of the embryos were transferred and the other five were frozen. To my pleasure, I became pregnant with a single baby girl. This was an amazing experience, especially considering the odds were not hugely in our favor. Once we got the good news, we were in an elated state of shock – we had been through a lot and finding out we were finally pregnant was wonderful news! I had an extremely easy and natural birth in May of the following year.

All in all the experience was quite a whirlwind; my husband and I had a lot of ups and downs. The assumption we had when we first decided to try to get pregnant was it would be natural and uncomplicated. However, learning we had an infertility problem was a devastating experience. What empowered my husband and me was that we started doing research about our problem. The more we learned, the more comfortable and less intimidated we felt. I would highly recommend this. In retrospect, the biggest ups and downs were when we got the reports on the good or the poor sperm samples. When they found sperm they could use, we could hardly contain our excitement.

I appreciate the care Dr. Isabelle Ryan provided. I liked her a lot and I have heard nothing but good things about all the PFC doctors. Dr. Ryan knows what she's doing and was able to explain all the options available to us. Joe Conaghan, the lab director, was spectacular. He was able to find sperm in a sample that our local doctors could not. Being from a rural area, we didn't have local access to PFC's level of care and state-of-the-art technology. I absolutely trust PFC and have recommended them to others. If we decide to have another child, we will definitely come back. We love our little baby girl so much and every day is a new adventure. We can't imagine our lives without her!

Susie & Steven D.