Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Math and sperm don't mix

We had our first taste of for-profit reproductive medicine on Monday with our IUI. The waiting room at the Swanky Place was bigger than the entire clinic at our other place. The chairs in the waiting room were super contemporary and everything looked stark and white and clean and expensive. And I swear to god they only hire beautiful people there. Seriously.

Somehow, my blood test results (and Devon's... which I don't really understand why both clinics need Devon's STD report, but alas, it's nicer than not being treated equally) had gotten lost by our clinic when they were sent, but I got a call first thing in the morning from Swanky Place to let us know that they'll take care of finding them and will approach our provincial labs directly. We had a lot of paperwork to fill out, but all was easy and smooth, considering everything.

The nurse was lovely and apart from the speculum yanking me open, I didn't feel a thing. I didn't even know she had done anything until she stepped back and turned the light off. I don't know what the hell my nurse at our regular clinic does to me and why it hurts so bad, but I hope I don't have to endure it again.

I decided to cancel the ultrasound on Monday morning, simply because it wouldn't have changed anything, and why get two things up your youhoo when you can only get one? I really wanted to see how I responded to letrazole, but I also felt like I just needed to trust the Universe on this one. I had a really horrible morning at work (this whole week has been awful), so I just ducked out at noon and made sure I relaxed before the IUI.

Everything felt good... until we got the sperm preparation report. I still have not figured out what it all means, because they measure things so differently than our other clinic. We usually get the post-thaw results which include p.H balance, volume, sperm motility (rapid progression, slow progression, non-progression, immotile, sperm concentration and number of motile sperm) along with the final volume, final motility and total number of motile sperm. Our donor usually comes in post-wash at about 15 million.

Swanky Place measures both the semen characteristics (volume, concentration, motility - rapid, slow, non-progressive, progression grade and total motile sperm) and sperm preparation characteristics (volume processed, final volume, final concentration, motility, progression grade and total motile sperm). Our sample ended up being 2.7 million (written as 2.7 x 106). Now I am trying to figure out if it's just the way the figures are written that I don't understand (I have a real-life math deficiency) or whether it's a horrible sperm sample.

I'm really confused because the motility was way better than we've ever had, but the final volume was almost 1/3 less than our usual volume. We always have about 0.6 ml and this IUI was done with 0.2 ml. I don't actually get what "final concentration" means... because that was 23.2 million.

The sperm bank guarantees 25 million prior to washing, but I don't know what happens when it's then released to a third party who has the potential to fuck it up. And I don't even know if the sample really was as little as 2.7 million... it just doesn't seem plausible... and the nurse didn't seem that concerned about it and in the moment. I didn't question it because it takes me minutes and minutes to figure out math stuff in my head and I was lying half naked on a table and just wanted everything to be over.

If it was only 2.7 million, I know that's a horrible number. I hope I'm just being dumb and overlooking something super simple. I know "it only takes one," but I also know that sperm quality is one of the most important things in fertility and conception. I'm also trying not to freak out about it and again, just trust the Universe, but I also want to know if it's worth trying to get our money back from the bank (though it's a tedious process that involved your doctor having to do work).

Anyway, all in all, Swanky Place was nice and it was wonderful to have Devon, me and the nurse fit into a room comfortably, but I miss the people at our clinic, and that's what keeps us there. They have become like family and I wouldn't feel right leaving them. Even if one of them does hurt me every time she comes near me (is that weird?). I also adore my RE and wouldn't dare leave him. Even for a beautiful doctor.


  1. Wow, this just all sounds so incredibly complicated. Thank you for sharing, it's interesting to learn about! I think trusting the Universe is a good call - follow your gut!!!

  2. I would ask the questions that you want answered and instead of figuring it out yourself let them tell you what it all means. I am glad it didn't hurt.

  3. wow, that sounds so terribly confusing! I agree with trusting the universe on this one :-)

  4. Swanky place sounds really nice. You sure you don't want to switch? :)

    So yeah, 2.7m seems really low. Did you check with your bank to see if they have any guarantee on post-wash numbers? Can you call the clinic to see what they usually get or like to see as their post-wash numbers? That said, if the sample had great motility, that's apparently worth more than the number itself (supposedly, could just be internet mumbo jumbo).

    It still sounds like a good try and I have plenty of hope for you!

  5. swanky place sounds nice to me too!

    wow, you get a LOT of info about your sperm samples. all we ever got was the final number (and we had several vials in the 2mil range). our RE was happy with anything over 1mil though, so even though its less than some numbers you hear, i think its still ok. fingers tightly crossed for you!!

  6. 2.7 to me seems low. We typically get over 20. My mind is all confused. Well since you go to a new place can I call you Lex McSwanky?

  7. I know nothing of such numbers. But good luck!!