Our IVF Story – Men account for roughly 50% of the cases of infertility but there is a lack of awareness of around male infertility. There are more resources and support for women that are going through infertility than there are for men.
I write this blog bring awareness to the subject of male infertility. The aim is to give hope to men that are suffering in silence. Regular readers of this blog know that I have told my IVF story numerous times. For those that are new to the blog, here is a shorter version, although still quite long, of my successful IVF story.
The IVF Experience
My IVF Story – The Diagnosis
My IVF story began in 2014. It was sunny September morning and Olivia called me with the results from our first fertility test. I did not know it at the time, but because we were trying to conceive for over a year, we were classified as an infertile couple. I was nervous when I gave my first sperm sample but I never thought that I could be infertile.
There was, and still is, a lack of awareness around male infertility. I was unaware that 1/8 couples are infertile. I did not know any infertile men and I naively thought that infertility was a women’s issue. Until that point in my life, I had never read an article, news report or listened to an interview about male infertility.
When Olivia delivered the bad news to me, my World fell apart. It was the toughest time of my life. I felt lonely, scared and defective. The next couple of weeks were hell. That was my rock bottom.
I started reading a lot of self help books, watching videos and listening to podcasts to cope with the pain. It was like therapy for me. Something that I read or heard told me to stop feeling sorry for myself. At that moment, I made a commitment to having a family. This focus and energy gave my life meaning. Nothing could stop me from having a family.
My IVF Story – The First Try
We were optimistic for our first round of IVF. It is an understatement to say that we did not prepare correctly for the first try. If you are going through IVF treatment then you need to get your physical and mental health in order. The stress of IVF can be overpowering. If your body and mind are not ready then your chances of success are lower.
You can read more into my first and second rounds of IVF here. There was so many things that were wrong about the first try. These included our relationship, our health, the clinic and our ability to cope with stress. We felt broken when the first round of IVF failed. IVF pushed our relationship to it’s limits. Failed IVF is most heart breaking experience that I have encountered.
In hindsight, we learned from our mistakes and made some changes for the next round. You can read more about the changes that we made here. You cannot chose what happens to you in life but you can chose how you react. There are positives that can come from failed IVF. It is a chance for to make positive changes to improve your relationship and health.
My IVF Story – The Second Try
Statistically, the chances of IVF being successful are around 25 – 33%. This varies depending on the report you read but you need to take into consideration that it might fail. A failed IVF round is devastating but it is not the end. After a failed IVF treatment, your doctor should tweak the procedure based on the first failed attempt.
We had lost a lot of confidence in our Fertility clinic and we felt they did not care for emotional well being. The clinic was so busy and we felt like a number to them. Our marriage hung together by a thread and our chances of having a family were slipping away.
Olivia’s biological clock was ticking and the pressure was mounting. We decided to start the second round as soon as possible. We made some changes after the first round of IVF but we did not do enough. One of the biggest mistakes that we made was not changing clinic.
The clinic changed nothing to our second round of treatment despite the Progesterone over stimulating Olivia’s egg production. Fertility drugs are hard on a Women’s body. Olivia reacted terribly to progesterone. This was a sign that the doctors did not pick up on.
The second treatment was the exact same as the first treatment from start to finish. In both treatments, we had two embryos that had not developed properly(to the blastocyst stage) but they transferred the embryos anyway. The doctors changed nothing and the result was the same. The second treatment failed.
That failed treatment decimated what was left of our marriage and left us both in a very dark place. A year of injections, fighting and loneliness had been for nothing. I wanted to give up on IVF and our marriage. It had all become to much for me.
Olivia would not stop until we had a family. After several months of heartache we decided to do one final try. If it failed, I decided that I would walk away from our marriage and IVF treatment.
My IVF Story – The Third Try
Our third try was when things got serious. We really focused on positive changes to make the treatment work. The first step was to change clinic. We needed a fresh start.
The new clinic was the Westend Fertility Centre in Berlin. They analysed the first two failed IVF treatments and discovered several flaws to their approach. Firstly, the did a full health and DNA check. It turned out that Olivia had a thyroid issue called hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Secondly, they saw that Olivia had reacted badly to progesterone twice and opted for the long protocol – a longer less aggressive way to administer the hormones. These were two massive oversights from the first clinic that should have been picked up.
Olivia was given a course of drugs to overcome the thyroid issue, and this bought us several months to get ourselves ready for the final treatment. We had about 3 months before the last treatment and we focused on IVF like a boxer would for a fight.
We had 90 days to eat right, get our weight down and visualise the treatment being a success. Every decision we made was made with IVF in mind. Sugar, alcohol and processed foods were eliminated from our diet. We bought a Vitamix and made fertility boosting smoothies every day.
On top of that, I worked out 5 days per week. This was a combination of running, HIIT training and testosterone boosting weight lifting. My workouts were focused on losing weight and reducing my percentage of body fat. By the time I had to give my sperm I was in peak physical condition. I felt that being as fit as possible would help improve the quality of my sperm and reduce stress.
Sleep, meditation and reducing stress helped us both to get our minds in the right place before our final round of IVF. Going to bed early and getting up early to meditate revolutionised our relationship and ability to cope with the pressure. If you are going through IVF treatment then look into meditation. I purchased a years subscription for headspace and I still use it to this day.
If there was anything that could help us have a family then we tried it. For the 8 weeks leading up to the last treatment, I underwent acupuncture twice per week. To compliment this I took an array of natural supplements. This included, maca, ginseng and goji berries. I also took othomol fertil plus for 90 days. You can read more about the supplements I took here.
A Successful IVF story
When it was time to do the treatment, both Olivia and I had done everything in our power for it to work. We left no stone unturned to make sure that this time the treatment would be a success. If you are going through IVF treatment then I recommend you do the same. Read as much as you can about infertility and be open minded to trying everything.
On the day that I had to give my sperm sample, I was scared but confident. This time, it had to work. Olivia was more scared than I was but I consoled her and told her that this time would be a success. They took her eggs and fertilised them in the lab and we had to call back in 2 days to monitor the progress.
Two days later, we anxiously called the clinic. For the first time, we had two embryos that were progressing nicely. There was still a long way to go but this was the first piece of good news that we had received in two years.
We returned to the clinic for the transfer and those two embryos had developed to the blastocyst stage. Both embryos were transferred and then came the dreaded two week wait.
17 days had past and Olivia had not got her period. We bought a pregnancy test and rushed home to see if she was pregnant. I lay in bed as Olivia did her business in the bathroom. We hugged and I reassured Olivia that she was pregnant. There was no doubt in mind.
10 minutes later, Olivia ran back from the bathroom screaming with joy. She was finally pregnant. That moment was the highlight of my life. The hard work, tears and perseverance had finally paid off. To this day, when I am having a bad day, I think of that moment and it brings a smile to my face.
Two weeks later, Olivia had a routine check up with her gynaecologist. I was in work and the doctor asked Olivia did she want to do an ultrasound. When Olivia looked at screen the doctor pointed out that she was pregnant with twins. We were overcome with joy. We went from potentially having no children to having two.
Final Thoughts On My Successful IVF Story.
The reason that I write about my IVF story is to inspire people that are struggling with infertility. It is probably the hardest thing that you will ever do. I have been in your shoes and know about the fights, sleepless nights and stress that infertility causes.
If you are currently in the depths of despair and feel like giving up then think about this story. Having successful IVF treatment takes a lot of hard physical and mental work. Read everything that you can about the subject and be prepared to change your life for it to work.
Keep a very open mind to the different homeopathic and medical treatments that will increase your chances. Eat well, sleep well, exercise and get your mind in the right place. It is not guaranteed that IVF will work but if you are going to invest so much time and money then you need to give yourself the best chance.
Everybody is different, there are so many variables with infertility. I’m one of the lucky ones that can produce sperm(albeit of a poor quality) and Olivia’s reproductive system was healthy. We went through ICSI treatment which is less complicated than when the fertility lies with the woman.
If you are not as lucky as we are and cannot have a family then there are other options. You can try adoption, foster children or maybe excepting your faith. Excepting that we may not have a family was my first step in healing. While it did not come to that, I planned for the worst case scenario and decided that if the final treatment failed I would find a new meaning in life.
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