Sunday, 1 March 2020

Fertility Clinic - Appointment #1

Anyone following our TTC journey might have realised it's been 3 months since my last update and we're actually only 4 months away from hitting the 3 year mark. As much as looking back now I think time has flown, it also feels like the longest process in the world. Last week we had our very first appointment at the actual fertility clinic which should see us to the end of whatever process we end up going through so I thought now was a good time to update.


In my last blog post I left it that we had done everything we could at the Drs Surgery, been seen at a local hospital and was awaiting a referral and appointment at a fertility clinic further afield. I do have a little confession to make however, as I hadn't quite explained the whole situation at that point. So, I mentioned previously we had basic bloods, urine etc at the Dr's and that was all fine. However, what I didn't mention also in there was that Kallum actually had to do a semen sample and it came back abnormal - this was obviously quite a shock (to both us and the Dr's!) and we were told he should do another to check something hadn't gone wrong during the process. Sample number 2 sent off and just like the first one, it came back completely negative. This is when and why we were then referred to Urology at a local hospital to just check for any other possible problems. They ran over our timeline again, confirmed the abnormal test results on Kallum's part and then did a ultrasound for him as well. Once it was confirmed that everything so far was accurate and they were still unsure why the semen samples were coming back negative, that's when we were referred to the fertility clinic. That brings us back to where we left off - as you can imagine, this was a huge shock and quite an upsetting time so I'm sure you can all understand why this bit was originally left out. I was also in two minds whether to share this bit at all as it's not technically my news to be broadcasting but we have both talked about it a lot and he's happy for me to tell you. At the end of the day I just want others in our situation to have as much info as possible of our journey should they want or need it as I can't count how many times I've turned to the internet for answers and incites.

Our first appointment at the fertility clinic was last week and although I was nervous I think I managed to stay fairly calm in the run up. I was completely in the blind about what to expect and although I had tried googling other peoples experiences, I couldn't find anything that told me what is covered in the first appointment. I did however manage to do some research on our consultant so that was helpful.

In the appointment we first went over our timeline again and he mentioned that although all signs were currently pointing towards Kallum being the 'problem*' he would be covering and testing both of us as a couple to cover all areas. He went over all of our results, medical history and status' (smoking, drinking etc) and then explained a bit more about Kallums results and his diagnosis of 'Azoospermia'.

Azoospermia - absence of motile (and hence viable) sperm in the semen.

That's then the point he turned around and dropped those three letters 'IVF' on us. With that, I was a wreck. I was aware that IVF may have ended up being an option in the future but stupidly I had convinced myself that Kals Azoospermia may have been able to be 'fixed' through medication or a minor procedure. I didn't realise that was possibly going to be our only option. Once the consultant had explained IVF a bit more, NHS funding guidelines and why it was our only option where I still carried, we were then talked through the next course of action. 

Step 1 was my height, weight and BMI which was done immediately - he explained that BMI is checked as IVF only allows for a BMI of 19-30 and mine is on the lower end at 19 meaning looking forward, I really can't risk losing any weight. We were then given forms for bloods which were taken the same day - Kals were Chromosome Analysis and to check if he is a Cystic Fibrosis carrier and mine will apparently determine how many eggs I have. I was also asked to book a transvaginal ultrasound to check my ovaries and uterus which has been booked for the end of March. 

In terms of looking forward, I of course have my ultrasound appointment at the end of the month and then we are booked back in with the consultant for the beginning of April to go over the blood test results and look at a timeline going forward. We are unsure currently on how the process will go and how quickly. What we do know is that Kallum will need a testicular biopsy to determine if sperm is being produced at all and if it isn't then we will need to look at what other options we have to become parents. We have also been given all the relevant information around IVF and open days and as soon as I got over the initial shock (which may or may not have only been today) I started reading as much as possible without overwhelming myself. 

As I'm sure you can understand, this has been a hugely difficult time for us and we have gone through all the emotions. It felt like I cried for 24 hours when we were originally given the news and I think that was mostly down to shock. I know there is still a long way to go from paperwork and medications to timings but I also know it will be so worth it in the end no matter how we get there. For anyone following our little journey on here (it's a lot for me to message people individually) I will continue updating as often as possible but as we get further into the process it may take me longer to process steps myself before I'm able to feel ready to let everyone know. At the end of the day, anything can change at the last minute if tests come back and for whatever reason we aren't suitable for certain processes anymore but we just have to take it one step at a time, together. 



(*I just want to add a little disclaimer here that I in no means think that Kallum is a problem, the shoe could have easily been on the other foot. However, medically and officially, he is. 
Also, all information in the blog post above is as correct as I know it to be in our area and situation)

Disclaimer: This blog post is in no way sponsored and all opinions and photographs are my own.

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