A New Twist in the Saga

Just when you think that you may have found the answer to your problems, another one crops up. My RE called me a few days ago. Strange hey? Because unless they discovered that they put the wrong embryos back into me why would he call during the 2ww? And he starts with “Are you sitting down?”

Me: Ja, why?

Dr: I think we have a sperm issue.

Me: Oh? Why do you think that?

Dr: Because this past cycle was the best comparison [he called it a diagnostic tool]. We had eggs from the same person and 2 different sources of sperm. Your donor’s embryos did better than yours. A slow growing embryo is normally indicative of poor sperm parameters coming from the paternal genome.

Me: So you have no hope for this cycle?

Dr: No, that’s not what I said, there is still hope but I think next time, should this cycle not be successful, we should try [wait for it]……………………………………….

I.U.I with donor sperm.

Yes people you read it right. Well blow me over with a fricking feather. You do know that IUI involves my eggs right? The eggs that come from me? So why have I just done two donor EGG cycles? At a cost of I dunno, roughly R80 000??? (around $10 000)

Who needs a casino when you can be a fertility specialist? Don’t you know how much fun it is to gamble with people’s money and emotions?

Sometimes I wonder if they have any fricking idea what they are doing. This is all such a game of guessing.

Needless to say Im pissed.

My husband is not happy to hear this news as all along we knew there was a small morphology problem but with ICSI that isn’t an issue.

So what did I do? Went to the best doctor in the world – Dr. Google

And what did Dr Google say? A lot. Basically we are going to send a sample of my hubby’s sperm to a lab in the USA, South Dakota called SCSA Diagn.ostics. The Sperm_Chromatin_Structure_Assay test is done to determine the amount of DNA fragmentation in sperm. You can read more about it here. Its obviously an expensive exercise but if you didn’t know yet, Im made out of money. I have a money tree in my back garden infact.

[If anyone from the USA has any knowledge on this test, I would apprecaite anything at this stage. Or any blog authors who have done this test? So I can see if its worthwile?]

Obviously we will wait for the test results next week Friday before we do any of this but that’s the plan.

Cool hey?


17 comments so far

  1. Cedge on

    I am stunned!!

  2. Abs on

    Holy crap Dee!! That is so friggin shitty! I also wonder if these FS’s have any clue what they are doing or are they just pulling treatment options out a hat! I would be beyond peeved off if I were you! IUI is alot cheaper though if you want to see the silver lining….but lets be honest here….nothing will change what they have put you through to date. It’s sick. Your poor hubby must be devastated. ((Hugs))

  3. skrambled on

    I would also be pissed! Especially when you really have to get into a certain mindset to do donor….and then it’s completely turned around!

  4. Lesley on

    Hi Dee Sorry to hear your news, you must be feeling so confused. Thank-you so much for this information. I have sent an e-mail to Dr W from the site asking more info as I think this could assist my husband and I.


  5. Leigh from 123 blog on

    Oh my word.

    So a sperm issue other than the usual suspects – morphology, motility and sperm count?

    Because they do test all the usual stuff before every IVF.

    Shock me – how much does the fancy sperm test cost?

    And are you going to POAS? or do you still not do that?

  6. samcy on

    Oh my hat Dee. I don’t really know what to say. I can understand why you’re so pissed off. Remind me what fert was like with your own eggs again?


  7. Jen on

    Seriously. That is so absurd! Why wouldn’t a normal SA show this info before you embarked on DE. I am so sorry that he slapped this news on your right now. Thinking of you.

  8. jill on

    Oh ugh 😦 I would be pissed too.

  9. strongblonde on

    omg. i had to read the first part of that a few times. i kept convincing myself that they told you that you DID have the wrong embryos put back in!!! yikes.

    this totally sucks. i’m so sorry that this is backwards. i wish that they would have found this out sooner.

    yuck. 😦


  10. Melissa G on

    WHOA. I certiainly did not see that coming. WTF?!?!

    Dee, I’m sorry you are dealing with all this! What a fricken mess. I have heard of the process, but I don’t know too much about. I’ll make sure to keep my eyes open for any other bloggers that talk about it.

    Hope your wait is going well. I’ve been thinking of you.

  11. LastChance on

    You know, this doesn’t surprise me a lot because the same thing was suggested to me. After four failed IVFs my RE actually suggested going to IUI with donor sperm OR doing a split cycle with my eggs and DH’s sperm and half with donor sperm to see which ones fertilized and grew better.

    As far as the DNA fragmentation test–they also recommended it. However, we declined. The ‘treatment’ as it was explained to us was lots of supplements/antioxidants, which we were doing anyway. Plus I’ve heard of people getting mixed results–ie one time they test and it’s really high fragmentation and the next time, hardly any at all. So we just opted to do the high dose antioxidants and go from there.

    Of course, we just failed our fifth IVF cycle, which was with all our own genetic stuff.

    I think reproductive endocrinology is half science half guessing. My RE told me that even in cases where they KNOW there is an egg issue, sometimes adding donor sperm gets the woman pregnant with her own eggs…which seems kind of odd but maybe it’s just the double whammy combo of poor eggs AND poor sperm that just can’t be overcome.

    I’m rambling. But I just thought I’d throw all that out there.

    And I’m sorry for all of this. I hate infertility with a passion.

  12. Marion on

    Dee, I can totally relate to how you’re feeling right now. We have been TTC for over 10 years now. All that time we have thought that our infertility was due to my endometriosis. Last month when we did our IVF ICSI my FS said he wanted to do a sperm apoptosis test(SA FS). They did it on ER day. On ET day they dropped the bomb on us: 48% of DH sperm is genetically defective. That is almost half! I also heard you can do PICSI in SA now, where only the genectically viable sperm are used. Maybe you do not have to send DH sperm all the way to the USA? My FS did the apoptosis test for free. No extra charge.

  13. R.J. on

    Hi there, I’m new to your blog but just wanted to say I empathize with your comment that sometimes it seems like the REs don’t know what they’re doing. We’ve been through the ringer with 5 IVF cycles before moving onto donor sperm, which was a tough decision. We always had poor fertilization (and sometimes none) with our cycles and poor embryo growth.

    After having an unsuccessful varicocele surgery, my DH had both the FISH and SCSA tests done. The SCSA test for us came back with a very high level of DNA fragmentation (I think around 62%). But what was confusing was my RE discounted the results and let us continue with another cycle, which ended up again with no fertilization. He then recommended donor sperm for us. Sorry for the rambling post, but wanted to share our experience. Bottom line is that RE’s opinions seem to vary widely on the usefulness and accuracy of the SCSA test, but it is one more piece of knowledge to have in trying to sort out a complicated issue that is not well understood or effectively treated in the medical world yet. I’ve done quite a bit of research on sperm DNA fragmentation myself on Dr. Google. What I took away is there is often a correlation with high levels of sperm morphology. However, it is a result of a process in the bodies that is not well understood and can even change over time. But after our failed cycles, we realized the fragmentation is likely a symptom of an underlying functional failure in DH’s sperm that likely has a genetic cause, so it simply didn’t make sense to keep trying IVF. I just wish there had been a conclusive test with definitive answers for us!!

  14. Sunshine on

    Oy vey.

    Well, some previous posters said a lot of good things about the SCSA test. Of course we did it, too, since I’ve done every friggin test on earth. I say, why not do it? It’s not terribly expensive in the scheme of things, and if it sheds some light and helps you forward in another direction, then hey- it did its job, right? Stay strong…

  15. cindyhoo2 on

    Holy wow! D-IUI’s would certainly be cheaper but comes with a whole other set of emotional issues. The roller coaster continues. 🙂 Good luck with the testing.

  16. Mrs. Hope on

    Here from LFCA. Wow, what a change.

    The SCSA test doesn’t have good reliability or actual predictability for success at IVF. Results on the same man vary from month to month, and men can have high levels and still have successful cycles. I have a friend who, mid-cycle, got a “50% fragmentation” result. She was devastated and convinced that the cycle wouldn’t work. It did, and she has a 3 year old now. And – what’s the treatment? There isn’t a proven treatment. Just my two cents about this test. Most REs will still encourage couples to attempt IVF with the partner’s sperm even with a high fragmentation. Maybe in your case, if it was high, it could add a piece of information that perhaps the sperm aren’t good.

  17. Jo on

    We went through that test as well.. For us it was because DH had a vas reversal. My RE wanted to check and see if he had anything viable before we began… I can see using it as a diagnostic tool in the beginning if there are potential problems. He was 44 and I was 40
    First IVF- 4 trans–twins, 1 ectopic, second lost due to ectopic.
    Second IVF 3- twins, 1 vanishing, actually brought us a baby.. he is 4 now.. : )
    Third– made it 8 weeks
    I personally think it was good to cover all bases, especially with all the out of pocket stuff we have to pay.

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