You start to ques­tion ev­ery­thing

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Feature -

FIRST there was shock, then, says David, 40, came the dev­as­ta­tion, fol­lowed by anger and with­drawal af­ter tests showed an ab­sence of sperm in his ejac­u­late. “You ex­pect to have chil­dren and when this is thrown into your lap it knocks you for six,” he re­calls, adding he ‘shut down’ for a pe­riod. “When you find out you go into your­self; you start ques­tion­ing ev­ery­thing — what good am I when I can­not pro­duce chil­dren?” The thought of how he would have to tell his par­ents and par­ents-in-law was heart­break­ing. “I got very an­gry about it; I was an­gry at the world.” He gave a sec­ond sperm sam­ple. This time there were “traces” of sperm, and it was de­cided that he would un­dergo a process called in­tra­cy­to­plas­mic sperm in­jec­tion (ICSI) which was de­vel­oped for men with low sperm counts. It in­volves se­lect­ing the male part­ner’s best qual­ity sperms and in­ject­ing one into each ma­ture egg pro­duced by the fe­male part­ner. For David, how­ever, the process was un­suc­cess­ful. Next he un­der­went a tes­tic­u­lar biopsy — known as TESE. This too was un­suc­cess­ful. Af­ter that there was Mi­cro TESE, mi­cro­sur­gi­cal tes­tic­u­lar sperm ex­trac­tion, and fol­low­ing that, an­other round of ICSI. This was suc­cess­ful and, late last year, David and his wife had a son. “It was a gru­elling process,” he says, adding that with his wife’s en­cour­age­ment he had coun­selling. “Only for her strength, we would not be where we are to­day.” The process cost in the re­gion of €22,000.

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