Azoospermia & Uterine Abnormalities: Cathee’s Story [JOURNEY]

July 8, 2019

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Today’s journey story is about a woman named Cathee. She is a 33-year-old email marketing analyst who enjoys traveling and outdoor activities. After trying to conceive on their own for 10 months, Cathee’s husband had a semen analysis. Unfortunately, no sperm was found. The analysis was repeated the next month, but the result was the same. So, they scheduled an appointment with a reproductive urologist, who diagnosed him with obstructive azoospermia. It was clear they would need IVF to conceive. Just as they were about to start their first cycle, their reproductive endocrinologist was fired from the practice, which put their plans on a temporary hold. Thankfully, they were able to surgically retrieve five vials of sperm and she eventually underwent a retrieval. The end result was three PGT normal embryos. Join us to hear how Cathee has since undergone a hysteroscopy and ERA — and what’s coming up next in her journey.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Cathee was “a spontaneous, type-A planner”
  • How she met her husband on an online dating site and their first date was to a local pub and cigar bar
  • As a couple, they are opposites in many ways, but they balance each other out
  • It was when she met her husband that she began to first think about the possibility of having children
  • She prepared for parenthood with a flexible job that offered good maternity leave and benefits, and they wanted to live in a good school district
  • They were filled with hope when they got pregnant during the first month of trying, but later found out the positive result was probably due to a surge in LH
  • They continued with timed intercourse cycles, temping, and OPK’s–and then took a break
  • They started trying again after a breakdown, and then her husband’s semen analysis showed zero sperm on two consecutive monthly tests
  • Her husband saw a urologist and was diagnosed with obstructive azoospermia, which means he has no vas deferens due to cystic fibrosis complications—and IVF would be their only hope for biological children
  • The news was overwhelming, with emotional, financial, and physical considerations to work through
  • As they searched for a fertility doctor, they went to free seminars to learn more
  • After choosing a doctor, they started testing procedures and found that Cathee’s husband is a carrier for cystic fibrosis, but she is not
  • When their doctor abruptly left the practice with no warning, they were left hanging and had to find another doctor right away
  • Cathee’s husband had surgery to extract sperm to prepare for IVF, and she had 18 eggs retrieved, but only three were normal, and one was a low-level mosaic
  • Cathee had a hysteroscopy that showed a uterine septum and polyps and an ERA biopsy and other blood tests
  • A measles outbreak in her area prompted more tests and an MMR booster
  • Right now, they are waiting for the first frozen embryo transfer to take place
  • How Cathee got a positive pregnancy test in the beginning when there was no sperm
  • How Cathee and her husband felt about the diagnosis and the news of the cystic fibrosis genetic situation
  • How they felt when the RE disappeared suddenly before their first cycle
  • What Cathee looked for in an RE–both times
  • The lowest point: the azoospermia diagnosis
  • A positive result has been the way Cathee and her husband have become more united
  • How Cathee and her husband had the flexibility to balance work and treatments
  • Cathee’s tip for communicating with your boss at work is to be open about what you’re going through
  • How they managed the process financially with savings, a GoFundMe account, and 0% interest credit cards
  • How her relationship with her husband has grown more open with communication, friendships have changed as people have had their babies, and family relationships have grown deeper
  • Cathee’s tips for managing a GoFundMe account: “You don’t have to give all the details but share your goals and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.”
  • How Cathee’s past health issues helped her become comfortable with asking questions and advocating for herself
  • Cathee’s tip for advocating: “Read, research, and don’t be afraid to use Google.”
  • Next for Cathee is a frozen embryo transfer this month

References:

Thanks for listening!

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