Even before my husband and I began to try to have children I knew that I could have fertility issues. I annually (at first) saw a gynecologist and had times when I turned to him for consult regarding one female issue or another. I was aware that I had irregular periods, heavy bleeding and painful cramping - all signs that female fertility problems can be present. My husband, on the other hand, had no real indication of if he could have a problem or not. He did not see a physician regularly and had no occasion to visit a doctor that could or would diagnose problems that could affect fertility. So, after a year of trying to conceive with no… [more]
When people found out that we were about to try IVF we were asked many times if we were going to have multiple children, with more than one reference to us as Larry and Sheila plus 8. After my twins were born and a friend asked how we were doing, we honestly said that although we were loving every minute of it, two newborns were hard. She said, "well you did IVF, you knew you were going to have twins or more." In response to both of these statements I tried to really explain the IVF procedure and the chances of multiple births. Granted, my explanation was more plausible before IVF rather than after, when I knew that I had… [more]
To me, the sperm wash was one of the most fascinating fertility procedures. The term "sperm wash" sounded like the doctor was going to take my husband's sperm, give it a good bath, and then put it to work. I was surprised to learn that water was not even involved in a sperm wash. (No soap, either!!)
Instead, a sperm wash is more like sending the sperm to Disneyland before they have to get back to work. The semen sample goes into a glass tube, which is placed in a machine that spins the sperm very fast for several minutes. In fact, it spins the sperm so fast and so hard that, when the tube is removed, all of the healthy sperm are… [more]
Once we knew we were ovulating, we went in for our first intrauterine insemination (IUI). The first order of business was obtaining a semen sample, which we were blessedly able to do at home. See Reluctant Spouse and Semen Samples for more on both my husband's and my reactions to semen samples.
The nurse let me watch her do the "sperm wash," which was fascinating to me. She let the semen sample sit for 30 minutes (from the time it was "obtained") while the specimen turned into a thinner liquid. Next, she poured the specimen into a test tube and then placed the test tube into a machine to spin the specimen.
Yes, you read right. The specimen went… [more]