A week of deciding

Monday: Ryan went to “watch the game” at a sportsbar, stayed for HOURS but didn’t eat or dink a thing. He came home late, raging with anger, frustration and stress over everything in life from his job to infertility to his desire to own a dog that he almost started crying.  We didn’t talk about our decision.

Tuesday: Ryan is calmer, and I show him the nice flowchart I’ve created of pros and cons for each of our options: move forward, seek 2nd opinion, or give up on IVF altogether and opt to live childfree or pursue adoption.  We both are beginning to see IVF as futile. I am leaning towards adopt, Ryan is leaning towards childfree.  I cry.

Wednesday:  I wake up with IVF on my heart.  Maybe we should throw the $15K down and take our chances, since adoption might be off the table due to Ryan’s tepid reaction. This might be my only shot at motherhood, biological or otherwise.  I email the doctor with questions about IVF/ ICSI success rates with abnormally formed sperm, and reach out to a couple other sources at Kaiser and ask their opinions, too.

Thursday: Dr. Mean responds with an honest stance.  (I’d like to post her email, but pretty sure that’s illegal.) She says YES some sperm with abnormal morphology, like headless or enlarged head, can produce healthy embryos and live births. Other abnormal forms of sperm DO NOT yield healthy embryos, even with ICSI.  There is no evidence the “bent neck” variety will work or not, but in her professional opinion she thinks it will not.  Dr. explained there is a major trend in medical research of underreporting negative study results.  She suspects the bent neck has probably been tried with ICSI in a clinical trial of sorts, the procedure was unsuccessful, and the experiment was scrapped without an official report written.

Kaiser got back to me, and no one there has ever heard of bent neck sperm.  They reassure me that with ICSI there are enough normal sperm just to do 1 per embryo, even with 0% normal morphology.  But Dr. Mean has made it clear Ryan is a special case: literally ALL of his 20-100 sperm have bent necks, further proof this results from some sort of birth defect, and it’s simply the way he’s made.

Friday: I start to listen to the writing on the wall.  I pray, although it’s hard to do.

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