The tests are in. And now you are anxiously awaiting one of the most important grades in your life. Will you “make the grade?”
No, I am not talking about the ACT, SAT, GMAT, GRE, LSAT or other entrance exams. I am talking about the tests required in order to pursue your dream of giving birth and having a family. Just like any big event in your life, there are many “tests” to pass. Not so long ago blood tests were required to get married. There are tests every other day it seemed in high school, then college entrance, for some graduate school and now this.
What are these two tests? The first major test for a couple considering in vitro fertilization is the Semen Analysis Test. A semen analysis test determines if a man’s sperm will be able to cause a pregnancy. To “take the test” men get to visit the dreaded exam room and possibly with the help of their spouse, take a collection, or sperm sample. Depending on the doctor and the circumstances of your fertility problems he may test for how much is ejaculated, how long it takes to become liquid, the number of sperm present, the “morphology” or shape of the sperm, how many of the sperm can move forward “normally” the ph level of sperm, your white blood cell count and fructose level. Did you know that your sperm requires sugar for energy? Bet that makes you want to go out and eat a big ice cream sundae right before your test.
The good news is within just a couple of days you should be able to get your results. Not like taking a college entrance exam where you wait around for weeks.
After my husband’s sperm analysis (read my article Sex, Semen, Fertility and IVF for information you really should know before you go) we were surprised by the quick results from the lab. A+ was the grade. Out of modesty I won’t go into details, suffice it to say everything on his side was in working order. However, my husband wanted to frame it for future reference, in case during a fight his vitality was every in question.
To me the next big test came on the day of harvesting. This is the day that you long for. After taking medication several times a day, and using my body for a pin cushion, as well as suffering from the hot flashes, mood swings, ultrasounds and doctor’s visits I finally find out how well all this work paid off. Lying on my back, legs in stirrups, and the doctor, using an ultrasound and something to the uninitiated in the medical field that resembles a “comb” begins the harvesting of eggs from the follicles. Clip clip, pain pain, and eggs are harvested one by one.
This is one of the most important tests in the whole in vitro fertilization process. Did the drugs pay off? (They better after what I paid for them!) Will there be enough eggs that will become viable embryos? Will I maybe by some stretch of the imagination be able to have enough to maybe even have a second child? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but as I lie there I pray that I have enough to at least have one child with the man currently holding my hand.
Finally! It’s over, and now once again the waiting begins. As I wait so many questions go through my head. The hormones don’t help. I cry thinking it will never work. I am euphoric, after all I did everything right it must be ok.
The test results are in! I answer the phone to hear the nurse say, “13 fertilized eggs.” “13?” I say?” Yes, isn’t that wonderful? Isn’t that great news? The phone drops and all I can think is, “What am I going to do with all those kids?”
For more information about our journey through in vitro fertilization visit, Sex, Drugs and IVF or How I Got Pregnant.
On a more serious note, for those undergoing or considering IVF, these results don’t necessarily mean that’s what you will have, but it sure is a great place to work with. The physical and emotional strains that IVF or any fertility treatment and testing causes, requires a bit of comic relief now and then, please make sure you get some.