My name is Eddie and I am 40 years of age. I wasn’t diagnosed with PCD until I was 36. This is a short blog about a part of my life, the journey we went through of IVF/ ICSI (in vitro fertilisation/intracytoplasmic sperm injection) and finding out I had PCD.
Let me take you back to my early 30s, I am married and we have been trying for a baby for a year or so to no avail, so we decided that it was time to seek help. I was advised to take a sperm test and the results said I had zero sperm. This came as a massive shock. We repeated the test, and it still showed that I had zero sperm.
This hit me very hard mentally as I always wanted to have my own children. With this news my hopes of being a dad was crushed.
After that diagnosis we were referred to a specialist fertility clinic. Here, I saw a consultant who gave us a little bit of hope by saying although there was zero sperm in the test, there could still be sperm inside my testicles. He said this is not guaranteed as they may find nothing, but if they manage to find sperm, they will retrieve it and will freeze the sperm to be used in a future fertility treatment called ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection).
I was very anxious about this procedure as the thought of it was a little scary, but it was outweighed by the fact there was hope that I could one day actually be a dad.
Well, it was safe to say the procedure was a massive success as they found loads of sperm in my epididymis (the coiled tube behind each testis). I cannot put into words how happy this news meant to me, I felt so much weight lift off my shoulders instantly. I knew even with this news, it didn’t mean I was guaranteed to be a dad but it sure felt a million times more promising than it did before the procedure. Knowing that I do in fact actually have sperm was a massive lift mentally for me as I didn’t realise how much anxiety it had caused me thinking that I have zero sperm.
We then started the next stage of our IVF/ICSI journey. This consisted of many appointments leading to the day where my wife had to start injections which raised her FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) levels so that she would produce more eggs in her natural cycle than usual. She ended up producing over 20 eggs and out of these 20, 12 were of adequate quality to be used.
The embryologist then thawed my sperm, selected the best sperm and injected these into the eggs and repeating this process until all of the eggs were fertilised. The next 24 hours was a very nervous and anxious waiting game. They called the next day to say out of the 12 eggs, we had 7 embryos! Over the next few days they kept an eye on these embryos to see which were the best to be used. In our case the embryologist waited until day 5 where three embryos had made it to blastocyst stage (where the embryo grows spikes ready to embed itself to the wall lining of the womb).
On the day of the embryo transfer we had 2 embryos that were of a good enough grade to use, so we had both embryos placed into my wife’s womb.
The dreaded 2 week wait!!
After embryo transfer you have to wait 2 weeks to see whether or not it's been a success. We both found this really hard, trying to occupy ourselves to not think about it when all you’re doing is thinking about it. These 2 weeks felt like forever!
2 weeks later my wife did a pregnancy test and to our amazement she was pregnant. The unthinkable had just occurred for us. I really believed I would never get to be a biological father.
9 months later my wife gave birth to a beautiful girl called Ellie.
- names have been changed to protect the identity of the writer