Anon (UK): Azoospermia - No sperm, really??
I wanted to highlight how men are really treated when we are diagnosed with Azoospermia.
Azoospermia is a term used to describe no sperm being found in a sperm sample when it is reviewed under a microscope. Yes, that’s right, the total absence of sperm.
But... what if I told you that very few men even with azoospermia are actually sterile, very few men have a total absence of sperm. In the UK, our poorly managed NHS, which is bursting at the seams, is doing men a disservice in arguably one of the most important issues in their entire lives.
Let me give you an example: following my own ‘routine’ sperm test after a year of trying to conceive, my GP called me and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t discuss your results with you over the phone. It’s better if I speak with you in person...”
After some convincing that I wouldn’t have time to attend the surgery, my reluctant GP informed me that I didn’t have any sperm, and that the count was zero. In my shock and dismay I asked if there was anything that could be done about it. My GP said, “sorry no, you can’t have your own biological children”. And she continued down the sorry track.
She referred us to the infertility clinic within the NHS; they proceeded to offer us donor sperm and one round of IVF. The only consultant available for me to see was a gynaecologist... Yes, this isn’t a typo... a gynaecologist: by definition a medical profession dealing with the FEMALE reproductive system. Ahem, I’m not a medical professional but even I knew that this wasn’t the doctor that I need to see. My wife asked if I could be referred to an andrologist or a urologist, a medical professional dealing with the MALE reproductive system, but the response was, “no, sorry, we don’t employ them… only for male incontinence issues”. Round hole, square peg springs to mind.
My wife, the researcher, is always eager to find an answer somewhere; she never even shed a tear when I initially told her my diagnosis and just researched for endless hours and days trying to find someone to help us. Yes, she insists I say us not me. She found a private andrologist and the rest is history.
Why are men treated this way with their fertility? I feel that men’s reproductive health is not considered as important as women’s.
With how advanced medical science has become, there is so much more that can and should be done. Support should be offered to men with Azoospermia to aid recovery of their sperm back in the sample or via retrieval. Donor sperm should be offered as one of the options, not as the only option.
For more details of this Azoospermia journey, you can visit Instagram account, @To_Make_A_Daddy