I have been through a lot and learned more about infertility and adoption than I ever wanted to know.
During the first few months of 2013, we realized that months of GOFI, while still relatively enjoyable, was becoming a chore--and we were not getting any results! We got a couple of opinions from OB/GYNs. One doctor just told us what position to use,while the other ordered tests for me and my wife. My wife had an HSG done at our local hospital and an invasive ultrasound in the doctors office. Everything seemed well on her end. I on the other hand was to go have a semen analysis done. I knew immediately this meant going to some clinic and producing a sample amidst pornographic magazines and DVDs which were supposed to inspire me. I figured I would only have to do this once, after all my semen was just as normal as any other man's (so I thought). I was so confident (and holy spirit filled) that I did not even use any of their material; I just produced a sample, left it on the counter and was on my way. I figured my results would come back as normal--plenty of little swimmers with strong motility and morphology. I was still buying into the misconception that infertility was a women's problem. I had no idea that male factor infertility even existed.
I got my results by mail one week alter and the results were shocking. The only thing that came back normal was the volume of semen I produced (3-6 milliliters is normal for a guy). I logged onto the computer to find out what was happening and found out I had azoospermia. My wife's doctor soon called us in to tell us "lets work on your husband for now". About a week went by. In that first week, I was in a daze and just did not know what to say or feel. I felt nothing. In that time I eventually said "screw it, if I have to spend thousands to have a child, then I don't want kids, perhaps God is telling us be be childless." After another week went by, my emotions finally got the best of me. My desire for kids was no longer a mental thing--I actually had feelings and an emotional need to be a parent for the first time. My heart broke, and I cried and felt depressed for most of my weekend. I have a yearning to be a parent the same way I had a yearning to get married when I was approaching my late 20s and was still single. It is a nagging feeling that I can't shake. My dream is to have a baby girl. I have wanted a daughter for as long as I can remember. I have a name picked out for her already.
In those next few months, I had found a prominent urologist and began going to see him for treatment. I produced many more semen samples during that time and am sorry to say that I succumbed to the temptation to use the adult magazines and DVDs, (despite my personal objections to them) as producing just became more difficult and less "fun" (even if it felt pleasurable). I had peace during this time because I felt like I was making progress toward fatherhood. I was on a drug called clomid which was supposed to increase my testosterone and sperm count (you can't produce sperm without the right amount of testosterone). With the exception of father’s day (which might be difficult for me again this year) I was in a good place mentally and spiritually. I was part of no support groups and was OK just getting support from family and friends who knew nothing of infertility and could not relate to me or my wife. Around July, the clomid was starting to take it's toll on my emotional well being. I was beginning to think less clearly, was more emotional and our unemployment and money problems were taking their toll. I found the RESOLVE message board which gave me some temporary outlet and much needed support for other who were struggling with infertility. That helped somewhat, but it was still lacking. By August, my wife and I had hit a low point in our marriage. I was high up on clomid half the time and even left my wife for two days over a fight about my employment situation, money, and infertility. The RESOLVE board was a great support, but not much help. Eventually, I found a wonderful therapist who helped me work through problems.
My emotional state was still problematic. I had no job, little money and felt like my dream of becoming a parent was never going to come true. Despite being on clomid, I still had a zero sperm count. My last option was to have Micro TESE surgery to try to extract sperm from my testicles. At a cost almost 8000 dollars and with a 50/50 chance it might work I was torn. I prayed and thought about it for a few days. I was still out of work and had trouble getting enough financing for the surgery. This depressed me but also make me realize that maybe we are not supposed to be biological parents. The thought of spending endless amounts of money on treatment and increased emotional strain on my marriage made the idea of fertility treatments less and less appealing. Finally, I asked my wife if she would be open to adoption. I explained that it would still cost a lot of money, but it would be tax deductible and the chances of us having something to show for all that spending was greater than if we did IVF. I told her I did not want to see her suffer the physical and emotional pain of IVF. After much prayer, we agreed to adopt.
In the next few months, we were overwhelmed. The issue of adoption was enormous. What type of adoption. Domestic? International? Foster care? Do we take a special needs child? Are we open to all races and genders? What is our first step? We could not agree on criteria. We finally agreed after months of back and forth (and a few fights) on criteria. Eventually, things began to get a little better. I found a job and money became less of a worry. I found a wonderful facebook infertility support group that is very supportive and to which I still post things now and then. Next, we shopped around and eventually we found a wonderful adoption agency.
We officially signed with our adoption agency in January 2014. Since that time, we have moved to a bigger place, and I am currently in the process of putting together the adoption profile that will be shown to prospective birthmoms.
What I just wrote is basically an overview of my first year as an infertile person. I have been through a lot and have left out some details in the interest of brevity. I am looking forward to what my second year of infertility will look like. I am optimistic that my second year will be better than my first. Let's hope so......