A man who believed for most of his life he was unable to have children due to a zero sperm count has become a father
Adrian Stiff, from Scole, in Norfolk, is speaking out about his condition in the light of Father’s Day and to give hope to others.
The 50-year-old was told at an early age that he had a sperm condition that would have a negative impact on his fertility.
It was in his 20s that he was told he had a low sperm count and that he was unlikely to be a father naturally.
The lorry driver told the Eastern Daily Press he had been through some ‘very dark times’ coming to term with his diagnosis.
When he met his partner, Michelle Barnett, he told her straight away he would not be able to give her children.
At first Michelle said she was not concerned but her feelings gradually changed as the years went by.
She came off the contraceptive pill and for seven years hoped the ‘miracle’ would happen, but sadly it did not.
It was when Michelle reached 37 that she had a frank conversation with Adrian about her desire to have a child.
She said: “I really had to push Adrian to take a leap of faith.
“There was that fear of being given hope and then possibly losing it. In the end I had to say, ‘I really want to try something, can we see if we can do it together?'”
The couple went to Bourn Hall Clinic, in Cambridgeshire to find out what their options were – if any.
But they were to be surprised. Fertility specialist, Dr Oliver Wiseman told the couple that despite Adrian’s zero sperm count, there was a possibility that he could become a father.
The couple were shocked and delighted to be told there was a procedure called MicroTESE (micro-surgical testicular sperm extraction), which involves using a surgical microscope to identify tiny tubules most likely to contain sperm – and then removing them for analysis in the lab. If sperm are found they could injected directly into an egg during IVF treatment.
They decided to go ahead with treatment and Dr Wiseman informed the couple that he had found a small amount of sperm after Adrian had taken three months of Clomid, which is used to stimulate testosterone levels and sperm production.
The couple went through quite a journey to get to the IVF stage and it turned out to be third time lucky. Michelle gave birth to their son, Michael in October 2016.
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