For an anonymous author in The Telegraph, the shock of finding out his sperm count was zero had an additional sting.
Back in 2008, he donated his sperm to help other couples have children – and now he was facing the news that he may have to seek donor sperm himself.
While he was in his 20s, he signed up to donate after receiving a blood transfusion after a car accident
He wanted to “give something back” after finding out that there were 40,000 couples who needed donor sperm to have a child, but only 350 altruistic donors in the country. (The UK’s NHS forbids compensation for sperm donation).
He was shocked to find out that he had, “gone from producing hundreds of million healthy sperm to the point where my doctor doubts he can even extract a single sperm for IVF, and nobody seems to understand why.”
The author writes about the shame and sadness that he now feels when he hears about his friends’ ‘lockdown pregnancies.’
He wants to be able to give this gift to his wife and is saddened and frustrated that he can’t seem to make it happen.
This truth hangs like a ghost in every happy moment I have with my wife and lingers over every meet-up with friends and family. Over the past few months it’s got even harder, as friends have joked about – and then announced – their ‘lockdown pregnancies’.
After trying to conceive for two years, he had assumed that the problem may be with his wife’s fertility but was shocked to find out that he had zero sperm
Despite passing the rigorous testing to be able to donate sperm in the first place, he now finds himself unable to produce any sperm at all.
After many scans and tests, no specialist seems to be able to pinpoint the problem, but the results are always inconclusive. He is a healthy man who eats well, drinks little, and is in good shape – none of the usual causes of male infertility apply to him, and no one can figure it out.
Due to the UK’s strict 10-year limit on freezing sperm, he and his wife are no longer able to use the sperm from his 20s. He says that he spends a lot of time pondering the ‘what-ifs.’ “I think about the injustice of giving the gift of a baby to some random couple and not having one of my own”.
While his wife has been supportive and soothing, he wonders, “does she regret choosing me?
I know she wants a baby more than anything.”
While their appointments have been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, his wife remains optimistic, and has mentioned IVF and adoption. But he still feels inadequate and rues his past choices, wondering what has gone wrong.
Do you, or your partner, have a low or zero sperm count? If you would like to share your journey and experience, we would love you to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or comment on this article, and share with your social networks.