When I first read the post that our herbal medicine partner, Afolabi Adeosun, wrote last week on foods that not only boost male fertility but also male libido, I was mildly amused at the way he described the typical African man and his appetite for sex, even backing up his claims with scientific data.
Literally, if I were a man, my head would have been “swelling” at the expectations of my virility and how my goods are allegedly bigger and can last longer than other folks from other continents. And this is all thanks to the diet of my forefathers and the foods that are available on the African continent. You bet my ego would have been sufficiently stoked.
So, imagine, I was that man who had believed all his life that procreation was “soft work” like Falz the Bahd guy would say, only to be confronted with the tragic fact that, not only is my sperm count ridiculously low, it doesn’t even matter, as most of them are deformed. Well. The bearer of such bad news might as well just put a knife to my throat and end it all.
Worst of all was the suggestion of using a sperm donor. Honestly, no need, just put a gun to my head and release the trigger. Can it get any worse. Use a sperm donor??? Yeeee!
I seem melodramatic abi? But I can safely say that most African men, at least, Yoruba men, would blanch at the idea of using sperm donors. I know my husband did, when I asked him what he thought. Ironically, he saw no big deal in donating for another couple but “no one can help me to father my kids.”
That was almost replica of Ivie’s husband’s reaction to their IVF cycle with a sperm donor. It was like the doctor had suggested her husband should go straight to hell. Without much ado, her husband asked if there were any other medications he could be placed on to improve his sperm morphology, and if his count improved, then that was a bonus; another reason to keep trying naturally.
But it wasn’t that simple. He had been placed on different supplements, his lifestyle overhauled and gbam, his count skyrocketed, but sadly it didn’t last. After a few weeks, his count started to dip, until it was lower than where it was before.
Another supplement was introduced. Again, it worked but only for a while, before the doctor could give them the go-ahead to try naturally, his latest sperm analysis showed a drastic drop and that was when the doctor started to sing the IVF+ICSI song. After further investigations, it was discovered that they might not be able to use Ivie’s husband’s sperm after all and would require the services of a sperm donor. That was a punch to the jugular and Ivie almost wished the doctor had told only her. She would have found a way to table the matter to him and he would have come around to the idea, sooner than later, not this vehement way he had become opposed to the idea.
To get to the state where Ivie’s husband agreed to an IVF cycle had been a struggle in itself. He had been so against it, calling it names and an unnatural way of making babies. After almost two weeks of daily applying pressure, he agreed to an IVF cycle, but with both their eggs and sperm. The idea that his sperm was no longer needed in the equation infuriated him.
And for weeks, he didn’t say anything about the cycle. He didn’t say whether they would do it or not; use a sperm donor or continue with his own deformed sperm. Eventually, out of pity for Ivie, who was going about as though in mourning, he agreed to the sperm donor cycle.
The cycle started, filled with fertility shots, pills, suppositories, and the endless blood tests and ultrasound scans. Even though it was the body of an older woman, Ivie responded beautifully to the stimulations and a decent amount of eggs were collected on egg collection day.
They were fertilised and she had a transfer with three embies. Keeping her fingers crossed, Ivie hoped for a BFP. Only this time, it didn’t happen. Like one would expect, Ivie was shocked that her IVF cycle didn’t work, that her hard won cycle with donor sperm didn’t work. It was the worst that could happen to a woman over 40. Her husband comforted her, but was of the opinion the failed cycle was a sign that they shouldn’t have tried IVF in the first place. They shouldn’t have gone ahead to use sperm donors.
Lacking the strength to disabuse his mind, Ivie was determined to try a frozen transfer. Again, she prepared her body, soul and mind. She wished with all her being that this was a different one, that it ended differently,
Guess what, it did. From the attempt to grow her lining to getting her mind in a good place, everything worked. On the day of the transfer, her husband held her hand, as they watched the last set of three embies transferred into her. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
She got plenty of rest and on test day, she eagerly tested and got the BFP she had been expecting since forever. Her pregnancy was a smooth one for her age. Normal cravings, tiredness were some of the symptoms she showed, but that was it.
Even though, she was on tentacles for the first trimester, she didn’t have any scare.
In the end, Ivie had a beautiful baby boy, just two days to her 44th birthday. It was the best birthday gift she could ever have asked for.
That baby came last December and Ivie still hasn’t found the courage to leave his side. Surprisingly, his father has forgotten that the baby was created from donor sperm. He dotes on the young man with the very fabric of his being.
All round, it looks like an endless love affair with the little man, who has turned out to have a nice blend of both his father’s and mother’s physical features.
That is Ivie’s victory story over infertility. Even though it looked impossible, when the year started, by the end of the year, she was living her dreams.
I pray that by the end of this year, we would all be living our dreams, especially the dreams of having a baby, or babies, in our arms.
Mamas stay strong…there is light down the tunnel.
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