The hope conundrum
The results of a healthy sperm test will fall into the range of figures below:
"Total number of sperm 39 million per sample. A low sperm count is below 15 million per ml of semen." (From: How To Get Pregnant by Xiao-Ping Zhai)
"For most couples trying to conceive, the odds that a woman will become pregnant in any particular month are about 15% to 25%. But there are some caveats, and different things can affect your chances of getting pregnant." (www.boots.com)
N’s sperm count of 6 million sounds like an awful lot of sperm but less so against the ‘healthy’ figures referenced above. It also drops our chances of conceiving naturally to more like 1% (if that). Not great odds.
However, there IS still a small chance and everyone keeps telling us 'it only takes one'. And there lies the conundrum, for where hopes resides so also does disappointment.
Every month after I get my period I promise myself next month I won’t think about getting pregnant. Whilst there’s no harm in ‘trying’, it isn’t going to happen. I tell N this whilst also demanding we have sex more and at specific times, recommending he doesn’t drink and reminding him to neck Chinese herbs. For although it’s incredibly unlikely, there’s no harm in increasing those chances right? But whilst we bicker and I cry at bedtime because we might have missed my fertile window because we’re both exhausted, I am plagued by questions I can’t answer: Is it worth it it? Should we just chill out? We’re on waiting list, let’s just wait? Is there something wrong with me? Are we doing it wrong?
If we could conceive naturally then we would remove the need for medical intervention, which involves words like 'harvesting', 'implantation' and 'freezing'; where our odds are improved to a 70% chance of not getting pregnant. And the spectre of my 35 birthday looms....
N, I think has taken the waiting list as a timescale to pregnancy. In 12 months sperm and egg meet, embryo gets planted up in there and bam we’ll have a baby. I’ve read more, I’m cynical (also read realistic), which makes me anxious of even starting a process which I fear could leave us both disappointed.
So each month I will the symptoms of PMT to be symptoms of pregnancy (a cruel joke by nature by the way that they should match early pregnancy symptoms - how messed up is that?!). The spotting, tender breasts, cramps, nausea - all could be pregnancy this time, they feel different. That swelling in my belly isn’t water retention and trapped wind, it’s a baby. I google signs of early pregnancy. They’re all there, so is getting a period. So even when my period does arrive with a crashing disappointment with my insides literally tearing themselves apart, I’m still holding onto a forlorn hope that this might just be a symptom that I’m pregnant - this time.
I impart the monthly update to N - ‘I’m not pregnant. I said I wouldn’t be’. I just wished secretly I was. No point breaking both our hearts monthly
And the cycle starts again. Temperature check each morning. Period recorded in app. Your next fertile window in +/- 7 days. Come on number 1 sperm just do it for us this month please, it only takes one of you and I’m not ready to give up on you quite yet.