I'll slip this in early via the Blog Posts - It's not all about the Women you know.
After a short while (6 months) of trying to conceive - and yes, this is a short while but previous experience of falling pregnant quickly plus now being classed as a geriatric mother (terrible term, fertility does decrease with age but in reality I was a pretty fit 38 year old), this situation raised a flag of concern for us. As I already had two older children we focused on John. We purchased a home sperm count test widely available in the UK. They are not meant for very specific use but will give you an overall view of how your little swimmers are performing - basic levels of presence.
It was similar to a litmus dip test - the fading purple line was pretty negative - zilch, zip, nada.
Off we trooped to the GP.
After routine tests showed:
- Very low sperm count (oligospermia)
- Abnormally shaped sperm (teratozoospermia)
- Poor sperm movement (asthenozoospermia)
Much testicle cupping and taking his age into account, it was declared that lovely John would never father children. We would have to bypass conventional IVF and go straight to ICSI - IVF.
Mmmmmm. Disappointing on more than one level.
At no point throughout the consultation and (what?) case history was John asked to consider:
- What he did for a living (stressy model maker using noxious liquids and materials daily)
- Social habits (persistent rollie smoker, social whiskey connoisseur)
- Diet (severe caffeine addiction, would sometimes forget to eat on long jobs, not too bad when he did)
- Exercise (epic walker, no driving licence, most likely his saving grace, no extracurricular though)
- Stress Levels (high, daily commute to central London for nearly 30 years, pressured job)
- Daily postural load (long hours of computer based work, congested pelvis, poor load transference)
Armed with the knowledge above, we asked ourselves:
- Why was Johns sperm count so poor?
- How was Johns life directly affecting his sperm count?
- What could we do to change it?
- What could John do for himself and what could I do for him as an Osteopath?
- How could we change our circumstance for the best chance of natural conception?
After all - a sperm count is just a snapshot in time - surely if John mitigated his environmental stressors, enhanced his internal environment, maybe another snapshot would paint an entirely different picture.
So he dropped the rollies and social whiskey, really focused on food for fertility and overall health (the smoothie maker earned its place on the kitchen side), upped his exercise and took a male specific pro vitamin. I enhanced his pelvic environment, made sure everything on a bony, muscular, ligamentous, visceral, endocrine, neurological, blood, lymphatic and energetic level was motile, flowing and expanding - bringing about a reduction in congestion and inflammation of the lumbar and pelvic area.
We took the Australian approach to conception (as much sperm near the cervix as often as possible) and welcomed Walker to the world 01/09/2016.
Weirdly happy to announce that John ended up having to have a vasectomy as he ultimately proved to be pretty virile. But that's another story.
MEN - Get Checked Out
A Gentleman had been diagnosed Azoospermia, producing sperm but the sperm unable to make it to the semen for ejaculation. This couple had endured rounds of IVF to achieve pregnancy but in light of no underlying systemic issues, I considered:
- Why was the sperm not making it there?
- Is there a potential blockage?
- If so, what?
- What is the missing link here?
- How are the structures governing the function?
- Bony, muscle, ligament, tendon, visceral, blood, lymphatic, nerve, energetic?
- Congestion / Inflammation?
- What areas of this mans life could predispose him to these issues?
- How can we work together to possibly improve outcomes if this couple would like to conceive again?
This is Osteopathy - always questioning, seeking to understand the anatomy and physiology of any situation whilst taking into account all aspects of your life.
Of course, each case is very different and individual to the couple involved but it absolutely makes sense to have the machine checked out before embarking on an epic journey:
- Prior to trying to conceive - Good foundations, best chance
- Prior to the Sperm Count test - Squashed pride is brutal
- Prior to IVF - A harrowing, stressful and often expensive experience
Ultimately some couples may still need intervention. But, many couples wont.
Wherever you are on your journey to conception, if you have questions or concerns, I like to consult and treat both man and woman, after all, it takes two to tango.
You can book two consecutive slots in the diary to allow the time and come in together. Of course, I am still happy to see you individually.