(Closed) Help. Bad News: DH has Zero viable sperm

posted 8 years ago in TTC
Post # 62
247 posts
Helper bee

In our relationship I’m the reason we can’t have a baby the ‘normal’ way. 

My first piece of advice is hug him hard and make sure he knows that you don’t blame him. That was the inital tough part for me. I felt like I took away his dream although it wasn’t like I tried to. To be honest, whenever I see him hold his niece or look at children I feel awful. Over the next few weeks he’ll second guess every choice from where he placed his laptop to how many beers he drank in univeristy. Just be there. Listen to him, reassure him that he did nothing wrong and that you do not blame him. Love him as much as you can. 

Get a second opinion. We got 4 ‘second’ opinions. lol. For us the answers didn’t change but if you don’t check the results then  you’ll always question them. It really helped us cope. But be prepared that everytime you get a second opinion your hopes will build up. If the results are the same then you feel crushed again. It is a normal cycle. Don’t give up until you feel like you can and be ok with that. 

Talk to a psychologist. They can teach you how to cope, grieve, and be there for one another. Now that we are 2 years out from our diagnosis  I can say that it brought us together and deepened our feelings in ways I didn’t know where possible. Plus there are support groups, friends, and family that I’m sure would be there for you. Do not suffer in silence and don’t let it eat away at you. 

When you are ready, consider other options. We put ourselves on an adoption list a few years before we are ready because in our community it takes upwards of 7 years to be matched. We discussed the options with our psychologist and that was very helpful to. Around this same time, tell your families. Family will ask ‘When are you having a little one?’ and it hurts like hell. Once they know, it does stop. We only told a small group and they did the rest. That was a lifesaver for us because then we didn’t have to feel it over and over. 

I am so sorry that you are both dealing with this.


Post # 64
1226 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

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@lilsweetie:  First, I’m so sorry you’re going through this.  My DH has very low sperm count and motility, which has resulted in us needing to turn toward IVF.  It was very hard to come to terms with, especially at first, and I imagine it’s even harder for you with zero sperm.

That said, please don’t give up yet!  In my extensive research on male factor infertility I found sources that said that it’s actually *better* to get a SA result that shows zero sperm than a result with other abnormalities because having zero sperm could result from a mechanical blockage, which could be fixed. Especially since your DH had surgery in the past, perhaps it is a mechanical blockage issue (though I would think the surgery would only impact one side, but maybe not — or maybe the blockage is elsewhere).  As you note, the other option is that since his undescended testicle surgery was so late things sort of “shut down,” which would be worse (my own DH had a late undescended testicle surgery, which we think is part of our problem).  But, at least if I were you I would seek an opinion from a urologist, particularly one who specializes in male fertility.  There might be a solution. 

Post # 65
1430 posts
Bumble bee


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@lilsweetie:  I am so sorry you got such devastating news.. it is things like that we may never understand but I know there is hope for your future. I agree a second opinion is always wise with a diagnosis like this. Keep pushing forward for answers and treatment options. If at one point you need to close the door on having biological children then allow yourself to grive the life you had invisioned, join a support group and get couseling if needed but don’t give up hope. And maybe the time will come where your hearts are opened more to adopting. I have health issues that may give me and my husband that only option one day as well. Even if we are able to have biologial children we still want to adopt too but the days I get really down some of the most uplifting things I read are adoption blogs. If your heart desires to be a mother there is no stopping that. And if you decide to not pursue other ways of having children then you will still have a beautful life my dear. I work with many women who went through sad times of not being able to conceive but are very happy and and enjoy a very full life. Hang in there we are all here for you any time you need to vent.

Post # 66
92 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

my husband has a zero sperm count.  He has cystiC fibrosis which causes the tubes to be incomplete so he makes sperm but they don’t go anywhere.  His brother is a CF carrier and has the same problem.  We both successfully did IVF with a technique in witch they remove sperm directly from the testes.  It cost a lot of money but our boy is amazing.

My sisters husband had a zero sperm count and a blood test that demonstrated he did not make a hormone to make sperm.  They have successfully adopted two babies.

My point is that not all is lost and to investigate just a bit more may give you options for now or in the future.  Good luck.  Infertility is difficult and scarey.  It will hurt and you will envy and that is normal.

Post # 67
247 posts
Helper bee

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I’m glad I could help.

In terms of how far do you go the answer isn’t easy. I’m know that if someone told me I could fly a rocket to the moon for a treatment I would. I’d start saving every cent I could.  The truth is I just had an ‘ah-ha’ moment and realised that I was putting us through hell by constantly getting my hopes up and having them thrown away. I used to go to the lowest of lows after finding out that all of the results before had been true. One night we were talking about the entire process and my Fiance and I had a heart to heart.

He asked me if I trusted the doctors we had seen. I told him that I trusted all 5 of them. He then asked if I thought they checked everything that they could think of. I agreed that I believed they had. He then asked me what else I thought another doctor could do and I realised that there was nothing. It was a heartbreaking night and the decision didn’t make me feel great. To be honest it was the first time I allowed myself to feel every feeling that comes with the diagnosis. I held onto peoples stories about a friend of a friend who got pregnant and that it was a miracle or the girl next door whose sibling just happened to get a misdiagnosis. After 5 doctors I needed to accept that this was our fate. It isn’t easy and for everyone I think that point is different.

I quit letting the fertility research become my obsession. I asked my doctor to keep me updated on the research that she felt is useful but I quit doing it myself. The truth was I was allowing it to depress me which was impacted our relationship. Plus I trust my doctor. That’s how you know when you seek a treatment and when to not bother. If you have a great doctor they’ll be honest about the facts so if you don’t have a doctor like that – find one. They become your best resource on updated technologies so that google doesn’t get your hopes up.

Seeing people get pregnant has gotten a bit easier but it still isn’t a walk in the park. It isn’t about the pain going away instead it is about learning to cope. I think if you believe that someday it doesn’t hurt you are setting yourself up to fail. My psychologist told me that at this point I should allow myself a 15 minute cry if I need it and then move on. But once again I’m 2 years out. I’m not always holding it together and spent quite a few evenings after we found out with a glass of wine and a box of tissues. 

Post # 69
501 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

hi, I am so so sorry to hear this. big hug to you.

 I have also been trying to conceive for well over a year and I know we all deal with this process so differently. . .and I cn only imagine how horrible it would feel to get the news you just got.

my advice would be to really consider pursuing further testing/treatment.

if this is something you really want, then looking back on your life in 20 years,  it may be worth a 3 hour drive or the cost of ~a new car (for example, $15-20K) for specialized treatment.

ISCI is the name of the specialized treatment that actually extracts individual sperm (so if only 1-2 sperm can be found, then IVF is still possible!) to use it in treatment.

i believe that a biopsy may be needed before ISCI to see if there are any sperm at all in his testes. however don’t quote me on that.

i’m not saying this is what you *should* do–but if you really really long for a child of your own, then I guess what I’m saying is try not to get discouraged unti you hear the final word. from a specialist. IVF/ISCI may be an option for you- and although it is expensive, only you can know whether it would be worth it in the end.

hang in there!! i’m just so sorry to hear the news but really hoping that you and your husband manage to find some peace about what course to take, no matter what your decision is.

Post # 70
10360 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

I would adopt. That’s how I would get through it! Hope you two get some peace.

Post # 71
4429 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

@lilsweetie:  im so sorry your going Thur this ; ( (hugs)

what about a sperm donor? what does your husband think about that?

Post # 72
1009 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I posted for you in another thread, but thought I should do so here here too:

My DH also has 0 sperm.  It’s called azoospermia.  He shows all the signs of testicular failure.  He doesn’t even have a childhood issue to blame it on.  BUT, they did a biopsy, and there were able to find sperm.  We’ll see how they survived the freeze/thaw probably sometime in the next week, and are keeping our hopes up.

The Resolve boards (thanks again to NYCkitten who pointed me there a few months ago) are also a good place for support.  There are lots of people dealing with this issue, and people are very sensitive to everything that goes on both physically and emotionally with IF. 

As much as people think they are being helpful, “just adopt” is both not remotely helpful and is very insensitive.

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