MFI support thread

(171 Posts)
TheBeesKnee Tue 23-Jul-19 21:42:38

Firstly apologies if this already exists. I had a look and couldn't find anything.

I've name changed as I feel like I have maybe been found out under my usual username, or maybe it's the paranoia settling in!

I'm late 20s, TTC 1 year.

I have been driving myself insane: stopped drinking alcohol, started eating dairy and fish was a hardened vegan for 10 years, stopped drinking caffeine, tried Brazil nuts, fertility smoothies and pineapple cores.

Nothing worked because it turns out that DP is effectively infertile, possibly due to a historical varicocele. We thought that may have been a factor but GP waved us away with "not necessarily - and anyway, you haven't been trying that long!" So we got a private sperm analysis and the results were Not Good.

However, DP got a (relatively) speedy referral to a urologist and after a few back and forths has had surgery on the affected vein. He's recovering, but we won't see "results" for at least 3 months as obviously sperm take 70 days to produce, although the testosterone production is supposed to be fixed/affected almost immediately.

Even then, research shows that only 30-50% of men with successful surgeries went on to conceive in the 12 months following the op, so my hours are not high. I mostly just feel that I will never be pregnant or have a baby, I'm convinced that next we'll find out that something is horribly wrong with me.

DP is being great. He says that we can look at donor sperm if this doesn't work, he wouldn't deny me the opportunity to be a mother. This just makes me cry, I have been very weepy the last few months.

Anyway, I thought it would be good to speak to others also affected by MFI as I feel very lonely and isolated as no one in real life knows that we are TTC, never mind that we're having issues.

OP’s posts: |
GreyC Tue 23-Jul-19 22:36:40

Hi there; I’m glad the surgery went well and you’re DP is recovering well. He sounds like a sweetheart.
MFI here too; both late twenties TTC two years. Due to start ICSI next month.
Like you I have stopped drinking coffee; alcohol anything fizzy even punish myself for using squash when I’m fed up with water. Which is crazy.
Having acupuncture; nuts etc you name it; I’ve done it! Haha

itwasalovelydreamwhileitlasted Wed 24-Jul-19 08:09:45

Donor sperm should very much be last resort - you are still relatively young in ttc world so waiting 3 months should be fine

Perhaps explore IVF with ICSI or surgical sperm retrieval

itwasalovelydreamwhileitlasted Wed 24-Jul-19 08:09:45

Donor sperm should very much be last resort - you are still relatively young in ttc world so waiting 3 months should be fine

Perhaps explore IVF with ICSI or surgical sperm retrieval

gracepoolesrum Wed 24-Jul-19 14:40:58

Agree that you should try IVF before donor sperm. We had mfi -DP has a sperm count of zero due to permanent blockage of vas deferens probably due to hernia repair. It took 2 cycles of ICSI but we now have DD. The success rate if MFI is the sole cause of infertility is quite good and you have age on your side so don't lose hope.

AnnaSteen Wed 24-Jul-19 15:14:13

Early 30’s here. Posted this quite a bit before. Husbands count went from 2mil to 5mil after supplements eating well nuts etc so told IVF ICSI is our only option. Did one round which failed and found out afterwards DH count had gone up to 18mil so we started to try again naturally but no luck so far. Did a DNA Frag test and it is unfortunately very high at 52%. So back tomorrow to get an update from the consultant. Going to go for round 2 of IVF ICSI in October.

It’s way too early to be talking about donor sperm. We are 33 and 35 and not even going to consider that until we try another 2-3 years! I’d be tryin my naturally with supplements etc and healthy diet for your DH for a year then start down IVF ICSI

TheBeesKnee Wed 24-Jul-19 17:52:24

Oh just to clarify, I'm not really interested in donor sperm - at least not yet! I definitely want to exhaust all avenues with DP first before I even think about it, I just mentioned it because DP took me by surprise by saying he would support that avenue!


surgical sperm retrieval

I've never heard of this! shock off to Google I go...


It took 2 cycles of ICSI but we now have DD. The success rate if MFI is the sole cause of infertility is quite good

I'm so pleased it worked for you smile I didn't know that, thanks for giving me hope.


DP's count was 700k with 30% morphology apparently. I worry about DNA fragmentation as well. Did you do yours privately? We've looked at the cost and it's about £500 here in London so we're going to see if this surgery helps before committing to that cost.

To be honest I've already started a secret IVF fund and I'm looking at reviews etc for various clinics. I like to be as prepared as possible for everything, but I realise I can come across as a tiny bit nuts, which is why the fund is a secret... And if it turns out that we don't need it, I'll put it towards redoing the kitchen grin

OP’s posts: |
AnnaSteen Wed 24-Jul-19 18:03:23

Now the op is done he should try improve that count via lifestyle factors. My DH has given up alcohol, caffeine, fizzy drinks and takes Proceive Max / Zita West supplements and eats as clean as possible - these were the changes that resulted in his count increasing so it’s worth a shot. We did this for 3 months before IVF/semen analysis. Hopefully with the operation and a clean lifestyle you might see a big improvement for the next analysis

We do everything privately as we’re in Ireland so we don’t get any help from the government - nothing fertility related is covered. I also dream of spending our IVF fund on putting in a patio if we get pregnant smile

TheBeesKnee Wed 24-Jul-19 18:24:08


He hasn't had a drop of alcohol since March. He's cut down on caffeine, although he still has 4 coffees a day and can scoff an entire packet of biscuits in one sitting while remaining slim as anything I'll definitely speak to him about his diet though. He was, unfortunately, reared on junk food so doesn't like vegetables much unless it's broccoli boiled to mush.

Do you know what the Proceive Max / Zita West supplements are actually supposed to do, or if they're proven to work? DP has a degree in biology and works in the NHS* and is extremely sceptical about supplements. I bought him some ZMA and other things I forget the name of from Holland and Barrett and he's refused to take them because he wasn't satisfied with the research on PubMed 🙄 lord give me strength...

* I suspect this is the reason he got his surgery so quickly, I've heard of people waiting months and months for their referrals.

OP’s posts: |
itwasalovelydreamwhileitlasted Wed 24-Jul-19 18:58:18

Nothing wrong with an ivf fund - hope for the best plan for the worst has always been my motto!

I take the female version of Proceive Max for women plus an extra 200mg daily of coq10 and I've seen an increase in egg quality in the months I've been taking it

AnnaSteen Wed 24-Jul-19 20:09:57

Get him the book ‘it starts with an egg’. It discusses supplements for men and women and backs them up with academic studies and literature reviews. However anecdotally for us the only thing we did differently between our first and third semen analysis was clean eating and supplements

Embri Wed 24-Jul-19 21:45:55

I’m late 20’s we have been trying for just over 18months.
My husband has an undescended testicle which was only operated on when he was 6, this has caused significant MFI.

His count was 2million, only 15%motile (of which 5% progressive) and less than 1% normal normal morphology.
We only found out these results about 6 months ago, and hadn’t even thought about his surgery until we got these results. I spent the year before putting so much pressure on myself, seed cycling, temping, ovulation tests, anything to get pregnant!!

Now I’m not as hard on myself, I am still doing all of the above but it’s just to learn more about my cycle rather than with the goal of getting pregnant that cycle!

We know we are going to need ICSI from these results, I have put him on wellman conception, co-enzyme q10 200mg and 1000mg vitamin c daily! I have also started him on a better diet, but he’s not too keen on that, I will however be strict when we are approaching IVF, if I’m going to have to stab my self with needles daily and have various very uncomfortable procedures he can eat healthily for 3 months! 😂

It’s a long journey, and actually I almost wish it was my fault because I could control that, I would make every single change to my lifestyle advised. I almost feel like I’m nagging him, which is annoying!
It’s good to have people to talk to on here, no one I am close to has been through ivf, they all seem to get pregnant on their first month of trying (or aren’t at the point of having children yet) and just don’t get the emotions that come with the monthly slog of negative pregnancy tests!

Holly19 Thu 25-Jul-19 10:27:28

Hi ladies,

Can I join you please.
MFI due to cancer. Sperm was banked prior to chemo. Due to start IVF in October/November. Have had to bust a gut to lose some weight for NHS regulations. Looking forward to getting stated now.

TheBeesKnee Thu 25-Jul-19 21:53:55


Welcome! Congratulations on losing weight, it's difficult isn't it?

FX IVF is successful and this time next summer you'll have a baby! Summer babies are the best I say as an August baby myself

OP’s posts: |
Mistymeow Sun 28-Jul-19 12:08:58

Hi everyone, may I join?

Ttc #1 for almost 3 years. We are both mid 30s. MFI due to genetic condition which means dh doesn’t produce hormones naturally. I’ve always known falling pregnant was going to be difficult. We have had 2 mmc in the last year, both at around 9/10 weeks so I’m currently under the recurrent miscarriage clinic. I have to say I’m struggling with the idea of it taking longer and then miscarrying again. I know it’s really good from a fertility perspective that we can fall pregnant naturally, but I live with the grief of our losses daily. I’m really glad you started this thread as I feel like I don’t fit in anywhere- we are not doing icsi yet pending test results, and the conception boards the ladies are lovely but fall pregnant relatively easily.

DH’s levels have improved with his hrt injections (from 2 million to 10 million) but other levels are still low. As recommended by the rmc specialist he is having the sperm dna fragmentation test (via Sperm Comet, £250) and a referral to a urologist. If results are poor IMSI is an option but I need to do more research.

@TheBeesKnee my dh also said if everything fails we can try sperm donor. We aren’t there yet but I’m not sure I can get my head around it. Trying to take it day by day. I reckon your dh may benefit from cutting back on caffeine and taking zinc- definitely.

TheBeesKnee Sun 28-Jul-19 13:20:42


Welcome! I'm very sorry to hear about your losses flowers

I’m really glad you started this thread as I feel like I don’t fit in anywhere- we are not doing icsi yet pending test results, and the conception boards the ladies are lovely but fall pregnant relatively easily.

Yes, I found this too. I am happy for them but I do kind of feel left behind.

I was taking a lot of advice on board which actually is turning out to be completely inappropriate for me as we are facing completely different issues. Eating brazil nuts and drinking 'fertility smoothies' is going to do fuck all if there just isn't the sperm there. I feel that it's on par with "just relax" from well-meaning people who have never had problems getting pregnant.

I watched a fascinating documentary last night called The Great Sperm Race (Human Anatomy Documentary) | Spark which was super odd but really informative. I highly recommend it.

Spoiler alert! One of the scientists cut out her fallopian tube so see how many sperm actually make it that far, and only counted 20 - which is mind-boggling when you think about that they start off with millions. It really puts things into perspective.

OP’s posts: |
Embri Sun 28-Jul-19 16:31:07

Only 20?! Yikes!! I worked out from my husbands SA numbers that there are approx 2000 viable/motile sperm that could make it up there and had the little bit of hope in me that “it only takes 1!!”. Maybe I was being a bit optimistic!! 🙄

Namechangerextraordinaire1 Sun 28-Jul-19 17:52:04

Hi all!! We have MFI, but I also have PCOS and don't ovulate at all without drugs.
DH has had 4 SA's altogether. For the first, they didn't really find many sperm at all, and the second was only 400k total count. We then waited 3 years to self fund, as I have a 10 year old from a previous relationship we don't qualify for nhs treatment. Anyway for our third and fourth analyses we had 2.5mil and 4.4mil respectively. DH really struggles and we have both turned to food for comfort, so I can't pretend he has put a huge effort into getting ready for this. I haven't either really, but he did take condensyl for the 8 weeks leading up to the next 2 analyses.

We did our first cycle of icsi in june/july. I took a seemingly endless concoction of pregnacare, 300mg coq10, 1000mg vit c and vit d spray every night for a couple of months in the lead up to the cycle too. I got a whopping 47 eggs (thanks pcos) but because of my ovaries being so over excited I had to freeze everything rather than transfer a fresh embie. We managed to freeze 10 blasts and am currently waiting for a frozen transfer, hopefully at the end of August.
No idea on how successful they will be, but considering DF had pretty poor sperm results, we are really, really happy with this. Just wary as pcos can mean crappy eggs and crappy sperm too...I'm at a much higher risk of miscarriage. I suppose I only half fit here dont i lol. Hopefully in a month or so I can say MFI doesn't mean it wont work! DF's first results were some of the lowest I have ever seen on any forum too

TheBeesKnee Sun 28-Jul-19 19:26:04


Honestly, if you have an hour and a pint of ice cream I would highly recommend watching that documentary. I thought I knew everything there was to know about conception, but this put things in a new light.

Technically yes you only need one - but it has to get through an absolute obstacle course to reach the fallopian tube and ensure it is ready at the right time.


Oh I know what you mean about the weight gain - I have put on a whopping 10kgs in 2 years since we started talking about, and then actually, TTC.

Sorry to hear that you've been hit by a double whammy - best of luck with the transfer! Is there anything you need to do to prepare?

OP’s posts: |
Maybe2020 Sun 28-Jul-19 20:18:45

Can I join in too?
Severe mfi been ttc for more than 5 years 😪, due to my oh putting off going to the doctors.
We should now be doing our first go at icsi/ivf in October/November. Anyone else? X

Namechangerextraordinaire1 Sun 28-Jul-19 21:43:26

@TheBeesKnee yes, double whammy. Lucky us!! Thanks for the luck coming our way. As for preparing...I actually have no idea how it's all going to go with the frozen transfer. We have our follow up appointment on the 7th Aug, which will only 5 weeks after retrieval but it feels like forever. I'm hoping they will say we can get on with it near enough immediately, but even so with waiting for meds then the meds actually doing thwir thing I'm expecting it to be late Aug or early Sept before we get to transfer.

Glad I'm not the only one who has gained weight!! I think I have gained about the same, if not a little more since we found out, been about 3 years for us. I am actually hitting a healthy eating plan tomorrow to try and shift some weight and get a bit healthier in time for the transfer. Nothing like leaving it til the last minute hey 😂

@Maybe2020 sorry to hear you have been ttc for so long. Glad you're finally getting the wheels in motion. It seems so long away but it will soon roll round (says me who is losing her mind in impatience over waiting til my appointment in just over a week haha)

FlapJackered Tue 30-Jul-19 07:13:05

Hi, can I join?
I am 31 and DH is 35 and after 2 years ttc and me almost killing myself with lifestyle changes and supplements we have just found out it looks like it is DH.
We haven't spoken to the consultant yet but his SA results say low morphology and high Anti-Sperm Antibodies 'ICSI recommended'
I did get pregnant in January but had a miscarriage so we know it is possible but it seems very unlikely to happen again.
DH was quite a heavy drinker and has gone cold turkey on it which is great, so hopefully that will help...he is less keen to give up the cycling though.

TheBeesKnee Tue 30-Jul-19 07:46:59



Are you sure you want to have DC with a cyclist? grin

Do you have any appointments scheduled yet or are you still just processing results?

OP’s posts: |
Maybe2020 Tue 30-Jul-19 09:54:02

@Namechangerextraordinaire1 wow 47 eggs? That’s such a good ec lol. I’m very nervous at how many I’m going to get. I’m also on pregnacare and coq10. Dh is on wellman and lycopene.
My oh count was 1.5per ml on his 1st then it went upto 3million his last one which was a month ago was his worst one yet at only 0.7 😕. He has now switched supplements, his motility has improved the most going from 4% to 31 on his 2nd sa then it was 22% on the last one. I’m a bit gutted he hadn’t had any other investigations to be honest, he has only had his sa and karyotype blood tests which was all his hormones, cystic fibrosis and it has all come back normal. Doctors have just said move straight to icsi ASAP as it’s the only way we have a chance at having a child. Terrified isn’t the word! Anyone else just move straight to icsi without a thorough investigation on dh?

Maybe2020 Tue 30-Jul-19 10:03:16

I also found it hard to find others with severely low counts like my dh, but I am on fertility friends forum and their are loads of others that have gone on to have 2-3 children over the years there’s also a lot of first time icsi that resulted in babies. Which gave me so much hope. X

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