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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear all

My DH has just been to seean andrologist (no one recommended this to us - we saw a post on here and thought we'd just go and see) Any how he has been told he has a varicose vein in his left testicle and that this is what has been affecting his sperm production.
Apparently the vein is 11mm and should only be 3mm and all that extra blood is heating things up too much!!

Anyway I just wondered if anyone else has experienced this? Have you (your partner) had succesful treatment and sperm been improved?
We'll need IVF anyway cos of my problems but it would be great to know if his production could be improved.

Many thanks for your time

love
Kerry
 

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Hi Kerry

Good to see you back on the boards.

I'm sorry, I have heard of this condition, but I don;t know anything about it.

Hopefully some one on here does? Have they told you whether there is treatment for it. I know you can treat varicose veins in other less delicate places?!

I hope these andrology results are going to offer you some pointers as to where you go next.

Good luck & hope you're both doing OK,

Vicky xxx
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hiya Vicky

How are you doing? Hope you and bubs are well.

Dh and I are still pottling around waiting and waiting. I know it's probably good for me to have a rest but I feel like I'm wasting time. Still at least if we can sort "him indoors" out then we might improve our chances.

Anyone out there with advice on varicocele - still waiting?

Take care

love
Kerry
 

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Hi Kerry

Thought I'd drop you a quick line as I read quite a bit about varicocoeles as my dh has a very small one.

quite a lot of research has been done on them but mostly on those men with ^sperm^counts of about 16million/ml (i.e just below normal). The sad news is that the results are not that great. It can improve things a little but not greatly and the general advice appears to be: if the varicocoele is relatively small (I would include 11mm in small) then there is minimal benefit to be gained from surgery, in fact you face the risk of making things worse. However if the varicocoele is enormous and engulfing your other halfs testicles then surgery would probably be a sensible option.

My husbands varicocoele is tiny and our O&G consultant told us that things would probably be made worse by surgery.

Hope this info helps, if you are looking for other ways to improve sperm counts then check out the male infertility pages.

Good luck

Nicky.
 

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Hi Kerry!
My DP was diagnosed about 5 years ago with variocele, which at the time was large enough to cause discomfort. The urologist said that it may need operating on if continued to be a problem. When we found out a few years later our lack of fertility success was due to MF caused by severe antibodies (clumping and general mayhem(!) ) we asked the specialist what, if anything we could do. Our doc basically said the same as Nicky's post and that it was a debatable issue about whether it affected outcome - i.e. a successful pregnancy and so DP has taken no action on the surgery front.
He is however taking antioxidants - particularly selenium, Vit C, Vit E, plus carnitine and zinc 'to make sure'. The docs seem to be in agreement with this plan of action as well as the need for icsi. ^sperm^ ^sperm^ ^sperm^
I see at as if I have to take folic acid, then he has to take his magic pills too!
Good luck with your treatment
^thumbsup^
Jake x
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nicky & Jake

Thank you for letting me know what you had heard about varicocele. I was kinda hoping it would be a magic cure (at least for my DH's problems) but I should know better than that now. I'll definitely look into it further but may not jump (or should that be push) my DH into an operation just yet.

I have a selection of vits that he is taking too, but his sperm count seems to have got worse over the last 3 years rather than better!

Oh well - mustn't dwell it just gets me down.

Thanks for your advice

lots of love
Kerry
 

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Dear Kerry
I just wanted to let you know our story:
After several years of trying for a baby, we were told by specialists in London that my husband had antibodies to his sperm and we could either go the IVF route or try very high dose steroids. We decided we didn't want to do this and later that year we moved to Canada.
We thought we'd see if any other options were open to us and went to a clinic in Vancouver, where they straight away diagnosed a varicocele, and later confirmed it by ultrasound (I can't remember the size anymore). A few months later he had it treated (it was a half hour out-patient procedure, he was sore for about a day, but that was it).... and 2 cycles later I was pregnant. We're now expecting our second baby and are so glad we went for a second opinion. I get the feeling varicoceles aren't so "recognised" as a cause for infertility in the UK. We're now in Austria, and I've heard from a few people here that they know people who've had the same experience as we did with successful treatment of varicoceles.
Hope this helps and good luck
Pamela
 

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Well, you see there are good stories and bad ones! How much sperm does your dh have exactly and are the ones that are there swimming? If you need to do IVF anyway it might not be worth risking an operation. If you are worried about his sperm getting worse, can you not have some frozen for later use in case it gets too bad?
 

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Hi Pamela,

Thanks for posting your really positive story, its given me lots of hope. My dh is having his varicocele operated on in a couple of weeks, and it's brilliant to hear that this can improve fertility. In the info he got from the hospital it said success rates(world literature figures)Sperm motility improvement 78%
Pregnancy rate 48 - 60 %
so that sounds quite positive. I think he may be lucky that his consultant recommended this, after reading other peoples experiences. I think you are right about this problem not being so recognised here, my gp was really dissmissive of it having anything to do with fertility issues, and told me there is nothing that can be done to improve sperm. After about 4 months, I told her actually, he has been taking loads of vits etc and his sperm had improved 100%. She just said Oh well in that case the varicocele can't be making any difference then.Great support huh?

It was after reading about varicoceles on here that I asked my consultant to refer my dh to an andrologist. He has a big varicous vein in his leg and I just wondered... Again, she wrote to me saying ' I doubt very much if there is anything that can be done' but she did refer him. I do not understand this attitude at all.

He has waited over 9 months from referal to op. I am really p****ed off that they did not investigate him when we began down this road two years ago, I've had lots of go's at iui that I might not have needed if this had been addressed at the time, this could be the case for lots of couples, you would think it would be common sense to investigate both partners at the same time. I feel we are in a race against time now, as I am 40, but we will give it a few months after his op and hope for the same outcome as you!!
Thanks again for your positive story and good luck with your pregnancy.

Allison xx
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Dear Pamela

Thank you for your reply. My husband is booked in for his varicocele op on the 14th April - so not long now - we even got it on the NHS - amazing!

I agree with you that they seem to be overlooked in the Uk. We only found out about it (after 3 years of ttc) because I read on here about someone seeing an andrologist. We still have female factor problems - but if we can sort out the sperm problem it's got to help - although I do realise there are no guarantees.

Allison - our story seems similar to yours - isn't it so bl**dy stupid that they don't investigate male factor more thoroughly? There must be loads of people who are told "You have poor sperm - nothing can be done." When this just isn't true - at least not for every case. I just wish they would give us all the information and allow us to make our own choices about where we go from there. At least we may be getting somewhere now.

Good luck for your husband with his op - I'll let you know how my husband's goes!!

loads of love
Kerry
 

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hi Kerry,

Thank goodness for sites like this, I would be totally in the dark about the subject if it wasn't for ff. I don't think the doctors know half of the info they should, its so frustrating. As you say, at least we are finally getting somewhere now. Your dh has his op the day before mine, I just mentioned it to him and all he said was 'ask him if it hurts'!
Good luck with everything, let me know how you get on,

love Allison xx
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Allison

Just to let you know - my dh had his varicocele treated yesterday and it wasn't half as bad as we'd imagined. They didn't even touch his testicles but inserted a coil in the vein in his stomach that leads down there!
No real discomfort and he felt fine all the time. They did it under x-ray so not invasive at all. The worst bit was having to lie flat on his back for 4 hours - he was so bored. And the doc even said he could still play rugby on Saturday!

Good news is that the doc has had quite a lot of success with improving fertility through this op. But even if this doesn't work there is a further (more invasive) procedure they could try!

I hope it goes well for your dh. Be interesting to hear about any improved results in a sperm test (we were told to wait 2 months for this)

Good luck

love
Kerry
 

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Hi Kerry,

Thanks for updating me. My dh had his done yesterday, it went well, same procedure as your dh's by the sound of it. He was quite sore last night though and when I read your post out to him about your dh back on the rugby field on saturday he thought his doctor must have done something wrong! He was feeling very sorry for himself!

Lets hope it does the trick for both of us. If the vien was split into 5 or more meandering sections the doctor could not have done the embolisation, he would have needed more invasive surgery, as you say.

Haven't found out when he is to re do a sperm test yet, but two months sounds right to me. Let me know how you both get on, good luck, lets hope this does the trick!

Allison xx
 

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Hi Allison and Kerry
I've just noticed the updated bits on this topic started a while ago and now you've got me thinking.
I'm so hoping that the op that your dh's have had will do the trick. I'm watching you guys carefully as despite being told only option is icsi I just can't help but think back to what DP was told by a urologist all those years ago about getting his varicocele fixed if thinking about a family. Anyone we've seen since then has been very non-commital about an operation to fix it.

Can I ask how long the wait was for the op? Kerry- was your DH doc a specialist in fertility as I have yet to find a urologist attached to a clinic near to us or be offered an opinion by one?

Good luck to you and your men ^doc^
Love Jakex
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Jake
My dh was referred for his op in January and he had it in April - so 4 months wasn't too bad. He could have had it the next week if we'd gone private but we wanted to save some of our money.
I don't think the andrologist (is that the same as a urologist??) he saw was a fertlity expert. We picked him off the Bupa website mainly cos he works at our local Bupa hospital. He seemed pretty on the ball though (excuse the pun!).

As for the op - the surgeon told DH that he had had some great success with his patients sperm improving from this procedure. And even if it didn't work there was a more invasive procedure they could try - they also only did one of his varicoceles - so we still have the other one to try if there's no improvement.
I don't know if it will work but it seems worth a try to me - especially as it helps us to feel we are being proactive with our fertlity rather than everything is out of our control.
I will let you know if his sperm tests improve (we'll find out mid June)

Good luck with your treatment
take care
love
Kerry

 

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Hi KT and Jake,

It's worked! I am pregnant! We cannot believe it, but two tests say it is true! Of course, it could be due to any number of factors, but after trying for three years and getting pregnant 3 weeks after the op........?

We've been moving house, i've been shifting heavy boxes, fridges, etc, not taking the vits as I couldn't find them! having the odd celebratory new house drink, oh dear, and all along...! We are shell shocked and overjoyed!

Jake, the urologist my dh saw was based at the local nhs hospital, I asked my consultant who I was seeing for iui to refer him, which she did, reluctantly. He waited 6 months to see him, then about ten weeks for the op. He could have had it done privately, by the same dr, it cost about a thousand pounds I think. We seem to have to push all the way for the men to be checked out, maybe go to your gp and get your dh refered that way?
Think of all the money the nhs would have saved on the 9 iui's I had if they had checked dh out first? Anyway, we've done it!

Good luck to both of you,

Allison xx
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Allison

Loads and loads of congratulations and hugs - that is absolutely fantastic news.

I hope you are looking after yourself - no more heavy boxes for you.

have a happy, healthy and fabulous 9 months.

lots of love
Kerry
 

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Hi Allison
I posted on the other board too, but I think such good news deserves a 2nd posting!

Congratulations hun - fantastic news, you must both be over the moon. ^thumbsup^ ^thumbsup^ ^thumbsup^
We're off to the Lister this Weds for a consultation with a view to possible transfer and so we definately ask about the old varicocele and plumbing :eek: as their website blurb does say they have uro-andrology people there... Will also discuss with GP!

Lots of positive vibes to you and DH Kerry ^sunny^
Lots of love Jakex
 

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Hi KT and Jake,

Thanks for your good wishes, it still hasn't sunk in!

Jake, how did you get on at the Lister? It seems to make more sense to get your dh's varicocele sorted out first before spending thousands on icsi. The doctor told my dh that it could have been storing up trouble for the future, not just to do with fertility issues, but something about blood pooling around the kidneys? Sorry, cannot remember exactly what he said now, anyway I hope you got things sorted out,

love Allison xx
 

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Hi girls
Hope you doing well?
Had our consultation at the Lister and they say the same as everyone else - unless my DP 'bits' are hurting him then they do not recommend the op to help. I think its because our main problem is antibodies and the op wold not affect that. Saying all this, they did acknowledge that it can help some men with abnormal sperm measurements so I think DP is going to talk to our GP and get his name on NHS list anyway....

Hope you DH little fellas are doing better next month Kerry^sperm^ Keep us posted!
Love Jakex
 
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