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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone
My dh was recently diagnosed with varicose veins in one of his testicles and told that this may be contributing to our mf infertility as the blood in the vein is heating up the testicle and affecting the count.

When we checked the situation out with our fertility consultant she said that the operation was optional as their is only a 50% success rate and that the decision to operate and remove the veins was ours.

Has anyone else had a similar problem and has been operated on?  If so, did it improve the sperm count?

Thanks
Teresa

 

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Hi Teresa,

My dp was diagnosed with a varicocele and luckily his consultant did think it was worth operating on. I know a lot of gps and even consultants think it makes no difference to male fertility, but in our case I got pregnant naturally 3 weeks after he had this operated on, so we think it was having an effect on hs sperm count. My dp also realised after he had the op that he had been aching on that side (left) all the time but had got used to it.It was only when it wasn't aching any more that he realised it, hope that makes sense!

A consultant told me that the operation doesn't make any difference to take home baby rates, which I suppose is true in our case as we lost the baby. But anything that might help you is worth a go, and I have just got pregnant again, so who knows if the op did make a difference?  I am certain it helped!

Best of luck to you, if you have any questions do ask.

Love Allison xx
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Alison
This may help dh to decide what to do. 

Was the operation long process and how was your dp afterwards? My dh is terrified of hospitals and the thought of someone doing anything down there.  He needs reassurance!

Did you get pregnant the second time naturally?

Thanks
Teresa
 

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hi teresa my dp was diagnosed with large varicose vveins in both testicles and we were told that even if they did attempt to remove them we would still need assisted conception so we were advised to have surgical sperm retrieval and icsi. they did a large biopsy on him and got loads of good quality sperm we are now on our 2nd icsi cycle which we are hopeing will be succesfull? when he did his sperm sample we were told that there was absoloutly nothing in it so we were really pleased with the biopsy results. hope this is encouraging for you good luck
emma jayne xxxx ^reiki^
 

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Hi Allison
Congratulations on your BFP.  I was sorry to hear about the loss of your baby, but thrilled that you've got a successful result this year. We 'spoke' earlier last year about variocele ops. My DP has finally booked appt with GP - we're having FET blasts this Tuesday after 3rd failed icsi (last Sept) and whatever the outcome in next 2 weeks, his name will be on a waiting list for varicocele repair.  (He has put off seeing GP due to hoping that our last cycle and this would be successful and so op not needed - men!)  Whilst the op may or may not visually change things with the sperm, scientists have suggested that the op may improve the genetic potential of the sperm i.e. fewer DNA damaged sperm and sperm more likely to be successful if it meets with an egg (or 2 or 3 or 10!)  It seems that the variocele may cause inflammation and damage the DNA of sperm making them look ok but actually not be ok.  And if it improves shape and number then this can only be a  good thing! The alternative it seems would be to surgically remove sperm, like Emma Jayne's DH as this bypasses the varicocele's effects.

Good luck Teresa and Emma Jayne
Love Jakex
 

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Hi Jake,

Lovely to hear from you, I remember you from last year. Thanks for your good wishes, and I wish you all the luck with your fet on Tuesday, you deserve it!

Your info about the sperm after the Varicocele op is very interesting, I didn't know any of that. Seems like gps don't either in my experience!

I think vein can branch off in lots of directions; I think if it has more than 5 splits it is a more complicated op and maybe less successful? I've got the literature somewhere, I'll dig it out and post it. This is probably why Emma Jane's dh was advised against the op.

Teresa,my dp was only in hospital for a few hours, then he rested in bed for about a day I think. It was painful,I don't think he gave it much thought beforehand, strangely! I remember we went for a drink on the way home from hospital but maybe the anesthetic was still working then! I remember talking to another girl on here at the time and her dp was playing rugby the day after his op!

Yes I got pregnant naturally again, a miracle, we are so delighted to have a second chance!

Good luck to you all,

Love Allison xx
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks to everyone for their encouragement and advice - you've really helped.

We have to decided go ahead with our ISCI / IVF in early April as originally planned and put dh's name down for his op. 

Where there is a chance we will go for it.

Good luck and bestwishes

Teresa
xxx
 

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Hi,

I'm new to FF and have a similar problem to Teresa. My DH was diagnosed with a low sperm count (2m) last June. Motility was 'only occasional' and  he was also found to have a 'moderate' variocele. After some really crap advice from our GP (drink coffee and abstain from any kind of bedroom activity!), he was told to go back for a second test a month or so later - and had a similar result.

We were then pushed along to IVF (ICSI). The consultant basically said there was nothing that could be done for hubby, but said we could go for ICSI the following month. I felt that we were being herded along without really understanding what was going on so put the brakes on the process. We saw a natural fertility management specialist, who put us on a special diet for our blood type. We gave up alcohol, took supplements and my hubby had a course of acupunture. After 4 months he has just been retested and the needle hasn't moved one jot. Now we're wondering about the variocele. We've been on-line and the story seems to be that there is very little concensus about the effectiveness of getting it treated. So we'd really like to hear from people to find out more. I understand that there are different ways of getting it fixed - one involving a general, the other a local anaesthetic. Does it hurt? Has anyone experienced any bad side effects? What have the results on sperm count and motility been? If people have successfully conceived following variocele repair, what was the starting point for the count?

Lots of questions and no answers - we asked the IVF consultant (a guy) and he seems to think there's no point fixing it, whereas the natural fertility consultant (a woman) feels that it's a much more sensible next step than putting me through ICSI.

Very grateful for any stories or advice.

Jo
 

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Jo/Teresa

My husband was diagnosed with a varicocele in each testicle last year. We only found this out by seeking out our own andrologist privately - before that we just accepted that he had poor sperm. Anyway he had the op last Easter when his sperm was retested there was a huge improvement in it. Less abnormal sperm, higher quantity and more motility - we still needed IVF due to female factor - but our next attempt was successful.

After the op DH was fine - he was playing rugby the next day (I think someone mentioned him earlier!!). It wasn't a genral anaesthetic just a local and done under x-ray where a little coil was put into the vein that ran into his testicle (put in on his tummy I think) and this would stop the blood flow and then the vein would stop working and the blood would find a different way. He only had 1 side done.

There is a chance it won't work as the blood may simply find another vein and create another varicocele, but we thought it was worth a try. With all the needles and indignities we put up with it was time for dh to have a turn!!!!

Hope this helps. We had to wait 4 months for an NHS appoitment to have the tx but can be quick if you can go private.

loads of luck

Kerry
 

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Hello,

We have a long saga back to Oct 2003 on this. To summarise -

OCT 2003 DH blood in sperm, went to doc, given antibiotics and a varicocele diagnosed. A sperm count was done 3 weeks later and was 76million and we were told no worries,everything was fine, leave the varicocele.

Then, having spent ages trying to conceive, I have the tracking cycle, lap and dye etc and hubby gets 2 sperm tests. These show huge numbers of abnormalities and a count of 46million on one and virtually nothing on the other. I went bonkers and asked hubby to get a copy of his first results, and lo and behold, he may have had a count of 76mill months ago, but the morphology was less than 10% and the volume 1.5ml. (The GP was not a fertility expert apparently....you dont say!) ;)

Hubby being a man, and not believing anyone by this point went private, and that count came back at 160,000 sperm, most of which are abnormal, motility has now taken a nose-dive also. So, we have now decided to treat the varicocele and have blood tests for him to check his hormones (no docs have suggested or recommended this -we did the research) We are working on the basis that if varicocelectomies might work in 50% of cases and IVF on 20-25%, then it is a no-brainer. It seems everyone wants to go straight to ICSI or IVF. The op (private) is on Tuesday, so I'll let you know how we get on - cost £1260, waiting time 1 week.

Call me a cynic, but if this works it will have cost £1500 includling all the tests, consultations etc and does not rise with subsequent attempts to conceive.

IVF costs circa £2000++ and ICSI circa £3000 excluding drugs. You do these over and over again till you get lucky or otherwise. As long as IVF and ICSI are readily available the male factor will always be on the back burner.

Rant over! ;D

Fingers crossed!
 

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Hi there

We had a similar problem with dp having low sperm count + motility and had been preparing for icsi when we discovered he had a varicocele.  Dp had the operation to correct this and even though his sperm count rose it still was'nt enough for us to concieve naturally.  He was v sore after his operation and for almost 12 months after was getting a dragging sensation in his groin with pain also.  It did not make any difference to us fertility wise and we are begining a cycle of icsi on tuesday.  I think each person is different and may respond different to having the operation.  I hope all goes well for you.  Take it ez.  nu2
 

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hi guys

Sorry to butt in but I have just read this thread with interest.  Please can you tell me what a variocele is?

My Dh has azoospermnia, last surgical retreival found one single dead sperm. he has a small hard lump on the outside of his testicle, is this a varicocele? the consultant said def not cancer as not attached to the testes (just on the loose skin on the scrotal sack...sorry TMI!).  But he does have pains in his balls and I wondered if connected.

Many thanks

Ermey


 

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Hi Ermy,

A varicocele is 'an abnormality of the veins that take blood away from the testicle.' The veins become bigger and I think the blood sort of gathers and pools in these veins, so heating up the sperm and making it less fertile. You can't always tell just by looking. I wondered if my dp had one as he had a big varicose vein at the top of his leg, and after seeing a urologist it was confirmed that he did.

I found a leaflet that he got from the hospital at the time of his op. These are the figures quoted;

Success rates(world literatues figures)

Success in accessing and embolising spermatic vein 90-97 %

Sperm motility improvement                                  78%

Pregnancy rate                                          48-60%

Y finlayson, not all doctors seem to believe this op has any improvement on fertility,but as you say it is well worth having this sorted out first, if it means you can avoid expensive and traumatic fertility treatment. Also I seem to remember hearing somewhere that pools of stagnant blood around your nether regions can have other health imlications, such as kidney problems so obviously it's a problem that needs to be addressed. It's all so confusing!

Best of luck everyone,

Allison xx
 

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Interesting stats Alison,

Hubby went for varicocelectomy on Tuesday, and unfortunately he fell into the 10% who couldn't be treated - they tried to block the vein but to no avail.  Ironically we still had to pay.  Bummer!
 

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Hi,

So sorry to hear about your husband's op, or lack of it, what a disapointment, especially having to pay anyway. Isn't there a more complicated op they do under g.a. if the veins are too big or too meandering?I'm sure you've investigated this anyway.

God luck with what ever you decide to do next,

Love Allison xx
 

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Yep, we are about to go for the next op, minor surgery under general anaesthetic.  We went for our first ICSI consulation today and everyone thinks we're wasting out time with the varicocelectomy, but Dh insists he's having it done.

DH still gets pain in his groin, which he thinks might be related to the varicocele so if the op doesn't improve fertility perhaps it will stop the pain.

Congrats on the BFP!

 

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Thanks Allison for the advice.  Don't think thats what my DH has got, but thanks anyway!
 

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This is a really useful thread - thankyou! ^bow^

I'd come across references to varicocele affecting male fertility and sometimes had thought "that sounds like DH" but until I read this we hadn't investigated further. We now think DH has some signs (smaller left t, intermittent dull pain, 95-98% abnormal forms - numbers and motility seem not too bad though - he also has ED problems but I've never seen that connected with varicoceles even though they both involve blood flow ^confused^). Yesterday we tried to do our own physical exam ;D ;) which with our limited expertise certainly couldn't rule out varicoceles.

Please does anyone have a recommendation for someone we could go to see to get a diagnosis and if necessary surgery? We're in the Midlands but will travel! Thank you!

I do find it a bit amazing that no-one we've seen suggested getting DH checked out, as the post-op stats if varicocele is detected and dealt with do seem good. Instead we've been just sent down the road of 2 ICSIs and are heading for #3. I'd like to rant a bit here but perhaps I'll save it for some other time :).

For anyone else wondering about varicoceles, we found some really helpful material on the internet, including this from Cornell http://www.cornellurology.com/cornell/infertility/gi/varicocele.shtml

Thanks
Jen :-*
 

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Hi Jen
Definately get your husband checked out - I think your own GP could check for variocele, but a urologist would be better. Your GP should refer or tell you if there is one privately you could see e.g. at BUPA hospital (even better if you have medical insurance, which we don't!!)
If he has got a variocele that is moderate-large, I would get it operated on (my opinion only, but have done ++ reading and asking and emailing States). It seems that even if there is no visible change in sperm there are effects within the semen, which carries antioxidants to help protect the sperm from damage (and that includes damage from the female reproductive tract!!) Changes are seen pre and post op http://www.andrologyjournal.org/cgi/content/abstract/25/1/44
Also have a look a http://www.veincentre.com/index.htm for someone who may be able to operate near the midlands. We have apppointemnt next week at the Lister http://www.jscurr.com/ as it is nearer us and we go there anyway for icsi!!

If you talk to a urologist they will say that you should get a moderate-large variocele fixed; it will not get better it will only get worse. Yes icsi can bypass matters, but it is expensive and male factor may put spanners in works when come to miscarrying - this may be due to semen. Have a look at the Immune thread http://www.fertilityfriends.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,18104.0.html on Dr Carter.

We have just miscarried our 1st BFP after FET of 2 blasts (furthest we have ever got). I do believe that variocele op will go some way in helping and if nothing else it will slow down or stop damage over the years...am under no illusion that it will be the answer to all our problems, BUT...
Good luck Jen

Love Jakex
 

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Hi Jen - to let you know Im answered you question about urologist and suggested to you the one we saw - we are based in London.... Debs
 
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