Thursday, September 22, 2011

Will Treating Justin's Hormone Problems Restore Fertility?

It's the unspoken question on everyone's minds.

We suffer from undiagnosed infertility. That means the doctors haven't been able to fully explain why we can't get pregnant. We've established that I have endometriosis and fibroid tumors and Justin has high viscosity and low motility. But none of those things should completely prohibit fertility. But year after year and procedure after procedure returned fruitless.

During our fertility treatment days, Justin's blood was never tested. I am 100% positive he has suffered from testosterone deficiency most if not all his life. His lifelong symptoms speak for themselves.

But now we know! Justin's been taking supplements for a week and a half and he's already feeling much more energetic during the day and finds sleep much more restful. One of the side effects of testosterone deficiency (or hypogonadism) is infertility.

Is that symptom reversible?

Is this condition the cause of our infertility?

Will we be able to conceive in the future?

These are questions swirling around the minds of people who know our situation. They are swirling around in my head too. The answers?

We don't know.

We haven't talked to an endocrinologist, so my knowledge is limited to what our family doctor has said and what I've researched online. Our family doctor basically said, "It could help. It will be interesting to see what happens."

Through researching online I have learned that there are two types of hypogonadism. Central hypogonadism is when there is a problem with the pituitary gland in the brain, which is supposed to send messages the organs (in this case, the testes) to produce testosterone. This often happens because of a tumor or growth and when it's removed, the gland sends the right signals and the organs respond to those signals and fertility is often restored. The other kind of hypogonadism is called primary hypogonadism. It occurs when there is a defect in the organs. The signals coming from the brain are just fine - but the organs are not responding properly for some reason. Treating primary hypogonadism has unpredictable results on infertility because there is something fundamentally wrong with the organs - not just the message the organs are receiving.

I am sure if I talked to a specialist, we would get better information, statistics, and likelihood, but it's just not on my to-do list right now.

I am feeling a lot of different things about this knowledge. I am SO happy that Justin will be able to feel better and have a much more enjoyable quality of life. He usually falls asleep in the chair within 30 minutes of getting home from work and then goes straight to bed. The last few evenings he's been awake, interactive, and energetic. It's amazing! I am worried about getting my hopes up for fertility. A long time ago, I'd arrived at a pretty accepting point in my infertility journey. This kind of undoes a lot of the healing I've done. Part of me says we should now talk to a specialist just to see. Maybe it's a sign, a message, a piece of fate that we know and can now do something about it. Part of me wants to just take this knowledge, file it away and keep things the same. Because doing fertility treatments was some of the hardest stuff I have ever done and I do. not. want. to. do. that. ever. again. I think how exciting it would be to experience pregnancy and have a birth story. And how wonderful it would be to add to our family the "cheap way." :) Pregnancy would be seriously economical! And then I think how I've accepted and even embraced infertility for myself  - I don't want to get kicked out of my wonderful infertility community! How could I do that to Joci? Would she forever resent it if we had a biological child?

Lots of internal battles. Lots of praying and soul searching.

And as of right now, lots of unanswered questions. But I know some of the best growth occurs because of struggle. I know this challenge is part of God's plan for me. I don't know what the outcome will be and there are a lot of questions, but there isn't any turmoil. Ultimately, I know that there is a divine road map for me, slowly unfolding, and I trust the Maker. I don't know what the future holds, but I know it will be just as miraculous as my past.


photo by Jason Miller

4 comments:

Jewls said...

Ugh! I hate all of the back and forth! Sometimes I wish that we had done the extra testing and just "made sure" it was never happening to avoid the monthly 'what ifs'!

This much I do know though...it will all work out! And how it's supposed too!!

So glad he's feeling better!!

UK Yankee said...

Recently I had an experience that made me wonder if maybe I wouldn't be an infertile forever. I was very grateful, happy, hopeful, etc., but I also felt what you're feeling - I had progressed really far in my healing, and I had accepted and made peace with my situation. Now I'm thrown back again into the wondering and waiting and guessing.

I like your attitude at the end, though - obviously Heavenly Father has made miracles happen in your life, and He will continue to do so!

Liz Smith said...

i just want to give you a big hug, probably because i think anything i could say would be insufficient. your fam is always in my thoughts and prayers. regardless of what comes your way, you are amazing and will continue to be wonderful parents. sending you lots of virtual hugs!

Jennie said...

I am always so impressed at how you share your situation with the world and how it strengthens me and what a wonderful example of faith and trust in our Heavenly Father you are to me. I have to admit I think it would be awesome if one day in Relief Society you raised your hand for the good news and said YOU were pregnant. No matter what happens you are still an amazing person!

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