The Male Side of Infertility! Not As Easy As It Sounds


During the process to find a diagnosis, the doctors run a ton of tests.  One of these tests involves a man, a small room and some personal time.  It is a procedure that becomes a regular part of further treatment.  Be it IUI or IVF, this little room will become a part of your life.  A little insight from the way I see it.

The first time I had to perform for the doctors, it was to runs some numbers on my sperm count.  It would end in a really high number of swimmers and a little bit of an issue with motility.  My wife says I am a little weird, so why wouldn’t my little guys be too.

I wasn’t sure what to expect the first time.  The doctor gives you a time to report to the lab.  It is a generic time and everyone gets “show up at 8AM, it shouldn’t take long.”  Remember this statement when you hear it, I think that is a matter of person.

I arrived at the lab a little early, so did a couple of other guys.  Two guys were sitting in the waiting room, shifting in their seats nervously. Maybe the feel the same way about it I do, or maybe they were new at that point like me.  The waiting room is maybe 12′ X 10′ with a receptionist desk taking up two thirds of that space.  Behind the receptionist is a glass wall, behind which is a large lab.  The lab filled with sterile looking metal machines, not really sure what they do.  A few guys back there in lab coats working away.  Kind of like when you go to a restaurant that you can see into the kitchen, but no one really wants to see into these guys kitchen.  The lab is a bright white linoleum floor with tons of light into, set against the tan and dim lights of the waiting area, its an odd contrast.  I handed the receptionist my ID and whispered my name.  She, not reading my uncomfortable body language, loudly responds “Mr. Van Dyk, take a seat and we will call you in a minute.”  So I joined the row of uncomfortable dudes, shifting in my chair.  One more guy came before I would be called.  It isn’t really a room of small talk, so we all sat fidgeting in our chairs.

When the nurse calls my name, she also doesn’t see any need to be discreet.  She might as well have said “Hey Brandon it is your turn to go play with yourself.”  She handed me a number, it corresponds with a room behind the door separating waiting area and sample collection area.  She also hands me a large cup.  This collection device is like a 2″ diameter, 3 or 4 ounce cup.  I look at it for a second dumfounded.  I look back at here and contemplated asking, “how much are you expecting?”   But than I realize questions will just prolong the awkward moment.  So I go through the door and hunt down room 3.

Once in room 3 I had to take a second to look around.  I was feeling a bit of anxiety.  Usually this is something you don’t want people to know you are doing, at least 8 people are waiting for me to finish now.  I imagine them watching their clocks and taking bets on how long it will take me.  Then I wondered if I could have bought a square in this pool. I read the direction posted on the grey cupboards.  Things like don’t spill, if you do spill report it.  Clean the area you sit in, Wash your hands and fill out the questionnaire. I of course proceed to forget all of them instantly, all though they pretty much fall into common sense.  The room has white walls and floor, a window with blinds pulled shut.  I wonder why they needed windows for this room, not like these blinds are going to be open often, right?  On the desk sits a cleaning solution in a windex bottle.  This bottle is obviously for the tan plastic “couch” sitting diagonally across the room.  Oddly placed near the door, I wanted further away from that door, not closer.  Beside the couch sits a magazine rack, but you won’t find Time, People and Popular Mechanics in here.  Across from the couch on a wall mount is a small, and old tube style TV.  There isn’t a remote of course.  I really didn’t have it in me to turn the TV on, especially since I saw the reading material, wasn’t really to my taste.

At the completion of my sample collection I go back to the counter and reread the instruction.  I start by washing my hands, then I get the spray bottle and over use the product on the couch, wipe it down and dispose of the paper towels.  Now for the questionnaire.  A small piece of paper with an easy set of questions.  “How many days since you last ejaculated?” Seems like a personal question, especially because the doctor told me when I had to cut myself off.  Next is the question “Was any of the sample spilled?” with two tick boxes, one for yes and one for no.  Made me want to wash my shoes off, thinking there must be a reason for yes.  It took my almost twenty minutes, and that isn’t bragging, no most of it was wasted nervous time, not at all related to sample collection.  I had heard multiple doors open in and close out in the hall during my time.  Way more times than there was rooms.  I was actually surprised no one came to check on me.

Happy to leave I walked out of the room, a cup with a very small amount of sample, at least by ratio to the cup.  Out to the waiting room where a small red collection basket sat.  You put the questionnaire down first and your sample on top.  The receptionist is all about inconspicuous now, she barely even acknowledges I am there.  And that is the end of it.

I have since made multiple visits to the lovely little rooms.  I am not any better at it, it always comes with anxiety.  But I have since turned on the TV and then quickly off, definitely not to my taste.  Tattoos and piercings everywhere.  I am sure it works for many but not for me.  The first time I flipped it on the volume was pretty high, bet the last guy thought that would be a funny way to leave it. I will make my future visits at a new clinic.  I hope that the new clinic has a little more variety of reading materials or television programming.  Although I imagine there is a standard formula.  Maybe I will see if I can place a bet on my time there.

I probably am more nervous and uncomfortable about this than most others.  But its the way I am.  My advice to others who are going in, I would say try to relax.  But thats tough.  The only thing I can offer is, bring your own reading material (thank god for smartphones), as you may not find things you like on site.

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