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Fertility Network UK
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Where to start...

This is my first post so apologies that I'm probably writing what many people have written before me but I'm feeling a bit lost and overwhelmed.

After ttc for 1 year and finding out that dh has a very low sperm count (not sure of stats, just that we've been told it's pretty much impossible for it to happen naturally), we have been referred for our first appointment at the Princess Anne in Southampton in August. I would assume that this first meeting will be to discuss our options and possibly have more tests done but if anyone is able to give us more of an idea of what to expect that would be really helpful.

Has anyone else been in the same situation of low sperm count and therefore know what options we're likely to be offered, e.g. ICSI or possibly 'mild' IVF? Also, is anyone else from this same CCG and can say how many rounds they were offered?

It's all very daunting and the waiting is very tiring. I can only imagine what it's like for those of you who have been going through this for years, my heart goes out to you.

Any words of experience would be most appreciated. Thanks :)

11 Replies

Welcome. I hope you find this forum a good support. My hubby has low sperm count plus funny shapes and poor swimmers so we had ICSI. We had to pay for treatment so you'll have to do your research on how many goes you get.

I found the waiting to start quite stressful and there's nothing you can do about the wait. Once treatment started it was easier.

Good luck.


Thank you for your message, I hope it all works out for you.


Hi, my hubby has severe male factor infertility, we're currently doing ICSI privately (our NHS treatment didn't work and we only had one round).

Most likely they will do tests on both of you to rule out any obvious causes, particularly for your hubby. This can be really useful and even if you ended up going private you can use the blood test results from the NHS.

For us having our first round with NHS was exhausting, there were many delays, errors and disappointments, however the testing side was really useful and has saved us money now we are private patients.

I totally understand how you feel, we were so shocked when we found out, it's incredibly upsetting and you think 'why us?' I do understand how you feel and know you're not alone x


Thank you Daisy.

Friends are so supportive but the first thing they always say is "I've known loads of people who've had IVF and they've all got babies". It's good to be hopeful but it's more helpful to be real and know what to expect. We could well have a long road ahead so it's good to know things like tests etc. being carried forward if we have to go private.

Thank you for your words of support and I hope it all works out for you x


You're welcome :)

It's irritated the life out of me people saying that about IVF, they don't seem to realise every couple's situation is different and not 'one size fits all!' I think people who don't understand IVF massively over simplify it as well, but with a lot of patience they've started to understand.

I meant to say the other thing hubby and I did was prepare our bodies as much as possible, we lost weight, ate better, cut down on alcohol, caffeine, took vitamins etc which gives you back some of the control it feels like you have lost with the diagnosis. Also, although hubby's sperm has never improved I like to think there might not be many but I will make them the best quality they can be :) (that's what I tell myself anyway)!

Keep in touch x


I like that thinking :) Thankfully we do both have fairly healthy lifestyles, low BMIs and no smoking but I've been forcing myself to go to the gym over the last few months - as you say, try to give yourself the best chance! DH feels quite dejected and doesn't really feel it's worth making any changes, as with you I imagine the doctor said it won't make a difference, but I agree that it doesn't do any harm! We'll get him there :)

I am concerned about work stress not giving me the best chance - I have a very high pressure job - so have been considering acupuncture. I'm not generally one for anything that doesn't come with strong scientific backing, but I'll give anything a go, even if it's the placebo effect!

I have everything crossed for you in your current course of treatment x


It's going to be hard for your DH, i really feel for him because how badly it's affected my hubby when it's nothing he's done, it's just one of those things unfortunately. I must say my husband and I have never been healthier!! :)

I've resisted acupuncture so far but if this second round doesn't work I'll most likely try that next!

Thank you, 2ww is killing me! x


Hi there,

I only joined this forum yesterday.

I don't come under your CCG but our first fertility appointment at an NHS referral was a bit of an interview, they asked us loads of questions, some of which we repeated ourselves a lot from other fertility appointments at our local hospital and we filled in questionnaires and lots of forms. We both then had lots of tests and they went through the results (for as many as they could) there and then and came up with an action plan. We went with a list of lots of questions and we made notes.

Regarding what you'll be offered, IVF with ICSI could be a possibility (the ICSI is an extra behind the scenes process where they inject the sperm directly into the egg if the sperm isn't as good as they'd like). What you're eligible for will vary postcode to postcode, but the guidelines for NHS funding in my area are; BMI to be no higher than 30, no previous children and the woman to be under 35. We only get one attempt, other areas get more, it's a postcode lottery.

This is the start of you getting proper help by the sounds of it, which can only be a good thing. Good luck x


Welcome to the group! You'll find lots of support here 😊

I remember being where you were now and the waiting was one of the worst bits. Like you DH had a low sperm count so we had ICSI. He did improve his diet and alcohol intake and it improved things slightly but not loads.

As the others say, do take one step at a time. Each one on its own is totally manageable! Try not to google too much!! Once you are going it is quite exciting, just be super kind to yourself. Both treatments I had a lovely day at the spa first!

Good luck xx


Wow thank you all for your messages. In a world of internet trolls it's lovely to find a haven where everyone's full of kind words and support.

And Daisy14, I love the spa idea!

Lots of love and best wishes to all x


Hi, dear! I’m sorry you’ve found yourself here. But welcome to the crowd, people here are lovely ;) Well doing more research really helps to get ready or just know what to expect. Here's a rundown of what to expect with mini IVF, although procedures can vary from clinic to clinic.

Before starting Mini IVF, you may take at least one round of birth control pills to regulate your cycle. Your doctor will perform an ultrasound to make sure that you are a good candidate for IVF. If everything looks healthy, your doctor may prescribe clomiphene citrate to boost ovulation. This is for encouraging your body to produce more eggs than normal. Once your follicles are fully ripe and mature, your doctor will probably administer a hCG injection. IVF will proceed in the traditional way, with egg retrieval, fertilization, and embryo transfer. I cannot say I’ve got experience with the procedure myself. I’ve heard a lot about it in my Biotexcom clinic where we passed IVF with donor eggs. Anyway in case your doc suggests it to you then it’s worth trying.

Wish you good luck!


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