I’ve never talked so much about my balls before let alone on social media for thousands of people. But that’s the funny thing about going through a fertility journey, it encourages you to be an open book. By now we all know my diagnosis, after getting a DNA fragmentation test, I won’t go into my long-winded story about that (you can read more here). But what I haven’t spoken about is my varicocele.
Flashback 4 years, we arrived back from a trip and I was having some weird discomfort in my scrotal area. After a few days, Filipa forced me to go see a doctor. I don’t know why I had a fear of doctors, especially the thought of some random feeling around down there. Anyways, I guess I got over it and visited my local walk-in clinic. The doctor basically told me I have a varicocele and there wasn’t much of an explanation behind it. They develop sometimes and they don’t just go away, at least not without surgery.
What is a varicocele? It is basically an enlargement of veins within the scrotum. It’s pretty similar to varicose veins you might see in your leg.
Fast forward a year and a bit of trying to get pregnant we, as you know, sought help from a fertility specialist. When I informed them about my varicocele, there wasn’t much to be said. They told me that it wouldn’t affect my fertility and I was all good. After going through medicated timed intercourse, countless IUI’s, and then finally IVF with ICSI, we definitely weren’t all good, but we miraculously had our baby Skye. Our dreams had come true!
Now to get back on track, a few months ago I started to notice my discomfort in my balls a bit more. I can’t really explain the feeling but it was like my left testicle was sore and felt like it was being squished, but not really lol. Anyways, I went to see my family doctor and asked what my options were. I was referred to a great urologist and he told me about this super noninvasive surgery called varicocele embolization. After our consult, I asked him if this would affect my infertility, he said 80% of male infertility is usually due to varicocele. WTF! Why had no one told us this? Kind of angry and a little frustrated I was happy my surgery was booked.
Varicocele Embolization Process
A month or so later my surgery day had finally come. This embolization was unreal, something out of Star Trek. I was lying on a motorized table, with a huge x-ray machine over my body. This gave the surgeon a real-time view of my insides. With a little hole in my groin, they sent in a catheter and pushed in a small amount of dye. This dye allowed them to see where the varicocele was. After that they inserted a coil and a hardening liquid, this allows the coil to harden and stay in place. Surgery successful, done! After a few days of bed rest and 2 weeks of just being careful I was feeling great. I went to see my urologist for a follow-up and he confirmed the vein had collapsed and things were looking fine.
Today I don’t have any pain or pressure, I am glad that I went through with the procedure. On the fertility side of things, I have to wait 3 months from the surgery date to see if things change with my sperm. I’ve booked another DNA fragmentation test in June. Fingers crossed this fixes the boys too. But if not, at least I feel better
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