Sperm Week 2012: Really? Prozac Sperm?

I need to preface the next article I’m sharing as a part of Sperm Week 2012. If the 3-D sperm was the work of super nerd researchers, then this sperm study is the work of misogynistic, chauvinist frat boy researchers. I stumble across this through Gawker of all places and, after following a series of links, finally found one with less of a sarcastic edge. But I must insist that the views expressed in this survey DO NOT reflect my own opinions or views.

This sperm study sets out to prove that semen contains mood elevating chemicals that can work as an anti-depressant. Most telling to me is that this study used college aged women, some who engage in protected relations and others who do not.

I think this one is quite disgusting and really only chose to share it to showcase how women are still being objectified. Most of the comments on all the sites point out what I noticed as well: that left out of the findings is that the surveyed who are being “inseminated” are in monogamous relationships. Could the stability they experience in their relationship be the source of happiness and not just getting large doses of Prozac Sperm on a regular basis?

Furthermore, if sperm has such incredible effects on moods, then it stands to reason that men could benefit from receiving dosages as well!

And as a man dealing with possible fertility issues, this study seemingly dismisses the most important quality of all: its role in pregnancies and bringing new life.

So, to recap: this “study” suggests that sperm can improve moods, I find it insulting to women, only sharing it here as part of Sperm Week but DO NOT share its views, and to call attention to the fact that, although it is 2012, respect for women is still in short supply.

What is your opinion of this study?  Am I way too sensitive here?

Sperm Week 2012: Gotta Collect ‘Em All!

“So, um, how does this whole thing work?” I asked the receptionist when I set up my clinic appointment.

“It’s $135 and we don’t take American Express!” she tells me quickly.

Ok….”Well, I’ll be heading over on my lunch break from work. Should I expect a long wait or…?”

“No, sir. You’ll come in, give us $135, you’ll collect, and you’re free to go!”

Collect! So the code word is collect! Nice. And she’s obsessed with getting that $135…

The night before my wife asks me if I’m going to be ok with doing this. Honey, I got this thing in the bag! She’s the one with the painful and humiliating tests! I get to…collect.

Collection Day is upon me, which means more paperwork, of course the $135, and some waiting despite what my informant said before. My time comes and I am handed a small container and led to what I dubbed the Tug-O-War Room. She tells me to write my last name on the jar and, when I go, to leave the cup on the counter and ring a doorbell inside the room, which signals them that I left. (Full disclosure: it takes me a few minutes to realize I should write my name on the jar before collection commences.)

Now the Tug-O-War Room is essentially a glorified bathroom. It’s a little bigger than normal with the typical bathroom requirements, a few lounge chairs, and a television/VCR combo mounted on a corner of the ceiling.

Oh, and porn.

Did anyone mention there was going to be porn? I guess I always heard there would be “mood enhancers,” but I didn’t really think about it. I didn’t notice this stuff because it looked like normal bathroom furnishings! But on closer examination, that magazine rack is full of girlie magazines!

That little cart has VHS tapes all over it!

Turns out this stuff is called “The Kit.”

Curiosity gets the best of me and I pull a few magazines up to see how recent they are. These are current. Who goes into the bookstore and picks up the new porn? Dr. K? A nurse? Do they have a subscription, which I guess would be the wiser financial move?

And VHS?!? We get new magazines, but no 3-D Blu-Ray plasma screens?!?

Even more creepy is this:

I can’t even begin to form a theory about why there’s a picture book of Scottish golf courses.

Men are sick.

Panic hits…how much should I be collecting? Are they watching my time? How long is too long? Crap, how quick is too quick? Do they memorize what porn is where and they’ll know if I moved something?!? Does nervousness and neuroticism affect sperm quality?!?

Be cool, man. Be cool.

So I calm myself down as best as I can.

And to make an awkward story short(er), time passes, I ring the bell and return to work, with a bad feeling I just can’t shake…

Sperm Week 2012: Sperm in 3-D

So let’s kick off Sperm Week 2012 with an article that I found on the National Geographic Twitter feed called…

Sperm Tracked in 3-D- A First!!!

I have to admit that I had no idea that there was still so much unknown about sperm and its activities.  Maybe it’s just not that shareable of a subject?  It gives me a small amount of hope, or at the very least, removes some of my personal chagrin regarding my “boys.”
Jealousy did erupt when I read about the different the swimming styles.  Poor Steve was left out!  Did none of these show offs having swimming issues?!?  I guess when you’re chasing your tail, there’s not much pride.  Truth be told, I probably left pride behind some time ago, at least as far as Steve is concerned.

And these researchers!  How did this idea come into this world?

Researcher 1: Dudes? Check this out…what if we put semen on a camera computer chip, shine colored light of it, and film it?

Researcher 2: Whoa…yeah, man!  And we can write a program that like, extrapolates the swimming patterns of sperm, man!

I think I’m a reasonably smart man, but I’ve also tried to turn the kitchen faucet off with the garbage disposal switch.

Twice.

Here’s hoping that these studies lead to some amazing new discoveries for fertility.

Me?  I’m holding out for Apple iSperm.

You know they’ve gotta be itching to do this.  Streamlining the design, implanting, who knows?  Maybe by the third generation, when they’ve upped the speed and added a camera or two.

Because we are living in the future…

Sperm Week 2012

Is that too crass?

It seemed funny at the time, but after typing it, I almost want to delete it. However, laziness trumps intent every time! And besides, sharks get a whole week and they EAT people, for crying out load!

In celebrating the sharing of my clinic visit, I've also found loads (no pun intended) of interesting articles to share this week. It feels like a weeklong celebration is in order. Besides, it's an incentive for me to make more time for this, which was my intention all along…I hate that I've gone weekly in my posts! I also hate that I'm writing about how much I dislike not having written more! Has it truly come to this?!?

If you can forgive me this lazy and slightly vulgar post, I promise to come hard…um, that this week will be worth it! (Apologies again, but I'm sleepy and couldn't resist!)

Let Sperm Week 2012 commence!!

Getting Pregnant with iPhone

Can we get cross the line into a little bit of nerd stuff real quick? I promise this kinda relates to baby making…

One of the many subjects in my RSS feed reader ( I am an info junkie) is mobile apps and gaming or, more specifically, apps and gaming of the iOS variety. I don't know whether you've crossed the Orwellian line into the smartphone racket or if you're holding onto that flip phone and raging against the machine. I do know that, for some reason, phone selection has become a heated issue, so even if you enjoy a different smartphone experience outside of Apple…this is available for you.

My wife and I pore over the trove of ovulation tracking and calendar applications. Period journals and fertility theories. We read different testimonials with the same doe eyed belief that the infomercial shoppers at 3AM experience when they know the Magic Bullet will revolutionize the way they eat and order four of them. (Is it really named after a Kennedy assassination thing?)

But now I bring you….BIRTH CONTROL!

So, basically, sperm rain down from the heavens and you mission is to maneuver the egg to avoid “the fertilizing power of the sperm!”

This game costs .99 cents, but fear not, my fellow frugals! There is also a lite version for us more discerning shoppers who wish to sample the gameplay before investing. I took the liberty of trying this out for you.

You are welcome.

The description minces no words. You have to tilt your device side to side, which moves the egg from the paths of the falling sperm. If one touches the egg, you “lose a life.” Never fear: birth control pills and condoms (not sure why condoms?) also fall and if you collect those, you gain life. I believe I played this game for roughly ten seconds before mind crushing boredom set in. Not on sperm swims in a circle. There are no “boss” sperm. And I'm uncertain what advantage purchasing the .99 cent version has other than insuring these developers continue destroying our civilization.

In summary, swim away from this one. It's no Angry Birds. Although an Angry Sperm game, perhaps…

We will return to our adventures in fertility!

Do you have a favorite mobile game or app? Or a process/theory/method of fertility tracking?

Of Babies, the Pee-Wee Herman Effect, and Forgetful, Persistent Blue Fish

After we left Dr. K’s office, we planned to grab some lunch, run a few errands, and do a little book shopping at one of our favorite locations of the now defunct Borders.  The afternoon became more and more surreal as we went along.

While eating lunch at Chipotle, we see new parents with their beautiful baby snugly in a carrier.

There’s a poster at the door of Borders: COMING SOON ON DVD AND BLURAY: BABIES!

More babies in strollers!  Babies in carriers!  Crying babies!  Babies in slings!  Toddlers carrying baby dolls!!

I felt like Pee-Wee after his bike was stolen:

Now, I’m not hurt by other people’s joy and blessings.  I’m not jealous of others’ families.  I’m not jealous that other people’s bodies seem to work with the minimal amount of issues, at least not that often anymore.  But after trying so hard, after so many tests with no conclusions, with more tests coming, we are acutely aware of the vacancy of this baby we desire.  Sometimes yearning for something carries a deep ache.  Sometimes you just have to be human and pitch a fit.  Everywhere we look we see lucky, blessed people enjoying something that we feel so far away from.  Something we got to taste for a moment, but now struggle to experience again.  Her body has an issue allowing a fertilized egg to attach to her and now it seems that I may be compounding the problem?!?  Our biology is our enemy!

And yet, we won’t give up.

We won’t throw a pity party for ourselves.  At least not an extended one.  We have to keep going.  We have to keep praying.  We believe that all of this is heading in the direction of a new addition.  We believe that God has placed this desire on our hearts and He has not taken it away.

We have to keep going.

And Steve and company have to listen to Dory…

 

 

Just keep swimming.

It’s Not Me, It’s You

Letter #2 finally arrives and we’re absolutely certain that this time there will be answers! This extensive, painful, and pricy test had to be the one that illuminated our issues and puts us on the road to septuplets!

Not so much.

Everything is normal. Nothing more to see here. Move along.

At the end of his letter, Dr. K asks to see my wife on the tenth day of her cycle to perform a regular ultrasound and see how things are developing. Turns out that would be the very next day, which is a Saturday. We figure there’s no way he’ll want to do this on a weekend. We resign ourselves to ride out this cycle and pick up the following month, but we call the doctor anyway, letting him know that Saturday would be the day he was asking to see us.

Instead, he surprises us with these instructions: “Why don’t you two have intercourse at 9 and then come into my office around 11? That way I can also take a look at the sperm quality.”

Have I mentioned that I like this doctor?

“He probably meant 9pm and am, right, honey?” I mean, how many guys can say, “C’mon, baby, doctor’s orders!”

With all the uncertainty, all the ups and downs, all the oddness, we have to laugh at the thought of being instructed to be initmate.

At 11 the next morning and we walk into his office. Dr. K is finishing up at a conference. That means snooping, giggling, and Angry Birds while we wait.

I will be the champion of Angry Birds.

Sitting on the counter I spy an old, worn medical bag. Something you’d expect to see a pioneer doctor on some frontier TV show sporting lugging along on house calls to different cabins in the ol’ West, curing cholera and the Plague. It’s got all the “tools of the trade” and it’s embossed with Dr. K’s name. It’s so simple and dedicated to the craft. Purposeful and worn. This man has a love of practicing medicine.

Many exploded pigs later, Dr. K arrives. It’s a bit awkward being in a room with someone who not only knows what we did a few hours ago, but who asked you to do it.

As he begins, Dr. K goes into doctor small talk. He tells us more about growing up in Oak Cliff, playing ball and fishing out where we live. He tells us about a farmer that would let the young Dr. K and friends fish on his property, give them water, and let them use the bathroom. One day the man sold the farm and moved East. Dr. K said the farmer had turned to drinking because he wasn’t farming anymore. Dr. K is a sweet man. I glance at the medical bag again. We all have our talents, skills, and purposes. We cannot let them go to waste.

Dr. K tells these stories while performing the ultrasound. Every so often he measures a black shape, pointing out follicles and tubes, but to me it looks like the cable went out. I’m just glad all is looking normal.

He also takes a fluid sample so he can take a look at my sperm quality. He spreads it onto a glass slide for a microscope.

I get nervous. C’mon boys, make me proud.

He literally runs out of the room, slide in hand and makes a passing reference about the appointment being finished. We look at each other, not sure if we can leave or not. My wife gets dressed and we peek out into the hallway, toward his office.

“A picure’s worth a thousand words,” he says to us, coming out of his office. “Want to take a look?”

He has to ask? I know I’m going to see fleets of sperm, verile and swimming, covering the slide and charting a new level of masculinity unknown to modern science. Dr. K and I become medical marvels, making the talk show circuits.

But once again, not so much.

My wife looks first and as I soak up his cluttered office and wall covered in various baseball memorabilia, I hear phrases like: misshapen, not moving, fewer than I’d like.

I try not to let my shoulders sag too much when it’s my turn to take a look. Surely it’s not that bad, right?

My wife rubs the back of my arm as he points out one that has a weird bump on it, another that has a flat head, and so on.

“Here’s one that’s moving,” he says. I try not to knock over anything while he moves the scope to a fast moving sperm. Sure enough, there’s one swimming up a storm.

In a perfect circle.

Chasing its tail.

I have since named him Steve.

And, as if I couldn’t tell, he tells me Steve’s circling.

“There are some normal ones here,” he adds quickly. “I’ll show you what they look like.” He proceeds to switch magnification back and forth and move the slide around, scanning for one. It feels like one of those movie montages where the hours pass by, but nothing really changes. I honestly can’t remember if he found one or not.

He schedules me for an appointment to check out my sperm quality and sets up another ultrasound for my wife to ensure that the follicle released. He walks us out of his office, high-fiving us, while we try not to feel too deflated.

Have you ever encountered the frustrating issue of something just not functioning like it’s supposed to?  What do you do?