mTESE Surgery Day

7:40am: Well, today is the day! My mom, our designated driver, spent the night last night because we had to leave at 4am to get to the hospital on time. They just took Mr.E back. Dr. Hotaling said the mTESE surgery would be anywhere from 1-3.5 hours. Obviously I want it to be just 1 hour because that means they found sperm right away.

9:30am: Fortunately my egg retrieval is only 1 mile away. I just woke up from the procedure. I’m having a little cramping. They found 14 eggs, still waiting to hear how many were mature.

These crackers and juice they gave me really hit the spot. I was starving! Now I’m just ready to get the heck out of here and get back up to the hospital to check on Mr.E.

10:40am: Dr. Hotaling came out to tell me that Mr.E is in recovery and they didn’t find any sperm during surgery. Now it is up to Dr. Carrell to finish looking in the lab to see if they can find some there.

12:36 pm: Dr. Carrell called with the bad news. No sperm. He said they couldn’t even find any precursor sperm cells. In all his years he’s never seen a case so black and white.

We are so devastated.


26 thoughts on “mTESE Surgery Day

  1. Hey, i m so sorry. My thoughts were with you the last couple days. I was shocked when I read this. I am so upset because they didnt find anything yet 😦 I am so sorry sweetheart. Big hug to you.
    Hopefully the lab will have success.

  2. Hi sweetie, thank you for keeping us posted…. I’m assuming the lab will get back to you by EOD….from the bottom of my heart I hope they find some.

  3. Oh my gosh. .. for some reason my browser did not frefresh this until after I posted my comment. I am just feeling for yall right now. …so heavy hearted for you. Please keep reminding yourself – it may feel like it but this is not the end of the story, just one door closing. … but God put this dream in your heart. He has his reasons, his purposes. Its hard but just believe in the promises he gave us! Big big hugs

  4. I just saw the last update. I m really sorry for you. To be honest i have no words because I am speechless 😦 Big hugs to both of you

  5. Just found your blog and am so grateful for sharing your experience. We did a semen analysis for my husband and it came back with a zero sperm count. We are seeing Dr Hotaling next week, I searched online about him and that’s how I found your blog! You guys have already been through so much I can’t even imagine getting the results you did. You are amazing! Thanks for your wonderful attitude so glad I found you!

    • Cristy – I bet you will LOVE Dr Hotaling! He’s incredibly intelligent and really cares about each patient. I’m so glad we chose him. We have no regrets. I was worried that if we got bad results we would always wonder if we should have gone to Dr. Schlegel. Or if we had gone to Dr Schlegel then we would regret not going to Dr Hotaling! We prayed and prayed and prayed and then prayed some more. At first we just started to feel a little peaceful about Dr Hotaling, then as time moved forward the peace turned into confidence.

      I’m still glad I did my own research, though, and asked different doctors about testing for various things. Even though the MTHFR and thyroid problems we found about Mr.E didn’t help us find sperm, the fact that we found them and treated them to the best of our ability has helped us feel more closure. Or maybe more confidence in moving on to Plan B.

      I wish you all the luck in the world! This not an easy journey. I hope you have at least one person you can confide in and talk freely to about your feelings, frustrations, concerns, etc. It feels too soon to wish you Baby Dust. How about Sperm Sparkles? Do people say that?

      Sperm Sparkles to you!! 🙂

      • Thank you so much for your reply, it was absolutely perfect!

        We will definitely take all the sperm sparkles we can get! :)!

  6. Hi! Just found your blog and am so glad I did! My husband also has non-obstructive azoospermia and will be having his microTESE on Tuesday with Dr. H at the South Jordan clinic.

    Just wondering if there is anything you wish you had known before hand or any other tips. And how was the recovery for your husband? I’ve read lots of things online some saying the husband was better the day after and some saying the husband couldn’t work for 4 weeks after. Just curious what your experience was if that’s not too personal/uncomfortable to answer. 🙂

    • Not too personal at all! Thanks for feeling free to comment and ask! For Mr.E, the recovery was pretty easy. The hard part was feeling like he failed me when Dr. Hotaling wasn’t able to find sperm. Aside from that, he said it felt like someone kicked him in the nuts for a few days. Sometimes he had a rough time finding a comfortable position to sleep, which I think was generally lying flat so his testicles weren’t hanging :/ The most important parts are to have ice packs ready to rotate. And don’t get behind on the pain medication for the first 24-48 hrs. Set timers and take it on time even if the pain doesn’t seem too bad right then. Mr.E’s first day back to school was rough. He thought his pain was gone and hadn’t taken any pills with him. Oh, one thing we weren’t prepared for was the vomiting. They made it sound like it was just a reaction to anesthesia, but looking back on it I think it might have been low blood sugar. They never brought him any juice or crackers. After many hours of trying to leave and then he would throw up again, we finally just requested some anti-nausea meds and went home with a bucket in his lap. He used it once on the way home. As soon as we got home and he had some crackers, he felt much better. I think that’s about it! Just follow all the instructions on the discharge papers (don’t leave without some kind of instructions!!). Be sure to follow the rules about how much is too heavy to lift. You don’t want the internal stitches to burst. That would be bad. We did a max of 10lbs for 3 weeks. So I took out the garbage for 3 weeks, carried all the groceries, etc. I was counting the days 🙂 good luck!!

      • Thank you so much for your quick response! All that you said was helpful! My husband had his surgery today, it was 2 1/2 hours and Dr. Hotaling said he wasn’t too optimistic about the lab finding sperm but he has been wrong before. I really hope he is, but I have a feeling he isn’t. Oh well, we will do our best to accept and move on.

        Thanks so much for your blog! I love reading it so much! 🙂

      • Thanks for thinking of us! Dr. Hotaling just called and told us they found 3 sperm, the only bad thing with that is the morphology isn’t great. He and Dr. Carrell agree that our odds are good enough to try IVF. But he told us we should have a plan b of a sperm donor in case the egg doesn’t fertilize or the sperm doesn’t thaw right with my husband. We are talking with my husband’s brother about if he would be willing to be a sperm donor. Fingers crossed everything will work out. : )

  7. Thanks for checking in on us, that means a lot! The recovery hasn’t been gong quite as well as we imagined. I’m not sure if it’s due to the fact that my husband is a stinker who went to school the day of his surgery or not. Or maybe it was the fact that he has a sit/stand desk and only stood the day after surgery so blood kind of pooled, but his testicles swelled up at least 8 times their normal size and he has so much discoloration. He had no pain the day of the surgery, I’m sure from all the meds, but has been in a fair amount of pain. He has been able to work/go to school through the pain. I kind of wish he would have taken it easy for a couple of days but oh well! 🙂 I don’t know if your husband experienced any of that. Dr. Hotaling’s office said it’s not common to have that happen but nothing to be too concerned about. 🙂

    • Yowza! That’s crazy!! Mr.E didn’t experience anything like that, but he took it easy for a couple of days after and let the swelling go down. He didn’t have much discoloration either, just what you would expect with redness near the incision. Glad to hear it’s nothing to worry about too much!

  8. Sorry, I feel like that was negative! I’m feeling discouraged and I think that came out.

    I know that microTESE is very invasive. Heck, Dr. H said he litterally filleted his testicles so I know it will take some time for him to recover. I just hate when my husband is in pain.

    Although I am totally grateful that they found a few sperm, I wish we wouldn’t have been told to not start IVF so we could have done the egg retrieval and microTESE at the same time. I know it’s a gamble because if they didn’t find any sperm we would have spent $18,000 and not be able to use it right away anyway, but it would probably be smart to have the eggs frozen just in case. I just feel like because they only found a few and the morphology isn’t great chances aren’t as hopeful as I would like for when they thaw them. I hope at least one of those little guys can be strong enough and able to fertilize the egg and make a useable embryo. This whole process is just kind of overwhelming.

    Sorry if any of this seems insensitive given your situation. You guys really are so awesome and I am so grateful for your blog.

    • Oh, gosh! Please, please don’t worry about “being insensitive” – no matter what they find or don’t find, it will never be enough and we will always feel like we were robbed!! Robbed of having a “normal” experience of making a baby and robbed for real because everything costs so freaking much. You’re one of the very, very few people on the earth who can even come close to knowing what “this” feels like! I’m so grateful that you comment and tell me how you feel!

      Your experience of only finding 3 sperm is EXACTLY why I insisted on having an egg retrieval simultaneously with the mTESE! I was so worried something like that would happen to us that I kept talking and talking until they relented and said ok to the egg retrieval at the same time. I really hope all 3 of those swimmers survive for you guys! After all this, you really deserve it.

      I wish they would have everyone do egg retrieval simultaneously. If they really do have a 60-70% success rate of finding sperm, then most couples will be grateful they did it. The rest of them might be disappointed but at least they won’t have any regrets. And like you said, they would have eggs on ice for use later.


      Keep us updated! I look forward to hearing more!

      • Yeah, you’re exactly right. It’s sometimes difficult because it seems like certain family or friends don’t really get our situation. We’ve had lots of people say, “oh, so and so is going through the exact same thing” only to find out it’s something completely different. You are pretty much the only person I feel like I can relate to.

        I wish I would have insisted, maybe it worked out the way it was supposed to, but still I would be feeling 100 times better about our odds if we would have done them simultaneously. We didn’t have the money together to do them both at the same time and honestly didn’t know it was even an option and I was so anxious to just find out. Oh well, nothing we can do about it now.

        I’m curious if you’ve ever heard of the Miracle Fund? It’s connected to the U and we recently found out about it and it looks like it can help us pay for almost all of the IVF!

        That’s a really great point, if the success rate is (Dr. Hotaling told is right now is at about 62%) why wouldn’t they think it was worth doing it simultaneously. That’s a very interesting thought.

        Dr. Hotaling said he and Dr. Carrell think we should have a plan b with donor sperm because the odds aren’t the greatest. We are having a really hard time wanting to use a stranger as a sperm donor. My husband asked his brother if he would be willing to be our sperm donor. At first he was all on board but wanted to talk to his wife about it. It’s been a few weeks and we haven’t heard back, and I’m thinking that’s not a great sign. 😦 I know it’s a really big decision, but it would be kind of nice to know what they are thinking or what their concerns are. It would just be the best option to use a brother because you know parts of your husband could be in your child.

  9. Hi folks,
    Going through the same process now, but at Cornell. They will only do mTESE concurrently with IVF, likely because of the immature nature of the retrieved sperm (will freeze only if there is excess).
    @operationmiracle, did you ever find out the histopathology from your husbands mTESE – like maturation arrest, Sertoli cell only, etc? Also I believe studies have shown that if nothing is found on one side, there’s still a 7% chance of something on the other side, were both testicles checked (yea 7% isn’t much but while you’re under, why not I suppose).
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Hi, Jackson! That’s great news! Have you met Dr. Schlegel yet? He’s great. I really like him.

      The andrology lab told us Mr.E has Sertoli Cell Only. The lab director said they couldn’t find even one germ cell. He said it was the most black and white case of Sertoli Cell Only that he’d ever seen.

      Before you mentioned it, I was confident that both of Mr.E’s testicles had been explored, but now that you asked… I’m less confident. But I could swear that they told us that they would check one testicle first and if they found sperm they would leave the other one untouched (great for follow up mTESE). But if they didn’t find sperm in the first one, then they would explore the other testicle.

      Thank you for bringing that up, I will follow up with our doctor to find out for sure!

      Keep us updated on your recovery and results, good luck!

      • Thanks for your reply.
        Sertoli Cell is apparently the predominant diagnosis in noa, and it’s a tough one. The NIH lists it as a “rare” disease but that’s little comfort for those who are afflicted.

        Given that I probably won’t be having a biopsy done before any type of retrieval procedure, I don’t know what I have. I was diagnosed less than a month ago so am still undergoing workup, mTESE is not imminent but will keep you posted. Yes, liked Schlegel, very direct about diagnosis and possible outcomes and obviously a skilled surgeon as well.

        I think the donor option you have available to you is absolutely wonderful. I would not have a similar option available if need be. Best of luck with your IVF cycle!

      • “Rare disease” ha! For some reason that makes me laugh. When we told our families both of my brothers were like, “Is that even possible?” I assume you had the y microdeletion tests done? I’ve never seen a % of NOA with that gene mutation, but I think it’s not too many.

        I’m glad you haven’t gotten any biopsies yet. I think that’s definitely the way to go. No scar tissue in there at all until Dr. Schlegel gets in there to see what’s going on.

        Yes, we are so lucky that Mr.E even has a brother, that he AND his wife said yes, that we found a clinic near their home, etc etc etc. So very lucky!! I think if we hadn’t we might have asked my sister’s husband or even branched out to cousins. I’m not sure we would have asked any friends, but I never thought that far ahead!

        I highly, highly recommend seeing a reproductive psychologist if it comes down to using donor sperm or adoption. Or actually, even right now as you guys are navigating these waters. It’s incredibly frustrating and emotionally draining. The constant waiting between testing and results and more testing and then for Dr. Schlegel’s schedule, etc. It can really take a toll on you and your relationship, on your job, on your relationship with friends and family members, everything.

        Looking forward to seeing your story unfold, Jackson! Good luck!!

  10. I think you may appreciate this story as my husband had a more unique experience with his recovery from the microTESE than most. He had horrible swelling and literally a blue scrotum. We both wanted to take pictures because it was so crazy, but where would you store something like that? haha! Anyway about a week after his surgery he noticed what looked like a blood blister at the bottom of the incision. The next day he was working and suddenly felt wet so he hurried and ran to the bathroom to find blood in his pants. He grabbed some tissue and lightly touched the bleeding part and blood shot across the room (luckily into the shower). He said it was the craziest thing he’s ever seen. We went to the ER (it happened on a Saturday) because what could be more frightening then shooting blood from your man parts. It turned out to be a hematoma and wasn’t really a big deal but was definitely better to be safe than sorry. It’s been almost 3 months, he still has the hematoma it has gotten much smaller but is still there so basically it’s been like have 3 testicles which has been pretty interesting. Weird, but somewhat funny experience.

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