In 1995, when I was first diagnosed with testicular cancer, I was 14 years old. After the first surgery (removal of the testicle), the doctor suggested a lymph node dissection, which would impair my chances of having children. I figured that I really did not have a choice. Before having the surgery he also suggested that I go to a fertility clinic to bank my sperm, so I did.
After a few years I decided to get tested to see if I my other testicle could provide a sufficient amount of sperm to have children naturally. It turned out that I could. At that point I almost decided to destroy my sperm that was banked in Montreal, however my parents convinced me otherwise. Thank goodness I listened because in 2001 I was diagnosed with testicular cancer on the other testicle. I was devastated. I thought of it as taking away my manhood. Who would want to be with someone that has so many problems?
Apparently there is someone for everyone. In 2003 I met my fiancé, and we decided that we wanted children. In 2005 we tried artificial insemination 5 times without any success. We were told that my banked sperm was not good enough quality for this procedure. We were told that without in-vitro fertilization we were never going to be able to have children. This meant waiting another year before even attempting the procedure because of the high price tag.
The process was a gruelling one for my wife, with many injections, fluctuating hormones and many trips to Montreal. There were many tense moments during each procedure. None were as tense as the pregnancy test in the nurse’s office 2 weeks after the 2 fertilized eggs were implanted.
Overall, the journey was not all bad. How many people can say they saw their kids when they were 8 cells. And now they are almost a year old, and almost ready to do it all again.