Trouble in Paradise

Six months of trying for a pregnancy with no luck, so Mikael and his wife decides to find out if something is wrong. Mikael is sent off to do a sperm assessment and is now coming back to find out the result.


Bad News, and More Bad News

Dr Anne Miller’s office in North Sydney has one distinguishing feature: an antique wooden sign featuring the hand-painted names of various doctors, and stating “Any exploratory surgery attempted.” I wasn’t sure I was interested in any exploratory surgery—and certainly none to be “attempted”—for whatever I could be suffering from.

“There is both good and bad news,” Dr Miller began, obviously sure that the classic line would put me at ease. Personally I wasn’t sure exactly what I was supposed to read out of that. Perhaps it meant: “You can’t have kids, but our tests shows that you are hung like a horse!”

“So what’s wrong?” I asked wanting to get it out of the way.

She pulled out a couple of pages and showed them to me.


Mr. SVANSTROM attended our Laboratory where he provided a semen specimen for analysis. An executive report is presented below and a detailed Semen Analysis Report is attached.

Semen Volume:              9.1 ml        within the referenced range

Sperm Concentration:       16.7x10^6/ml  below the referenced range

Rapid Progressive motility: 21%           below the referenced range

Progressive motility:       67%           within the referenced range

Vitality:                   66%           below referenced range

Normal Forms                 2%           see note below

TZI                        1.89          see note below


Note: Data from assisted reproductive programs suggest that, as sperm morphology falls below 5% normal forms using 1999 strict criteria, the fertilization in vitro may fail. Similarly as TZI value rises over 1.80 the probability of pregnancy in vitro decreases.


Patient:                   SVANSTROM, Mikael


Referred by:

Sample provided:           22-Mar-02     Abstinence:          7 day(s)

Collection                 SIVF lab      Masturbation:        Complete

Liquefaction               Complete      Viscocity:           Normal

Sperm clumping:            0%            Round Cells:         Few seen

Ph:                        8.1

Ejaculate Volume:          9.1 ml

Sperm Concentration:       16.7 millions/ml     Borderline low

Total Sperm count:         151.97 millions/ejac.

Sperm Motility at:         30 minutes

                           21% rapid

                           67% progressive

                           71% motile

Progression rating:        ¾

Motility Index:            159/300

Sperm Vitality:            66%

Sperm Morphology:          WHO 1999 Criteria

                           2% Normal forms

Teratozoospermia Index:    1.89 TZI             Unusually high

              Defects:      98% head

                           46% tail

                           43% tail

                           0% cyto droplets


It felt weird having my masturbation and sexual habits dissected scientifically on a computer read-out. I had no idea what most of the figures meant, but I looked at the pages and nodded knowingly. This was something I had learnt to do through my time in university and my work experience. The fact that I had no idea what something was about was no excuse for not looking like I knew exactly what was going on. In an attempt to seem really clever, I looked through the papers, um’d and ah’d as I saw that some of the measurements were judged as unusually high, while others were judged as low.

“Hmm, seems as if my sperm concentration is below the referenced range,” I said grasping the only measurement that made any sense to me. “Is that the problem?”

Dr Miller explained to me that my sperm concentration wasn’t really a problem, since my semen volume was higher than normal. This made me really proud, even though the only time that was really useful was if you wanted a really big wet patch or if you were a porn star. I didn’t fit in to either category, so my pride was soon forgotten.

What I should have looked at was the Teratozoospermia Index, which to me sounded like the name of some strange alien being. And, in a way, I was right. The doctor told me that I had a very low rate of normal sperm. My testicles were filled to the brim with mutant sperm. Perhaps it was just my misspent youth, but I couldn’t help thinking there was some secret government scheme to make all males infertile to further a matriarchal government structure.

This was in no way helped by the doctor telling me that these mutations could be the result of sickness like mumps or possibly radiation. She even went to the extent of asking me where I was when the Chernobyl disaster happened.

I felt like telling her that I was actually standing inside the nuclear reactor waving my cock around for all to see at the time and did she really think that could have anything to do with it? Instead I asked what the good news was, since I hadn’t heard anything remotely positive so far.

“They can fix these things nowadays,” she said and referred me to another doctor.

Somehow I felt that she could at least try and sound scientific about it. There is nothing more reassuring than having no idea whatsoever of what a specialist is telling you. To find out that “they can fix these things nowadays,” made me feel like there was a fuse plug missing or something. Perhaps there are spare testicles? Something good must have come from cloning sheep!