Anyone who's ploughed through the 750,000 words on this blog, might be surprised to learn that I don't mention everything that goes on in my life. I still, for example, haven't published the recording I made a few weeks ago of Lisa snoring. Which proves that blackmail can work. But in addition to Lisa's night-time respiratory problems (which, to my mind, explain the complaints we've had about drilling at unsocial hours), I've also chosen not to describe our attempts to have a second baby. Partly because this isn't a porn site, but mainly because it's hard to describe a sperm test without photos. And I couldn't hold my camera with one hand.
As it happens, on Thursday, 23rd December, Lisa and I went to see a consultant at the hospital about our failure to provide Amelie with a sibling. The doctor's name was Mr Kelada, so I was hoping his first name would be Pina, but sadly the road to fertility is strewn with disappointments, and this was just one of them. He's actually called Ehab. You can see him on the NHS though, so he's basically Rehab for people without capital. And here he is online. It's hard to believe that anyone has fewer Facebook friends than I do, but there you go. He probably doesn't ignore them as much as I do.
Mr Kelada turned out to be very friendly, and informed us that due to Lisa's great age, and the fact that we already have an Amster, the NHS won't fund any treatment, but it will fund the tests to determine if treatment is needed. It would then be up to us to decide if we're willing to pay for a baby. I didn't mention the consultation at the time, but I did write about buying kids on the internet. This blog contains so much subtext, it's scary.
Anyhoo, in the twelve weeks since that appointment, Lisa and I have undergone a battery of tests, some of them bloody, others just bloody intrusive. On Tuesday, 4th January, when I received a phone call from work on my day off, asking if I could go to Crawley the next day, I decided not to mention that I was at the hospital, holding a pot of my own sperm. I can be quite discreet when I want to be.
After a total of six tests, five for Lisa and one for me (I think I had it tougher though), we returned to see Mr Kelada at 4:30pm yesterday afternoon for the results. And the upshot is...
We're pretty normal. For our age. Which is to say that we're basically decrepit and falling apart, but it's to be expected. They managed to count 109 million sperms in the plastic pot I gave them, and whilst most of those need a motility scooter to get anywhere meaningful, there are apparently enough with a decent sense of direction to get the job done. Like their owner, they could do with being a bit more active, so he recommended that I take some Selenium, but other than that I'm ok. For a knackered bloke in his late 30s.
As for Lisa, her tubes received the all-clear, her ovarian reserves are raring to come off the bench, and she's ovulating like a battery chicken. On the downside, her FSH levels are on the upside. For those new to gynaecology, FSH stands for Follicle-Stimulating Hormone, which makes it sound like a cure for baldness, and according to Mr Kelada, for Lisa to have a good chance of conceiving, it should be below 8. Lisa's is 9.7. Which is apparently borderline, but "reasonable for someone her age". Or to put it another way, she's got about as much chance of conceiving as a woman in her 40s. Which I suppose is good news if you're Tony Blair.
I asked Ehab what he'd do in our position, and he said that if money's no object, he'd go for IVF. So he obviously hasn't seen my bank statements. He added that if he were us, he'd want to feel that he'd done everything he could, and given himself the best chance of success. Unfortunately, that chance of success is about 15% and costs £4,500 a time.
Having weighed it all up last night, I headed to Boots at lunchtime today for some Selenium. And I'm telling you now, that doesn't come cheap either. This child doesn't even exist yet, and it's already bleeding us dry.