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Against All Odds - Wayne's Story

26 August, 2016

I know I pinched the title, but I must share this life changing experience with my peers.

After 12 months of blissful marriage to my lovely wife, Jodie, we decided as a couple to try and have a child. Could this happen? How do we go about this? Who can we talk to? Where do we go? These were questions that had to be addressed and answered.

We organized a meeting with Noelene Cooper from Spinal Outpatients and told her of our plans. During our meeting with her, she organized for me to come back and have a sperm sample taken. While maintaining a healthy sex life is important to many people, the ability to ejaculate is decreased or even impossible after a spinal cord injury. This is the primary cause of infertility in spinal cord injured men. It is just customary for a spinal injured man to have poor sperm quality with minimal or no mobility, making pregnancy a far off dream unless, of course, you sign up for the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) program.

My first sperm sample was taken and analyzed. To our disappointment it was negative, all the sperm were dead. However, we didn’t give up: instead, we organized for another opinion.

"...my diet consisted of lots of almonds, fresh fruit and veggies so that I could give myself the best possible chance of having healthy sperm."

It is essential that you check with your doctor before using the Ferticare vibrator as it causes your blood pressure to rise and could bring on hyperflexia.

A second sperm sample was taken at the Spinal Clinic. This time they used a small hand held vibrator made by Ferticare to assist in sperm collection, it is a much less intrusive way of obtaining the sperm. The results of this sample indicated that the sperm were alive but their mobility was very low. However, Professor Gordon Baker from the Royal Women’s Hospital informed us that we had a 15%-20% chance of falling pregnant through the IVF program. After three failed attempts in the IVF program, we sought out alternative options.

I was told by Professor Gordon Baker that by ejaculating on a regular basis, the sperm could increase in potency and mobility, therefore giving us a better chance of falling pregnant. This really caught my attention, especially since I was able to ejaculate quickly using the Ferticare vibrator.

The use of the vibration concept has proven quite effective in the treatment of infertility. While the technique is often performed initially in a clinical setting, it can also be performed at home, which can create some added intimacy with your partner (Please note: It is essential that you check with your doctor before using the Ferticare vibrator as it causes your blood pressure to rise and could bring on hyperflexia).

I was promised a loan of one of these machines when it became available, as I was told they were very expensive and hard to get because they came from overseas. After two years of waiting, I then decided to try and purchase my own Ferticare vibrator. I was lucky enough to have computer and internet access in my role at AQA, so I used every spare moment to surf the net and look for relevant sites! I quickly discovered that Queensland Hospital used them regularly. I rang them for some information and they gave me a number to Endovision Pty Ltd in Glen Waverley who market the Ferticare vibrators. I rang and organized to see one of their representatives immediately!After meeting with the rep, I purchased a vibrator for $900.00. I had the advantage of knowing how well the Ferticare vibrator worked, so I couldn’t wait to use it! The rep wished me luck and off I went.

After 4 months of using the Ferticare vibrator, I went and saw Professor Baker again. He analyzed my sperm and said it was as good as any “able man”. I mentioned that I had been using the Vibro - Ejaculation method and he told me to continue with what I was doing (Professor Baker, who knew of the procedure, said he tried to import a vibrator into Australia from India but couldn’t get it through customs because of its high power source). My sperm increased its mobility because I was now ejaculating on a regular basis.

"I know there are a lot of spinal injured men out there who would love to father children but are concerned that IVF is the only, and rather expensive, option. But as I have proven, falling pregnant naturally is a possibility as long as sperm potency and mobility is increased."

Ryan Matthew Michael Bradshaw was born at 10.00am on the 1st of February, weighing 8lb, 7oz. I was present at the birth and I must say that it was the most moving and emotional experience I have ever witnessed.

I must also mention that Zinc is an important ingredient in this whole fertility process. After trying zinc tablets, which my body didn’t agree with, I discovered that almonds were a natural source of zinc. So my diet consisted of lots of almonds, fresh fruit and veggies so that I could give myself the best possible chance of having healthy sperm. Unfortunately, coffee lovers, it is essential to cut out caffeine intake as it has a negative impact on healthy sperm production. In addition, Jodie was a great support as she also chose to follow a healthy lifestyle.

Once my sperm increased in potency and mobility we chose to conceive naturally however we had to get the timing right. Each month we took note of when ovulation occurred and then in conjunction with the Ferticare vibrator, Jodie fell pregnant naturally.

Ryan Matthew Michael Bradshaw was born at 10.00am on  the 1st of February, weighing 8lb, 7oz. I was present at the birth and I must say that it was the most moving and emotional experience I have ever witnessed. I actually cried when he came out into the world. I was so proud when I cut the umbilical cord and held him for the first time. The staff at the Royal Women’s Hospital were fantastic and helped me in every way to feel part of birth experience.

I know there are a lot of spinal injured men out there who would love to father children but are concerned that IVF is the only, and rather expensive, option. But as I have proven, falling pregnant naturally is a possibility as long as sperm potency and mobility is increased.

I hope this story reinforces that there are several options available for men with spinal injuries to have children. Please email or phone me at AQA if you want more details. I’m not a doctor, however this procedure worked for me, and so it is also a real possibility for you! For those that are interested, AQA has a video on how the Ferticare Vibrator works.

I would personally like to thank Dr Gordon Baker because even though he is a busy man, he always took our calls and supported us every step of the way.

Jodie is such a proud and good mum. I want to thank her for being such a wonderful woman! Throughout the whole process she continued to be as determined as I was to fall pregnant and have a baby. She made me extremely proud as she strutted around the house displaying her well rounded stomach. She was always thinking about what she had to prepare before our baby came home from hospital, knowing she would be immobile for a couple of months and not wanting to burden me with shopping for baby products. I think we have about 500 Huggies nappies, ready for ME to change Ryan – GREAT!!! The fun begins…

Ryan is now 11 years old and has just competed in his first footy final for North Ringwood.

"I hope this story reinforces that there are several options available for men with spinal injuries to have children."

Wayne Bradshaw is a father, avid lover of football and information officer at Spire.

Tags: Blog, Health & Wellbeing, Relationships, body image & sexuality, Parenting & family