Infertility terminology explained

Apologies for the quiet spell, I have been away for the holidays and on coming back was inspired by an article explaining some medical terminology. Here are my alternative definitions.

Male infertility

Azoospermia: ‘sperm full of zoo animals’
Lack of sperm cells in semen. About 2% of the total male population is affected by it.

Oligozoospermia: ‘sperm full of zoo animals made of plastic bricks’
When sperm cell concentration is lower than 20 million per cc, or when a whole ejaculated matter has less than 40 million spermatozoids.

Polizoospermia: ‘sperm full of zoo animals wearing police uniforms’
It takes place when there are more than 200 million spermatozoids per cc. It may be a cause of sterility since such a high concentration can difficult their movement.

Astenozoospermia: ‘sperm full of a zoo animals who have musical farts’
This case consists in a decrease of mobile sperm cells. It’s the most frequent seminal alteration.

Teratozoospermia: ‘fear of going to sperm zoo’
It’s the presence of an abnormally high proportion of morphologically altered sperm cells. It is commonly associated to alterations in movement quality and produced by anomalies in the formation of sperm cells.

Normozoospermia: ‘sperm full of zoo animals except no cows’
Normozoospermia is diagnosed when semen follows the parameters of normality.

Female infertility

Amenorrhea: ‘there is a man over here’
The absence of menstruation

Chlamydia: ‘condition of having a shellfish in the ear’
A sexually transmitted disease that may cause fallopian tube scarring or blockage. It is responsible for up to 50 percent of all pelvic inflammatory infections.

Endometriosis: ‘situation at the end of the night when at the restaurant you must explain to your sister that they have no steak left’
A medical condition that involves the presence of tissue similar to the uterine lining in abnormal locations. This condition can affect both fertilization of the egg and embryo implantation.

Fibroids: ‘women getting married who are ignited’
Round growths that develop in the uterus. They are almost always benign, or non-cancerous.

Luteal dysfunction: ‘where a green/blue toilet doesn’t work’
Luteal dysfunction is when the luteal phase is shorter than normal and/or progesterone levels during the luteal phase are below normal.

Miscarriage: ‘when you step into a car or horse buggy and miss, falling into or out of the car’
A pregnancy ending in the spontaneous loss of the embryo or fetus before 20 weeks of gestation

Vaginismus: ‘where one’s vagina has turned into a mouse’

Any more suggestions please leave a comment or tweet me @shenanigannery


Pre-prepared responses to those tricky questions

For those of us trying to get knocked up, Xmas can be a tricky little bastard. Here come the well intentioned family and friends, massing like a swarm of ravens in Hitchcock’s The Birds. With the simplest of questions, “So when are you two having kids?” they can turn us into quivering wrecks.

Advice I’ve read suggests that you stop going out (paraphrased slightly and somewhat hormonal interpretation I’ll admit) or pre-prepare answers. Why should we freaks stop leaving the house just because our dearest has the sensitivity of an egocentric rhino with Aspergers dipped in cement?

So I’ll take the alternative of preparing some answers. Here are my list for this festive season, especially for you dear reader. I hope they come in handy.

When are you two having kids?

– My horoscope says it will be a full moon with Sagittarius rising when the rings of Saturn are visible in the twilight.

– I actually prefer beef and there’s less risk of murder charges.

– It’ll definitely be a Tuesday. That much I’m sure.

– You’re right! Hubby/boyf let’s go screw now.

– The voices say that if I strangle three more innocents it will come to me.

– We have planted our cabbage patch and I keep checking, but nothing yet!

– We had them 3 years ago but we keep them in a cage in a cellar. We’ve changed our name to Frietzel and my hubby’s doing the DIY work on the house now (too soon?)

– Actually, we’re going to Africa for Christmas and we’re doing a Brangelina.

– Ebay’s fresh out at the moment.

– Aliens stole his spunk, we’re waiting to find a donor, you interested?

– I just bought a new pair of skinny jeans so I can’t afford to put on any weight right now!

– I’m intolerant of kids you know. It’s not quite an allergy but my colon gets backed up whenever I hear their noises.

– I’m project managing the baby situation. We have analysed the cost-benefits, thought through the options and outputs. I’m getting a stakeholder group together and I’d like you to be on it. When we’ve agreed a shared vision and milestones we’ll initiate phase 2.

– Are you kidding me? I get alcohol, regular sex, plenty of sleep, have time for intellectual conversation and with the kegels I do my vagina is like as tight as an accountant’s arse. What you got?

Any feedback on your use of these responses would be gratefully received. Also any additions to this list you have, please share here, or tweet me @shenanigannery.

Don’t know yet what the next blog’s on. I’m in a hormonal mood, don’t harass me!

Tips for surviving the lady monster

Living with the she-monster who’s trying to get pregnant can be a dangerous sport. Not just as a partner but also as a friend. She’s the PMT dragon on steroids. Here are some tips for surviving her, particularly in the week before the vampire lollipops are doing business.


1) Start by reading my previous blog. This is what she is thinking. Do NOT laugh at her if you want to keep your testicles.

2) You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and WILL be used against you. You however, are NOT entitled to defence counsel.

3) Agree with her. You may not think this is important/right/sane but doing it will significantly increase your lifespan. Even if she is explaining her theory that chocolate increases the chances of pregnancy. Agree.

4) Under no circumstances tell her to relax. This is not the magic cure to infertility, which is a medical condition. Would you say it to a diabetic, epileptic or cancer patient? No because it sounds patronising and is likely to get you killed.

5) Generally do not give her ANY advice. Unless you think it is something she is doing already and/or wants to do. Examples of safe advice include: “eat this chocolate” or “I think I should give you a foot rub”

6) Complaining about your sleepless nights/poo under fingernails/vomit in bra does not make her feel better. Unless you don’t have a child.

7) She cannot withhold sex as a punishment any more. Do EVERYTHING possible to not piss her off. She may start withholding other things: cooked dinners, tidy home, washing (dishes, clothes or even herself), she may start wearing onesies. DO NOT COMPLAIN!

8) Bring her wine/chocolate. Especially if you have broken any of the above rules. In fact carry it on you just in case.

9) What’s the difference between this she-monster and a 5’10 gorgeous supermodel? Nothing if you know what’s good for you!

10) There’s only 9. Don’t even think about asking where number 10 is!

Watch this space for my next blog which will give you some pre-prepared answers to the question every she-monster dreads in holiday season.

Whackjob week

I’m entering the week that I affectionately term whackjob week. Boys and gals you may think your lovely lady turns into the thing from the black lagoon before her periods (as an aside, watch this funny Bodyform video). But PMT is Robin to the Batman that is the lady waiting to see if she is pregnant.

If you know your lady well you may smile at this comment, think you know the craziness she goes through. But I’m telling you now, sorry people you don’t.

For the woman trying to get pregnant, whackjob week, or the week before the period is due turns the sane, powerful, logical and rounded woman from Dr Banner into the Incredible Sulk. You may not see it, but inside she has developed three at least 3 additional personalities who alternatively crave Downton Abbey, sweet-loving affection and the slow and painful death of anyone who gets in her way.

Here is a short play about the inner workings of the pregnancy-seeking female mind.

Note: all characters are fragmented personalities of the same demented woman.


Lady1: My boobs are definitely more sore than usual. That’s a good sign right?

Lady2: A great sign. Do a test.

Lady1: Also my sense of smell seems more acute. Sounds weird right, but surely a sign ? I’m sure I read it on a blog somewhere.

Lady2: Totally a sign. Do a test.

Lady3: Don’t do the f***ing test. It’ll only come out negative and you’ll spend the evening crying and eating ice cream. Watch My Girl and save yourself £8

Lady1: You’re right. I’ll leave it a couple of days and see.

(6 hours later)

Lady1: Y’know I’ll be out on Saturday night. If I know I’m not, I can get drunk, eat junk food and forget my sorrows.

Lady3: No you won’t. You’ll have 1 drink then feel guilty that you’re polluting your baby incubator and go home and cry.

Lady2: Just do the test and then you’ll know.

Lady1: I forgot to say, my thighs have been itchy. I’m sure that’s new and must be hormonal. Also it’s now November so if I’m 4 weeks that means he/she will be a Virgo. I get on really well with virgos.

Lady3: Seriously?

Lady2: I’m starting to get bored of this, do the bloody test already so we can go home.

Lady3: Ahem. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Lady1: Ok. Going in. Dammit if peeing on your hand were a sport, I’d go pro!

(10 mins later)

Lady1: (weeping) Screw it. I’m not going out on Saturday. I’ll just ‘have a headache’.


Tune in for my next blog which will give you some top tips to surviving your encounter with the pregnancy-seeking lady monster.

Internal exam etiquette

This blog described the uninitiated lady’s journey on the path to motherhood. It is intended to be graphic and expose the fact that reality is not pink and fluffy.

I discovered that for cervical smears the best clothing is a loose dress. That way even spread eagled on the couch, from the perspective of cervix-owner, one can pretend not to be naked and vulnerable. Also the draped skirt acts as a theatrical curtain adding a dramatic quality to the situation. Perhaps tassels and a drumroll with an explosion of “Ta da!” would be the next step?

Today is the internal exam. My question regarding etiquette is ‘to shave or not to shave?’ Will the doc be able to see anything if obscured by the bush? Alternatively would a full Brazilian provide limited if any modesty? Usually I prefer something between a neatly topiaried lady garden to the full and proud 70s jungle. A fully fledged GP having gazed upon many a twinkling eye of Venus might not be phased by any garden foliage, but as I am seeing a trainee. This almost tempts me to go for something extravagant, so that the horror and shock are intentional rather than accidental.

I visited an alternative medicine practitioner many moons ago and, I can’t remember why, but she asked me if I waxed the decor. When I replied that I did not, she nodded solemnly and said ‘I didn’t think you would’. An I internal mind gasp followed on my part reaching the face only as a slight smile. How dare she? Maybe I should do it just to prove her prejudgment wrong. Alas, no. Even the veiled indignation I felt was not enough to endure that kind of pain.

The fact that it is called an internal exam I think adds to the problem. Should I be revising? What if I fail? Half imagined scenes of the doc realising I have sub-human lady bits are rushing through my brain.

Could it result in a mechanic style sharp intake of breath through the teeth, tutting and patronising head tilt with a ‘when did you last get this serviced?’

Maybe this nervousness about the dreaded exam comes from the fact that I haven’t had a service in an awfully long time. I wonder if women who regularly visit obgyns get accustomed to this sort of thing?

The last time (apart from the swabs yesterday) that I had someone peering at my nether regions in a Sherlock-esque manner was 10 years ago. This always leads to much admonishing by members of my GP practice. Whether I’ve visited for an infection or injury they all want to waggle their fingers and tell me to get it seen to. As if not doing so could lead to a blow out on the motorway (I’m sorry for so many car metaphors, I will stop now).

The point is that these internal exams, swabs, smears etc are nasty. What could we do to make them more bearable? How about a smear party? Imagine the gals all laughing hilariously with glasses of bubbly while having these exams together in the living room?

Even the word smear sounds rather horrible. What about instead a dipstick, a dib-dab, a sherbet fountain, a down under mascara treatment, a turkey stuffing session or taking in a show?

Women, or at least the ones I know, don’t tend to talk to each other about this stuff. Maybe if we did we wouldn’t feel quite so embarrassed to strip off and show all.

Fanny jacks, STIs and Richard O’brien

Personally I’m rather fed up of the diatribe of beautific pre pregnancy and motherhood crap I receive on a daily basis. This blog is going to… for now at least… focus on the bloody ridiculous business that is trying to conceive.

Chlamyddia and gonorrhea test, cervical smear and blood tests. Oh what a wonderful to do list. Such is the joy of departing on the wondrous joy that is the journey to motherhood.

Having sexually transmitted disease tests is never the most fun one can have on a Wednesday afternoon. While I have no real reason to believe I should have a clapped up snapper, the hypochondriac kicks in. What if I’ve had it for years and just never known? My friend, a few steps ahead of me down this path, was told, ‘you never do really know if your partner has been faithful’. Cheers doc, what a way to make a girl feel like the stunning pre-glowing angel she’s been taught this period of life is supposed to be.
Imagine it if you will. Spread-eagled on the nurse’s couch. Fanny jacked up like a fiat punto on the side of the M4. What looks like a giant toothbrush stabbing away at my ‘innermost sanctum’. Cotton buds on such long sticks even a girl can get an inferiority complex (not sure I can take all of that, love, maybe a bit of foreplay would help?).

A quick aside. The last time I had the joy of being in this position the doc had a photo of an Arabic market scene sellotaped to the ceiling above the couch. “Imagine you’re there” she compassionately offers. Spreadeagled and naked from the waist down with my punani doing an impression of a dalek? I don’t think that Trinny and Suzannah would advocate this as the ‘look for the souk’ do you?

Anyway, back to this afternoon. There we are in the midst of this debacle having a setting-the-world to rights conversation about how women should talk more about their difficulties getting pregnant.

For someone who’s been trying enthusiastically for nearly 2 years. It is absolutely wonderful to hear from mums that they too had a few scenic routes on their own paths. They too have been through the wonderful swabs, scans, pee-stick routines ad infinitum. Solidarity is what I seek. I want us to stop painting this picture of glamorous, rosy-cheeked, ‘oops we kissed and now we’re preggers’ malarkey.

Occasionally I lose my rag with the inane “so, when do we hear the patter of little feet?” question that gets trooped out at every family gathering. I know others who physically wince at this question too. Why do we tolerate it? I fantasise about answering something to the tune of “actually we’ve been hard at it for 2 years now. I think we might have drained enough spunk to fertilise a blue whale but for some reason it ain’t caught (whale or me)”. This would inevitably be followed by auntie taking an awkward gulp, looking shameful and suddenly needing another glass of sherry. People need to stop pretending this stuff is easy or just a matter of choice. Why is it her right to tell me I better get to it before my clock runs out. You’re allowed to lecture me about running out of time ONLY when you go bald, start wearing an oversized leopard print blazer and shouting “will you start the fans, please!”.