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Couple highlights journey of male infertility with hopeful story after birth of their son

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Posted at 11:37 AM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 11:38:06-04

CLEVELAND — This Father’s Day takes on a whole new meaning for a man who was told by doctors that he would never be able to have children of his own.

Two years ago, Eric and Brienne Alves were told they wouldn’t be able to conceive after Eric was diagnosed with Azoospermia, a condition that causes male infertility.

“When you’re told there’s a possibility that you don’t have sperm, there’s a possibility that you won’t have a child, you sort of feel the shame,” said Eric.

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But Eric wasn’t alone. After meeting with an infertility specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, urologist and male infertility specialist Dr. Neel Parekh explained infertility can affect both males and females.

"Infertility is a couple’s disease. 50% of the time there is a male factor involved in fertility so it’s not only the female side.”

The couple tried different medications and underwent a year of testing before deciding to opt for a surgical solution called Microtese (microsurgical testicular sperm extraction), which is the gold standard surgery for Azoospermia to try to find sperm that can be used for IVF.

While Eric was in surgery, Brienne underwent an egg retrieval down the hall.

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“As I was being wheeled over to wait for Eric in the waiting room, Dr. Parekh actually stopped me in the hallway to tell me that they had found sperm. I immediately burst into tears, the nurses got teary-eyed and even the doctor got choked up. It is a moment that I will never forget for the rest of my life," she said.

Four months later, an embryo was transferred into her uterus and on Eric’s birthday, they found out they were pregnant.

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“I was hoping to give him a positive test as a gift and it worked out,” Brienne said.

Baby Noah is now seven months old and his parents call him a miracle.

Brienne’s advice for other couples who are struggling is to remain hopeful even in the most challenging times.

"Two years ago we were told by our first doctor there was no hope for us and the only way we could ever have children was by using a sperm donor. I’m so glad I refused to listen to her and that I don’t take no for an answer. Anyone else out there in the same boat, don't ever give up. Get a second opinion, get a third and a fourth. We got six," she said.

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