Admittedly, he was an unusual patient. It was not only his generous size (2700 lb) but also his lack of clear speech in any discernable language that distinguished him from others I’ve treated. But, like most other men (80%), he had a great idea of what to do to conceive, but had the timing all wrong.
You see unlike humans, walruses are seasonal breeders. The females ovulate only once a year, in the autumn. Human females ovulate monthly. If conception occurs in walruses, an early embryo forms and remains quiet for up to 6 months until spring. Then, it implants and gestation (fetal development) begins. Female walruses are pregnant for 1 year and give birth in the summer when the arctic weather is the most kind to pup survival. This is very different from humans, in which implantation is immediate, gestation is 9 months, and births occur willy-nilly.
The problem with our walrus is that he is infertile because he is having his breeding “rut” in the spring. His timing is way off as the females are only fertile in the autumn. Consequently, there have been no pups born at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California. Ever. In fact, there have been only 10 pups born in the past 80 years to walruses in U.S. captivity, likely for the same reason. Why? According to Holley Muraco, the zoologist who contacted me for help, “the circadian day-night patterns in the U.S. are completely foreign to this arctic species and are confusing the normal breeding signals.” Simply stated, walruses in Napa are infertile because they live in Napa and not in the Yukon.
Holley had a great idea, one that I use in men all the time, to make the male walrus fertile, and it worked. She manually adjusted the walrus’s hormone balance with injections of luteinizing hormone (LH), a pituitary hormone. LH normally stimulates testosterone production by the testicle and hence sperm production. She gave the LH injections to the walrus in the early spring and within 8 weeks, he was making sperm again–exactly when it was needed. And violà, the zoo is now expecting its first walrus pup ever next May.
The reason Holley called me is that they are trying again for more pups and this time around, the walrus is not responding to the hormone injections. She thinks that he has developed a tolerance to it (makes antibodies that inactivate it) and she needs to try something else. Well it just so happens that I have another solution and we are trying it out as we speak. It’s a simple pill that I prescribe even more often than LH injections for my patients with a similar problem. It naturally stimulates LH and testosterone production and improves sperm counts.
You see, the goal is to get that human or walrus smiling and happy again by getting that pup or kid, helping each achieve what they want to achieve. In the words of Lewis Carroll in Alice and Wonderland: “The time has come,” the walrus said, “to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships – and sealing wax – of cabbages and kings.”