We had our first appointment with a fertility clinic last week. I had been excited about it all week. Even though we aren’t planning to get pregnant until late this year, it was so incredibly exciting to think about taking the first step: making the process REAL.
I could barely sleep the night before. It felt a little like Christmas did as a child: the anticipation was electric. When Thursday finally rolled around my stomach hurt all day (I still don’t know if it was nerves or a physical reaction to something I ate), but when the time finally arrived to leave work and head out, I felt like I was floating.
When we pulled into the parking lot, I was disappointed to see a rather dismal looking building with only a few scattered cars in the parking lot. It almost looked like the exterior to a prison. I don’t know what I was envisioning (I mean, it’s February in the Northeast and everything is looking pretty sad and grey these days) but it just didn’t look like a place where new life was created. Now, I know that people get pregnant in all kinds of happy and sad places, and I’m not complaining – just an observation.
The inside matched the outside for the most part – the lobby was painted a cheerful, bright color, and was tastefully decorated, but the doctor’s office and exam room looked tired. Worn. The doctor scribbled my health history on a piece of computer paper, and then asked my wife most of the same questions (he missed a few – I’m not sure if it was on purpose or not), before beginning to tell us about our options. We talked about IUI and success rates (which he estimated to be around 15% – which I thought was incredibly low), and he got into great detail about what happens when a sperm and egg join (which I was already pretty well versed on after taking biology and physiology in both high school and college – but it was interesting nontheless) and he provided recommendations for reputable sperm banks, and talked to us about what would be required if we elected to use a known donor (we aren’t). Then he explained how IVF worked, the hormones used to stimulate ovulation, the procedure for harvesting the eggs (which includes being “put to sleep” with general anesthesia) and the overall success rates. I explained that I am terrified of having twins, and he let me know that while they typically insert two embryos with the hopes of one implanting) he could – at our request – insert one, although he said that in his experience, the odds of identical twins are also slightly higher in cases of IVF (he didn’t seem sure why) and said he even knew of a case in which a woman gave birth to two sets of identical twins after she had two embryos implanted and both split into identical twins. I’m still getting used to the possibility of giving birth to ONE baby, and waking up at night for ONE baby, and keeping ONE baby alive: I would be terrified if someone told me I would have two together (though my wife is a twin, so I suppose that would make for a good story 🙂
We then talked about reciprocal IVF – a procedure that we would prefer above all else if it proves to be financially feasible. That would involve my wife being the “egg donor” and myself the carrier – giving us both a biological connection to the baby. We are still in a back and forth process with the insurance company to see if any of it would be covered (my wife has AMAZING insurance, but apparently this is new to them) so we should know more soon if that is a possibility. We have money saved up for this process, but not the amount that it would cost out-of-pocket, so we have a lot to learn before making any big decisions.
By the way – talking about fertility with someone you barely know on the end of a 1-800 customer service number – even if it is for your insurance company – is incredibly awkward. Maybe I’m just a little bit of a prude, but discussing sperm, insemination, and ovulation with stranger just feels…strange. Guess I’m just going to have to get used to that.
Our next appointment is in early March with a 2nd clinic, and we have a 3rd appointment set up for late March (note to anyone who is interested in meeting with a fertility clinic: THEY SCHEDULE REALLY FAR OUT in some cases – heads up!)
Anyway – this has been hanging out in “draft” mode for close to a week now, and anything additional that I probably would have thought to add is pretty much gone, now, so I am just going to say “until next time”.