We met with the doctor we plan to use to help us conceive yesterday. Oddly, I wasn’t nearly as worked up about this appointment as I was for the first (probably because I traveled for work last week and work in general has been so hectic and preoccupying me quite a bit), but overall it went well and we are actually getting ready to take some finite steps forward in the next few weeks.
We told him in the prework that it was our desire to do reciprocal IVF as long as it is financially plausible (and according to the preliminary paperwork we got back from their billing staff, we think it is – we have a call tomorrow to confirm some information), and I expected a lecture when we sat down for the consult and he was surprisingly frank about the fact that he thinks it is a fine way to conceive and he has no qualms about assisting us with that without first trying IUI. I think his exact words were something along the lines of “this is great. We have two sets of uteruses, two sets of ovaries – I mean, we have options. You carry her egg. She carries your egg. Whatever. We’ll get you pregnant.” We’d beern told that he has a dry sense of humor and he lived up to our expectations to a “T”. We felt incredibly comfortable with him (much more so than doctor #1). The only thing I didn’t love is that when I asked if he recommended a specific sperm bank, he said “they’re pretty much all the same. Just pick a guy who you think would be a good father to your kid.” Um…none of them, thanks. Our kid will have two moms. Then he made a comment about how if my wife’s eggs didn’t work for some reason, then I “could be the mom”. Again, I get where he is coming from but it felt like the first of many time that I had to point out that regardless of the biological link or the uterus used to grow the baby: we will BOTH be the moms. 100%. Full stop.
He told us that in order to begin this process, we would both need to come in for internal ultrasounds and bloodwork (during our periods as he said it would be easier to see our egg follicles or something like that – I don’t completely understand the science behind it and it kind of grosses me out to be laying on an exam table with my period, but he’s the expert so onward we march). Then I think he said that I would have to do a “mock implantation” to survey the layout of my uterus to determine how the actual implantation would commence, and then I *think* we are in the clear until we are ready to start the process for my wife’s egg retrieval (which will require her to self inject hormones for a two(?) week period with monitoring every-other-day until the date of her egg retrieval. After that they would inseminate the eggs, wait for a week or two for them to mature (I think its a week, but I honestly forget – I took fewer notes than I planned to as I forgot my good notebook and only had a few tiny sheets of paper – plus I was really excited and listening and not really eager to write). Then we have to decide if we want to do any kind of genetic testing which is not covered by my wife’s insurance (unless medically necessary – which is interesting as I’m honestly not sure what would constitute a need. Perhaps a known genetic condition? Not sure.) We’re still up in the air about this process which a few other people recommended and we’ve been doing some reading on, as it will cost somewhere in the ballpark of $5k.
Overall, he said that we will want to get started about 3 months before we are actually hoping to conceive (and he warned us that success rates for IUI hover around 20% and IVF is around 50% so he suggested that we be open to the fact that the first try may not go as planned) so since we were targeting August for implantation (for the reasons mentioned previously) we plan to go in April (within the next 2 weeks) for our “period ultrasounds” and then we’ll go from there.
I was already overwhelmed by all of that, and today I got an email (randomly) from one of two sperm banks that I created an account with and was notified that they were having a 2 day “sale” (yeah. Sperm banks run sales on sperm, evidently. Who knew??) It’s 20% off for 4+ vials (which we would likely require as we plan to use one for this round and perhaps several more in a few years if all goes well, as we’d like to conceive the 2nd time via IUI and have two biological siblings (one each genetically linked to my wife and I). We thought we had our bank narrowed down but this threw an interesting wrench into things (as that changes the overall price dynamics of one compared to the other) and then I started doing some google research and discovered a 3rd that we may want to check out. Initially, we were thinking that we’d wait until closer to the date to select our donor, but now knowing that sales are a thing, and that this process will likely begin to pick up more quickly once we get going with the initial testing, we are hoping to narrow down our “guy” sooner, so we are going to dig into some heavy research this weekend.
I’m almost glad that we set a pretty firm date (well…month, anyway) for our first targeted implantation, as I think if this were all a freely moving process, I’d really be driving myself crazy with the details at the moment (as I tend to do with a lot of things in my life such as our home search 2 years ago, and a lot of our wedding details). Knowing that we are not on a time crunch and can breath and relax through this process makes me feel so much better.
Here’s to continued baby steps (pun intended), and a narrowed down donor in the near future.