Friday, June 14, 2013

Introducing... The Fertility Clinic. Proceed At Your Own Risk

March 19, 2013

The first thing I saw when entering the clinic alone were couples. In the waiting room lined up in a row of chairs along the wall, was this sight: man, woman, man, woman, man woman. Holding hands. Reviewing literature. Filing out forms with a joint pen. Waiting there together.

Great. If I had forgotten that I was without a babydaddy partner in this, that reality was suddenly smack in my face. But the twinge of wistful sadness came and went quickly. In fact, I felt empowered. Not overwhelmingly, but enough to boost up my chin and propel me confidently to the front desk. I reminded myself that I bought my first house alone, and back then, single women in their 20s buying houses alone was still a novelty. I liked being a novelty. Yes, I told myself, I am a pioneer for the single ladies. Give me those goddamn forms to fill out, nurse.

The receptionists at the front desk were exceptionally nice. No grumpies allowed in this office apparently. This is the place for positive vibes. A place to keep hope alive. The sisterhood is strong here, and not just because it's overrun by women jacked up on lady hormones.

The lovely receptionist took my health insurance information just to make me laugh. Some health plans cover a portion of fertility treatments, but it's rare. And if the baby doesn't hang in there the first time, the insurance men (you know they're men!) write you off and say, Pay for it yourself next time, you infertile loser! My insurance plan won't even bet on me for the first round. Children are not a medical necessity. In my case, it might even be a symptom of mental illness.
I was handed a clipboard with a thick set of forms. I found a chair to sit in – a single chair off by itself, dammit! – and settled in. The fourth line on the form began asking for my partner's info: name, address, DOB, profession, etc. I left that blank. I'll admit I was a little irritated by the presumptive nature of the questions about my “partner.” But then I remembered it takes two humans, a man and a woman, to create a baby. Oh, riiiiight. 

So I went onward, leaving a whole series of pages blank about my partner's medical history and family sicknesses. It made the whole process go very fast. I gave myself a gold star for being efficient.

My consult was to be with Dr. P, the clinic's director whose professional bio says he assisted a 63-year-old woman to become pregnant, the oldest mom on record at the time in 1997. That made me feel young. I also liked the idea that he works with a lot of women in their 40s. I figured he'd have lots of experiential awareness of how to squeeze out the last life from my rusting ovaries. He also happens to be a professor at a top medical university.

I felt good that I was about to meet one of the best at this extended fertility business, and as I was soon to become acutely aware, it was an extremely lucrative business. (Desperate, longing women, raging with hormones, a bomb ticking in their ovaries. You get the picture.) I wasn't sure yet what I would do. Today, I was here to learn my options, only one of which was egg freezing.

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