Thursday, July 31, 2008

a plan

"Any kid that comes out of you is mine."

Surprisingly, C doesn't seem phased by the fact that he can't biologically father a child. Sure, it was disappointing news. And now we have to deal with paying for everything orselves (Massachusetts madates fertility coverage, but insurance plans provided by unions are exempt!). We have every reason to believe that my body is perfectly capable of conceiving and carrying a child, so this may not cost as much as we feared. I had a second blood test today to check day-3 hormone levels. If that comes back normal, like the day-21 test did, then we're good to go.

All the information I found online advised that my first step be a visit to a reproductive endocrinologist. That was ill-advised to some extent, but the face-to-face meeting with an expert in female reproductive biology, and the information I walked out of her office with, was worth the $300 price tag (once again, not covered by our union-provided insurance). I don't need an RE. At least, I think I don't since there is no indication of anything awry with my hormones or reproductive system. She was familiar with a Boston clinic that deals with inseminations using donor sperm, and referred me there. She also recommended a couple of Ob/Gyn's in my neighborhood, and provided a list of pre-conception tests that should be done before we invest in donated sperm and the insemination procedure.

The absence of sperm appears to be an issue dealt with almost exclusively by lesbian couples, which makes sense when you think about it. So the first place I went was a Boston clinic that caters to the LBGT community. They host a bi-monthly orientation session, which I attended in July (good timing!), and where just about all my questions were answered. They gave me a list of sperm banks, several donor catalogs and price lists, and explained exactly how the insemination is done. I didn't ask C to attend the orientation with me. I thought I would stand out less as a single woman than he would as the only male in a room full of lesbian couples. He might as well wear a neon sign announcing that he has no sperm. [He's OK with that fact, but I don't want anyone questioning his masculinity. He's no less a man just because his testicles happen not to make sperm.]

Another result of speaking with the staff from the first Boston clinic was a referral to yet another clinic that does in-office inseminations using donated sperm. This one's in Arlington... further away, but not so focused on the lesbian community, and also less expensive. I met with a CMW there and felt very comfortable with her, so that's where we'll make our baby. She was encouraging and confident that we'll succeed, and also offered to provide Clomid if I decide I need it to stimulate ovulation. Apparently impressed with the research I'd already done, she waived the $200 consultation exam "requirement" and said the next step was to pick a donor and schedule the procedure. We thought we'd have to wait until September to start trying, but now it looks like August for us. If we win the lottery and succeed on the first try, we'll be due on May 5th!

Friday, July 25, 2008

What I did this summer

Here goes... I'm blogging for the first time, and may one day let someone know this is available to read. Until then I'm not sure who my audience is, aside from me.

It's July. I'm starting to feel anxiously optimistic. After about 2 months of bad news and tragedy, we finally have a clear course of action to follow. We're taking it out of luck's hands. There's no chance anyone can ever call our child a "happy accident" or a "surprise."

The background- C and I have been married for a year. We knew from the start that we wanted to have children, but we didn't let that dictate the pace of our relationship, even though I was 36 when we first met. We took our time, made sure we were right about each other, and got married last year. We immediately threw away the condoms, but figured nature would take over and we'd have news for our families within a few months; a year at most.

From the very beginning, I gave up alcohol, except on days when I knew for certain that I could not possibly have conceived. Three months into our reckless procreative attempts, I gave up caffeine. I started taking a daily multi-vitamin religiously. Eight months in, I bought a thermometer. At the ten month mark, I bought OPKs. Along the way, I turned 40 and all the news broadcasts were suddenly including stories about how difficult it is to conceive after 40.

Anyhow, the experts advise seeking medical help after a year of trying, or after 6 months if the woman is over 40. I volunteered C to be checked out first, since a male exam isn't as invasive as mine would be. That turned out to be the best approach as we immediately discovered the root of our failures- no sperm. It was devastating news, and nothing can be done to repair him, but at least we know what's wrong. There was an initial concern that he could be at increased risk of cancer, and with his mother's passing very fresh in our minds (5/27/08- cancer), we spent a couple of weeks on edge, waiting for test results from the doctor. Aside from the lack of swimmers, though, C is completely healthy.