My health plan doesn’t cover anything even remotely infertility related. (Although, the second a baby is growing in my uterus it will be 100% covered). I met with the “reproductive endocrinologist (RE)” ( $245 for a half hour) who had previously diagnosed me with a “mild” case of polycystic ovarian syndrome. I got the diagnosis two years ago when my now ex-husband and I had met with him because I wasn’t getting pregnant.
When I made this appointment, I was careful to tell them that I was no longer married and that I would be doing this on my own. Unfortunately, this didn’t make it into my chart, and the doctor immediately asked me why my husband wasn’t there. This was an honest mistake, and instead of changing the subject gracefully after I informed him we were now divorced, he stammered, turned red, and blurted out: “that’s a picture of my daughter and she just got a Fullbright scholarship!.” Umm what?? I wasn’t sure how to respond so I just faked excitement and exclaimed “wow, that’s great!” After an awkward pause Dr. Awkward began going over my treatment plan.
I am 38, which is considered “old” in the world of reproduction, but the blood tests he had ordered showed that my lady parts may still have some life left in them. Dr. Awkward said that the best way to determine my chances of conception are to test my “ovarian reserve.” The main predictors are a blood test that tests the amount of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and an ultrasound where they county your follicles. My FSH level was a “reassuring” 4.1 (they never say good in the world of infertility. My follicle count was also “reassuring” but they never told me how many they found.
We made a plan that I would take a drug called Femera, which stimulates ovulation and would begin Intrauterine Inseminations (IUI’s) with donor sperm . I was then given the homework of choosing a sperm donor ASAP.
Despite my sweet but very conservative mother’s best efforts, I don’t think women at any age (especially those of us in our 30’s and 40’s) should have a prescribed set of milestones and events that mark us being “adults” and getting our shit together like marriage, kids, etc. Hell, I’ve been struggling against the patriarchy my whole life. I hate admitting this (especially my 20 year old, bell hooks reading, women’s studies majoring self) but I still had some of these expectations for myself. Namely, I pictured myself having kid(s) with a long term partner (preferably bearded, chubby, and a radical feminist). And then my marriage fell apart and I found myself divorced at 38 (a divorcee hehe).
About a year after I split with my ex-husband I went on a frantic search for a new partner and it was…rough, including a date with a guy who divulged the following things in the first 10 minutes of our date: 1) that his friends had murdered someone 2) that he could build a flamethrower if he “needed to.” 3) that he is extremely “militant” about martial arts. He was also missing an eye and had misspelled finger tattoos.
One of the other reasons I don’t think I found my new life partner on Ok Cupid is that i wasn’t actually looking for a life partner, I was looking for a sperm donor because I was scared that my eggs in my ovaries would implode if I didn’t get them fertilized NOW. After a ton of therapy and Zoloft I came to the conclusion that I would be a kick-ass single mom. My decision was significantly helped along by a friend (who I will refer to as my fertility sugar mama) who was in a position to give me some money to pay for it. I mean this is one of the few options women have that men don’t so I should take advantage of it, right?
This wasn’t by any means an easy decision to come to. I’ve actually found myself mourning the loss of my hypothetical kid’s hypothetical father. But when I pulled the trigger and made my first doctor’s appointment I actually felt a sense of calm. Not that I am not scared to death of the idea of bringing a new human into the world, but I feel like I finally have some control of what my future might look like AND no more internet dating (for now). So here I am taking the plunge..