My uncle joked that he may not be the handy, ‘I can hang drywall and fix the house’ type of man, but he has a real leg up when it comes to fertility and reproductive health. It might seem weird to have your mom tells you to ‘call your uncle,’ trying to console you via telephone, when your three-years-long fertility plans seem to be unraveling.
In our case, my uncle (who will remain unspecified and unnamed), is kind of a big deal in the world of North American reproductive technology. This never seemed like something I’d need, but for the same reason I always felt better checking in with Aunt Donna or Brenda, our family’s nurses, when I had hurt or potentially poisoned myself, calling my uncle actually seemed like a perfect option as shit was hitting the fan over the past week.
Having him confirm and clarify some things was such a relief. When I told him that Nurse N had said ‘Nobody gets pregnant using donor sperm,’ he said ‘That’s absurd’. That’s just what I needed to hear. He then gave us some stats. Maybe you already know this, but I didn’t and hearing it out loud made me feel way better.
*an average couple at 20 years old, trying to get pregnant through intercourse, has a 20% chance of conceiving
*at 35, with IUI, my odds are 15% (not significantly lower than a fertile twenty-something). It gets harder to conceive as you approach 40 and beyond.
*over a six month session of IUI treatments, the odds for someone in my situation are 75% for a pregnancy
*if we move on to IVF my chances are about 35% per cycle/attempt
What does this mean? It means, “shut up, Nurse N” and stop crying, Alison, pull yourself together. To be fair, I only cried once for about ten minutes, lol.
I also found out that my uncle is a fertility superhero, answering all the fears and questions I had, but also saving this cycle! Even though he can’t prescribe the meds for me, given that his license is not for my province, he was able to figure out what my closed-clinic would have put me on and to refer me to one of his colleagues in-province who can make sure I don’t miss my dosage and miss the entire cycle. This was the major concern: if my clinic is closed, I miss all the pre-procedure care and monitoring, as well as my prescription.
Now, here is where it gets weird: following the good news regarding my uncle helping to keep this cycle on track, I also had a very bizarre phone call this morning (in the ‘how did this all work out/happen?!’ sense). All the things I was told ‘could not happen’ due to the closure seem to be unfolding in entirely the opposite manner. I called the sister clinic, ONE Fertility, to ask about my post-HSG symptoms, as well as to confirm if I should still ship my sperm to them.
*They assured: My symptoms are normal.
*Next, they have my paperwork and CAN receive the sperm. The cost to receive and process it is $100, on top of the $75 to Outreach to ship it. Okay, no prob.
*For the $3000 IVF cycle/year the sperm will get stored there and is covered in that initial cost. Woah. Holy crap this is a lot of money. But, I think that is a quote specific to IVF and not necessarily for IUI, which is cheaper.
*The Burlington clinic also, miraculously, has orders from my doctor to monitor me during this cycle… even though that’s exactly what I was told couldn’t happen. So either Nurse N arranged this and didn’t call me to tell me (again, every time my persistent phone calls seem to pay off, because without those randomly timed calls, I wouldn’t have KNOWN that our clinic was closing, or that the other clinic would, contrary to what we were told, take me on during the interim). I’m also a little suspicious that somehow my omnipotent uncle called my doctor and made this happen (I’ll go with that version for now, because my childhood memory of my intimidating uncle makes this seem likely)
*I have a prescription phoned in for my meds, via my uncle’s contact.
*I can send the sperm to Burlington clinic. It will be there, ready to go ahead for this cycle and the clinic is expecting my call on the first day of my period to set up monitoring. What?