As an Atheist, I am fortunate in that I can belly up to the Religion Buffet, and sample each one, without offending my upbringing or current religion. I can taste a little Buddhism, sample a bite of Catholicism, sniff at the evangelical spread. I can compare them and decide which, if any, I would like to try. And, being an American, I can walk away from the buffet with nothing on my plate, if I want to, and go find a nice tasty soft-serve ice cream machine. You know, that whole freedom of and from religion thing.
What inevitably scares off my appetite, though, are the statements that one religion is superior above all others, and that’s the one I should believe in. Or, that there is One Truth (which usually happens to be espoused by that particular religion that is claiming there is only One Truth), and if you don’t believe in it, all manner of terrible things are going to happen to you. It all seems so arbitrary to me. How can so many people say different things and each think that they are right and everyone else is wrong? Why can’t we all accept that we each have different ideas and leave it at that? Why does there have to be one right answer?
I was pondering this theme the other day when I realized that infertility treatment is a lot like religion in this concept of One Truth. Think about it: REs are our prophets, spiritual leaders, rabbis, priests and ministers. We take their word on what we should do to be gospel. I certainly took what Dr. Uterus told me to be the One Truth. He was so confident, so assured of his method that I didn’t question it. Who was I to know what was right? I didn’t have his training, his knowledge, his experience. And, he seemed so damn sure of himself. You can only get mature eggs with an intramuscular HCG trigger for IVF? Ok. I don’t need a Clomid Challenge to test my egg reserves? No problem. Menopur is the best drug out there? Fine. Sign me up. Lining measurements? Pah! I can eyeball it. I don’t need to do Lupron through the whole cycle? Whatevs.
But, I became disillusioned with Dr. Uterus, or more specifically, with his staff. I began to question why bad luck was the only explanation he could give us. I began to resent that he didn’t feel the need to change things up to at least give an illusion that this time there would be something different in the mix that could make that subtle yet crucial difference. I began to question his judgment in continuing to work with his crazy-ass embryologist. In short, I began to lose faith in him and his truth.
So, I sought out new guidance. Enter Dr. Salsa: he is just as confident at Dr. Uterus in his abilities, but has a much different method. This time, I’m using Follistim and I get to do a subcutaneous HCG injection to mature the eggs for retrieval. He does a lining check at every visit during the IVF. His first test that he ordered for me was a Clomid Challenge. I’ve been on Lupron the entire time I’ve been stimming.
And yet, I get the same impression that he is just as certain that his way is The Way to baby. Again, it all seems so arbitrary to me, this emphasis on My Way is the Right Way and no other way will do, particularly when it comes to seemingly trifling stuff like which medication to use and how much. There are lots of medicines on the market, so why does just one have to be the right one?
Perhaps the real answer is that doctors really do like to play God, or more specifically, play minister, prophet, etc. If that’s the case, then even if this works and we actually do get a baby out of it, I will still have to deal with the medical professionals who see their way as being the only way. And, thank goodness that I get to live in a world that allows for second, third, even fourth opinions. I’ll just now take those opinions as one piece in a larger puzzle.