So Wrong on So Many Levels

tantekFirst Response, that purveyor of hope and warm fuzzy images of normal fertile ladies, has a new product on the market that tests a woman’s fertility.  Apparently, it “accurately” measures your Day 3 FSH giving you a picture of the quality and quantity of your eggs.  I’m not going to address the fact that FSH is in some circles considered to be an inexact measurement of a woman’s egg quality (note that I didn’t say fertility – a woman can have the eggs of an 18 year old and still be unable to get pregnant due to other issues such as tubal blockage, uterine abnormalities, hormonal issues, etc) nor am I going to address what I consider to be First Response’s blatant use of this product to freak women the f*ck out and make them think that if they have a high FSH, they are permanently screwed. 

No, I’m going to address how they have marketed this scare tactic because it is a real smack to those of us who are fertility challenged.  They have put together a commercial for which I was not able to find a link, but that has been transcribed here

artnooseMy blood started to simmer at the first line, “The moment we pass from womanhood to motherhood, we cross a threshold“.  At least it could be read to include women who become mothers through adoption or even women who provide additional parenting as aunts, etc.  But, what is this magic threshold? Does that mean that you cannot be a mother and a woman?  Or, is it like the field in Iowa where you walk into the corn never to be seen again? What of those women who cannot be mothers or choose not to? Are we left behind in womanhood never to cross this magic Rubicon?

If only that were the top of the mountain.  Instead, it was only the tip of the infuriating ice berg. Here is the real blood boiler line:

Fertility is a woman’s most sacred birthright.”  What. The. F*ck.  Are you shitting me?  If this is the case, then I’ve been totally cheated!  I want my money back!  I’m going to call my parents and tell them that they really screwed this one up. 

 I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around how ridiculously awful this is.  It’s as if the most important thing that a woman’s most prized possession is her ability to reproduce, to repopulate the species.  (Notice that there is no mention of man’s most sacred birthright (or as the commentary so eloquently put it, “[s]trangely, I never see Viagra commercials arguing that knocking people up is a man’s most sacred birthright.” That would be sexist, right?)).  And, what of those of us who are infertile? We apparently lack that most sacred of birthrights, and have little else that can be nearly as important as this. We are, in essence, lesser people because of it.  Is it really necessary to beat on infertile women to sell a product?  Have we reached that low?

As unbelievably an eye-roll inducing a statement as it is, I know in my heart that my fertility, or lack thereof, is not a measure of me anymore than it is a sacred birthright.  I cringe at the word birthright anyway because it has so many connotations of people getting things that they have done nothing to deserve, although, frankly, I’ve thought this about quite a few fertile ladies in my day, so many they aren’t that far from the mark.  No, fertility is no more a sacred birthright than expecting that you will have blonde hair or blue eyes.  First and foremost, it is a choice, one of many that women get to exercise now that we have moved out of the Dark Ages.  Women can be mothers, but, they can choose not to be and still have fulfilling, non-spinsterly lives. 

So, shame on First Response for trying to repackage fertility into something that should be seen by women as a thing that they are entitled to or, by extension, must exercise.  

images: upper left – tantek; bottom right – artnoose, both used through Creative Commons.

Aspirations, Part II

Oh, my peeps. You make me smile with your good wishes and thoughts.  And, for this grouchy infertile, that is saying alot.

But, enough about you.  Inquiring minds want to know.  What was the haul?

Leo Reynolds

Yep, 14 eggs.  A new Mrs. X record. 

Hopefully, there will be lots of mature little buggers in that lot that are begging to be fertilized with the best and the brightest troops that Mr. X could muster.  The embyrologist will call tomorrow with the fert report. 

In the mean time, I will be happy that so far, we’re doing pretty darn good.

image: Leo Reynolds

Aspirations, Part I

We are officially in the countdown to retrieval.  Hopefully, tomorrow morning at 9am will find me drugged into bliss.  As the song goes, if it’s wrong to love those anaesthesia drugs so much, I don’t want to be right.

I have to admit that I am more than ready to deliver the harvest.  The girls have been barking for over a week now and they remind me of their outrage at their current condition everytime I sit, stand, walk, lie down – essentially do anything.  But, I remind them, nicely since they are hormonal, that this is for such a good cause and their discomfort (and mine) is temporary. Hopefully, they will see the bigger picture here and do the right thing. 

The theme this go round has been more mature eggs.  Last time I had 11 eggs retrieved, but only 7 were mature, of which 5 fertilized.  I am very fortunate that I can produce those kinds of numbers with my eggs, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed. IVF is a game of attrition, so the higher the number you start with, the better chances you have to have lots to work with.  Lots of mature eggs, no whammies!

I’m making no predictions as to the numbers for tomorrow.  I never kept count while Dr. Salsa was doing the wanding thing – not even for the three days in a row!  I have learned that I just take the number and latch onto it, so best not to get a number to begin with.  And, hey, I have a surprise to look forward to tomorrow. 

Now, all I have to worry about is what book I will take with me to enjoy while I wait for the show to get on the road – thick tome that I will certainly not finish, or mindless fiction?  Decisions, decisions.

I’ll try to update tomorrow because I know that all of you will be waiting with baited breath to hear about how many eggs I managed to give up.

Antagonize Me

Dr. Salsa has decided to switch things up a bit with this latest go round.  Instead of the down regulation protocol, I am doing an antagonist protocol.

My feelings on the matter? Go ahead, antagonize me. If it knocks me up for good, I don’t care what you do.

One man's perspectiveIt’s also nice to have a little change up in the IVF routine. 

That means no Lupron.  Mr. X was genuinely sad about this.  Really. He loved that I was on a drug that shared its name with the Latin root for wolf.  He loved to call it the werewolf drug and ask if I was going to start howling at the moon when I was on it. I think he also loved it because I was immune to any side effects from it.  I am perfectly fine to cut out that particular step.  Mr. X will take a while to get over it, though.

But, it also means double the fun on drugs.  Follistim and Menopur, together!  Who knew that such alchemy was possible.  I’ve tried each separately and had a banging good time, so who knows what the two together will do. Wonder drug twins, activate!

And, there’s a new kid on the block: Ganirelix.  There’s always room for another exotic drug in my neighborhood!

Dr. Salsa also is apparently renovating the surgery area of his office. I found this out when I showed up for my baseline appointment today and was greeted with the calming sounds of earthy music on the sound system that was quickly drowned out by the not-so-soothing sounds of banging, hammering and general mayhem.  I decided not to worry about whether this would be finished by the time of Big! Important! Things! happening.   But, it was a little nerve wracking to have hard things stuck in delicate places and then hear the whirring of a drill in your general vicinity.

Am I excited yet? Nope and I don’t care to be, frankly.  As far as I’m concerned, nothing in my life has changed except for about 1 minute a day, I will be playing chemist and then doctor.  Then, it’s back to the real, non-infertile world.

And away we go…

image: one man’s perspective