Check boxes, can’t live with them, can’t fill them out (easily)

Last night I was filling out some forms for our kids daycare. And last week I made a bunch of doctor’s appointments, not because there is anything wrong, but it’s always a good idea to double-check, especially the lady business, if you know what I mean. But you know what all this really means?

Check boxes. Yes. Those can be a problem. So, since no one asked, I have a few recommendations.
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Yes, I can sometimes actually be helpful and a little bit famous.

In my wanderings around the big World Wide Web, I came across this really great resource for people just like me, and maybe just like you, who want to have children but don’t know where to start. It’s a Web site called: It’s Conceivable. And it’s full of stories and ideas. And now it’s full of a little bit of me and my family.



You can read Our profile that just posted today, and be inspired or horrified or both. Because that’s how I feel about our story. Enjoy.

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IVF treatment: It’s just like a vacation to a foreign country, except for the fun part

I’m still making progress in the book The Complete Guide to IVF. That is a bold title, by the way. I am not sure that guide will ever be complete because this shit is complicated. And let’s be honest, the doctors don’t know everything there is to know. There is a section called “unexplained fertility” on page 7, so how complete is that?

But the author is British and a mother, so she’s an authority. If she was reading this book to me, she would have one of those clipped accents that would make me feel like everything she is saying was either funny or true. And she’s probably related to Queen Elizabeth who granted Humphrey Gilbert a patent for overseas exploration in 1578. Holy crap. Our relationship could go way back: The Gilberts and the rulers of the British Empire. This was meant to be. But I’m getting way off track.

In my defense, this is all sort of related, because while reading this book I’m learning to speak “reproductive technology” and “British.” Or English. British English?

For example, are you aware that being overweight can cause fertility problems? One woman in the book had to lose eight stone before she could have a baby. Yes. I had to look that up. And when you try to Google, “what does stone mean?” you get some answers such as “hard, solid, nonmetallic mineral matter.” Duh! I knew that! I don’t think that’s what she meant. But if you go to Yahoo you find out that one stone = 14 pounds. I’ll do the math for you. She lost 112 pounds. Holy crap! (again) So if you are carrying the equivalent of a small person’s worth of extra body weight, it might be difficult to get pregnant. I’m guessing it might be difficult to do a lot of things. And if I lost that much weight, I would definitely be bragging about it in pounds or even ounces.

And finally, and a the risk of sounding xenophobic, I wanted to mention one more thing about foreigners before you get to onto something more important like watching that cat video on YouTube. The author (on page 32 in case you want to look it up) suggests that some people prefer to have their IVF treatments in a foreign country. Really? There are lots of reasons for this including more options, better eggs, better sperm and the opportunity to pretend like this isn’t happening, because you’re on “vacation.” But I can tell you from personal experience, using a clinic in my own town, that you don’t need to travel to a far-away clinic to feel like you’re in a foreign country. But it’s good preparation for parenthood, which is like a whole other planet.

What does a threatening letter and $2.72 in postage buy you? Spoiler alert: a tall stack of lab orders

I got my medical records. And by that I mean I got a big stack of test results from the lab. But let’s get to the good news first. There were a few pages that I could actually read. One said I had a baby. She was a girl. Delivered vaginally. I remember this part. And if I forget, I know I can just go to her bedroom and have a look at her. So good job, me! One part of the whole fertility treatment experience makes total sense.

The other good news is that I do not have HIV-1, HTLV-1, HIV-2, HIV-1 NAT, Hepatitus, Chlamydia NAT, N. gonorrhoeae NAT, HIV-2 NAT, HEPATITIS BcAb, CMV NAT, HTLV-I/II NAT, HSV-I/II, Hepatitis, HCV NAT, Syphilis. I know. I’m bragging.

And who knew that nats were such a problem? I knew those things were annoying but I had no idea that they were involved in all of these social diseases. Oh never mind, those are gnats, and this is NAT. Now I’m confused (again). And I’m also wondering what the difference is between yelling HEPATITUS and not yelling Hepatitus. Fortunately, I have neither, so let’s just move on.

So here we are. Medical records in hand. Clarity and fond memories on the horizon. And one important lesson under our belt. If you don’t get what you want the first time, ask again, nicely. And if that doesn’t work, yell “LAWYER!” Because that works. And if it doesn’t maybe you can try “HEPATITUS!” and see what happens. Good luck.


It’s been three weeks and no medical records. This could make me insane.

I do not have the medical records from the fertility clinic that I requested and agreed to pay for three weeks and three days ago. The form says it “may take up to 3 weeks from the date of receipt…..” I sent the request on February 19 at 15:43. We are using military time, because this is extremely serious stuff. And because that is what the fax machine uses.

So just to make sure that I’m doing this right, I just Googled it. Because that’s what I do all day. I Google things. It makes me feel like I have a cool job. At Google. And I got 125 million results in .21 seconds. That’s a record. But not a medical record, which is what I’m looking for. And I am doing this right. Because the internet knows everything.

According to all 125 million web sites, it is my right to have copies of my medical records. Ok, you’re right. I’m exaggerating. According to the first three sites that I skimmed, I have a right to my medical records, except possibly records related to mental health. Great. That was the part I’m looking for. I want to find out what happened, and if I was crazy to have kids. I know it’s too late now, but I just want to find out.

And here is what says about possibly not receiving your mental health records:

If you request records that the provider or facility deems may be harmful to you, they may deny you access. These records are often mental health records. They cannot be withheld just because the provider believes they will upset you. But you can be denied if the provider thinks you will do harm to yourself because of their outcome.

Hello! Yes. The records could be harmful to me, because I could have AIDS and be on drugs according to form and I don’t even know! See, you asked me right here.

medical records

Please. Help me. I must get this information. I could die. Or be insane. Or on drugs, and I don’t even know it because it has not or will not be fully disclosed to me.



OK. That space was me calming down. I’m just going to call them today to follow up. That is a what a person who is alive, reasonable and drug-free would do. So for now, we’ll just pretend that that’s me.

Read the other posts like this:
You’ll need a form for that. And a credit card.

You’ll need a form for that. And a credit card.

I ordered my medical records last week from our former fertility clinic. Now this might sound easy, but it’s not, because it involves the medical industry.

The first thing I did was go to their web site to see if I could find the Request for Medical Records form. I could not. I think it’s because they don’t want you to know what happened to you. Or they don’t want you to switch clinics. I did both at one time, but I’ll tell you about that later. But this week I’m requesting my medical records for a second time. Yeah, that’s right. I bet you wish you could be this badass, but you’re not, so let’s move on.

I did, however, find some forms on the site that piqued my interest. There was a “baggage information” form. I totally could have used that one. I have a lot of baggage, which might explain why I waited until I was 36 years old to try to have kids. Then there was a frequent flier form. Who is traveling? The sperm? I thought they only sent that stuff FedEx. But maybe really important sperm travel First Class. No? Oh. It’s the wanna-be-parents that do the traveling and apparently the clinic also does a little side business as a travel agent. Who knew? Well, not me. See, we’re learning something already.

So I called the clinic and talked to a sweet, helpful and undoubtedly incredibly fertile 18-year-old, who e-mailed me the form right away. They must have retired their our-patients-are-idiots customer service motto that they used when I was a regular.

I printed the form and filled it out. Then I faxed it to them using our office fax machine, which always makes me a little nervous. I would hate for someone to innocently pick up the forgotten fax confirmation form only to find out that I was ordering information about whether I have AIDS (I hope not, but I am gay) and whether they found any illegal drugs in my system (Again, I hope not, but if they did that would explain A LOT). Both of these helpful pieces of information will be included with my records if I checked both boxes that are in bold and right in the middle of the form so you and all your co-workers will not miss them. And of course, I checked them!

Also according to the Request for Medical Information form, it will take three weeks for the records to be photocopied and mailed to me, and it will cost 10 cents a page. I have my credit card, ready, which is the main thing you need to have ready whenever you make a request of a fertility clinic. In fact, I would have one ready right now just in case they decide to charge us for using the word “fertility clinic.”

So, why am I requesting my medical records? Did I forget to mention that part. It’s to help me to get on with this story. What story? The one I plan to share here, starting now, and ending when I’m done telling you about the Seven Little Mexicans that started as 11 eggs retrieved from two ovaries, which became seven zygotes and resulted in two wonderful children. (Girls. Yes, girls. Why does everyone ask that question?)

It’s been a long journey. And although I was there, I’m not sure I was really there. So we are going back to this time and place together to see what we can find out. Are you with me?

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