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.

Getting pregnant could involve a small amount of drilling. No, not that kind.

In attempt to better understand my medical records, and to do what I promised at the very beginning of this whole writing mess, I bought a book on IVF. Thank you for not pointing out that I should have done this research BEFORE I went through IVF. My rationale is the following: I could have, but I’m pretty sure that it would not have affected the outcome. And side note, I was terrified. So this blog, as a reminder, is sort of like looking up at the diving board after you have jumped off. I’m going back to scare the shit out of myself, now that I know there is a happy ending.

So let’s get right to the scary stuff. Or at least to one alarming thing that I found last night while doing some medical research. Laparoscopic ovarian drilling. Holy God! What is that? The words ovary and drilling should never be part of the same sentence. Just like genital and wart. Or wet and fart. I could on, but I won’t. Drilling should be reserved for dentists and oil companies. Or, on second thought, maybe just dentists. I am for drilling to remove bad stuff, only, like tooth decay.

However, if one has polycystic ovaries, there may be some laparoscopic drilling required. Or at least it could help. I had neither. Thankfully.

But in case you are still wondering what this all means, I will share with you what I have learned. A polycystic ovary has a large number of developing eggs near the surface of the ovary. Now, if you were trying to get pregnant, I’m guessing that this would be good news. Eggs, lots of them. That is what I’m sure I would have heard if the nurse had discussed this with me. Oh, but do not be fooled my friend. All these little, cute, dressed up eggs in miniskirts are cock teases. They just hang out with their friends and never get released into the Fallopian tube.

So, what to do? Go after them with a drill, obviously; a laparoscopic one that makes small holes in the surface of the ovaries to get those bitches out of there.

Put a check mark in the “lucky miss” category for me. I’m grateful to have avoided the drill.


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