I went to the drop-in medical clinic late in the evening, when it was completely empty, and the doctor saw me right away. I told him I want to conceive a baby, and my partner is also female, and so I’m in need of a referral to the local fertility centre.
“Okay!” he said, enthusiastically, as he grabbed a pad of paper and began to write. “Partner is also female… Would like a pregnancy… Referral for…”
He paused and looked at me. “…IVF?” he asked.
“Oh god!” I yelped, before I could stop myself.
“No?’ the doctor said, seeming confused but eager to help.
“I’m only thirty!” I exclaimed. “I mean, I don’t know, but I think I’m healthy, and I’m hoping that an IUI will do it…”
“Right, right, right!” the doctor cheerily replied, “Intra-uterine insemination!”
“Um, yeah,” I agreed, nodding to encourage him as he wrote that down.
It was pretty obvious that I was really throwing this dude for a loop, and that he was unfamiliar with… Well, reproductive medicine, for starters.
For those of you not in the know, let me just say that IVF is a very invasive and very expensive way of making a baby, and IUI is… Less so. Like, a fraction of, in terms of both invasiveness as well as cost. As in, if donor sperm wasn’t so damn regulated in this country, we’d be going hardcore DIY-style and performing our own IUIs at home… While it’s pretty much impossible to do IVF at home. Unless you have a lab. In which case, you’re way cooler than I am.
“The fertility centre… Which one?” he asked.
“There’s only one,” I told him, and said the name.
“Let’s look at their website!” he said, and pulled over a computer from the wall. I kid you not: The doctor did a web search, found the site, and seemed so pleased with himself that I gotta say I too was rather charmed. I mean, it’s like this was a totally new and interesting experience for him, which was refreshing given that I’ve been over every detail of the whole project a million times, both in my head and in conversation with Oats.
The doctor suddenly turned and looked at me. “You know this isn’t all covered by the province, right?”
“Yes,” I smiled and nodded. Like, YEAH, I KNOW, AND IT’S INTENSE. Another reason why I yelped at the initial reference to IVF: At $5000 out of pocket for a cycle, it’s pretty fucking unlikely Oats and I would ever even go there. We’ll hopefully try IUI (at a more accessible $800 per cycle) until it works or we’re ready to change the plan, which might be no kids after all, or maybe adoption, or maybe fostering for a while as we regroup. I guess it’s possible IVF could be on the agenda, but it’s more of a last resort.
“Okay, then!” he said, “That’s it.”
I got up to leave, and thanked him.
“Wait!” he said, and I quickly sat back down. “Are you on any medication?”
I replied in the negative, and he wrote that down.
“And do you have any health issues that may be relevant?”
Not that I’m aware of, I told him, and wanted to add I’M JUST QUEER IS ALL NOW PLEASE GIVE ME THE SPERM K THX. But I didn’t, cuz I’m a more mature person than that.
“Great!” The doctor wrote that down, and told me that was all. I thanked him again, and left, while he turned back to the computer. I hope he spent some more time on the website of the fertility centre: It’s very informative about all sorts of reproductive technology.
I called the fertility centre a couple days later, to check that the doctor had actually sent in the referral. I don’t like to make assumptions about peoples’ competencies, but let’s agree that I had reason to think maybe he wouldn’t quite get it together. Turns out they’d received it, and we’re now in line for an appointment. When will we be granted this appointment? Who knows… But I’m okay with waiting a while, now that I know we’re queued.