Let me be the first to apologize for the title. (Although I can't imagine who else would.) I'm a huge baseball fan and rarely pass up a good sports metaphor. As for: "infertility virgin"-- that oxymoronic or just moronic part of the title-- well the need for that apology is self-explanatory. If you're new, or semi-new to this infertility biz, we vets welcome you with open arms to this wild, wacky, unjust world.
I even hate to say "welcome". I really want to say "sorry". But you aren't anywhere near alone... and please do find some comfort in that. There are scores (would I have said: "dozens" if baseball season wasn't upon us?) There are many many of us who are there and doing that or have been there and have done that. In fact, most of us have done that, that, AND that. (links to find more of your supporters at the end.)
And a lot of it is confusing---especially if you're new to the fertility treatment game... There are some things I think we can clear up right here:
Show of hands: Who knows what a Reproductive Endocrinologist is or does? Excellent! Lots of women ask if they should stick with their gynecologist or go to an RE. Go to an RE dammit... An RE is a gynecologist who then specializes in infertility issues of every type. I know, if you have a great GYN whom you love and trust, it's like finding a great dentist, tax preparer or mechanic: It's hard to move on from them, but you really aren't. Some people try fertility drugs with their regular doctor first. That's fine. But just like if you have an internist who happens not to also be a surgeon. She might know your tonsils need to come out but she'll refer you to someone specializing in tonsil yanking to actually take them out. So by all means, keep your gynecologist to deal with your annual probe, itchy things, and questions like: "My left boob was always bigger. When did my right one catch up?" Any anyway, if your GYN is actually an OB/GYN, maybe you'll be back in her office sooner than you think.
You should also know that, even though things like IVF make the news, many women are prescribed medications alone (to induce ovulation) to try to get pregnant and don't ever get anywhere near IVF. Some don't even venture into ART at all.
So what is ART? Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Any method of conceiving that involves a third party. (Let's all try to focus. This is not a porno blog or even the Maury show.) All the things you've heard about: IUI, IVF,egg donors, sperm donors... all fall under the ART category.
So ART has nothing to do with painting or sculpture and everything to do with a doctor who's a control freak. You're trying to get pregnant by making nice-nice with the person you love most in the world and here's this doctor wedging herself between the two of you and saying: "Excuse me. Better let ME do that."
Some people who go through in vitro (IVF) need intracytoplasmic sperm injections (ICSI). This is done because once the eggs are removed from the woman and brought into the lab and the sperm is swimming around in circles like a nervous nut going: "What now? Which way do I go?" If they can't find their way into the egg themselves, the lab folks give them a little help by injecting the sperm right into the egg. This doesn't involve you at all. Like I said, this is all done in the lab. They take your eggs out of you in a fairly short and simple procedure and you're home watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills while your potentially future family is being made. ICSI as it is called, is your pushy cousin. You go to a party, you see someone you might be interested in but you're too shy to go over and introduce yourself. So your cousin schleps you over there, starts talking to this stranger, injects you into the conversation and walks away. That's ICSI.
IUI (intrauterine insemination) is not In Vitro. It is basically sex on Speed. As was explained to me when I went through it: There's not much more going on than what happens in the boudoir except the hormones you've been taking make your body riper and readier for conception... and your partner's/husband's body is replaced by a hand with a glove...and "Chopped" isn't on the TV in the background... and the nurse probably won't have to apologize for lying on your hair... and the doctor won't push you out of the way to get to the shower first.
If you'd like to get more laughs during this "adventure", please consider my fast, fun eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. 66 reviews/ 4.5 stars- amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/ Available on Amazon, Nook and Kobo.
For a formal infertility website: Support groups in your area, infertility advocacy etc visit: http://resolve.org
For love, friendship and support, one of the most active, positive groups is: "The IVF Journey" on Facebook. Monica Bivas does an amazing job of running this group including getting guest speakers. There's always something happening and lots of love and hugs to share. (Venting allowed.) https://www.facebook.com/groups/theivfjourney/