assisted reproductive technologies

Infertility, Holidays, & Coworkers: 3 Full-Time Jobs (Wednesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Did you see "It's a Wonderful Life" the other night? No, I'm not sure there's a connection either.)  So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The pitfalls of attending the company holiday party. Specifically: The dangers of bringing along a gabby-when-drunk spouse who, when he throws up in front of your coworkers, might accidentally let some of your intimate infertility secrets slip out with the scotch.

I mentioned yesterday that I'm not a drinker. Have no interest in it. Couldn't be bothered. My motto has always been "When people start getting stupid it's time to go." I'm starting to rethink my motto. Because when people start getting stupid, the company holiday party finally starts getting good.

We walk into these company soirees fearing the worst. What if somebody brings up our not having kids issue? Or one of our coworker acquaintances will ask in a pseudo-caring way: "You're not drinking are you? Aren't you still doing IVF?" and mouth the "IVF" part.

The beauty of many infertility-related terms is that they don't mouth well. What I mean is: Let's say this woman at the party is pretending to be discreet. She doesn't want to shout out the words through the party noise: "Hormones!" or "Fertility!" or "IVF!", so instead of saying it out loud, she just mouths the word. It's almost impossible to figure out any of those words, (Give it a go, you'll see) unlike curse words which are clear to everyone. So, this gives us the option of playing dumb for a long time. Especially if there's loud music playing and a fun DJ who keeps yelling "Paaartyyyy!" into the microphone.

"What?! Aren't I still doing what? Yoga?! Did you say yoga?! Yes I'm still doing yoga! So let her go on and on mouthing, trying different words to get her point across: "In-vitro?" "Fertility drugs?" "What Celine Dion did."

Just promise me that when, in desperation, she gets to "Assisted Reproductive Technologies" you'll just walk away. For chrissake, show the woman some mercy.        

I once was at a holiday party where a few of my female coworkers clustered. They didn't even have the decency to stop talking about me as I approached. In their buzzed state, they just slipped into their second language: "Ixnay on the Abybay Alktay." The odd thing is: They all know my degree is in Foreign Languages.  Did they think that in my pursuit to master the romance languages, I somehow lost my proficiency of pig latin?

So all of this fear of the unknown: "What will somebody say?" "Will I be put in an awkward situation?" "Will I feel forced into saying more than I want?" "What if I start crying?"...These are the pre-10:30 P.M. fears. Circa 10:30 P.M., the first signs of inebriation start to show from the first wave of party arrivees. Now the fun starts.

First there will be the mention of the unfortunate clothing choices. Your size 16 general manager perhaps should not have worn a size 6 purple sequined mini skirt and a tube top (in December).     

At about 11 PM, the twenty year old shy guy from accounting will be talking both sht and poetry into her cleavage. By 11:30, he'll be setting his drinks in there. Nobody will have any recollection of seeing either of them after that. Around midnight, people will start leaving and a few might note that his car is gone yet her car is still in the parking lot.

And you and your humdrum infertility issues are off the hook for another year.

Listen, I gotta go. There are ten more shopping days before Christmas and I have to "Mapquest" the furthest point from any mall in the state.  

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

"Eat, Pray, IVF" (Tuesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. You won't want to miss it. I conquered the topic of "religion". Tomorrow I'll deal with "sex" and the day after: "politics". They are three totally different topics aren't they?)  So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How various religions tackle the subject of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies) like IVF.

Hopefully this week's blogs will help you with the tough ethical question that we've all faced: "Should I find a doctor who will make sure my religious beliefs are adhered to? OR "Should I find a religion that lets me do whatever the heck I want?"

I thought I'd begin with Christianity. And, if tomorrow I still have any readers left, I'll move on to something else. Or maybe just lay low for a while.

One website, I'll be honest, just scared the daylights out of me.  Besides talking a lot about sin, it also stated that it was too risky to go into IVF territory since "4 out of 5" IVF pregnancies end with the baby dying. Hmmm. I think I'll have to consult with one of my medical experts. That number sounds a mite high to me.

I enjoyed an article by Dr. Elvonne Whitney. She's a Christian and as you may have picked up by the Dr., she's a doctor. As luck would have it, she's an OB/GYN. So chances are she's going  to be pro-Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Wouldn't you think?

Otherwise she probably would have become a Christian accountant or a Christian insurance salesperson or a Christian manager at Target.

According to Dr. Whitney's understanding of Christianity and ART, the technologies are only to be used for married couples where one or both partners is infertile/can't carry a pregnancy.

(I admit it. I know a lot of married couples who should probably be told: "So you guys are considering reproducing? Do you think that's such a good idea? You don't get along at all. May want to work on that marriage thing first.") 

In the article, Dr. Whitney discusses sperm donation:

The Dr. cites, in the Bible, the Old Testament Levirate rule that if your husband dies, his brother should take over his insemination duties to keep that family's genetic line going.

A terrible rule if your brother-in-law was a jerk. Maybe that's how "sperm donors" did start: "Don't you dare touch me, you loser! Just put it in a cup and leave it over there. I'll figure out what to do with it later."   

So if this translates into modern times, and your husband's not dead but his sperm isn't doing too well and he turns to his brother for assistance:  It should make for pleasant Thanksgiving dinner conversation:

"Dave, can you pass the potatoes?"

"First it's my sperm now it's the potatoes! Is it never going to end?!  What else do you people want from me?!"

Dr. Whitney also addresses the importance of freezing unused embryos so that they can be used for future children of your own or donated to an infertile couple. Of course discarding them is  forbidden, since the belief is that the sacred life starts at the very beginning: When an embryo becomes an embryo.

It might be nice if we could re-freeze some of our "embryos" later in life. "Mom, I wrecked the car again. I haven't passed any classes this semester. Oh, and this is my new girlfriend: She was dancing at a club I went to last night with my fake ID."

"Okay, that's enough young man! Back in the freezer and don't come out until  you're ready to straighten yourself out! I should have done it when you were ten!"

The article also mentioned the moral dilemma of being pregnant with multiples. You know if you get pregnant naturally and don't want a baby it's called an abortion. If you've gone through IVF, it's called "selective reduction." You get a nice little fancy euphemism for your $15,000.

Listen, I gotta go. I have to pray for spiritual guidance. "Why oh why, Lord, did I take on this topic?" Hopefully the answers will come.

I'l talk with ya again tomorrow.