sperm bank

Sperm Donors: Giving Till It Hurts

Am I the only one who cringed when I read the title? (And that's pretty bad since I wrote the damn thing.) So, my husband is always a great source of inspiration for my blogs. He finds me interesting tidbits and passes them along. It's a secure man who clips out sperm-related articles for his wife.  (And if you like what they get turned into in these posts, please join my fab group of subscribers to receive a weekly newsletter with info and future blog-related offers.)

So this latest tidbit was in the news about sperm donors running amok. (Another pretty visual isn't it? I can see this is going to be a long post.)

Apparently all, many or some sperm banks don't keep track of how many fish the donors send downstream.

What I mean is: They either don't keep track of how many sperm from one guy end up producing a child or they keep track and don't cut it off. (Was "cut it off" a poor choice of words?) 

It seems that sperm banks just keep letting more and more women pick the same sperm donor over and over and the numbers of children they produce keep rising like with the gas prices, and the number of customers served at the drive-thru.

Apparently this woman, who had conceived via sperm donor, decided to create a group online to keep track of her son's half-brothers and sisters. Well, he's seven now, and at last count he had 150 brothers and sisters. By the time he's twelve, they'll have to rent Rhode Island for their family reunions. 

So why's everyone up in arms about this? Because respectable women looking to have a respectable family go to a respectable fishmonger to fall in love with a respectable number that belongs to a respectable man so they can have a respectable baby.

Unregulated sperm donors...Is this breaking news? Hello?  Am I the only one who watches "Maury"?    

I guess I'm the one who's been keeping it on the air for some 20 years. I can see the network executives:

"Yeah, it's the same raunchy formula day after day ...but Lori likes it"

Look at all of the unregulated sperm donors on that show. A guy will come on the show 10 times because 10 women think he fathered their children. And those are only the ones who watch the show. (okay, they all watch the show. I'm the only idiot with a job.)

Then he dances around the stage like an imbecile, high-fiving the audience because he's only found to be the father of 8 of them. Then he leaves the show and continues to wear pants with zippers that are permanently stuck in the "down" position and is predictably back on the show 6 months later.

(I have a pair of pants like that. I just wear long shirts over them and try to remember not to bend so nobody sees my zipper smile.)

The classiness on "Maury" doesn't end there of course. There are usually a dozen or so moronic women with windshield wiper legs fighting over the dirt bag.

So, yeah, anyway you look at it,  it's probably not a good idea that one guy fathers not just a whole football team, but one child for every yard on the football field.

It's just that in the respectable world it's a dirty, dark secret. In the dregs world, it's 20 years' of good clean entertainment.

(If you haven't perused my latest post at Fertility Authority about how to have a lady-like conversation about the fkd up subject of infertility please have a look at):

"If Jane Austen Were Infertile" http://fertilityauthority.com/blogger/1013368

Men,Men,Men,Men,Manly,Men,Men,Men (Tuesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can.  This whole week is dedicated to the "Y" chromosome, all grown-up, married to us and keeping us company during the entire infertility debacle.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Men and how they fit into the whole female infertility journey.   

As I'm sure most of you are aware, infertility can be attributed to the female partner about 1/3 of the time, the male partner 1/3 of the time and a combination of the two 1/3 of the time... and of course there's also the endlessly frustrating "anybody's guess" column somewhere in the mix.

No matter who gets diagnosed with what: Forget "fault". Neither of you is at fault. Somebody's body' is not working properly.  No fault. You didn't cause a car accident. If you became infertile because you were texting during sex, then forget what I said: Screw you, you are at fault. Otherwise, let blame,guilt, fault, all of that crap go.   

And let's say right here: If you're the one who's deemed to be the "infertile one" in the relationship... you have the absolute right to be a little jealous of your husband/wife, spouse, lover, best-you-could-do-under-the-circumstances, better-than-being-alone-or-so-I- thought-at-the-time, significant or insignificant other.

I know that 's not a nice thing to say. We're all supposed to support our partners unconditionally. Thick, thin; Sickness, health; Richer, poorer. Death, part. (Our marriage vows were in Hebrew. Gd only knows what we promised. The rabbi could show up anytime and take our car. "Look, during the ceremony, you said I could have it.")

But I think feeling a twinge of jealousy is normal.

When my husband and I first walked into a fertility clinic, as I've mentioned about a million times before, I was a month away from turning forty-one. They may have sent both of us for preliminary tests to be polite but let's face it: They had their suspicions.

I'm sure all the medical professionals saw was this handsome man graying at the temples with his deteriorated wife who had a flashing red light, red neon flags and a siren over her head. I guarantee more than one staff member gazed down the hallway to see who kept opening the emergency exit.  

So they looked in my husband's direction for about a minute and a half and then came up with this determination: "Mr. Fox, your sperm is the best we've seen in 20 years of practicing medicine. May we replace the tropical fish in our waiting room aquarium with your specimen?... As for the elderly lady with the shriveled ovaries you shlepped in here..."   

So why would I be a little jealous?

Okay, so let's make sure I have this straight: I'll be instructed to insert suppositories, take pills and inject nightly hormones into my person for several weeks, months or years and you'll be instructed to watch "The Real House Whores of Bootyville" and take liquid notes.

Wait wait, let me make sure I have this straight once more...

I'll be enduring hormone shots (nothing, I imagine, like Jello shots) and anesthesia, and egg retrievals, and pregnancy tests over the next several weeks, months, or years and you'll be cozying up to a Hooters' calendar on your lunch break.

Listen, I gotta go. I have to brush up on my Hebrew and replay our wedding video. I really need my car.

If you can, take a glance over at this week's Health Experts article by Ian Claxton: "Ways to Boost Male Fertility". It's a real page-turner, I assure you. http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Things That Go Bump in the Night of an Infertile (Wednesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. I didn't post last week so you're probably aching to get as much of me as possible this week. Or not.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Fears. Particularly fears shared by those of us with fertility issues. We were discussing a few occasional mishaps at a smattering of fertility clinics where the woman got inseminated with some stranger's sperm instead of the guy she came to the appointment with.

I also recently read a story recently (I read too damn much.. and watch too much news. I should stick to cartoons. Nobody ever gets inseminated in cartoons... well maybe on Family Guy or The Simpsons or American Dad... Okay, cartoons are out too. I'll just stare at the wall.)

Anyway, this news article was about a couple who had twins from a sperm donor. Well, apparently someone had a problem translating English into English. They had requested a caucasian sperm donor. Unfortunately the sperm came from a place in South Africa where "caucasian" means "of mixed race".

I'll be honest, I don't understand anything about this case. The parents were suing the facility because the kids were being taunted in school because of their skin color.

The kids were in school? How old were these kids when they decided to sue?

I admit it. I have a way of procrastinating, of letting things get away from me. Sometimes I don't do laundry for two weeks (a month if I tell the truth- I don't have a lot of clothes. I'm just a slob). I put off going to the dentist for that six month ordeal, and they stopped picking up our garbage because I simply forgot to pay the bill. But, I'm pretty sure even I would get around to that "Hey, I think our twins are the wrong color" issue before they started school.

Or maybe the parents were just living in denial. Sitting around saying to each other: "Let's keep them out of the sun and see what happens. Maybe they'll lighten up in the fall."

The judge basically told them: "You have two healthy kids. Goodbye and good luck."

But I've been thinking. (Always dangerous) About all of these insemination misadventures. I think there's a way it could work in our favor.

Okay, I admit it's a little tricky, but it could be done. Yes, I believe it could. Let's say you're married and have this little cutie boy-toy on the side. And you get pregnant by this shiny new bed buddy.

So you hurry and tell your husband that you have fertility issues, then grab his hand, run full speed into a fertility clinic, and let them inseminate you with his sperm.

Then they do a pregnancy test and tell you that congratulations are in order, you act thrilled and duly surprised. Then the baby is born and looks nothing like your husband. (Hm, wonder what could have caused that.)  So you call the Maury show and bring the fertility clinic on TV and demand they give you and your oblivious husband a DNA test.

Then the baby comes back not his (close-up of you looking duly surprised--again) and you make a lot of money and divorce your husband and live as a happy family with your baby daddy and keep your old (ex)husband on the side as your brand spanking new boy-toy since, now that he's got a lot of cash, he doesn't seem so bad afterall.

Listen, I gotta go. After that tirade I really should stop, shouldn't I? It's the only decent thing to do.

I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

Sperming without a License and Sexless Reproduction (Tuesday)

So what were we talking about? Oh right. Some of the weirder infertility news floating around lately: Illegal sperm, military wife surrogates, and organisms which can reproduce by themselves..with no mate. So a few weeks back I "reported" to you about these 2 guys in the UK who were selling  sperm illegally over the internet. The company was called "Sperm Direct" or maybe it was "First Come First Serve".

Well anyway, their business endeavor was made possible thanks to a new law which allowed any and all frozen sperm donated to a legitimate sperm bank,  to knock on daddy donor's door eighteen years later and say: "Surprise! Remember me? Do I look familiar?"

Isn't the whole point of being a sperm donor: "Fill out a questionnaire, watch a video, do something you'll probably not mention to your mom when she calls and asks: "How was your day? Did you do anything special?" because you're A) Too embarrassed and B) Too old to believe the "going blind" story? 

Then you take the check and run. Two banks: One sperm and one First National and two deposits in one day. And then the day is over. And you move on with life.

I've heard of men being contacted by their adult sperm child and being elated to hear from them. But I could also see why men wouldn't want this to happen.

Now you're married and have kids and a stellar career: A respected pillar of the community. And there you were, eighteen years ago, jerking your way through college...

So once that law was put into place in England, --that donated sperm could meet their donor daddy once they turned eighteen-- of course a lot of men shrank away from donating as quickly as if they'd just sat naked on a glacier, and the free-flowing sperm well dried up.   

So here come these two internet sperm entremanures to drive a seed truck through the law loophole.

They took sperm donors who were supposedly well-screened, including a health screening which I guess was a letter from a doctor confirming that he or she touched their part and it seemed to be a natural color and didn't fall off from some horrible disease.

(I admit, I'm a little skeptical about the documentation presented to the women who got the sperm. I know places on Broadway where, in ten minutes, I could walk out with an ID that proved I was one of Brad Pitt's adopted children... Hey...yummmm...moving on.)

So then the woman looking for some sperm would somehow communicate with the donor and let him know the moment she was ovulating and needed it for her self- insemination.

Then a courier would pick up his sperm while it was still hot off the presses and hand deliver it to the bottomless woman eagerly awaiting on the other side of her front door. 

I mean he probably wouldn't have to ask: "Are you Ms. Steinberg?"

The fact that she was opening her front door naked from the waist down would probably be confirmation enough.

They always tell you when you're dealing with customers at your job, how important it is to make good eye contact. I imagine it's especially important at this courier job.

They probably train the male couriers for weeks before their first delivery by making them take their wives to Hooters for dinner every night.

Personally, I would love that courier job. How many jobs can you hand over a package, say to your customer: "Go F yourself" and receive a generous tip?: "Thanks for the reminder! I'll do my best!"

Listen I gotta go. I hear there's still an ice cream man forty miles south of here who hasn't put his truck into hibernation yet for the winter. I'm going to drive to where he was last seen and sit quietly in my car until I hear his mating song. Oh, please, I've done a lot worse for a fudgicle.    

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow. And if you haven't checked out the articles from our Health Experts in a while, I invite you to do so!  http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

Sperming without a License and Sexless Reproduction (Monday)

Okay, so my headline this week sounds like some of the porno spam emails I receive. (Why does everyone want to enlarge my penis? Who says it needs enlarging?) There are a lot of interesting and/or weird stories going on in our little 7.3 million infertile enclave this week.

There's this research into organisms/microorganisms (Do I know the difference? Look---There's my tenth grade biology teacher, Mr. Fields. He's shaking his head "no".)  

Regardless, the article was about these organisms that can choose to reproduce with or without a mate.  Hm... What if we had that choice? Would we still choose to close our eyes and open our mouths? Or would we just leave him there sleeping....looking like road-kill?

We'll discuss this week....   

Then, there are those unlicensed online sperm banks.  It's computer dating for eggs and sperm to meet in a loving, confidential, environment. The women go online and pick a guy's stuff. They can specify if they want the sperm to be tall, dark, and handsome, or blond-haired, blue-eyed; if they want the sperm to be romantic or a college graduate.

Then the woman clicks "Send" and in no time it's hand-delivered directly to her door. (Yeah, it's probably not the kind of thing you'd want your neighbor to sign for.)

Then, you stand at the front door, bottomless, take the package from the courier who's trained to make eye contact with you at all times, then you slam the door in his face, and inseminate yourself in the room of your choice. 

So, two guys who were running one of these cyber-sperm sales events in the UK  just came out of court.

We'll discuss this week.

Then there are a lot of other fascinating tidbits on the infertility news wire which might find their way into Laughing IS Conceivable this week: Military wives making extra money by being repeat surrogates. (Well, they need cash. How many bake sales can you have?)   

A white woman who sued a clinic because she got sperm labeled "Caucasian" but apparently it came from somewhere where "caucasian" doesn't mean white...and her kids aren't. (I said some of these stories were weird.)

And, as for my headline, you're right.  "Sperming" probably isn't a word.  But trust me: When Dr. Phil gets hold of this post, it will become not only a word, but a household word. He alone has the power to do for "sperming" what he did for "parent"... ("It's not just a noun, it's also a verb.")

Listen I gotta go. I have to explain to my husband why I said he looks like a dead raccoon on the side of the highway when he sleeps. (Quick, somebody suggest something.) I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Those Who Assist Us With Our Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Tuesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. If you enjoy reading about a 40 something womans's mental decline, you'll devour it.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. How even though I was a regular at fertility clinics around town for a while (depressing but still preferred over singles' bars-although both "VIP lounges" were much the same: Half-naked women "dancing" with their feet mid-air), I was never really quite sure what each member of the medical staff really did.

Am I the only dumb patient?

My dentist's office staff kind of paid for that today. I guess I went in there with this post on my mind. Everyone who approached me I grilled like chicken on the Fourth of July:

"Who are you? What's your title? Did you go to school for that?" One woman I cornered turned out to be their 11:30 appointment. (Well how should I know? Who wears a white jacket to their teeth cleaning?)

Anyway, I think you should be well-acquainted with anyone who might put their hands in your mouth, don't you agree? 

Although, considering where fertility clinic staff members put their hands I shouldn't be so sensitive. I think everyone but the receptionist tickled my tubes. And she might have also, had she a hands-free phone.

So this week's Health Expert article is by an embryologist. When I first read this great article, I finally knew two things: 1)What an embryologist really does, and 2) Why I could never in a million years be one... unless you wanted your lab sued several times over.

First, the embryologist, Carole Wegner, emphasizes how meticulous an embryologist must be: About procedures, about supplies, about equipment.

I don't think my two favorite mottos: "It's probably fine", and "Who's gonna know?" would fly. In fact, forget the lab, they don't work too well with my husband.

Like how I compensate for my shortness: When clothes fall off the hangers in the closet, I just leave them on the floor and eventually, when a nice little heap has accrued, I can stand atop it to reach things on the shelf above.

Doesn't that somehow fall under the life giving you lemons make lemonade axiom?

So translating this habit to the lab, I would likely put unlabeled sperm samples down wherever and say:  "It's probably fine. I'm sure they're all nice people."

And apparently all supplies in the lab haved to be tested to make sure they have no toxic properties. So I guess if I ran a lab and a tool dropped on the floor, there's probably something in some protocol handbook that you get when you're hired that would preclude me from invoking the "eight second rule".    

(Well I'm sorry that rule has a humane purpose. How many delicious last cookies in the box would be needlessly tossed in the garbage, uneaten  just because they, through no fault of their own, fell on the floor?)

Something else Carole will discuss:  That data is kept on each person working in the lab to avoid "Technical Drift": What happens when technicians do the same tasks over and over: Little by little they drift away from the accepted standards and protocols.

I worked in customer service at a call center for many years. It happened there a lot. One day you were saying: "It's always nice to serve you. Have a wonderful day!" And a few months later you were looking at the Caller ID and mumbling to yourself: "Oh man... not this assh again."

Listen, I gotta go. I have to apologize to everyone at my dentist's: Another one of my mottos: Be pleasant to those who either serve you food or clean it out of your teeth with sharp instruments.

Please check out Carole Wegner's article: "Quality Assurance in the IVF Lab"

http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow

Anger: It's Not Just For Breakfast Anymore (Monday)

I have a friend who truly believes that anger is a great motivator. Okay. I've heard of it motivating people to lose weight or to get out of a bad relationship. I've also heard of anger motivating people to bypass  the parking lot and drive their SUV straight into the mall, or bring a machine gun to work in their lunch box instead of a tuna fish sandwich.

This same friend once told me that her anger got her up and out of bed in the morning. Apparently, upon waking, she has several mantras that run spontaneously through her head: "I am so mad at my job, my boss, my sister, the non-smoking law, the republican party, the democratic party, women in general, men in specific, my electric bill, my landlord, the dry skin on my toe... "and before she knows it, the adrenaline comes raging through her veins and she's  up and ready for the day.

I'm like, "Couldn't you just open your eyes and say: 'It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day and I'm healthy enough to enjoy it'?

It would probably do the same thing without creating a side of panic attack to go with your shredded mini wheats."   

I even suggested that she ease herself into this whole crazy "being positive" notion of mine and put her own negative spin on it:

"Wake up and proclaim:  'Yeah! I didn't die in my sleep!  Whoo hoo! So what can I go do now that I made it through the night without having a brain hemorrhage?!'"

She doesn't do it intentionally. She's just po'd all the time. Sounds like a waste of life to me...but... whatever. As long as I'm not the one waking up next to her. In fact, as far as I know, she has nobody waking up next to her...imagine that.

Oh what a restful night's sleep it would be not knowing if you're going to wake up to a pillow over your face or to a hearty "Good morning Jerk!" followed by a love-tap with a swift hard cover book to the back of the head.   

So, those going through infertility are not like this friend of mine. We're po'd a lot of the time because of the infertility, but that's not who we really are. It's kind of what we've become. So, what are we so mad about? Let's discuss.

Listen I gotta go. I accidentally threw away my bank card and I hear the garbage truck coming. (You have no idea how much I wish that were a joke.) I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Infertility News: I Couldn't Make This Stuff Up (Friday)

So what were we talking about? Oh right. The study done to see if teens who had been conceived via IVF were any different than those who had been conceived the "normal" way: With a little alcohol and the promise of forever. PS. Yes, they're equally obnoxious. End of study. In other infertility news: You may have heard that the Octo-mom and her doctor are planning to take over reality TV:  She with her own show and he on the eleven o'clock news.

You remember the original issues we all had with this doctor. Yeah, yeah, he took this single lady who appears to be nuts and implanted her about a million times. She had six kids, then she had eight more, now she has a reality show...

I mean this is Beverly Hills. I've heard of people addicted to plastic surgery; but in vitro fertilization? All in all, after the first slew of children, she probably should have just had a tummy-tuck and called it a day... Whatever whatever...Old news.

But now there are apparently a few other minor incidents revolving around her doctor which have come to light: Notably, a forty-eight year old woman in whom he implanted seven embryos.

I don't know how unhealthy that itself is, but can you imagine a sixty year old with seven pre-teens? The price of her IVF should include a lifetime standing reservation at the local asylum. (If only to drown out the chorus of hourly chants of "Why do I always have to go seventh?!")

So the medical community is outraged. The public is outraged...Could this man ask for better publicity?

There are literally millions of people searching desperately to make their conception dreams come true and here's this guy who can't stop getting  women pregnant...very pregnant. 

And you don't get any news bulletins running across the bottom of your TV screen when they don't get pregnant, so it seems like his success rate is 100%.

I wouldn't be surprised if he leaked these stories himself--like Madonna. If, when this seven embryo story dies down, you hear he's dating A-Rod, you'll know I'm right.

And he still has his license. And he still has his website. Which, oddly enough, still lists The American Society for Reproductive Medicine under "Resources" even though he's been expelled from it. He could at least have the decency to put an asterik, like this: ASRM*.

*Although you might not want to use my name.

I actually think that's damned magnanimous of him. I think of places I've been fired from. I wouldn't recommend any of them on my website.

Even on my resume, next to the name of the company, where the "Dates of Employment" ordinarily go, I've written: ("Yeah, I used to work for those MF's.")

Listen, I gotta go. We're having a neighborhood sock wash this weekend and I have to start sniffing to see what's clean and what's too dirty to be washed in public. I live in a very exciting town.

Infertility News: I Couldn't Make This Stuff Up (Thursday)

So what were we talking about? Oh right. What's going on on The Infertility Channel. Yesterday we discussed "Fertility Tourism". Couples who travel Europe with a map of the best five star fertility clinics under their arm. Also in the news: There was a recent Dutch study of kids who had been conceived via IVF who were now teenagers. Researchers wanted to know if there were any marked  differences in the mental health between teens who had been conceived naturally versus those via IVF. What they found is that:

Teens who had been conceived through in vitro felt more comfortable around medical personnel, liked the feel of latex gloves against their skin,  liked to be in the public eye ("under the microscope")...

Liked extreme cold; asked loved ones to put on a lab coat before hugging them...

Didn't mind being away from their parents for two to five days at a time, were turned on by hospital smells, and enjoyed dates in cozy places made of glass.

Unlike "regular" teens, they were not annoying or disrespectful, never drove too fast, begged their parents to borrow the car, returned it with no gas, drove 1500 miles with their friends to sleep overnight on a sidewalk to get concert tickets without mentioning that they were going or  blamed their parents for ruining their lives.

Okay, so after months of studies, of course they found, emotionally, no difference between IVF-conceived and naturally conceived teens.

The study didn't get into the social stigma issue of being conceived via IVF. Like having other kids teasing them: "Your mama's so ugly even your daddy wouldn't touch her." "He paid a doctor 15 grand to do it for him."

An earlier study did show an increase in depression and binge-drinking among IVF-conceived teen girls. I think the report got confused. I'm a mother of IVF- conceived multiples. You want to talk about depression and binge-drinking.

Listen I gotta go. My answering machine just picked up and Mel Gibson's leaving a message. This I gotta hear.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

The Fertile Riff Raff (What? What Did I Say?) (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. It's good to get blogged as much as you can on a Friday, in case you have to go blogless on the weekend.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Women who get pregnant easily. Yesterday we discussed "The Irritating Irresponsibles": Women who just get pregnant for no apparent reason other than... well, for no apparent reason.

The most harmless of the annoying chicks who get pregnant easily are the imaginary ones. (Bear with me if you can.)

There are two types of imaginary pregnant women:

1) Mom's like to brag about their kids. This is tough when there may not be a lot to brag about. 

So, these Mom's work with what they've got: To everyone who will listen, they brag about their daughters' one crowning achievement: Getting pregnant easily.   

"My daughter was going to be a psychololologist, but she got pregnant and gave me a beautiful granddaughter (for my 34th birthday)."

"Then she was going to be an anthropololologist, but she got pregnant and gave me a beautiful granddaughter."

"Then she was going to build homes in South America with CoHabitation for the Homeless, yeah them...but she got pregnant and gave me  a beautiful grandson."

"Then she was about to become a general in the Air Force, but just as she was scheduled for her first flying lesson...she got pregnant and gave me a beautiful granddaughter." 

"Then she was going to be crowned Miss USA....but she got pregnant and gave me a beautiful (I think that one was a) grandson."

"Then  she was going to become the first lady of Monaco, but she got pregnant and gave me a beautiful granddaughter."

I like to think these white lies are just a mom protecting her young and trying to put a positive spin on things.

I'm sure she'd rather use the above answers when asked: "So what's your daughter been up to?" rather than: 

"Nothing much. She got thrown out of two online GED programs and three rehab facilities and has been knocked up six times."  

So, this daughter isn't 100% a figment of  mom's imagination. She does indeed have a daughter: Just not the one she's been telling you about.

2) The second imaginary pregnant woman is (oxymoron alert) really imaginary: Invented by someone who feels the uncontrollable need to top your story every time: Even if this means creating a great work of fiction.  

If you just bought a house that's twenty-seven million square feet, her imaginary niece just built one that's thirty million square feet.

If you just got a job as CEO of Microsoft, her nephew's faux step-son is your boss's boss's supervisor.

But, as luck would have it, he's in charge of the Guatemala office, so you'll probably never meet him. Unless you go to a conference in Guatemala, at which time he will have just been notified of his emergency transfer to Kuala Lumpur or maybe Cincinnati. 

So if you can't get pregnant, her first cousin can't stop getting pregnant, even though her only first cousin, you're pretty sure, is about sixty-eight.  

Her poor cousin, according to Madame La Raconteur, has tried everything not to get pregnant:

Separate bedrooms, green tea, taking a hatful of birth control pills after every meal, having a hysterectomy, gender reassignment surgery, becoming a nun... Nothing works!  

Listen I gotta go. I like to swim naked and the neighbors all signed a petiton requesting I do it before daybreak. I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

The Fertile Riff Raff (What? What Did I Say?) (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Anything with the word "riff-raff" in the title is worth reading from the beginning, don't ya think?) So what were we talking about? Oh right. Clueless women: Women who don't know anything.

They don't know how they got pregnant, when they got pregnant, why they keep getting pregnant and sometimes, occasionally-- They don't even know that they are pregnant.

One day she's trying on shoes at the shoe store and just happens to look down and see a little round face in the little rectangular shoe mirror.

And she exits the store in search of a whole different kind of pump than what she had intended when she entered.

But clueless women who get pregnant easily only make my eyes roll.

Irresponsible women who get pregnant easily make me wretch repeatedly. Two words:

"Maury" anyone?

Somewhere down the line I'll have an entire week's worth of blogs dedicated to Maury Povich's show. Maybe even a "Maury" month. You just can't do his guests the injustice they deserve in one measly post.

For those of you who haven't seen it: A show staple: Women (mostly women) get DNA tests done on an ex-husband, an ex-boyfriend, a boyfriend's son, a mother-in-law's husband, a husband's twin, an ex-boyfriend's boyfriend,  the guy who sat next to her at church --to confirm her child's paternity. 

Here's a direct transcript from the show, or something I'm making up as I go... You be the judge.

Miss A is seventeen, has four kids with four baby-daddy. All of them have their respective daddy name  with an "A" at the end: Marcusa, Jamesa, Joshuaa, Anthonya.

I'm not sure which is the most irresponsible part: Having all of those kids at such an immature age, having four different baby-daddy, or saddling those innocent tots with names that are absurd...and then calling them all "jr" anyway.

********

Miss B is twenty-four and has a husband. He is even a possible contender to be the baby-daddy. Hoo haa.

So are eight others guys: A few of his cousins and a few of their friends who happened to stop by at the family barbecue on that fateful late summer afternoon...

Leaving them all to rethink the true meaning of the "labor day weekend"... and to ponder if, perhaps, the grill should be the only thing turned on and getting hot during it.       

********

Miss C has been stalking poor David for two years trying to get him to pay up for his child. There she is on TV calling him a bastard and belittling his little body parts.

Where does a young lady learn such behavior? Oh, wait, there's her mother sitting next to her calling David a c*** sucker into the camera.

And naturally, when the DNA finally gets a word in edgewise, David is officially declared to be not the baby-daddy. 

So, irresponsible Miss C has been barking up the wrong guy's little tree for two years, while her child has gotten two years older and the real baby-daddy, with a two year head start, has probably made his way over the border into Mexico, or Canada, or Indiana.   

So these women got pregnant irresponsibly and now are doing something that may also be irresponsible: Bringing their child on TV to parade him and their "mashugas" (let's say "dirty laundry") for the nation to see.

If only they weren't so damn entertaining.

Listen I gotta go. I'm doing a triathalon next week and I have to learn how to swim. I hear it's like riding a bike. Which I can't do either...Maybe I'll just stand along the running route and hand out water.  I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

Who's To Blame For The Infertile Insane? (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Preferably with a frosty beverage in one hand and a sparkler in the other.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How people, like your spouse, and society, and the medical staff, have conspired with hormones to make you go bonkers during your fertility treatments...

(Ever see the movie "Gaslight" with Ingrid Bergman? It's like that.)

And, of course, there are the bills...

Bad enough you have to go to all of those appointments and be subjected to proby things put up you and blood siphoned out of you.  Stuff injected, swallowed, inserted or shot into you.

Now, on top of all of that: The damn treatments expect to be paid for.

I thought about getting a second job, maybe babysitting. Okay, so, nowadays a babysitter makes, what?  At least, forty dollars a night. 

So, okay. Let's say I worked at my regular job every day and worked overtime every night. And then, afterwards, I babysat. Seven days a week.

I'm sure there are lots of couples headed out to have a date night at eleven on a Tuesday evening. 

So that would be at least  two hundred and eighty dollars a week just from babysitting. At that rate, I could have one round of IVF signed, sealed, and delivered in about ten years. Just from babysitting. Not bad. I could start treatments about three weeks before I turn fifty-two.

Or maybe my husband could set up a lemonade stand outside his office on his lunch break.

Why not? On a NYC corner, he could charge eight dollars a cup and nobody would blink. Nobody would buy, but nobody would blink. Well, tourists might buy. He's cute enough.

And maybe he could wear a thong speedo to bolster business. I suppose that would mean we'd have to do the treatments in the summer. We've gotten this far. No sense taking a chance on frostbiting his boys.

Or maybe we could do a 50/50 raffle. You know. You sell tickets to raise money. You keep half and the winner takes half.

Could get a little hairy if you have twins, though. Even worse with triplets, being that they're not divisible by two.  What in the world am I talking about?

Or we could borrow money from family...Wait, where'd they all just go?

Or we could max out our credit cards...if our credit limits hadn't been dropped from $35,000 to $12.95.

Or we could do a bake sale. How many chocolate chips do you need to make $200,ooo worth of cookies? I'll probably need to buy a bigger bowl.

Or we could sell stuff on e-bay. If I can find a way to market old crap as nostalgia.

Or we could barter. I have a degree in Foreign Languages. Do you know any Reproductive Endocrinologists who could use $20,000 worth of Spanish lessons? (I think I might have to throw in a Senorita.)

So, the moral for this week: If you're dealing with infertility- The diagnosis, and/or treatments, and you're worried that you're losing your mind. Don't worry. You are.  We all are. Abnormality is the norm.

Listen, I gotta go. I smell steak barbecuing somewhere within a six mile radius. I've gotta grab a bottle of A1 and hunt it down. If you could see my nose, you'd know I wasn't kidding. I'll talk with ya on Tuesday.

Who's To Blame For The Infertile Insane? (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Hey, ...If you were good enough to show up for work on the Thursday before a holiday weekend, you pretty much can create your own agenda for the day.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. How society is to blame for all ills and evils on the planet including, but not limited to, our infertility issues and subsequent loss of mind.

It's also possible that some of our nuttiness can be attributed to not only people but things as well. "Hormones" comes to mind.

I mean, you know how you don't feel quite like yourself around PMS time?

Maybe you feel a little off-balance, or spacy, or irritable or like you want to choke everyone in your path and punch them in the face until they stop yapping at you?

Well, so here we are: A group who has been diagnosed, tested, and probed to death.

Been prodded and annoyed by friends, neighbors, coworkers, relatives, and your random yenta on the street.

Gone through loss of money, friends, self-esteem and ultimately, our minds.

All we need now are 250 IU's of hormones coursing through our bloodstream at 80 MPH on a nightly basis to finish us off.

And this season's fashion trend will be a straight jacket. All of the upscale infertility patients will be wearing them (over their opening-goes-in-the-front examination gowns I suppose). 

So there I was, about four months into treatments and handling everything as well as could be expected. Translation: My straight jacket was coming apart at the seams. Then it happened. 

I had had three failed go-rounds with IUI (Intra-Uterine Insemination). I switched clinics and Dr. Wiseacre at the new facility insisted I take a fourth journey into the IUI unknown.  Cutting to the chase: I was prescribed a few hormones too many.

Then there was "Steven". (I may as well take the quotation marks away because that's his name): My coworker, my friend. Yes, he was a little nit-picky at work about rules and cleanliness. But I adored him.

A Pre-IUI-hormone overdose conversation:

Steven: "Lori, you're really not supposed to eat at your desk."

Lori: "I know."

In the throes of my hormone high: 

Steven: "Lori you're really not supposed to eat at your desk."

Lori: "What's it to you? Why don't you mind your own business?! Who are you? You're nobody. You're just this pain in the ass who always has to be up everybody else's ass.

(He heads to his desk with an urgent gait. I stalk behind.)

What do you even do here anyway? Do you have a job? Do you even work here? You don't ever seem to do anything but irritate people!

So what if I eat at my desk? What's it to you? I'd better never catch you eating at your desk!"     

I waved my granola bar within millimeters of his face, having visions of beating him to death with it and stuffing his body in the trunk of his car.

The poor guy. Even in my damaged mental state, I could see he was mentally debating whether to call security or just pee himself.

Listen I gotta go. I'm going to run down to Mexico to get some fireworks for this weekend. Oh, I can get them at Wal-mart? I didn't know. I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

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Who's To Blame For the Infertile Insane? (Wednesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. You're headed for a three day week end. Why wait for the last minute to slack off?) So what were we talking about? Oh right. The fact that we all lose our minds just a little bit during infertility and its treatments. We're sad. We're angry. We're impatient. We're frustrated. We're stressed beyond stressed out. And someone must be to blame. (Not us. Clearly, not us.)

In yesterday's post, I tried to lay blame on my-- husband, partner in life, "So You Think You Can Dance" buddy,  fellow fondler, groping chum...whatever title is politically correct this week. And I failed miserably.

As much as I'd have liked it to be, I realized that it's not his fault that I had to go through millions of tests, thousands of appointments, and endless hours of  anxiety. But now I know whose fault it really is: 

Society

Society is to blame for everything bad: Drugs, child abuse, premarital sex, teenage sex,  sex on the rides at Disneyland, plastic wrap that won't untwist, war, poverty, constipation, pollution, crocs, lousy schools, prostitution, thong underwear, NASCAR, the oil spill in the gulf, chin hair and tsunamis:  So why not our infertility woes? (Stay tuned. If I can't pin it on them, I'll try hiphop music next.)

Look at TV. Look at magazines. Everyone wants us to be 5'10, 110 pounds and have kids. But not too many. I'm not sure what the acceptable societal limit is.

When the Octo-mom had hers, everyone went nuts. When the Duggars had their nineteenth or thirtieth or whatever they went really nuts. 

But you definitely can't have "none". That's not allowed.

"Don't you want a baby? If you don't have one, you'll regret it. Like not going to your senior prom. Or college. Or not finishing college. Or not going back to college.

Or not taking that job. Or taking that other job.

Or not marrying that guy. Or marrying that guy.

Or moving. Or not moving sooner.

Or not becoming a nurse or a dancer or a methodist or a proctologist or a lacto-vegetarian. Mark my words: You'll regret it."

And you definitely aren't allowed to have only one child.

"What's the matter with you? Don't you want to give your child a sibling? You know what happens to only child /childs/children, don't you?" 

"My husband's cousin's mother was an only child. She wasn't potty trained until high school and she ran off with a drummer when she was thirty-six."

And you can't have more than four kids; five only if you absolutely have to. 

But at five, you're stretching it. (A pun of sorts.) People start to lose patience with you:

"Can you afford five children? Do you need five children? You know my taxes are paying for those children. Maybe you should buy a DVD. You really need something else to do in bed."

So, if society isn't responsible for our insanity, it's at least partly to blame for our infertility blahs, blues, and blechs.

Listen I gotta go. I want to have a big barbecue this weekend and I've got to go light a fire under my husband... So he'll get the barbecue ready...What did you think I meant?

Who's To Blame For The Infertile Insane? (Tuesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. You'd better do it. This week is about going nuts. If you don't read every word, people will know it's because you think I mean you.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How the only way to ever improve yourself as a human being is to blame all of your shortcomings on others.

I'm setting out this week to point the finger of blame at those responsible for our infertility insanity. So, here's the question at hand: 

"Who deserves the finger?"

The Partner

Frankly, I never cared for that expression: "Partner". It always reminds me of "Howdy Pardner" which makes me feel like my husband and I should be lassoing something on the Ponderosa.

It also sounds completely un-romantic. I've had bridge partners, tennis partners and business partners. Never slept with any of 'em. Unless you count...nevermind.

I prefer to slightly modify the title and introduce my husband to people as my groping partner.

It gives people a vivid visual into the true nature of our relationship, while allowing me to stare at their throat to see how well they control their gag reflex.

Anyway, whatever you call that person you nibble at night, they're the one to blame for your infertility insanity.  

I'll never question the amount of angst that men feel during infertility...no matter who in the relationship is diagnosed as infertile.

But if the woman has "the problem", he will likely remain sane... while she goes diving head first into Lake La La.

On Day One, my husband and I were both sent for tests. Mine entailed holding my urine for several hours. His entailed visiting the dark room at the way, way, back of the video store.   

Medical professionals encouraged him to let it out with a smile on his face. They encouraged me to hold it in with a painful wince on mine.

I spent the morning with John, the cold-handed tech who ran red dye #2 up my fallopians, through my small intestine, under my lungs, and out my eye sockets. (I think his degree was from the University of Mapquest).

My husband spent his morning with his two new best friends: Booby Brown and her magician pal Davida Coppafeel. (He wouldn't tell me if she really did magic or just tricks.) 

He then returned to the clinic with the fruits of his "labor" and waited while somebody tossed his cupful (or maybe half a cupful) under a microscope.

My diagonosis:  "Your tubes are clear.  Let's schedule another dozen or so tests to see what else could possibly be very wrong with you."

His diagnosis:  "These are the most perfect sperm I've ever seen in my life. They're handsome, virile, athletic."

So I'm whipping out my calendar, and trying to figure out how I'm going to stop my life for several weeks for my next battery of tests.

While all around me my husband's sperm are high-fiving each other, having just been inducted into the clinics's Sperm Hall of Fame.

We had entered the fertility clinic for the first time in our lives on a Monday morning.

By Tuesday afternoon, my husband's internal parts had been cleared of all charges of wrongdoing, thus completing their commitment to the infertility program.

As promised when we initially signed all of the paperwork, he received his sanity back as he passed through the clinic door. 

And all eyes turned back to me.

So maybe it's not actually the partner's fault that we go nuts and they don't. 

And, truth be told, if the infertility treatments are going to land me in a mental institution, I probably should have a designated driver to take me there.  

Listen I gotta go: I've got to get some gel. It's 98 humid degrees here and  my hair's about to take over the neighborhood.

Who's To Blame For The Infertile Insane? (Monday)

Last week I touched upon how we all start infertility treatments as relatively sane people and shortly thereafter go bonkers. I alluded to the fact that the fertility clinics themselves, were to blame for us going nuts. 

Don't get me wrong. I love fertility clinics. I mean,  so many doctors around the Country have been so generous to me and my writing I want to give them all hickeys.

Even though, I've always pictured patients in an insane asylum walking around wearing paper hats and matching booties: Exactly the wardrobe my doctors insisted I wear to attend my egg retrieval.

When you read the posts on online infertility support groups, there are a lot of people crying, hugging, on their very last nerve, beating the hell out of each other with baby dust and forever on the verge of completely flipping out. What a pretty group we are.

Sometimes I think we should be required to wear bumper stickers on our backs like people taking driving lessons. Instead of it saying "Student Driver" it might say: "IVF Patient".

They both provide those in close proximity with the same warning. "Stay back. Stay way way back. This person is not responsible for her actions. This person could lose total control at any moment."

When you see that "Student Driver" bumper sticker what do you do? Switch lanes. Get away as fast as you can.

The same could apply to the "IVF Patient" in the supermarket. People would hurry to switch aisles and check-out lines. You'd see shopping cart skid marks all over the place.

"No, that's okay. I know I'm only buying a bar of soap but I think I'll just go over to line #8 behind the woman with the six screaming kids, two jam packed shopping carts, and an accordion file-ful of coupons.

Yeah, the one with the cashier who's name, according to her name tag is  'Trainee', (I think that's French). Yes, her: The one who can't seem to master the art of finding the end on a roll of receipt tape and who is waiting for 'the key'. Don't worry. Yeah, yeah, I'll be fine."  

But the beautiful thing is that our insanity, our nuttiness, is never our fault. Or, at least, most of our actions have a good explanation behind them.

I look at infertility treatments as a door. We're pushing, with all of our might, on that door: The door perhaps to our future.

Well, now our screws are loose and we're becoming unhinged. And somebody is responsible!

This week, let's explore exactly who or what is indeed responsible. I mean it's not us. No, of course it's not us. What a silly notion.

Listen I gotta go. I'm incredibly messy, always late for everything, and can't wrap a present to save my life. While I'm at it, I may as well figure out who's to blame for ALL of my shortcomings.  

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You Have Entered:"The Infertility Zone" Doo Doo Doo Doo, Doo Doo Doo Doo (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. This week is a take on "The Twilight Zone" and you know how lost you are if you come in twenty minutes into an episode.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. You walk into this fertility clinic. It may be in your own city. It may be in your own neighborhood. But it's like you just stepped onto another planet.

They look like people you know. You think they speak the same language. 

Then the nurse comes in and then the doctor, and before you know it foreign words start flying around the room:

"Reproductive Endocrinologist (Can I just call you Doc?) Gonal-F. Lupron. Follistim. Progesterone (Hey! That one I've heard of. Yeah for me!) subcutaneous, follicles,  retrieval, Medrol, ICSI, Intrauterine Insemination.

About a half hour into the first meeting, I realized that the last thing I had understood was: "Good morning. Have a seat." 

I turned to my husband and asked: "They're just screwing with us to see if we're serious about this right?"

And, truth be told, nobody said: "Good morning. Have a seat." I believe the nurse's precise words were: "Good morning. How are you today?"

Never being one to leave a rhetorical question unanswered, I responded: "Apparently infertile, thank you. And you?"  

So, you see, there's a specific reason why I thought they might be screwing with us: Payback for being a smartass.   

So there you are, a stranger in this strange land asked to come back a few times a week to visit. That's nice. The medical staff likes you so much they keep inviting you back.

In my hormone-induced + in-denial-about-the-whole-infertility-thing- altered-state, I could see me getting all confused and treating it like a job interview:

"Yeah, I think they really liked me! They want to see me again tomorrow!"

Or maybe I thought I was being invited to a glorious beach party with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Yeah, I think I'll wear my pink tankini to my egg retrieval.

You're prescribed all kinds of drugs you've never heard of and instructed to inject some of them into yourself: Making you feel like the love child of a guinea pig and a pin cushion. 

Your husband, spouse, partner, lover- whatever you call him in public- is sent into a room ten steps away from the waiting room and told to fall madly in love with a plastic cup.

Who wouldn't feel like they had just entered: "The Infertility Zone"?

Listen, I gotta go. I have a coupon for a free massage that expires at midnight...or whenever the man who issued it falls asleep on the couch watching the Sci-Fi channel.

I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

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The Fertility Clinic's Medical Team (Or “Cast Of Characters”): Whichever You Prefer-Friday

(Start with “Monday” if you can. Tell your supervisor that having a ‘blog reading’ period on “Casual Fridays” has been clinically proven to boost employee morale. He’ll appreciate your proactiveness...proactivity...being proactional) So what were we talking about? Oh right. The medical assistant from Hades. (No, I didn’t mean the country with the horrible earthquake. I know what I’m talking about.)

I’ve talked a lot this week about medical and non-medical staff at the fertility clinic and my interactions with them.

But the one staff member who intrigued me most was someone with whom I had no contact whatsoever:                      "The Sperm Collector".

 Well that's what I called him anyway. I know that title makes it sound like he has dozens of samples from all over the world mounted in a glass frame on his den wall. I certainly hope he doesn't.

The young man who worked at my clinic had his desk front and center outside the donation door waiting for the man inside to complete his task. He sat there patiently reading a magazine (although unlike, I imagine, the ones on the other side of the door, his magazine looked fresh and unmangled).

He sat there reading away. So nonchalant. As though someone was in there baking and would, in a moment, fling the door open and hand him a plate of brownies.

I can understand the sounds from within not bothering him. He lived in NYC. I lived in NYC.

The walls in a NYC apartment are so thin you feel like you're in bed with everyone in the building.

You take sides on their spats, you know what their kids have for breakfast, you know what pets they hide when the landlord comes by.

But why does his desk have to be right there? I think if I were that man in the room, trying to accomplish, I would want him sitting across the street.   

Is he there because they had no where else in the office to put his massive one-drawer desk? Or to make sure nobody tries to barge in on the contributor?

Who would have something so vital to tell the man that it couldn't wait? His wife. 

“Aren’t you done yet?  I have a hair appointment at two. It never takes this long when you’re with me.” 

Most likely the Sperm Collector is posted there in case the man's a klutz. If the hand-off takes place right outside the door, it won't give the guy much of an opportunity to spill his future on his shoes.  

See, if I were a guy giving at the office, I wouldn't want a woman to be the Sperm Collector. And I certainly wouldn't want her right outside the door. What pressure. Yet another female waiting for him to perform.   

I guess the man contributing would have to forget that there’s a woman waiting outside the door.

And the female Sperm Collector would have to forget that in his mind, she might be filling in for a lack of imagination.

If the poor guy emerges with only a few drops in the cup, a male Sperm Collector could empathize: "Yeah I know. I have sucky aim too."

While the female Sperm Collector would probably say: "What am I supposed to do with this? I ask you to do one thing. One thing. Is that too much to ask? Do I have to do everything myself?" 

Listen, I gotta go. I'm going to buy a huge beach tube to put around my waist in the pool. It's easier than dieting and exercising.  I'll talk with ya Monday.

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