Let’s Do This! Step One in MY Egg Freezing Process
I’ve signed up for an initial screening at the fertility doctor’s office. It’s around the corner from the shelter where I adopted my cat, so I think that’s a good sign. I could get my entire family from the same Manhattan street corner.
I approach the receptionist to check in, and am directed to a touch screen on the wall. “Do the computer first. I can’t answer any questions for you until you do the computer.”
The computer basically wants to know how I’m paying for this. I type in my insurance information, and the screen directs me back to the receptionist, who wordlessly hands a clipboard full of paperwork. So this is already a pretty cuddly experience.
As I search for a pen in my bag, I notice that it’s possibly the crappiest bag in the entire waiting room. I’m clearly on the lower end of the financial spectrum here. There is a lot of Prada and irritated sighing. Like, “how dare the universe make me this rich and this infertile?”
The forms start off with the standard questions: how old I am, what medications do I take, did my parents have any exciting diseases. I check off a bunch of boxes about all the possible surgical procedures a person could ever have, and then the questions get complicated. “Are you Jewish? If yes, are you Ashkenazi or Sefardic?” A good Jew would know the answer to that, but I have to text my parents. While waiting for their response, I just write “maybe” next to the question, and go on to the pages where I promise not to sue the doctor for anything.
I’m finally called back to the doctor’s office, where she sits me down in a giant leather armchair for a little chat. After some ice-breaker questions about whether I’ve had any miscarriages or abortions, she drops the deep sh*t on me. “So do you want kids now?” I do my little explanation about how I live in a one-bedroom and never date but that I think there should be WAY more of my DNA in the world than there currently is. She nods.
Pleasantries out of the way, she shuffles me into a room where I am instructed to get naked and put on a gown. She leaves me alone for privacy, and after I’ve changed and shuffled up onto the exam table, THIS catches my eye.
And also THIS.
My gynecologist appointments up until now have clearly been of the ‘junior varsity’ variety. These are apparently the big leagues.
The doctor wanders back in nonchalantly, fires up the TV next to my bed, and puts a giant condom thingy on the dildo camera. Then, as they say in the TV business…we are live!
The image on the screen looks like Swiss cheese in black and white, and that’s apparently good. The doctor says a lot of positive sounding stuff about “follicles,” and “ovaries,” which I try to pay attention to, but it’s hard with the GIANT F-ING DILDO CAMERA broadcasting from up in my stuff.
Seconds later, Good Morning Uterus is over, and I’m shuffled off to the lab for an amazing bonus round of needle-tastic genetic testing.
The nurse sets up a menacing array of blood vials and rubber tubes, then reads over my paperwork. “So are you Ashkenazi Jewish or not?” I rummage for my cell phone to see if my parents have answered my text. “What if I am?” I ask. In response, she sets up at least a dozen more needles and vials. Please no, please no, I beg the God of Bad Jews. He is a vengeful deity, because at that moment my dad texts back saying, “Of course we are! Duh!”
Days later, as the bruises on my inner arms are turning from green to yellow, I get a call from the doctor’s office. The genetic tests have revealed that I am a carrier of Tay-Sachs disease, a fatal genetic disorder common in Ashkenazi Jews. About one in every 27 U.S. Jews is a carrier, which means we have a 50 percent chance of passing the gene on to our children. When both parents are carriers, each child has a 25 percent chance of having Tay-Sachs disease. Kids with the disease usually die by age 5. It all sounds scary, but, as I tell my father later, “This is a really good reason for you to stop nagging me to marry a nice Jewish boy.”
NEXT UP: Fertility Class! Where I learn to inject myself full of hormones! Stay Tuned…