Monday, September 14, 2009

Things We Learned from Our First Fertility Clinic Visit, Part I

We're still in search of the right surrogacy agency (and I now have a 15-page matrix to prove it), but we're also moving ahead with a parallel search for the right fertility clinic.

Today we had our first full-length consultation with a local clinic—one that has been recommended to us several times—and we walked out two and a half hours later feeling like we'd taken another huge step forward on the path to parenthood.

We learned an incredible amount about the medical part of the process—the science as well as the art of assisted reproduction—and I realized that knowledge is not only power; it is also comfort.

Here's one of the very comforting things we found out:

We have already done the most important thing right.

Here's why:

By far the most important variable in this process is the quality of the embryos, and the quality of the embryos depends in large part on the skill of the reproductive endocrinologist and embryologist who create them and on the protocols they follow.

The main thing the reproductive endocrinologist does is stimulate the patient's ovaries, using a variety of drugs, in order to produce eggs. The main thing the embryologist does is fertilize those eggs and then freeze the resulting embryos.

Both are very delicate procedures, and we learned today that it's quite common for doctors to "overcook the eggs" (I kid you not) by waiting too long to retrieve them.

Fortunately, we worked with an excellent clinic—one of the best there is. The reproductive endocrinologist who stimulated my ovaries was very skilled, and my records show that he timed everything just right. And the clinic has been a leader in developing and using very effective protocols, so we have every reason to expect that the rest of the process was handled as expertly as could be.

We still have a couple of big strikes against us—my age at the time the embryos were created and the fact that we have only two—but under these less-than-auspicious circumstances, it's still a tremendous comfort to know that we are starting off as auspiciously as possible.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Public Service Announcement

I had my ninth annual mammogram this morning (orange panties and all).

Have you had yours this year?

And if you have (excellent work!), have you scheduled next year's yet?

No excuses.

Just do it.

(You can wear any color underwear you like.)