Waiting to be called after arriving alone while Andrè catches on, Genoveva pretends not to notice those around her: an Asian couple, a young African American woman, the Latino nurse, the power couple in their late 20s. It is a mini- United Nations of assisted reproductive technology consumers hoping to procreate or to help others do so. She finds it hard to guess the women’s ages. Genoveva wonders if some are on any of the websites for women trying to conceive (or TTC as one of the many abbreviations used to post on those sites calls it). Maybe she has read their anonymous postings and is familiar with their latest follicle count although not their names. She thinks of male partners’ pressure to perform on demand.
The urge to procreate drives people of all backgrounds to seek ways to achieve this with the help of modern science. Too often the mental acrobatics that some may go through as they pursue the path to conception and delivery of a healthy baby are not anticipated. At fertility clinics, successful sperm collection and the means to achieve this step in the process can tap into people’s core beliefs about men, women, what is considered acceptable behaviors for each person. The experience is filtered through the lens of who we are: our values, beliefs, expectations, hopes and fears.
Like Genoveva, you too may be wondering about this topic. I believe it is useful for all who are thinking about assisted reproductive technology and treatment to ask themselves some questions to prepare:
1. Do you know what the physical, emotional, and financial demands of fertility treatment are? Are you willing to surrender to these?
2. Are you well informed about the specifics: procedures, medications, or daily treatments? Can you juggle the multiple appointments?
3. How long do you have to do this? How long would you want to do it for?
4. If on first try you do not get a BFP (big fat positive pregnancy result), how many times will you try again? Will you give up or to consider donor eggs or adoption?
5. What else would you like to know?
When you have your answers or more questions, proceed. Make a baby. Do it for the family, the tribe, the country, or just because you can, but please consider carefully the impact of your actions on yourselves and others.
Take care of your minds and hearts so that your child finds you well on arrival.
After successfully placing their collection cup in a locked metal container, Genoveva and Andrè quickly joined the others in the waiting area, as if nothing had happened.“This part was not on the brochure”, thought Genoveva.