Thursday, January 20, 2005

Professional assvice

Today was our introductory class with the Fertility Clinic.

The clinic is part of the huge HMO that is both insurance company and medical provider, so everything is in-house - pharmacy, labs, GP, OB/GYN, and of course the fertility clinic. In order to get an appointment at the fertility clinic, you have to first attend a class on fertility. Now, who do you think would teach such a class - an RE? A nurse practitioner from the fertility* clinic? No, of course not. That’s what the education department is for.

The educator was nice enough, and she is a nurse, but you could just tell that this class (which they offer at least once a month) is all the contact she has with infertiles, and most of us were just sitting there silently. Among the pearls of wisdom:

  • Some people just need the information from the class and no medical intervention. This would be, apparently, the people that don’t know that they need to have sex.
  • ”Lifestyle factors” are more important than learning about tests, possible causes, potential treatments, or the nuts and bolts of how this particular clinic works. No, we need to spend a lot of time talking about how smoking and drinking are bad for fertility (”But I’m not suggesting you walk out of here and just quit drinking. Maybe try cutting back gradually.” Thanks. That was helpful for those of us who have already given up not just alcohol and caffeine, but flour, sugar, and dairy.)
  • Stress managament is important. They offer yoga classes.
  • Taking your BBT is pointless, because it’s hard to interpret correctly.
  • Fertility monitors are pointless because now that we’re patients of the fertility clinic, they’ll do the monitoring.
  • Ovulation predictor kits work like pregnancy tests. (I guess because you pee on them?)
  • Two things we could do right away (or rather, after we got home): fill out the intake forms [yeah, so we filled them out right there in the classroom and hand delivered them to the clinic - who needs to waste a stamp or all that time] and practice “coital factors” - have sex around ovulation [hee - ovulation - that’s funny!] and stay lying down for 20-30 minutes after intercourse.

This doesn’t take into account the little catfight disagreement we had when she asked what some of the drawbacks of temp charting were and I said it doesn’t help if you don’t ovulate the temp rise is too late to use as a predictor of ovulation, and she said the temp rises BEFORE ovulation. Um, okay. Apparently, we’re both right, since the pink handout says the temp rise happens AROUND ovulation. So there.

Otherwise, I tried to restrain myself from the snide comments [I saved them for you all - now don’t you feel lucky?], because I suppose it’s nice that they offer this orientation class. J learned that fat holds on to estrogen, and that there were versions of ART beyond a ‘simple’ IVF. I learned that they offer a class on how to do injectibles - now that’s something for which I’ll actually want desperately need an in-person class!

We also watched a video from the ASRM called “To Have a Child” - this was actually probably the most useful part of the class for people who don’t already have a Google degree in infertility. The video explained the most common diagnostics for male and female factors, and talked some about treatment options. The best part was the section of clips from an infertility support group - cheesy 1990s clothing to be sure (I was going to say 1980s, but I really think it was 90s - and how weird that that’s long ago enough to look dated!), but suggested some of the conflicts in relationships that seem so common to infertiles - dealing with well-meaning but obnoxious relatives, personal questions from everyone and their mother, strained marital relationships - the laundry list of infertile emotional issues. No pat solutions were offered, which was also good.

So since we’re such overachievers (not only did we already deliver our paperwork, complete with my last three FF temp charts, but we’ve already had a ton of diagnostics run) we should be first in line for an appointment. They have to read over our questionnaire forms and figure out how much our situation sucks. And then we’ll see what they offer next.

* I just mistyped this as FRETility, which really does make sense. A clinic designed just for my fretting. What more could a girl want?


  1. Geez. All I had to do to see the RE was hand over a check. I guess I should be grateful for that after hearing your story. I am totally with you on the useless piles of assvice that even specialists make you wade through before they get to the real dealio. I think we should print ourselves up a Google Certification in Infertility to present to all new medical professionals.

  2. Oh, no--nononononononononononono! They DIDN'T.

    Do they think people just wake up one day, say, "I want to have a baby" and immediately sign up with a fertility center BEFORE THEY'VE TRIED ALL THE SEX AT OVULATION? Not to mention the "lying down for 20 minutes"?

    Good for you for sticking through it.


  3. My RE was actually quite a good guy, because he was sooo snarky about previous patients. Which I'm always sure is a good predictor of whether or not I'll get along with a doctor.

    He relayed a story of how this couple had been 'ttc' for 3 years and came in to do some 'simple' ivf cycles. He explained the gravity of what was involved and asked them if they'd like 'simple' testing first.

    He then poised the question...when do you time intercourse, as big red flags waved in front of his eyes.

    Days 1 through 5 the woman said, very proud of her obviously well researched information regarding fertility.

    He laughed, gave them a booklet on ovulation and when to have sex and she rang them back 2 months later to say she was pg. He then hit his head on his desk to prove just how truly daft they were and I cried with laughter.

    I had just received a horrible diagnosis and really needed that.

    Anyways, just wanted to wish you lots of luck with the fertility clinic and introduce myself. I'm JenP from the Reich Ovary and will definently be visiting again!