So you are finally at the doctor’s office after years of unsuccessful copulating, seeking an answer with a side of treatment. Admittedly it’s been a relief to share with someone who’s not going to run off and tell everyone you know your intimate secrets. Especially if it means your doctor is going to DO something.
The tests he sends you for are both embarrassing and painful but because they’re going to shed fluorescent light on what ails you and your partner you’ll live with them, even welcome them.
“You want me to put my feet, where..THERE, but they won’t fit….auuuggghh!”
“How long did you say the needle had to stay in?”“Do I get anaesthetic?”“It’s been twenty-four hours – should I still be in this much pain?” are all pressing questions you find yourself asking the doctor, whilst for your partner it’s,“But how do I get it in there?” and “Do you have anything else but scotch/Penthouse?”
A couple of weeks later you’re back, all anticipatory that they’ll have found something and an indicated treatment will be offered.
Your partner is the first to receive his results and has to refrain from doing a Toyota ‘Oh what a feeling’ leap out of his chair at the news that his ‘boys can swim’. Whilst happy for him you realize that this must mean it’s you with the problem and nervously await the verdict.
It takes a while as there is much frowning, paper shuffling and throat clearing and mumbling on the part of the doctor.
‘CHRIST,’ you think,‘what’s going on? Do I have a whole range of fertility issues?”
Eventually, as if he suddenly remembers there is a couple sitting in his office and it is not, after all, time for a leisurely Sunday-morning-paper type-browse of your notes, he looks up.
Both you and your partner stare at him, dry mouths slightly ajar.
“I’m afraid,” he says, and you nod, feeling quite afraid yourself.
“I’m afraid that you have what we refer to as…um..”
Your hands grip the chair and you lean forward.
“It’s ….er…UNEXPLAINED INFERTILITY.”
“What’s that???” you demand an explanation.
“It happens to about one in ten couples.”
“What does?”
“The unexplained infertility as I’ve just said. It means basically that the tests didn’t find anything untoward. Your tubes are clear, there’s minimal endometriosis, and you’re ovulating very month.”
You realize it’s like the answer to a multiple choice question –‘none of the above’.
“But are there other tests you can do, you know, something else…?”
“No those are the main ones we use.”
“So what now?”
“Well it’s up to you.”
“Up to me?”
“Yes, you have three options. We can do a course of fertility drugs or we can try a cycle of IVF or we can do nothing.”
Nothing, of course is out of the question, otherwise you wouldn’t BE here. But IVF???? Already? When there’s nothing discernibly wrong?
“T-tell me about the f-fertility drugs,” you stammer.
“Well you take a course of Clomid which boosts ovulation, producing more eggs so increasing your chances of conception. But.”
Why is there always a ‘but’?“But what?”
“You also increase your chances of multiple births.”
“Oh, is that all.”
“Yes, I just had to inform you so that you make an informed choice.”
“One more thing,” you say after he’s written a prescription and is holding it there in front of you like he’s a game show host and you’re about to take ‘the money or the box’.
“How, if we have ‘unexplained infertility’, do you think this may work?”
“By boosting ovulation…”
“But you said I am ovulating.”
“As I said, you’ll produce larger and more eggs which increases your chances ..”
You and your partner leave the office, taking the prescription and your unexplained infertility with you.
That night you pour a glass of water and open the packet of pills. Opening your mouth you pop the pill in, move it to the back of your tongue and take a large gulp of water.
There, you’ve swallowed it.
By Jodi Panayotov, the author of 'In Vitro Fertility Goddess'