Not he.

Yes, this very new blog has been very quiet.  At some point I will write a post about big feelings, anxiety, uncertainty.  But in the meantime, heterosexism from a fertility clinic?  Really?

My GP has referred us to three fertility clinics, two based on my request and a third that she had heard good things about.  I had asked for one of the referrals mainly because it’s downtown and the (very) short list of queer people I know who have used fertility clinics have used this one.  Let’s call it Clinic One.

So when Clinic One called today to set up an appointment, I was a little surprised to have this conversation:

Receptionist: Will your partner or husband be coming to this appointment?

Me:  I thought that partners were required to attend the initial consultation?

Receptionist:  Yes, he should attend.

Me:  She.

Receptionist: Oh, sorry.  She.  They like to do all the tests at one appointment, so will run tests on your partner as well.

Me:  Tests on my partner?  But she isn’t intending to get pregnant.  What kind of tests?

Receptionist:  Oh, blood tests and things.  So she should come as well.

First of all, what kind of testing would my partner require?  I don’t need a blood test, ultrasound or lab result to tell me that she will not be able to get me pregnant on her own.  She has many things going for her, but sperm isn’t one of them.  Secondly, I know for a fact that this clinic sees a lot of queer people.  I also know that my doctor’s referral didn’t describe a male partner or infertility– to the best of my knowledge I don’t have either.  How difficult would it have been to use a different pronoun?

I’m not angry.  I know that a majority of people in the world are straight and, probably, a majority of the people accessing this clinic.  Instead I’m annoyed that I have to explain my identity and relationship in a situation that I already feel anxious about.

I haven’t made a final judgement on Clinic One, but if they ask my poor partner for a semen sample we’re out of there.

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7 thoughts on “Not he.

  1. How freaking annoying and unacceptable. I totally feel your pain about trying to find a respectful and inclusive RE. We interviewed two – K asked the one we anticipated would be more accepting her feelings about helping a transman to conceive. Her reply? “Well, I’m HERE, aren’t it?” Wow. Way to sell it.

    I hope that you have a much improved experience very soon!

    • Ugh. Such arrogance.

      Yes, these people are in control of our reproduction but that doesn’t make them untouchable or beyond reproach. Just showing up is not enough. I know for a fact that queer and trans folks have used Clinic One and that, connected to this, the staff have received sensitivity training. This clearly isn’t enough either.

      I’m not trans-identified, but I do present as gender non-conforming. I worry about the assumptions and judgements that might be made when my (more stereotypically feminine) partner and I use these services in hopes of getting me pregnant.

      Also, congrats on the pregnancy!

      • It’s so bizarre that the receptionist, even after so-called “sensitivity training” seemed to have zero clue. If you end up going this route for services, I don’t think it would hurt to mention the experience you had to the doc, especially if Doctor One ends up being LGBT friendly.

        Ah, gender assumptions. One weird thing I have noticed at our RE’s office is that K and I are quite literally the only ones who come as a couple. Everyone else is a woman who comes alone. I’m certain some are single parents by choice, but they can’t ALL be. We get a lot of strange looks solely because of this (I’m certain other patients assume I’m the one receiving services), but frankly, I find it strange that their partners aren’t more engaged in the process!

        Thanks for the congrats! I hope to be congratulating you in the not-too-distant future 🙂

  2. I can’t believe the receptionist didn’t self-correct after the very fist misstep! Really, this seems to be a question of social skills in addition to the bizarre unacceptability of it all. We were fortunate to not run into any speed bumps until my partner was into her 3rd month or so and then it was quickly remedied. So, I pass on all of our good luck with REs and OBs to you!

  3. Pingback: Three are now two, but that’s still more than one. | Beginning From The Start

  4. We had a very similar experience when starting at our fertility clinic (the only one in my city). My partner B was asked to take a blood test, and when I queried this I was told it was “just part of procedure”. When we got the blood test form it turned out to be for STDs! I understand why you would want to make sure the non-carrying partner hasn’t got any diseases that could affect the carrying partner, but I wish they had just explained that to us.

  5. That’s cruddy, I’d expect more from clinics in your neck of the woods. My partner and I were refused treatment a few times here in Thailand and eventually I had to lie and say I’m single and want to have a baby. I hoped for better here but I’m surprised by the ignorance there.

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