Partner is allowing me to share her experiences of our clinic visits here.
As you know, after Clinic Three we were on to Clinic Two.
PARTNER’S POST CLINIC #2
Here we go again.
This nondescript building in the far reaches of the suburbs houses some Brave New World-esque fertility clinic where I half expected to be seen by Dr. Huxley himself. The whole experience became that much more surreal when a nun joined us in the elevator. Really. Shortly thereafter, PartnerA and I decided that should an immaculate conception occur, the resultant infant would be called after God’s son himself. Jesus has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
We entered a lobby where the lights were too dim except in the reception area where a bored fuchsia-haired woman no older than 22 sitting beneath a directed pot-light handed PartnerA a folder adorned with a pink lotus. (The clipart that these clinics choose to represent femininity and fertility is positively gag-worthy.) We chose chairs in a shadowy corner where the music was too loud and hurriedly completed page upon page of paperwork in the dark to the sounds of a lyric-less action film soundtrack. The adrenaline in my chest surged with the orchestra’s crescendos. There were also tuba solos. Seriously.
PartnerA decided one minute in that she liked this clinic better than the first that we had visited because here there was “free” candy. Or $15,000 candy, depending on your perspective and ever-escalating level of cynicism. What? Just me? Okay then. Moving on.
Stuff this clinic had going for it: The paperwork asked for the “partner’s” information and although there were questions specifically targeted at male partners of the presumed female patients, all included a “not applicable” option. Bonus points for inclusiveness.
Stuff this clinic didn’t have going for it: mood lighting. Seriously. Making babies might for some be a romantic endeavour, but for those of us whose baby making involves no sex and far too much talk about excruciatingly painful medical interventions, the mood lighting is totally unnecessary. By the way, it’s a tad difficult to fill out a ten-page questionnaire about one’s medical history in the dark. Also, font size eight? Really? Am I on Candid Camera?
. . .
We were called into an office off of the lobby 45 minutes after our appointment had been scheduled to commence. I revoked the clinic’s candy-related bonus points due to this ridiculous delay, the lack of apology, and also the doctor, who appeared to be Donald Trump’s and Willy Wonka’s love child incarnate — conceived in a Petri dish and gestated via surrogate, no doubt. He was wearing an oversized navy plaid suit with a cerulean paisley tie and cyan pocket square. His wavy blonde hair was most certainly of the purchased variety.
Recalling the collage of babies posted on the office wall of previous clinic, PartnerA and I quietly debated whether the art on the office wall of this clinic represented abstract babies. “Look,” PartnerA quipped, pointing toward the canvas featuring circles, squares, and lines, “I see triplets!”
Dr. TrumpWonka’s desk featured more mints, which PartnerA liked. Also tissues. Also pictures of vaginas. As it turned out, Dr. TrumpWonka loved his little vagina flip chart just a bit too much and referred to it often as he effectively took the opportunity to teach us a Biology 101 lesson, capping each point with the genuine inquiry, “Make sense?” Because female anatomy is probably a mystery to queer women? But of course.
After teaching us how babies are made, Dr. TrumpWonka glanced through the results of PartnerA’s ultrasounds and bloodwork and stated repeatedly “don’t worry” about the findings. He said that he wanted to duplicate the tests to determine if the abnormal results were accurate. Having not seen nor heard about these abnormal test results prior to this moment, Dr. TrumpWonka’s “don’t worries” of course made me worry. At my urging, PartnerA promised to contact our doctor the following day for a trustworthy analysis of the results of her ultrasounds and bloodwork.
This clinic has an “at home” program that none of the other clinics have, recognizing that “this isn’t fertility treatment, but rather an alternate method of reproduction” for “lesbian” women. They ship you sperm, you do your thing in the privacy of your own home, and bam, baby. Bonus points.
Except, Dr. TrumpWonka added, while eventual success rates are roughly the same for at-home insemination (vaginal), clinic insemination (intrauterine) is typically faster. (I.e. Thousands of dollars cheaper.) “At-home insemination is for comfort,” he explained. Well, I’m uncomfortable with everything about this, so screw comfort. Given the circumstances, we may as well opt for the cheaper option. That’s practical, right? Intrauterine clinic insemination it is! Romantic.
This clinic also uses local donors. That fact seemed sort of neat and perhaps appealing prior to our meeting with Dr. TrumpWonka, but post-meeting, I couldn’t help but wonder if Mr. Creepy on the other side of the desk — grinning at us beneath his blonde weave/wave — made all of the “donations” himself.
“If our baby has that hair,” PartnerA joked later, “we’ll sue!”
Yadda yadda yadda. Dr. TrumpWonka talked a lot about artificial insemination while PartnerA and I nodded mindlessly for 30 minutes.
At the end of the appointment, PartnerA asked for information about the costs of the various procedures, to which the doctor replied that he had an informational pamphlet outlining the costs. “But my receptionist is probably gone for the day,” Dr. TrumpWonka added as he stood and stepped between me and the room’s only exit. I’m pretty sure that there’s porn out there that’s set in a dimly-lit doctor’s office and opens with the line, “My receptionist is probably gone for the day.” Dr. TrumpWonka’s creepy quotient increased exponentially with every passing minute.
We accepted the informational pamphlet that Dr. TrumpWonka retrieved from behind the vacant reception desk and with a wave (our hands, his hair), we departed, stepping around the evening custodians cleaning the vacant waiting area in the darkness as we left.
. . .
Good stuff: Clinic #2 isn’t heterosexist or insistent on performing medical procedures designed to treat infertile women on a healthy 20-something. At-home insemination option. Bonus points!
Bad stuff: There is only one doctor at Clinic #2, and Dr. TrumpWonka was a little too creepy for my liking. Also, Clinic #2 is located in the middle of nothing-nowhere. If we’ve got to be visiting this place several times each week, if not every single day, and they’re always running 45 minutes late, we may as well resign ourselves now to setting up sleeping bags in the clinic’s lobby. The prospect of subsisting on free fertility clinic mints for the next six or more months? Negative points.
So Clinic #2 is likely a no-go. In comparison, Clinic #3 in all its heterosexism, is looking like a far better option. No free mints, but save for the baby collage, they’re not creepy and the location, a couple blocks from PartnerA’s office, can’t be beat. We’ve got one more appointment with a geographically middle-ground third fertility clinic on Monday, September 10th, and then, after we decide which is the least of three evils, it’s really go time. Jump.