IVF 101: The Real Story Behind Lesbians Making Babies

PHOTO: Queer as Folk/Showtime

PHOTO: Queer as Folk/Showtime

Earlier this year, after being married for a little over a year, my wife and I decided to have a baby.

When I first met my wife, one of the first things she told me was that she wanted to have a family. Often in our conversations she would mention that before I came along, she was already thinking about becoming a single mother if the “right woman” never showed up.

I was born and raised in Mexico, so I had to deal with my lawyer and the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) during our first year of marriage, and I didn’t want to add more stress to our life until my status in the country was resolved. Once the USCIS welcomed me to the United States of America, I said, “Let’s do this!”

My wife, who loves to do her research on Yelp, went online and looked for the best fertility clinics in Long Island. Once she read the reviews for the New York Reproductive Wellness Center in Jericho, NY, she was sold.

We immediately booked a consultation appointment with Dr. Zapantis – who, by the way, is the sweetest human being on earth – and we literally want him to be our doctor for everything now.

I’m ashamed to say that we failed miserably at getting informed about the IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) process prior to our meeting with Dr. Zapantis. So, when he was trying to explain everything to us we basically had a huge question mark on our foreheads. However, when we left his office we were pretty sure about taking the next step and made the call to let them know that we were having a baby via IVF.

Even though IVF is the most invasive process, my wife still wanted to take a shot at having twins. Fact:  you have 60% chance of having twins if you decide to do IVF instead of ICI (Intracervical Insemination) or IUI (Intrauterine Insemination).

I don’t know about everyone reading this story, but before we actually started this ordeal, I saw the insemination process as something out of “The L Word,” when Bette gets Tina pregnant in a hot sex scene; or “The Back-Up Plan,” that movie with Jennifer Lopez where she is single and decides to get inseminated and Bam! She gets pregnant just like that!; or “Jane The Virgin,” where a simple visit to the OB/GYN turns into a pregnancy, and she is a virgin!

“Before we actually started this ordeal, I saw the insemination process as something out of “The L Word,” when Bette gets Tina pregnant in a hot sex scene.”

Well, turns out that there are A LOT of details that these productions decided to leave out – for you know, entertainment purposes.

Now, before some of you start judging and say, “How dumb! You should’ve done your research!” Let me tell you something: I’m  glad we learned along with the process.

The first thing we found out was that in order for them to take you in as a client, they need to make sure every organ involved in the reproductive process is working properly. For that, you need to schedule a hysteroscopy, which is a procedure that allows your doctor to look inside your uterus in order to diagnose and treat causes of abnormal bleeding. I personally would recommend everyone who is thinking about having a baby at the moment to just go in – don’t research or Google this procedure. It can look a little scary and painful!

If everything looks good after the hysteroscopy, the doctor’s office will call you and give you the clear to come in whenever you are ready. However, they do give you one specification: you can only make an appointment during the first 3 days of your period. At this point, it can feel like the doctor’s office owns you. So before going into IVF, make sure that your schedule is flexible and you can take off from work or arrive late as much as you have to.

After your first visit, if everything looks good, they will start giving you all sorts of medications, mainly hormones. These can come in the form of a pill, a shot, or a vaginal suppository. In our case, we got all of the above.

PHOTO: Personal Library

PHOTO: Personal Library

A word of advice: make sure you ask questions about all the meds you are about to start putting in your body. My wife doesn’t like to ask questions, and since some days she would go in early in the morning, I was not there to ask questions for her. Bottom line, we ended up Googling ‘how to give yourself a shot in the stomach’ more than once.

When the daily shots began, I seriously started thinking about sleeping with a dude just to  get pregnant the natural way (I know, but don’t judge). After watching my wife’s belly getting bruised night after night and the bloatedness caused by her eggs increasing in size, I began to think that this whole IVF thing was so unnecessary.

I rapidly changed my mind as soon as the sperm vials bill came in. Each vial of sperm can be up to $899, which is, of course, not covered by your insurance. If you decided to do IUI or ICI, one whole vial of sperm is needed for each time you are planning on achieve conception. With IVF, however, the vial gets fragmented and you can use one vial for “X” number of eggs.

Once the eggs reach the right size, the next step is to schedule your egg retrieval, which is a small surgical procedure. This is the only time during the whole process that you will go under anesthesia.

After the surgery, the doctor will let you know the amount of eggs ready to be fertilized. Five days after the fertilization has occurred, the embryos are ready to me implanted in the uterus.

PHOTO: Personal Library

PHOTO: Personal Library

When your soon-to-be babies are in the doctor’s hands, you feel relieved and believe the worst part is over. However, you are never counting on things not going the way you planned them after you are already carrying the embryos, especially if you are a 34-year-old healthy woman.

“When your soon-to-be babies are in the doctor’s hands, you feel relieved and believe the worst part is over. However, you are never counting on things not going the way you planned them.”

Unfortunately for us, that was the case. When the day of the pregnancy test arrived, we were shocked and saddened to find out that neither one of the embryos had survived in the uterus. We had a couple of rough days, but my wife, being the champ that she is, decided she wanted to give it another try immediately.

In less than 5 days, she was back at the doctor’s office ready to go through it all over again. Fortunately, she was able to produce enough eggs during the egg retrieval process, which we kept frozen, so the second time around only involved embryo implantation.

I would love to share the test results with you guys but I’m respecting my wife’s wishes and we are hoping to be able to share good news with the world sometime soon.

I decided to write this piece because when we started this process, we had no one to turn to for answers to your questions.  All my friends are straight and are having kids the “natural” way, and the lesbian friends I have are too young to even start thinking about babies. So, I wanted to reach out and let anyone know that if you have any questions, I’m here.

Twitter handle: @Janel11