Hit me with your best shot









This morning as I was putting on my make-up, the IVF nurse called to introduce herself. Simultaneous to this, the bulldog ran in the house with something unidentifiably gross on his butt, La was trying to leave the house, and I found a package on the doorstep. Rest assured, she now things I am a totally distractable idiot.

Inside the package was our novarel, sterile water for mixing and two GIGANTIC SYRINGES.

Let me take a minute to say that I am not, generally, afraid of needles. Our sweet pup Ed had twice daily injections of insulin for 5 years before he died; my first long term girlfriend was a Type 1 diabetic and I watched her give herself shots and even gave her some myself. Getting blood drawn is fascinating, not scary. But maybe it didn’t occur to me that insulin needles are like tiny wisps of baby hair compared to the massive diameter of the intramuscular needles. 

In contrast, La made me send Ed to my parents house when I was out of town because she was terrified of the insulin needles. This does not bode well for us.

So, I am *really* hoping that when I go in on Tuesday for my u/s and blood work, the follicles are ripe and juicy enough for them to administer the shot. Because if La has to give me a shot in the ass with that needle, it could be really rough for both of us. My coworker, a transguy who is, by his own estimation, excellent at both giving and receiving shots, has offered to help but I think getting a shot in the butt cheek from a coworker crosses some professional boundaries. Right? (PS – it just occured to me, three hours after writing this, that he could probably give it to me in my arm. Heh heh.) 

In other weird fertility news, La and I had lunch with my mom on Wednesday to fill her in on the process. We veered away from logistics and started talking about how weird and freaky IVF is, how fascinating the science of it all can be. I happened to mention, offhandedly, something the doc had said on Tuesday – that with PGD [preimplantation genetic diagnosis] (which we will be doing because its a freeze all cycle) you can actually choose the sex of the embryo (at least, the chromosomal sex) you put back. I said it more in a ‘isn’t that fascinating?!’ tone, but my mom immediately said, ‘girl.’

Its no secret my mom wants a baby girl grandbaby. She feels like my brother delivered the grandson, its my turn to deliver the granddaughter. She has also long said she felt intuitively that I would have a girl. I, meanwhile, am terrified that my mom will flood us with girly crap if we do, in fact, have a girl. I am so terrified of it, in fact, that while I begrudgingly have accepted finding out the sex at an ultrasound (because La wants to), I didn’t want to share with anyone.

It hadn’t even occurred to me to *choose.* Just thinking about it makes me feel icky. Its waaaaay too far down the line of eugenics for my personal taste. One thing I have been so grateful for in the way we have done this process is how little I’ve interacted with those kinds of lines. After all, we didn’t even really ‘choose’ our donor – he came as a part of the package with La. While BFF is a smart, handsome dude, and I think he will contribute some excellent genetic material to our kids, ultimately we didn’t have to (get to?) think about whether his education was a bigger priority than his eye color. BFF is my partner’s very best friend, he is – for all intents and purposes – our family. We chose him in the same way that we chose each other.

So the idea that we could PICK which embryo goes in feels really weird. I mean, obviously, I would pick one that looks ‘healthy’ or well developed or . . .I don’t know, like it will successfully implant. But I don’t want to know if it has two X chromosomes or an X and a Y. I also wouldn’t want to know if it was likely to have red hair or freckles or dimples. And yet . . .I don’t have qualms about PGD in general – and maybe I should – because I am clearly ok with weeding out trisomies and genetic abnormalities that could result in miscarriage. 

I guess what I’m saying is this: I am having to confront my ethics around having babies in a way I didn’t expect I would ever have to, and it is freaking me out. And while I have had the occasion to think about some of this in impersonal news story conversations – or even the experiences of people in my life – it feels very, very different to be in a situation where the choice is actually yours.

Ultimately, La and I have decided that – should the time come for such decisions – we will request that the docs and embryologist make the decision. I don’t even want to know that early on (or, really at all because, I mean  . . .chromosomes are one thing, genitalia is one thing, gender is another – none of them equal each other) – I think I will mostly be concerned with being and staying pregnant. 

But I’m curious – if you did IVF and did PGD, did you choose the chromosomal sex of your embryo(s)? If so, how did you make that decision? What was your process around choosing one sex vs. another, or what was your process in deciding NOT to choose?


14 thoughts on “Hit me with your best shot

  1. We did not make that choice. We did not do PGD though so it wasn’t an option. We did find out the sex at an US. And have since discussed that we could choose the sex next time since we ended up with 11 in the freezer. But I really like the chance of it all. I feel like I am leaving something up to the universe so to speak. Meant to be and all that.

  2. Good luck, Andie. I’m rooting for you. No matter the sex or the gender of your baby, he or she will be so very fabulous and I can’t wait to celebrate with you guys!

  3. We’ve never been in that situation (yet), but I can say with confidence that we would choose boy! For some reason, we’re both inclined toward having boys! Of course, the way fate works, we’ll end up with a gaggle of girls, and we’ll love them to pieces, but that’s the way it goes…

    Consider the opportunity to choose a mini silver lining for all the efforts you’re having to go through (?)

  4. Were I in this position, I would probably choose boy, but that’s because my husband already has two daughters and would like to have a son (and because I don’t have a preference). If my partner had no children, though, and it was to be the first child for both of us, I would do exactly what you and La are doing. The idea of choosing sex makes me uncomfortable for similar reasons.

  5. If I had done IVF and were given the choice, I would’ve without a DOUBT chosen girl and not felt bad about it. I longed for a girl in ways I can’t even really verbalize. Not for the frilly, “girly” stuff. But to raise a feminist. I was ignorant in wishing that, because boys can be feminists, too.

    I digress…I understand your ambivalence about this sex selection stuff. Do what feels right in your heart.

  6. Speaking in a highly hypothetical sense…I would leave it up to chance. Before I got pregnant I thought for sure that not only would it be a boy (we only have boys on both sides of the family) but I wanted a boy because I figured I wouldn’t have a clue what to do with a girl. But naturally the universe heard me, so I got a girl. And it’s awesome, and now I’m scared to have boys! Obviously if we ever decide to try for another baby we’d be happy with whatever the universe gifts us, but it’s funny how we always think we wouldn’t know how to raise one or the other, and we do of course. 🙂

  7. I think it’s just… weird to pick the sex of your baby. The wife and I aren’t anywhere near IVF, and likely would decline if it came to that point, but I can’t image having that much information being helpful. I see the point in screening out chromosome abnormalities and fatal genetic conditions (Tay Sachs, etc), but not the point of any further information.

  8. My grad school supervisor, who I also worked for as a research assistant, was doing work on how eugenic thinking might come into play in the choice of donor sperm. It was interesting stuff, and certainly made me think more about what was important to me and why.

    I can’t imagine going for sex selection. Sex and gender can mean 100000000 different things anyways, and only time will tell you who your kid is going to be.

  9. after being through everything you’ve been through so far how strange to be placed in the position of picking the sex of the embryo, when I’m sure all you want to say to the doc is “just put a good one in me and let me get on my way to baby land!”
    I get queazy with needles like your wife. Good luck, that sounds horrifying to me.

  10. Wow. At first thought, I’m instantly drawn to choosing a girl. We have a 16 year old son. Why wouldn’t we want one of each? But then thinking more about it, I want to keep it all as close to natural as possible. So, we would most likely leave it up to chance.

  11. If we had done ivf and were given the opportunity to choose sex, I likely would have chosen to have a female child because I thought that’s what I wanted and nothing else. Having E has changed that thinking tremendously. I can’t imagine having a child other than the one I’m meant to have, and I didn’t get to choose.

  12. I don’t think I could choose! I had even contemplated not finding out the sex of the baby but I used my mom as an excuse to find out. Not sure if I will next time. As for your coworker giving you a shot, go for it! I would rather have someone who felt comfortable doing it and just get over the whole butt thing.

  13. We opted out of PGD mostly for this exact reason–it felt too much like eugenics to us, and I don’t think that if we had been told beforehand which chromosomes were options we could have avoided choosing (though we’re divided on wanting boys and girls, so I don’t know how we’d have made that choice anyway). I have a friend who did PGD and they told the doctors to choose for them, which was good because she ended up having a miscarriage (she had had several before, too, which is why they were at IVF in the first place). She said that she couldn’t handle knowing that they’d lost ‘the girl’ or ‘the boy’ or whatever. She’s pregnant now, and it appears to be sticking, but I think they’re glad they don’t know the sex yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s