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?