Friday, February 18, 2011

The End of the Beginning, Maybe

Things are moving...

I think we've decided on a clinic - at least one to check out first. It's technically a reproductive health medical clinic, and nowhere on their website do they say anything about same-sex couples. In fact, it hardly even says anything - the focus is definitely on IVF, male infertility, and medical conditions that impede a woman's pregnancy. It is first and foremost a medical clinic, and once I looked into it, it seemed like I would have to have something physically wrong with me to be seen.

I thought I would've easily been able to pick up the phone and call them, but I put it off for a couple of days. I was ridiculously nervous. 

Although I have my own office with a door that shuts, I left to sit in my car; I didn't want to have to worry that Mr. Finance Officer who shares a wall with me might hear. Shaking a little bit, I dialed the number, got put on hold for a few seconds, and then a woman who seemed like she was in a rush answered with the clinic's name.

"Hi. I'm wondering if you work with same sex couples?"


"Um... I was reading about your clinic online and I've heard really good things, but before we go further, I need to know if you work with same sex couples."

I don't know what I was expecting. Her laughing at me? Her saying, "fuck off, dyke"? Her saying that they don't support two women starting a family. Her telling me that I was going to burn in hell?

Her answer came after what felt like minutes, but it was probably immediately after I stopped speaking, "Oh, yeah. Sorry, I just didn't hear you... Yes, we do."

So, I wanted to just make an appointment and go as soon as possible, but I have to get a referral from my GP. I don't know if that's even normal. I realize that I don't actually know a hell of a lot about what this is supposed to be like, so I have little expectations. I don't think you need a GP's referral at most clinics, but I could be wrong (I'm sure you'll let me know!)

I called my GP immediately after calling the clinic and made an appointment. I've been putting off an annual physical/pap for a few months, so I'm killing two birds with one stone. I didn't tell the receptionist anything other than "I need a referral" and I'm actually kind of nervous about telling my doctor.

She's a decent doc, but she's let me down quite a lot over the last couple of years, when I was trying to find the cause of the chronic pain issues I've been having. I've been to her for many referrals, and she's flat out refused for some of them. I know it's near impossible to get an MRI or CT scan in this country without waiting 9 months, but when I was in that much pain, I expected someone to fight for me. My doc didn't exactly astound me with her support.

In Canada - at least in this province and city - it is near impossible to find a family doctor. Even more impossible to find a female family doctor. There are listings online name female doctors taking on new patients in the city, and there is ONE, for about 750,000 people. So even if I wanted to switch doctors, I couldn't - not if I want to stay with a female (which I do).

My doc sees a lot of families and she's delivered a lot of babies. She's very family-centric, and I just hope she gives this referral without any attitude about my meds or health. I just hope I don't have to prove to her first that I'm healthy enough to do this... 

The good thing about going with this clinic is that it is 5 minutes away from my office. So, if I am able to keep a job in the company after this mat leave position is up (the mom I took over for is coming back this summer), I'll be able to walk to the clinic, get inseminated, and get back to my desk in time for lunch. 

I want to be moving faster, but I don't even know the steps.


  1. You are doing great. Every thing in it's time.

  2. Dammit, you need a referral?!!! Why? Le sigh... I'm one of those Canucks without a family doctor, so I don't know what I'll do if it turns out my local fertility clinic requires a referral too... I can't even find a doctor who'll put me on a waitlist.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences like this: So many of the TTC blogs I read are further along in the process, and I'm more at the point where I identify with you... Not knowing what the hell to expect! It's a privilege to be along for the ride.

  3. I don't know about Canada, but here in the US it depends on your insurance--I have the more expensive kind so I can sashay into any clinic and sign myself up without telling my family doc, but the slightly cheaper kind you need to get your GP to sign off first. Yay for setting up an appointment, though! It's probably a good idea to get your pap and some boring bloodwork done first just to make sure there's nothing obviously wrong before you get to the RE.

  4. Hi! Thanks for your kind comment on my blog. Good luck to you in your own journey!! I just wanted to add that my DW TTCed for a long time and she is on some heavy anti anxiety meds. We heard the horror stories too about how you should go off everything when you TTC. But her doctors were the ones who say it was better for her body and the baby for her to be on them than without them (so as not to bathe the baby in stress hormones all the time). A few docs suggested weaning off in the third trimester but some didn't even say we had to do that. After reading others' stories of doing this and everything turning out OK, I decided we should just hope for the best and keep her on her meds. I really think everything will be OK if you stay on them -- but I understand your wanting a medical opinion about that!! :)

  5. WOW!! Im happy that I found your blog. I havent began TTC'ing yet. BUt I do believe we are about to start. Hopefully, fingers crossed, this month or by summer. So it feels good reading about someone in the beginning stages. Good luck and I will definitely be here reading along :)

  6. We didn't need a referral, but that was ok with the insurance company. Until you know something is wrong, our only problem is missing easy access to sperm ;) Best course of action now is to find out when you're ovulating, make the insemination appt for 12-36 hours afterwards, and cross your fingers ;) Find out from the RE if they can store the vials, how many ICI/IUI they'll do before monitoring or HSG or injectables, etc.

  7. We needed a referral to go to our fertility clinic in Ottawa...I'm pretty sure that's standard procedure, so don't fret!

  8. I'm so excited for you - good for you for making that call!! I know it's an overwhelming, sometimes frightening process. We never know how our families are going to be received, and we never know how *we* are going to be received with all we bring to the table in terms of "mental health issues." As far as the referral - we're in the states, but for what it's worth, while we didn't need one to meet with the clinic, my wife did need an exam and stamp of "good health" from our OBGYN before we could inseminate. And that was with a lesbian-owned clinic, so definitely no discrimination involved.

    No matter what, at each point, just insist that people treat you with all the respect you deserve - as a lesbian family, and as a mom navigating depression, meds, and pregnancy. You have every right to do this exactly the way you want to do it - no doctor or clinic *ever* has any right to tell you differently.

    So, all that said...yay, you're on your way!!