between a rock and an anemic bank account

J and I have had a rather frustrating morning figuring out what to do. I have been in contact with the midwife, and she really wants to help us, but she also has three women with due dates the week before and the week of my next ovulation. Obviously births come first for her, so it’s highly likely we would be left to take care of things on our own once again. So while we both wanted to go with IUI, while your comments were so very much in line with what we had hoped for this cycle, I just don’t think it’s going to work. I don’t think we can deal with the uncertainty.

It seems that any time J and I try to depend on someone else to help us with this process, we get screwed. About two years ago, our first potential known donor actually offered–through a friend of ours–to be our donor without our prompting. He was a long-time friend, someone we cared for and someone who would have been great as a donor. When we sat down and had a discussion with him, he was 90% sure he would say yes. We asked him to get back to us within a month, and then he never did. In fact, we have never heard from him again, nor have the friends we have in common. That set us back a few months. Then I found our other known donor who was hundreds of miles away. Mr. G was a great guy, willing to pay for shipping and all, but he was very much into creating his own sperm shippers. He wasn’t great about checking his messages, so we either had dead sperm or late sperm for all eight attempts with him. Even when he started using Bio.Tranz, he still couldn’t seem to ship it on time. Granted, some of this had to do with a lack of weekend or Monday Fed.Ex service, but still… We proceeded with him for almost a year and obviously had no success.

So we moved on to the frozen goods, knowing we could at least depend on those to arrive on time and viable. We were happy to have at least that amount of control over this process. Then I had the idea to go with a midwife for IUI, and again, we were let down when at the last minute she still didn’t have her supplies and hadn’t finished the training she had intended to pursue through a friend of hers. And again, we were left in the lurch.

Needless to say, we have some trust issues when it comes to having people help us with any part of this process. We don’t have a good track record thus far with any of these people, and we’re feeling more than a little lost. I feel like I keep writing the same shit over again. We keep revisiting the same kinds of problems, and it makes me think we’re better off sticking to this on our own.

Our biggest problem right now is finances. I’m so sick of our financial situation dictating how effective our inseminations will be. Buying sperm is already a hardship. Adding medical assistance to that means cutting corners elsewhere in our lives. I know some probably believe this is irresponsible of us, that we shouldn’t be attempting to have a child if we can’t afford to do all of this the “right” way. We have friends who are rather wealthy who believe we’re going about this all wrong–that we should have the perfect jobs and own a home before we ever proceed with this further. But we’re not getting any younger. The pain of being childless is not weakening any. If anything, the urgency is mounting with each month that goes by. We simply cannot wait to be ideally financially stable to pursue our desire to be parents, and yet I know that if we were financially solvent, this would be so much easier. That simply isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Not in our professions. Not living in the Bay Area. It just seems so fucking unfair that this process is easiest for those who have the extra funds or the space on their credit cards or the super-deluxe health insurance that amazingly covers lesbian fertility treatments (all ours will cover is a tubal ligation–like that will do us any good). And I know it still isn’t easy even for those who are well off, but it slays me that we can’t even really consider an RE or meds. It’s not that I want to go that route; it’s just that I wish we had more options, and we don’t. I just can’t help but think that had we more financial resources, we would have our baby by now.

When we first moved here, we met up with two lesbian couples who were trying to get pregnant, and we left the gathering feeling like shit because they were each spending over a thousand dollars a month on this. They laughed when we mentioned our methods with Mr. G when he was using Bio.Tranz to ship. Laughed. It was the first time that we realized that becoming a pregnant lesbian may have much more to do with one’s economic status than we might like, and that we were most certainly in the wrong tax bracket.

To us, this process is complicated by so many things. We have the usual lesbian problem with our lack of access to sperm, but I’m so tired of all of these other frustrations. And yet, and yet, and yet…There really is nothing we can do but to continue biting the TTC bullet and doing what is within our power to make our baby dreams happen. I am reminded, however, that there is no end to the disappointment and feelings of unfairness along the way.  I hate to feel this way. I feel like such a complainer. I don’t feel like a victim, and I don’t want to sound like one. I’m just tired of life being so damn hard for us, and I think it is important that I acknowledge why it is. Alas, such is life here at Reproducing Genius.

I guess it’s time to order sperm.


Filed under childlessness, finances, insemination, midwife, Mr. G

13 responses to “between a rock and an anemic bank account

  1. Lyn

    A few thoughts:

    1) *If* you wanted to go the meds route (which it doesn’t seem like you do), they say Clomid is cheap. This probably doesn’t really help right now, but maybe it could seem like an option?

    2) I don’t know where you are exactly, but we were able to use a feminist oriented clinic for IUI, at rates similar to what your midwife quoted I think. It was MUCH MUCH less than the RE, got us the IUI boost, and was still less medicalized than the RE. If you are in a large enough urban area, you may have one. Of course, you guys are on top of things and so probably already know this.

    3) Not having enough money for sperm stinks. Do you have supportive family who might be willing to fork over some sperm money instead of other useless holiday gifts?

    4) When we were trying for #1, we were not rolling in the dough (not that we are now, but there is more since we both have OK jobs, and back then I was a grad student). We got really serious about not spending extra money on ANYTHING in order to make room in the budget for sperm (and later the kid), kind of making it a game, and were inspired by Amy Dacyczyn’s book The Tightwad Gazette. It’s not for everyone, and you guys are probably already adept at stretching what you have, but if you wanted inspiration to tighten the belt further, that book might do the trick.

    Hang in there.

  2. ahhh, to be an A Lesbian in the Bay Area, lol. We feel your pain. We’re not rich, not poor, but definitely dont fit into the brackets of some of the people we know or have known here. However, we found it ironic that once we found a way to stop spending SO much money on fertility, that that’s when we got pregnant.

    Even though we’ve only been reading your blog for a short time, I think we’d say: Remember your blog title. Reproducing Genius. Like you say, it’s not an arrogant title, but it definitely means that you’re smart enough to have been able to continue in the process; and still survive. Even if sometimes it feels like barely.

    There should really be another name for the TTC process for Lesbians. Like ‘101 ways to break the bank’ or some fun game show name like that, so that when the frustration, heart break, elation and downs set in, it all seems a little more normal. We’re sorry to hear that it’s caused trust issues for you with other people, but as long as your trust and faith in one another is still intact, that’s what matters most. Hang in there. We’re crossing our fingers and lighting candles to the fertility goddesses for you 🙂

  3. “we should have the perfect jobs and own a home before we ever proceed with this further.”

    That is the biggest bullshit EVer. Kids grow up in all sorts of financial situations and as long as there’s love everything works out fine. And owning a home is hardly an option in the Bay Area for any real people (as I understand it). As someone who’s been on this hamster wheel for coming up on two years, I truly feel that in this process age is your best ally or worst enemy. I feel like yelling at young lesbians don’t wait, do it now, who cares about your credit cards, you’ll survive.

    I’m sorry. It’s so unfair that finances should dictate whether or not you get to be a mother. I always consoled myself that, in a pinch, there was always the free Craigslist Option…

    Don’t beat yourself up for being a complainer, when you have something really worth complaining about.

    Good luck for this next round.

  4. I wish that there were a way to make the process more accessible to all the women who are going to be great moms. Lack of access to sperm makes the whole thing much harder, obviously, but it’s the inequity in insurance coverage that is particularly galling.

    I hope that the next person/people you entrust to help your TTC process proves themselves worth your trust. You deserve consistent, reliable care.

    Wishing good things for you!

  5. tbean

    I know the pain of chasing around that particular circle of pain and frustration all too well. You really have had a lot of things go wrong and a lot of disappointments. I don’t blame you for not wanting to trust others. One of the aspects about this I hate the most is how many other people are involved on a daily basis.

    Fancy RE’s are not the only places that can do an IUI. Are there any other midwives, maybe even retired midwves, that your current very-busy one could connect you to? Some ob/gyn clinics do IUIs. Not sure if you have health insurance for basic medical care. And of course, lots of people successfully do at-home iuis. You have options. Even though they all feel sucky right now. Believe, I get it.

  6. cindyhoo2

    I think you are being smart! If the midwife is already warning you that she might not be available then you know that she will not make you a priority. And honestly when I use medical help in TTC, I want someone with lots of experience who understands the sort of attention to detail I need during the process.

    As for the money issue: this truly is a lack of access for all SES issue! We all should be able to have the family we dream of without finances dictating our choices. Also, younger is better in terms of conceiving so soldier on and I am sure that one of these vials will be the right one. 🙂

  7. I totally hear you regarding the money situation. We are just short of broke and we could never afford fertility treatments (and have crappy insurance that doesn’t even cover the basics). I often go down that train of thought that we shouldn’t be having a baby because we can’t afford these treatments. But I have to shake myself and remember that probably 90% of the people in this country who have kids couldn’t have afforded fertility treatment – or at least not without major sacrifice/debt. Being poor or unrich does not mean you don’t deserve a child. Waiting until you have full stability is not an option for most people. Lots of people raise their children on far less than we have – happiness does not come from material wealth.

    Good luck with this insemination. It’s frustrating your midwife is so busy and you’ve hit so many roadblocks with people but you can do this!

  8. I’m sorry about all those awful bumps in the road. Having been through all that, I can definitely understand not wanting to take on more uncertainty. Whichever way you go, I wish you much luck with this insemination.

    (oh, and I’m glad to have helped provide you with a good xmas joke)

  9. i completely understand the reliance issues with others who aren’t quite as dedicated to your process.

    the road to lesbian pregnancy can be an expensive one, and a times, it looks more and more like a money pit, honestly.

    i’m still dissatisfied with the midwife and was wondering if there was another you could use? your ob should write you a script for clomid should you desire and it’s really really cheap.

    i would like to second that there are other places to get the iui done, including doing one yourself. if you should need help with that – let me know. i’m here.

  10. Hmmm. I agree with Rachel that the people who expect you to wait for some perfect financial situation before you have kids are full of shite and have their heads in the clouds. What? Only rich people should procreate? Please.

    On that note, I understand why you wish you had more options. I totally do, and I feel lucky, very lucky, that I had one of those magical insurance policies. But sometimes I look back on my time with my RE and think, hmmm… would I have gotten pregnant in five more tries anyway? If I’d done IUI with the midwife would I have gotten pregnant anyway? It think there is a good chance I would have.

    I don’t really know what my point is. Except, I hope you guys get knocked up really soon. And I hope the stars align and the egg and sperm align in the way that works. I hope nobody else lets you down. And it wouldn’t hurt for you to stumble upon a big bag of unclaimed cash somewhere. xoxo

  11. ummm, yeah. so i am completely ditto-ing Rachel (on the whole “you need to own a house and be financially…..”). i know that’s a lame way to comment, but she totally stole everything I wanted to say. let me add though – i don’t think you’re a complainer at all. i think you’ve had some bad circumstances to deal with along this ttc road, and that it’s made getting pregnant rather difficult. not your fault at all….i can see why you have the trust issues you do….people let you down when you were counting on them the most….and that stinks (to put it lightly). i do know, however, that you will get pregnant soon. 2009 is going to be a good year…I know it! i am hoping that this next try is the magical one. xoxo

  12. mutti1

    You’re not a complainer. Thanks for having the courage to discuss the financial frustrations of “TTC without a handy source of swimmers.” Many people don’t talk about it, but many of us relate (as proven by some comments above). It isn’t fair that some TTCers seem to have it much easier than others. Any woman who wants a child/ren deserves that, including you. I just wish there was a less imbalanced way to make my idealism a reality.

  13. reproducinggenius

    Thank you all. It sucks that this touches so many of us. It just sucks. You know, I’ve been thinking about this issue since before we ever started. Perhaps we need to start some sort of foundation to support women taking this route to create their families.

    Thank you for the many potential solutions and luck. We have a lot to consider for the future. For now, J and I are going to go it alone. We can only go with one vial this month after all, so our chances won’t be fantastic, but they will be about a zillion times better than if we sat out a cycle, and neither of us is willing to do that now.

    In January, I’ll have my annual exam with a new doctor (oh how I hate finding new doctors), and see what we need to do from there. We will have J’s health insurance through the beginning of February. Maybe after that we’ll find amazing jobs with great coverage for fertility matters. I doubt it, but one never knows (no one will ever accuse me of being a Pollyanna when it comes to this).

    So I imagine that if I am not pregnant by my February cycle, we’ll be trying to figure out another path. Maybe it will be another midwife, perhaps an OB, perhaps something else. In the meantime, we’re going to stick with our original plan to have at least three ICI attempts with the frozen goods. The next one is next week. We have so much going on before that, but insemination day should also be our first day of freedom from school. What a way to celebrate!

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