Once we had our diagnosis of ‘unexplained infertility’ it was time to begin treatment. The first course of action is usually IUI or intrauterine insemination. This involves taking the medicine Clomid which stimulates the ovaries to release more follicles, which contain an egg each. Otherwise, the ovaries only release one follicle, from which one egg emerges each month.
After taking the medication, the doctor performed an ultrasound to determine how many follicles there were. We stared at him incredulously as he informed us that there were, not one, not two, but EIGHT! We were surely going to have multiples. The nursery was being decorated in our minds as the overwhelming thought of all those babies danced in our heads. The doctor informed us that, it was likely that no more than one or two would fertilize.
The hospital had gotten rid of the private room for men to produce a sample of sperm due to budget cuts. So, men were told to go to the hospital public restroom which contained only one stall. All the men nervously waited outside of the bathroom as another man produced his sample. When the man inside emerged holding a bag, the man next in line would avoid eye contact and scurry into the restroom. Due to the usual purpose of the stall in the mens’ room, it often had the fragrant aroma of excrement. It was a superhuman feat to emerge with the little swimmers primed for their mission.
My husband Greg was a trooper and went to the nurses, bag in hand. The nurses chatted for a while, failing to notice him while he stood there feeling mortified. “What do you have?,” they asked. “It’s my sample,” he said softly. “What?,” one of them asked. So, to his embarrassment, he repeated what it was more audibly. One of the nurses then announced it back to him loud enough for people behind him in line to hear.
Then, the IUI was performed using Greg’s swimmers. We waited a couple of weeks anxiously for news of a positive pregnancy. After all, there were EIGHT follicles. Surely I would be very pregnant. When the news arrived that I was not pregnant at all, we could not believe it. All the ingredients were there, meticulously joined. The math was just not adding up.
This scenario repeated itself six times with the occasional cyst in between which meant we had to wait out a cycle. We relived this disappointment for over a year until the doctor finally conceded that we were not likely to succeed with this method. He referred us to a doctor for invitro fertilization, a.k.a., IVF.