As aforementioned we are going to need some help with trying to conceive a child. We have neither the equipment nor supplies to make it happen on our own! Enter fertility clinics. Since we had zero knowledge of this process we consulted Dr. Fly McDyke our family doctor, as well as decided to attend an information session at Sherbourne Health Centre in Toronto. Dykes Planning Tykes! Yes…you read that right and nope I didn’t even make it up. This is a course that’s offered twice a year and typically runs Fri through Sun. We attended an evening session that very briefly outlined the topics that are covered over the course of the weekend. Some of the topics include:
- Fertility awareness, insemination procedures and prenatal care
- Everything you have ever wanted to know about sperm and more
- Parenting arrangements and adoption options
- Non –Biological parent connections
- Legal issues
- Other LGBTQ information and resources
Although we only went to the evening session we would highly recommend the course to anyone starting to plan a family. There is a similar course offered to men called Daddies & Papa’s 2B (a far less exciting name in my opinion). We came away from this evening feeling empowered by the knowledge we received but also completely disheartened because of the astronomical expense of this process. We tried not to dwell on the latter, until we meet with some clinics and had all of the information in front of us. Another great piece of information we gathered from the info session was which fertility clinics are LGBTQ friendly.
** L-Lesbian G-Gay B- Bisexual T- Transgender Q- Queer **
How awful would it be to experience homophobia while attending a clinic that you have chosen to help you? To help you with one of the most emotional, intimate moments of your life. During this process you are so vulnerable and exposed, having any type of disapproval or dissension would absolutely break your spirit. To say the least, we were very fortunate to have gathered this information. With this new found knowledge off to the doctor we go to get some referrals (for most clinics you need a referral from a family doc).
Clinic #1 – Off to Toronto we go! Super excited and hoping for great things! By the time we got there we were about ready to clock one another in the teeth. There’s nothing more relaxing than driving in the city when you have no F!c&1% clue where you’re going. We took a few breaths when we finally made it, and thought we should at least look like we love each other. Call me crazy but looking hateful at each other may not be in our best interest while trying to tell someone we wanted a baby together! We walked into the clinic and our first impression was that it was very clean and welcoming however still obviously clinical. We were called into the consultation room and this is when our opinion quickly changed. The doctor was an older man; he had a thick gold chain with a cross on it that seemed to be tangled in the shag like chest hair that was erupting through the unbuttoned top of his shirt. Need I say more! This clinic was also very insistent on IVF as the best option for insemination. For us it wasn’t a fertility issue, it was the simple fact we had no sperm so IVF (approx. $15,000 per cycle) right out of the gates seemed unnecessary. He seemed very financially driven and not really genuine. We listened to all of the recommendations he had but we knew from looking at each other that this wasn’t the clinic for us.
Clinic # 2 –Again, off to Toronto we go. This trip we didn’t need to pretend to love each other by the time we got there, it was much easier to find! We walked into this clinic and again noticed the cleanliness, nice décor and welcoming staff. There was one other patient in the waiting room and we may have waited at the most ten minutes. Once we met the doctor we were very impressed with her enthusiasm and willingness to listen to what we wanted. She was very open minded and took the time to answer all of our questions. We were feeling great about this clinic…. until we meet with the nurse who talked about the financial aspect of everything. As we were talking with her I’m sure she probably saw the blood drain from my face as she continued to list off the costs: $700-$1500 for sperm, $300 to wash the sperm in their machine (it already comes washed), $600 admin fee per year and for shit sake they even charged to thaw the sperm!! You set it on the counter and let it come to room temp, that’s pretty f!#*^’n labour intensive! These were only some of the expenses. We also needed to consider the time and cost to travel to Toronto approx 15 days per month for blood work and ultrasounds. We were crushed leaving this appointment. We both felt defeated and broken hearted by the possibility that having a family may not be our reality. This drive home was rather quiet.
Clinic #3 – This time we didn’t have to travel so far, the clinic was in Oshawa. This facility could have passed for a spa if we didn’t know any better. It was far less clinical feeling than the first two. We arrived and were the only ones in the waiting room, possibly the only ones in the entire clinic but yet waited about 45 minutes. We met with a nurse and she went over all of our info and we spoke about what our plan for conception was. At this point the doctor joined us and explained the process of the procedures and what we could expect. **Side note: he could have just come from a GQ photo shoot strutting his pointy shoes, skinny jeans and perfectly coiffed hair.** Then out came the dreaded fee schedule. This clinic was comparable to the second clinic in the financial department, but also wanted to send us home with about $400 worth of “fertility supplements”. Again, our obstacle is not infertility; it is the lack of sperm! Steph’s uterus is already nice and fluffy, we don’t need extra fluff, and her eggs are lovely we don’t need to plump them. We just need sperm to enter her uterus without the use of a penis…that is all! We left and we cried. We cried for the family that was becoming further and further out of our reach.
We took some much needed “us” time after all of the information we collected from our clinic visits. We revisited our plan to conceive and decided a trip to our family doc was going to be our next step. If we could find a local OBGYN who would track Steph’s cycle with blood work and ultrasounds we would go the route of in home insemination.
Away we went to see Dr. Fly McDyke. We were cautiously optimistic about our new plan and knew we needed to stay positive. Our positivity pulled us through, our appointment went better then we could have even imagined! Not only did a local OBGYN agree to take us on to track Staph’s cycle, but our most thoughtful, utterly altruistic doctor and her health team offered to inseminate us! This made our hearts shine; we once again felt the hope of a child in our future. I have tried 8 times to write a sentence to explain how thankful and joyous we were following this appointment but there truly are no words. I’m sure we were glowing for days as the “holy s%!t this is going to happen” continued to sink in. Now that we had a solid plan for insemination, we needed the magical yet mysterious concoction that is sperm!