Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Banging my head against the wall

The next time I say anything like, "I'm just a housewife", someone please smack me. Hard.

Turns out I'm a hell of a lot smarter than the guy I met with, and most of you are in fact, smarter than the guy I met with. Either that he was experiencing some sort of depressive, distracted, anxiety episode.

He did not remember why his staff had called me until I prompted him and asked him about the paper he was holding. (A note I wrote to a friend and was passed to him 9 months ago during leadership. I recognized my handwriting upside down from the other side of the desk.) I guess he finally found it in his pocket after all this time.

He had no memory of meeting me, until halfway through when I had finally repeated everything I had said the first time. Then he remembered a few things.

He took copious notes, and tried very hard to figure out what I was saying, but I have to admit, I still can't believe that I had to explain the precise mechanics of IVF and be quite so explicit about why it was better than simply giving women drugs and hoping they didn't have sextuplets. Literally, you need to picture this,

Me: "It's because the one thing government can't control is a couple going home and having sex against Doctors orders when they have too many eggs from hyperstimulation."

Politician: "Huh?"

Me: "They have sex and they aren't supposed to!!"

P: "So what difference would free IVF make?"

Me: "Because if they have free IVF, they can retrieve all the eggs, make them into embryos with the sperm, and just transfer back one good embryo."

P: "Couldn't they still have sex and make sextuplets?"

Me: "No, the eggs are not in the woman then. They are in the lab. Sex won't matter anymore."

P: "Well, why can't we just order the Doctors not to transfer more than one or two embryos?"

Me: "Because each IVF with drugs costs anywhere from $7,000 to $15,000, and if the patient is paying, they will go to the U.S. if they can't get what they want here. We have to make it more attractive to stay here than go elsewhere."

P: "Well, why can't we just order the Doctors not to give drugs to these women?"

Me: "They need to sometimes just to get women to ovulate at all. They try not to mess it up. But sometimes it doesn't work the way we want it to."

P:"Well, why don't they just have sex. It seems to work. " Wry look at me, as he laughs a little.

Me: "Not if you are infertile." (Rigid plastic smile on my face.)

And yes, I still kept trying. Through all of this, he was extremely puzzled as to why he had never heard of all the differences in new research, new techniques, new treatments, and had no idea why the federal or provincial government wasn't doing more on this subject. In other words, if a fancy public health official or Doctor wasn't already on it, then obviously it must not exist. Except of course that they are are on it. Medical people try very hard, but seriously, they are the worst bunch of lobbyists and public communicators I've ever seen. They don't speak to each other, they are in a bunch of professional silos, they have no zero marketing and p.r. skills. And loads and loads of substance and brilliance and intelligence that no one will ever know about.

Unlike this guy, sigh....

Anyway, the one good thing to come out of this is that he has inspired me to get back up on my horse and try to lobby some more people. Hopefully people who have a clue what they are talking about it. Cause right now, I'm really disappointed it wasn't that productive.

I'm more disappointed though for underestimating myself. I can't keep doing that. I can help people, so why am I so willing to believe I can't? And how do blustering people like this guy get anywhere in public life while good people can't get their voices heard? I've spent years watching good and bad happen in politics, and I know the good guys outweigh the fools. I guess. Maybe they'll be more good politicians if women like us run someday, eh?


  1. Just realized how dumb that was. I suspect it was really some feeb local MP. Keep up the good fight, though.

  2. Unfortunately, yes, it was a feeble local MP. Although one who I used to think wasn't so feeble. I didn't mention names just because I'm wondering if the guy WAS depressed and I'm hoping he can help once he feels a bit better.

    Don't want to slam anyone I could get some help from at a future date, right? :)

  3. Huh? This sounds like the most frustrating conversation ever. Why would he need to call you into his office to explain this simple information? Egad people can be so stupid.

    And yeah, of course you can help the simpletons like this man, but also do a lot more actual good with your advocacy!

    "Well, why don't they just have sex. It seems to work."
    I tried to think of a sarcastic response, but I'm just speechless. On what planet does he live?

  4. I just read your comment, Aurelia, you are so kind.

  5. And apologies for deleting your first comment, it's just that some politicians do daily blog searches for their own names. And if I'm slamming someone I want them to have earned it! Haha

  6. Thank you B., but I'm not sure I deserve the kind tag.

  7. I am impressed you walk into these sorts of meetings at all. I couldn't do it, or at least I don't think so. Maybe if I could mail it in, literally, I'm ever so much better in writing.

    Educating the world on the realities of infertility... not an easy task... obviously.

  8. I think it's amazing that you didn't slam your forehead down onto the desk. Repeatedly.

    You really should get back into lobbying. A grassroots IF group would be fabulous.

  9. FYI, and maybe I read that weird, but REs in the US have limitations on numbers of embryos transferred by the feds. If the physicians do transfer more than recommendation, they have to document why (in my case, 4 transferred because two were shit). If they fail to comply, FDA can pull their licenses. So yes, doctors can be "ordered" to transfer only one or two if they wish to fight that battle.

    However, I like the idea of free IVF coverage as opposed to free IUI/clomid cycles.

    Aside from that - that guy was a total twit and I would have found it hard to keep from bludgeoning him with my stiletto. But then, I'm PMSing without the "P".

  10. DD, you didn't read that weird. I've been told repeatedly by RE's, media sources, and even fellow bloggers that there are no rules on embryos transfers or any fertility procedures in the U.S.

    Voluntary guidelines yes, by groups like the ASRM, but no laws per se.

    Have to do some more research on any idea where I would look?

  11. So it sounds as if my RE uses the protocal, they are doing that out of sheer common sense, and not to get their names splashed in the paper as the moron who transferred 8 viable embryos.

    At my clinic, they won't. At the clinic in MN, they won't. And you are probably very, very right and that they are following a guideline and not law.

    I'll do some snooping for you, even if that means talking to my RE directly. I need to find out where I am on the list anyway so I can stress out some more.

  12. Have you ever considered running for office? You have such a strong voice you could probably make a difference in many important areas.

    Good for you for trying and staying patient with that man.

  13. Holy cow, he's lucky you didn't reach across the table and bash his head against it after that comment about "why don't they just have sex, it seems to work..." Sex works? You could have fooled me.

  14. I don't think there are any legislated rules in the US - voluntary, yes - mandatory, no.

    Run for office. If I lived 'round the corner from you, I'd vote for you.

  15. I guess he never dealt with infertility. Will you email me the guy you bet with, totally for curiousity sake?

    You rock, Aurelia. You are making this world a better place for women and infertiles. Thank you, my friend.

  16. Aurelia, you and your readers who noted that the US guidelines are jusst that guidelines, are correct. I guess I had convinced myself that what my clinic told me was "law" not just a protocol agreed on. Sorry about the erroneous bather. *smooches*

  17. Actually, as far as I know, the only things illegal in the U.S. are LIT and cytoplasmic transfer - both illegal due to religious nutters who don't understand the basics of science.



  18. Firstly...major eye roll, must have taken patience to deal with that guy.'ve got my vote!

  19. **smacking my own forehead**

    You're a better woman than I am my love.... x

  20. I'd have thumped him, I swear. Well done for sticking it out.

  21. Listen, it was courageous to say anything at all, but brick wall and butting heads come to mind, its not you luv, its them! you can only do your best, right, not your fault the world of politics hosts a bunch of naive twits, eh!

    Good on ya!

  22. Hi There,

    Sent here by Meg ( and wanted to delurk to say hello. I am very impressed you are pushing this issue politically. Maybe just a little of what you talked about will stick in this guy's brain, and next time the subject comes up politically, he'll have at least two and a half factoids to rub together.

    And it's a sucky thing to have in common, but I also terminated a pregnancy after my baby was diagnosed with trisomy 18.

  23. You go girl.

    If they are that clueless, maybe it would be a good idea to put together something in writing-- IVF for 5 year olds or politicians. Just saying.

  24. I have heard of people with IVF having "extra" embryos when they go for a scan - I was under the impression that either some eggs got left behind or they had sex just before egg retrieval but there was then some sperm hanging around for eggs that got left behind. I may be completely misunderstanding this (I have never done IVF) but I did think that this used to happen - but doesn't now - and it wasn't all due to identical twinning

  25. Oh good Lord! Thank you for putting up with that, I'd have smacked him!

  26. Yes, they are just guidelines for transfers but the majority of clinics in the US follow them I think. At U of Iowa, they have very rigid guidelines!