After seeing the doctor last week, I left with the impression that my nurse, Olga, would be calling me “in a couple days” to set up a bunch of tests. I ended up calling her on Tuesday and then we played phone tag; in her voicemail she apologized that I got the impression that it would be “a couple days” because really it’s typically more like a week. But I knew that yesterday was Day 3 of my cycle, which is when lots of specific hormonal tests (like Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Estradiol) have to get done, and if you miss Day 3, and you’re working with UCSF who seems to be super rigid about what steps you need to take “pre-conception,” you might be s.o.l. for this month.
So when I finally got the nurse on the phone directly yesterday, it was 3pm, and, yes: I needed testing on Day 3! Through a secure messaging website, Olga sent me about 8 documents, two of which were lab requests. One for infectious diseases (HIV, RPR, HTLV, Hepatitis, Rubella, Varicella, TSH, CBC, Rh and blood type, FSH, and Estradiol) and one was for genetic screening (Fragile X, Cystic Fibrosis, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy–if I’m a carrier then we need to confirm that my donor is not). For the genetic screening, she advised that I call my insurance to be sure I’m covered, because these are very expensive but highly recommended. She asked if I still had enough time to chat before going to the lab I said yes, but we’d better hurry.
So she ran me through all the steps that are required before my first IUI is even possible. Including: the tests above, transporting the washed sperm vials from the sperm bank to UCSF 1-2 weeks before my period (um, too late for that, plus they need a “sperm transfer consent form” signed and witnessed/notorized before the transfer), an HSG test (an hour-long x-ray to check the uterus and fallopian tubes that needs to take place days 7-10 of your cycle (I’ll be out of town)), and a psych evaluation (the psychologist can’t fit me in until 5/4–too late). We quickly determined that this month wouldn’t be possible and I should stick to having this month’s IUI done at PRS (the sperm bank, which requires none of the above), where I had my first IUI last month. Then I called my insurance and read about 15 5-digit codes over the phone to confirm that the genetic screening tests were covered (they are), called PRS to pre-purchase 3 washed vials and get on the standby list for this month, wrapped up my work day, and jumped in a cab to the lab. (I made it under the wire!)
Wow! That’s a lot of jumping through hoops, UCSF! It seems like overkill right now, but if months go by and I have issues conceiving, I’ll be glad we have all the info. In the cab, I thought about how much easier it would have been to just get knocked up from sex the way other people do. Right behind that thought was how I wouldn’t want to be attached to any of those guys in the context of parenthood. And right behind that thought was: “I really want this.” And then I just smiled out the window.