Infertility sucks, no two ways about it. It comes with a lot of stress, a ton of emotion, and its only exacerbated by the constant barrage of medical testing, bills and other bullshit you’d never expect.
Some parts of this have made me angry and bitter, but the hilarity that has ensued during the surreal conversations I’ve had about it has at least given me some uncomfortable stories to tell my future progeny and their prom dates. I plan to use them as part of the explanation I give for why they don’t have a college fund and why we live in a van down by the river.
People assume you don’t know what sex is… or how to have it
Every (insensitive) couple that managed to get knocked up by accident (or after two whole months of trying) will explain to you that the penis goes into the vagina, and suggest an alarming number of seemingly impossible sexual positions to try. I’d like to try having sex while I’m standing on my head but I don’t have the balance or dexterity for it — and I’m not trying to land myself a spot on TLC’s Sex Sent me to the ER (this is a real show and it is awesome).
Unscientific home remedies
These range from the well-meaning but utterly unhelpful, such as eat more kale and drink green tea, to the decidedly ridiculous, like take a lot of Robitussin when you’re ovulating. Never mind the fact that overdosing on Robitussin can cause serious side effects, and there’s never been a scientific study that proved it aided fertility… but it worked for someone’s second cousin, and that’s enough proof for the advice to be passed along as fact. My other favorites are get drunk, have sex everyday, buy new underwear, stop exercising (I don’t exercise anyway so that was easy advice to take) and have your partner drink a lot of caffeine to give the sperm energy.
Your sex life isn’t private anymore
All of the people you never would have discussed your sex life with ever, ever, ever will ask an inappropriate number of questions about your cycle, your masturbation habits, your positions and the regularity with which you’re having “relations.” Plus there are the sexogenarian doctors and nurses at the fertility clinic — and they get uncomfortably specific.
The uncool terminology for sex
When I was in middle and high school (before I was having sex) there were so many fun euphemisms for sex, but as a “grown-up” in a fertility clinic I’m forced to use the medical words like coitus, intercourse and relations because the nurse doesn’t understand what I mean by “bumping uglies.” And then she still can’t understand the explanation because I’m giggling like a 13-year-old (I said the word coitus to an old lady).
Or as we like to call it the “Dildo Cam.” During this procedure a 12 inch dildo-shaped transducer referred to as a “wand” is inserted into the vagina. If my partner didn’t already feel inadequate because we were in a fertility clinic, seeing this finished the job off nicely. I can promise you that nothing is as funny as laying on a table with my legs in stirrups and having a 60-year-old woman put a condom on a dildo, lube it up, and tell you she’s about to put her wand in me. Then she’ll ask why I’m laughing so hard (then I had to find a new fertility clinic because I’m on a list now).
A whole new vocabulary
Words like ovarian hyperstimulation, electroejaculation, and hysterosalpingogram don’t come up in conversation a lot (I swear they’re all real words). Ovary stimulation is not as fun as it sounds, and I’m sorry to inform you that electroejaculation does not involve you ejaculating electricity to make a mutant baby with Electro‘s powers. We’re still not sure what that last one is despite the fact that we’ve been billed for it twice.
We all know infertility sucks, but let’s take a moment to talk about the surprisingly funny things that have happened to you…