You know you are pretty far along the acceptance curve when you can laugh about things that once made you want to: a) scream b) cry c) commit Hari-Kiri or d) all of the above. I offer as evidence the Open Salon piece I wrote about the fertility industry, which led to the following online exchange with that oh so rare creature — a man who openly discusses infertility. Here’s how it went:
Him: As far as I could tell, the main function of a fertility clinic is to transfer money from infertile couples to the fertility clinic. They are remarkably effective at that. A fairly rare side effect of the money transfer is that every once in a while a baby is born.
For my wife and me it got to be kind of a joke. We couldn’t walk into the clinic without dropping at least $120 on something. We never knew what it would be, but we knew that our wallets would be at least $120 lighter when we left. And those were the cheap days. Other days we’d drop a grand, two grand, three grand, for the procedures and medications that can only be described as cruel and unusual punishment. And at the end? Nothing, except an empty bank account, and the offer that we could “try again.” Thanks, but no thanks.
Me: Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Your comment gave me a laugh — my husband and I also felt like human ATM machines. It’s refreshing and reassuring to know we’re not the only ones who see the fertility industry as dangerously close to predatory
Him: And they get you coming and going. We ended up with a few embryos in a petri dish. These, of course, have to be frozen. The first year the freezer cost was $200. The following year it was $300. Then $400. Then $500. I felt like asking if the embryos were in a freezer or living in an apartment. I half expected to get a bill for cable TV for the embryos. But I have to give credit where credit is due. The “sperm sample” room did have the best collection of Penthouse magazines that I’ve seen in recent years. I’m just not sure that viewing it was worth $12,000.
Me: LOL! My husband and I are convinced our embryos took at least one trip to Hawaii (and kept the miles!)
Him: My guess is that the embryos sneak out of the freezer at night and check out the Penthouse magazines. Or perhaps they have their own subscriptions. They certainly should have enough spending money to do so. Some day we’re going to hear that Bill Gates has been knocked off his perch of “richest person in the world” by an infertility doc. With a typical infertility practice it shouldn’t be too difficult to rack up a few billion.
And there you have it. The search engines are going to go wild with this post. I can’t wait to see what shows up in my traffic feed. Feel free to share your black humor.