A couple of weeks ago I had my final intralipid treatment.
At the risk of repeating myself - a quick summary of the treatment:
Intralipids is a two hour infusion that seems to suppress the immune system. I don't know if I need it as the test for an over active immune system - which can prevent embryos implanting - is way more expensive than the treatment. My gut feeling though is that it has made all the difference.
Anyway, back to my last intralipid treatment; I was parked for two hours on a drip directly opposite the production room.
The production room is the euphemistically named cupboard where the gentlemen go to have a wank to produce the sperm needed for their 50% contribution to the embryo.
It was really hard, with nothing to do but sit with a drip in your hand, not to judge the men who went in and out of that room. So hard that I, of course, didn't hold back.
Four chaps went into that room during my treatment. They all took pretty much bang on (or banging on) ten minutes. Two out of the four stuck the label on the bag rather than the pot and were reprimanded by the nurse (with a fifty percent failure rate I think you have to question the nurse's explanation).
The last chap went in with his missus. He took a bit longer than the others - maybe twelve minutes. But it just goes to show you don't know what goes on behind closed doors, and the door was most certainly closed. To look at them I wouldn't have guessed that either he'd need a helping hand or that she'd insist on giving one.
I don't know what a couple who do need to go into the producing room together looks like, but they didn't look like it.
This whole thing reminded me of something that happened several years ago. I didn't blog about it at the time because it didn't seem fair on the couple - what if by some coincidence one of the two in question were anxiously googling success rates for IVF and came across this blog detailing what had happened to them that day. So I kept quiet but now, many years later, I have to share.
It was egg collection day for me at my clinic.
There were half a dozen couples in the ward, all neatly screened off from one another, and all ws silent other than the swish of the curtain as various doctors, nurses and embryologists pop in and out of the cubicles. I became aware of a bit of a commotion in the bed next to me. The couple urgently whispering to one another and then calling the nurse.
More discussion and then the nurse says, in a stage whisper that would shame Brain Blessed, "WE COULD TRY VIAGRA".
"shhhhhhhh" the couple said in a panic.
"I WAS WHISPERING!" the nurse assured them. And the rest of the ward.
It turned out the woman's eggs had been collected and there is a short window for the sperm to get in there. A window that was getting ever smaller whilst the chap couldn't raise his old chap.
Talk about pressure to perform.
The resolution was to prescribe viagra, but they don't stock it in the clinic so he had to go out to a pharmacy. Not, you'd think, a problem in central London except it was a Sunday with only a few emergency pharmacies open.
The poor guy had to leg it ten minutes up the road, get the pills, come back to the production room, do the most high pressure wank in the world and hand over the goods. All within (by this time) forty minutes.
For research purposes only, I've just been googling "how long does viagra take to work". Apparently about an hour.
I had to leave before the story reaches its climax.
So I am afraid I can't leave you with a happy ending.
But just a reminder, yes we women have to go through an awful lot during IVF, the drugs, injections, hormones both natural and artificial.
But I've never felt that kind of pressure.