December 2011 Jackie and I were still in the same position. So I turned once again to the Oracle, when I say oracle I’m mean of course the Metro, at the back, these things were always at the back. There was a huge advertisement for The Fertility fair! To be held at Olympia, wow! Fertility fair, like a wedding fair, only I have never been to a wedding fair or any other fair of this nature. My Sister went to the cat show once and went completely demented and came home with all sorts of useless cat paraphernalia, which I believe she is still paying off.
I tore out the advertisement and looked it up on-line when I got home, the tickets were unsurprisingly inexpensive so I called Jackie and suggested we go.
I bought three tickets as another friend Jules had expressed a desire to join us, even through she had managed to have her child, she thought it would be a good idea to have a least one stable person in the group in case Jackie or I became unhinged and tried to mount the driver of the night bus on the way home because it was obvious that there would be some drinking involved at some point if not all points during the day.
I didn’t really know what to expect and as we approached the main entrance we were bombarded by several promotion people giving out products. This very polite young guy handed us all a pen, which we all grabbed because who doesn’t like free stuff, plus you can never find a pen when you need one, but on closer inspection this was no ordinary pen, it reminded me of a lava lamp only instead of bright-colored blob’s moving slowly up and down, it had 5 little sperm and if you turned the pen up side down they were in hot pursuit of an egg. I love this pen so much I still have it, this was a promotion for the magazine The Fertility Road, me and Jackie looked at each other and telepathically acknowledged that is was going to be a long one.
Once inside it was set up like any other fair, stands with people promoting their particular part in this license to print money event. IVF clinics from all over the world, Pharmaceutical companies, sperm banks, nutritionists, Chinese medicine, Adoption agencies, complementary medicines and hockey cocky salesman, not to mention thousands of tortured men and women who are willing to buy, try, and believe anything in order to have a small human being, that they were going to, let’s face it, probably fuck up!
As we walked around it was patiently obvious that there were a lot more women here than men. One of the stands we wandered past had tall blond women in white uniforms manning it, on closer inspection we realized that it was the Russians, who waisted no time.
‘Come sit please!’
Jackie and I obeyed of course and before we knew it we were sitting in two chairs inside the stand.
‘Tell me what your problem, is it your eggs?’
Blimey we hadn’t even had a cup of coffee yet I was thinking we might start with a bit of Aromatherapy, or a free stress ball!
‘Do you need sperm? We have very good strong sperm! Or maybe you need egg? We have a very exclusive list of donors, anything from ballet dancers to astronauts.’
Jackie and I looked at each other in disbelief but we were too scared to get up.
‘Ok you fill out this form, you pay today and when you come for treatment we put you up in 5 star hotel, you come, spend a week see sights, have treatment, we take care of you.’
I was starting to feel weird.
‘We have a seminar to go to, but we’ll come back after.’
We got up so quickly I knocked the chair over, and we walked as quickly as possible to the furthest end of the exhibition centre.
There were seminars going all over the place and we decided that we would sit in on a few of them to see if we could learn anything that may help us in our quest.
The first one was a very distinguished looking Doctor talking about the reproductive system in both men and women. He said something that all three of us could not believe. That woman were born with millions of eggs that disappear with increasing frequency, in-fact it declines so rapidly that after 30 she will barely have an eighth left. After 40 it’s very bleak having only 3% of her ovarian reserve left! We all looked at each other, in shock, I think we knew that the longer you left it the harder it would be, but sitting here hearing the cold hard facts made me feel really bloody stupid, why did we not pay attention to this? It made me want to go outside and yell it in the street.
‘You, put a baby in that women!’
‘But there are things we can do.’ said the Doc
‘We have been using pioneering treatment and the oldest women we have assisted in getting pregnant is a 72-year-old women in India.’
I burst out laughing, the whole room turned and looked at the three of us sitting there, Jackie and Jules were giggling too, but I was almost hysterical. Jules grabbed me and pulled me out of the seminar. ‘Go the toilet!’
So I ran into the nearest loo, laughing like a mad woman, I was laughing so much I could hardly catch my breath I was bent over the sink almost convulsing. Then I heard the door and then suddenly I felt an arm around me, I knew it wasn’t either of my friends because of the strange perfume I could smell.
‘It’s ok.’ said the voice
I glanced up and saw a strange women in the mirror.
‘It’s ok, I know exactly how you feel.’ she started to cry, that’s when I realised that she thought I was crying not laughing, so I played along, feeling terrible as I didn’t want her to think I was making fun of the situation, as I really wasn’t I think it was a defense mechanism, I tend to try to see the funny side of everything, even if sometimes some might think it inappropriate.
‘Thank you.’ I said and broke away from her and ran into a cubical, I waited for her to leave before I came out. I looked at my self in the mirror and it did look as if I’d been crying, but I think the laughter was just a way for me to release some tension. Once out of the toilet I found Jackie and Jules having a foot massage.
I had done some research on-line before I’d booked our tickets to see who would be at the event and I’d found a Spanish company offering IVF but they we also offering embryo adoption. Frozen embryo’s that are donated by couples that have had their children and were willing to give their spare embryos to people who had not managed to achieve this. When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing, so what they’re doing is essentially giving away a dream for someone else to grab. It was also very inexpensive compared to IVF. We went over and had a chat with them. They were very nice not loud and pushy like the Russian’s. They explained the process all the tests you needed to have done before they would accept you as candidates. The problem was that a lot of the tests we’d had done were now all out of date, so they would have to be repeated all over again, and I couldn’t see my GP agreeing to do them all again, I would need another mammogram and Leigh and I would have to have a full sexual heath screening done again, this was going to cost! The woman we talked to said that they try to match blood type and physical characteristics, Jackie and I looked and each other and we were thinking the same thing, when can we go!
As we left the Exhibition centre we walked past the Lister Hospital stand and I saw the Doctor who had failed to listen to me talking to a young couple, I wanted to kick her up her hoop! I had such loathing for her, thinking back to the first time we meet her, I don’t remember her writing an awful lot down, she never gave me any documentation to check or confirm our understanding that what we had decided was what we actually wanted, she just didn’t listen.
We walked outside it was dark, we went to the nearest pub ordered a bottle of red wine and had a good laugh about what we had just witnessed. I was already thinking about the Spanish clinic and embryo adoption, but I would have to convince Lee first.
Let’s go get a bambino!