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My first doctor’s visit and beyond

September 3, 2011

Now that we knew D was all set, it was time for me to act. I made an appointment to see my gynecologist, Dr. Robin Brown, for sometime in May of 2008. I had only been a patient of Dr. Brown’s for a year, I think, and I was not due for my annual exam until November. Insurance companies being what they are, I had to explain to the woman on the phone why I wanted to come in early. I didn’t mention my age, only that I was considering getting pregnant and thought that I should start with an exam.

I took a day off work because D and his cousin Jerry were playing on a softball league in Central Park (Jerry played on a team of actors called “The Jaded Waiters”), and I planned to go see them play after my doctor’s appointment. Dr. Brown, to her credit, only looked shocked for just maybe a second or two before regaining her doctor’s composure and putting on her professional face. She really had no idea of my history, if I went from doctor to doctor with my sad story of wanting to have a baby at 48 yrs. old. She glanced momentarily at my chart, and said, “I’ll give you a list of fertility specialists.” She also told me that at my age, no specialist would agree to treat me unless I agreed to participate in a donor egg program. I told her that I understood, and she gave me a list of 5 doctors.

I went to Central Park and watched the boys play some ball. I talked to my bff, Colleen, who was one of the first people I told about our crazy idea. She was not only supportive, she was fiercely supportive, as were almost all of my friends.

D and I went to dinner that night at our favorite neighborhood spot, and I related the day’s events to him. Looking back on it now, I don’t think I really knew much about egg donation. I do have a dear friend who was an egg donor for her friends (it didn’t work out for them, she tells me), but other than that and seeing the movie theater ads for “young women between the ages of 24 and 30” who wanted to donate eggs, I really hadn’t ever thought or heard much about it. I don’t think D did either, so when I told him that this was our only option at my age, and that he would biologically be the father but, while I would be the birth mother, I would not be genetically related to our baby, he told me that he would understand if I didn’t want to proceed. I had already decided that I did want to proceed, though.

The next day at work, I took the list out and dialed the first number at the top of the page, thinking, ok, here goes nothing. The conversation went something like this:

“Good morning, Dr. so and so’s office, how can I help you?”

“Yes, I’m calling to make an appointment. I was referred by Dr. Robin Brown.”

“Do you have insurance?”

“Yes.”

“O.K. What’s your date of birth?”

“It’s XX/XX/1960.”

Dead silence…..for four or five beats….

“Did you say 1960?”

“Yes.”

“You do realize this is a fertility doctor, for couples hoping to get pregnant?”

“Yes.”

“And you are, how old?”

“48”

“Could you hold a moment, please?” (muzak, muzak, muzak….)

“Hi, I’m sorry, but we don’t treat patients after the age of 42.” Click.

Repeat this conversation 3 more times, and you have an idea of how my day went. By the time I dialed the last number, for the Center for Women’s Reproductive Care at Columbia, I was near tears, shaking, and so discouraged.

The person on the other end of the phone did ask about insurance and my date of birth. And yes, there was a period of dead silence on the other end as she calculated how old that made me. I braced myself. This was the last name on the list. Then, she said “To verify, you are 48 yrs. old, so at your age, you must agree to join the donor egg program.” YES YES YES, I agree!

Five minutes later, I had an appointment for an initial consultation with Dr. Gary Nakhuda for late July, 2008. We were on our way!

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