Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Updated birds and bees

Daddy, where do babies come from?

Honey, when grown-ups love each other very much and decide to have a baby, which they do usually in their late thirties or early forties, they call an embryologist.


Yes dear. An embryologist gives the mother-to-be, assuming she's not just the egg-donor mother, in which case she'll be the biological mother but not the legal-mother, special shots which control her ovulation and then extract an egg from her ovaries under anesthesia. This is a tender act that only grown-ups do where the embryologist monitors the mother's follicles with ultrasound and may resort to a hormone antagonist to get the timing just right. Then the daddy-to-be, again assuming he's not just an anonymous donor in a cryobank, goes into a little room and uses provided magazines, or the gay magazines that are hidden under the sink, to auto-erotically put his germ-line in a dixie cup and gives it to a nurse. The two fluids are mixed in the precious beaker-of-love and that makes a zygote -- or, more typically, several zygotes.

Babies comes from goats?

No honey, not goats, ZY-gotes. Zygotes are single-celled fertilized eggs.

So then you have a baby?

Well, some people think so. Others think they're just tissue, like your skin or liver. Either way, the embryos get put in storage and whether or not you believe they are babies, everyone seems okay with freezing them solid.

Babies are frozen? Like popsicles?

Yup, that's how they come. Little babysicles. You defrost them like TV dinners and then you implant them in the mother's uterus, or the surrogate mother's uterus if the legal-mother-to-be can't or doesn't want to carry to term. But before you can do that, the embryos are graded for quality by how fast they grow.

Graded, like in school?

Yeah, like that, except those that don't win this race are destroyed.

You mean they're killed?

Well, some people think that. But then again, those slow ones were probably not going to implant much less make it to term so they would have died anyway.

Teacher said that my friend Tommy's not ever going to accomplish anything because he's slow since he goofs off. Are they going to destroy him?

Well, no, Tommy's not an embryo.

So, they should have been destroyed him when he WAS an embryo because he's slow?

Well, no, I mean, unless he was slow as an embryo, then yeah, I guess so. Anyway, pay attention, because this is where the act of love gets complicated since it's at this point where different insurance regimes have different policies. See, the procedure of baby-making is expensive, and the insurance companies in the US don't want to pay for more than one procedure so this puts pressure to implant more than one at a time. This increases the odds that at least one of the embryos grows to term but it's risky because you might get twins or triplets or even more sometimes. But in countries where there's single payer insurance then they just implant one because costs are better controlled. And that, honey, is why you have a fraternal twin brother.

But you said they plant three?

IM-plant three sweetie, not plant three. But yeah, they do, I mean, they did. You're sister or brother didn't attach so he or she didn't come to term.

I'm sad.

Yes honey, but not as sad as mommy and daddy were when the first two attempts at in vitro failed. The deductible almost killed daddy because back then daddy did contract work and could only afford catastrophic.

Cats a in trough?

No honey, "catastrophic" -- that's when the insurance company doesn't want to pay for baby making.

But what about baby sister? Why doesn't she have a twin?

Well, just to clarify, "baby sister" as you call her is actually older than you. See, she came from one of the frozen embryos from the first round of IVF because we switched back to the first embryologist on our third try because that doctor was then in-network to our HMO plan. So actually little sister was conceived two years before you, stayed frozen until you were three and was then unfrozen and implanted last year. She doesn't have a twin because her other two siblings didn't make it.

They died?

Well, yes, if you think they were alive in the first place. But that's something you'll have to decide on your own as you grow up.

I don't like baby making! I'm never-ever going to make babies! I don't want to talk about this anymore! WAHH! NO! NO! NO!

Listen, honey, you behave. Remember, we froze you once and we can freeze you again!

(Tip of the pen to Rob and Steve at lunch today)

1 comment:

Etha said...

that - is - SERIOUSLY - funny, sad as it is....
You got a twisted mind and I like it! I think I'm going to go opt for frozen, oh maybe I have to freeze first. What's the sequence again?....