So we’re living in Syria in 1996. I’m nearing my mid-30s with the proverbial ticking clock, and we’ve committed to teaching here for two years. By sheer coincidence, we find that we’re living in the same apartment building as an embryologist, a Lebanese fertility doctor who has trained in Germany. It takes me more than a year to approach him about our situation.
He recommends the ICSI approach. This will involve pumping me with hormones to stimulate egg production. With any luck we’ll get a bunch of eggs we can fertilize with individual sperm and freeze extras until we get pregnant. Even thought I am petrified of all the shots and the 2 (minor) surgeries, we proceed. Total cost turns out to be about 1/3 what we would spend in Denver.
The shots are terrible. Roger has to give them to me, except for the times when I can corral the school nurse. And we are trying to keep this a secret from the tight-knit and somewhat gossipy (but always well-meaning) school community. The hardest part of all is the near-daily blood draws – I’ve got teeny veins that run for their lives at the sight of a lab coat.
I’m knocked out for the egg retrieval – God bless drugs. We harvest only one egg – bad omen. We proceed with the ICSI and watch on a video monitor as a needle injects one sperm into one egg. Are we watching the very first moments of our baby’s existence?