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Spring Training for Infertility Virgins (Coaches Needed)


a blog by Lori Shandle-Fox, Laughing IS Conceivable, March 25, 2011

First, I must apologize for using the term: "Infertility Virgins." It sounds like some crazy modern day, scientific form of immaculate conception.

However they prefer to be referred to: Let all of us infertility vets welcome all those new to this wacky, unjust world.

I even hate to say "welcome." I really want to say "sorry." But you aren't anywhere near alone ... and please do find some comfort there. All of us have been there, and many of us have done that. In fact, most of us have done that, that, AND that.

And a lot of it is confusing — especially if you're new to the infertility treatment game. There are some things I think we can clear up right here.

Do I Need a Fertility Doctor?

Show of hands: Who knows what a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) is or does? Excellent! Lots of women ask if they should stick with their OB/Gyn or go to an RE.

Go to an RE dammit.

An RE is an OB/GYN  who then specializes in infertility issues of every type. They leave your OB/Gyn to deal with your yeast infection, your funny smells, your hygiene issues, or why your left booby used to be bigger, but now the right one is..         

You should also know that, even though things like in vitro fertilization (IVF) make the news, many women are prescribed fertility medications alone (to induce ovulation) to try to get pregnant and don't ever venture into ART. 

So what is ART? ART is Assisted Reproductive Technologies — any method of conceiving that involves a third party. (Excuse me, this is not a porno blog — at least not today — get your mind out of the gutter.)  All the things you've heard about — artificial insemination (IUI), IVF, egg donors, sperm donors — all fall under that category. 

So ART has nothing to do with painting or sculpture. It involves a doctor who's a control freak. You're trying to get pregnant by making nice-nice with the person you love most in the world, and here's this doctor wedging himself between the two of you and saying: "Excuse me. Better let ME do that."   

Some people who go through in vitro fertilization need intracytoplasmic sperm injections, which is when the sperm is directly injected into the egg. ICSI, as it is called, is your pushy cousin. You go to a party, you see someone you might be interested in, but you're too shy to go over and introduce yourself.

So your yenta cousin shleps you over there, starts talking to this stranger, injects you into the conversation and walks away. That's ICSI.


IUI (intrauterine insemination) is not IVF (in vitro fertilization). It is basically Sex on Speed. As was explained to me when I went through it: There's not much more going on than what happens in the boudoir except the hormones you've been taking make your body riper and readier for conception ... and your husband's body is replaced by a hand with a glove ... and you can forget the chocolate-covered strawberries before or after unless you bring your own.

And no "Chopped" on the TV in the background ... or apologies for lying on your hair ... and the fertility doctor won't push you out of the way to get to the shower first ... and, in my case, the nurse also had no trouble answering in the affirmative when I asked: "Doesn't it seem like my whole body is hanging 2 inches lower than it did last week?"

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