Some of you may remember a post I wrote a few months ago about having Turner syndrome. (If not, it’s cool: I have a link!) In it, I spoke about having the condition, but somehow in my stream-of-consciousness writer ways it ended up having a bit of a focus on one aspect of Turner syndrome that (at least in my case and the other lovely Persephoneer who has said she has it too) can be very wearing: the inability to naturally conceive children. PLEASE READ WHAT I WROTE THERE BEFORE COMMENTING. No “Aww”s, please.
Since then, I have had multiple talks with TJ, my husband, about my seemingly ridiculous and masochistic desire to have a child of my own. What we found out almost right away was the simple fact that we didn’t know much about any other options for ourselves other than natural conception, which was out, and adoption, which is wayyyy out of our price range. “Get some information,” he said. “If there’s a way, I’m on board.” I called a local fertility center not long after and set up an appointment for an initial consultation. Couldn’t hurt to ask, right?
We went together to speak with the doctor, partially to make sure that between the two of us we heard and understood everything he said, but also because TJ, in a fit of gallantry, insisted that if we were going to do anything, he wanted to be a part of all of it. The office was very calm and quiet, which I guess is typical of anything other than a pediatrician or an emergency room. We (meaning mostly I) were handed paperwork, and told to go fill it out. There were your basic questions (age, medical history, etc.), as well as some gynecological ones (I can see a nurse now: “You don’t know your last menstrual cycle?” “No, I just don’t have one.” Thank God they either understood or didn’t ask.) The one that made me both snicker and realize how awful my recollection is was them asking how often, per month, we had sex. (Not sharing.)
The doctor brought us into his office, which was small and laden with books. It’s strange, but in these days of paperless correspondence and internet, I actually smiled when he looked through a medical reference guide during our conversation. I was also pleased that he was able to tell me without the books about mosaicism and how my particular brand of Turner affected our choices. Sparing any long medical details, I can say that he told us that there was one, and only one, option other than adopting a child: in vitro fertilization.
My genetic material is useless, but TJ’s isn’t, so if we were to get an egg donor we might have success. As far as carrying the child myself, we were told that it isn’t impossible, but in every case with mosaic Turner pregnancies, there is the very slim potential of an aortic aneurism. He didn’t give us a percentage – perhaps it’s different for everyone? – but he did say that most doctors don’t inform their patients of that particular risk, which makes me think it can’t be too high. If I can’t carry, and we still wanted a child, we’d need a donor as well as a surrogate.
For the time being, that’s really all we know. I have spoken to a close family member to ask if her long-standing offer for genetic material was still good. It still was. As far as surrogacy? Well, we don’t know about that yet. With any luck, we won’t need it. My next appointment with the doctor is July 9th so that he can give me a once-over. Yes, this process is slow. But if we do end up having a child together, these baby steps (double entendre intended) will be worth it.