Every time I tell someone about my experiences with IVF Australia and, more specifically, with doctor #1 (a.k.a Dr Douchbag), they have been incredulous. How can a doctor be that hopeless? That completely ignorant of the ramifications of his incompetence?
During our 6 month wait for donor sperm, (ex)friends (who turned out to be uberfertile, thus necessitating the discontinuation of the friendship, see TBH, I do hate uberfertiles) were going through the process at the same clinic (although, luckily for them, with another doctor). They were surprised that we had effectively been told to fuck off for 6 months. Their doctor had commissioned further tests like fallopian tube blockages (kinda relevant if you’re told you’re doing IUI) and had ordered fertility testing for both members of the partnership. Why not, when you’re waiting up to 10 months for sperm.
At the time, I believed there was nothing wrong with me, so I didn’t make a fuss. I just thought everything would be fine, although the complete lack of attention did strike me as odd.
I should have seen the warning signs. But, I just thought doctors knew what they were doing.
(What an idiot, right?)
A few months ago, a lawyer friend to whom I tearfully (and very drunkenly – no way I will talk about this shit otherwise) opened up to about this hell exclaimed,
“Oh my God! If you want to sue them, I’ll help you!”
I reluctantly rehashed the experience to my psychologist who immediately recommended I make a formal complaint to the Health Care Complaints Commission.
So, that is what I am trying to do.
No one should have to go through what we went through. Furthermore, no queer couples should have to go through what we went through and I do firmly believe that has been a part of it. I honestly don’t think we would have been treated like this if we were a heterosexual couple. I don’t think doctor #1 had any interest in helping us get pregnant. A lot of his behavior was beyond ambivalent and was downright hinderous.
We should have been given our medical results. My concerns should have been taken seriously. Every other doctor we encountered seemed to see there was something very wrong. The more I read about others’ experiences in this, the more unfathomable it is to me that a doctor could tell a 27-year-old that after 3 IVF cycles, altogether yielding a *total* of one (pretty poor) blastocyst, that “there’s nothing wrong – do another cycle”.
What. The. Actual. Fuck?
Two weeks ago, I was reduced to tears after fighting IVF Australia for my medical records (and being denied them – no surprises there).
Last week, I cried my way through 2kg of IVF paperwork, looking for written proof of my story. They don’t like to give you much to go on. They don’t want any irrefutable evidence of their culpability. So, in addition to the buried memories that stack of paper unearthed, the exercise stirred a pesky voice that whispered:
“No one will believe you. You can’t fight them. They’re bigger than you.”
“Why did you ever trust them? You brought this on yourself. If you hadn’t have been so naive, they wouldn’t have taken advantage of you.”
I can’t help but think that this is all my fault. Although physically, I now have a medical condition (endometriosis) to blame my barrenness on, I blame myself for my lack of action. Perhaps I should have stormed into the doctor’s office and demanded the results of my tests and then researched what the hell they all meant. What if I had called bullshit sooner and stopped blindly going along with more and more and more IVF? What if we had gone to two fertility clinics simultaneously, then maybe one of them would have been competent.
I don’t know how I am going to get through this, but what choice do I have? It’s not fair that I have to spend my days reliving this horrible experience. I never deserved it in the first place. It’s not fair, but the alternative is to lie down and take it and I WILL NOT be doing that, even if it kills me.
Some days I can’t believe it hasn’t.
For further reading on this thrilling topic, see my 2017 complaint to IVF Australia here: