Monday, 23 June 2014

More parental and HD stress

I'd put off seeing the genetic specialist who'd already seen my sisters. I just couldn't face another appointment, got sucked into other things, kept telling myself it'd be ok.

But my thoughts have been turning to another IVF round and I thought I better find out what exactly the score was with being a donor, recieving eggs, embryo testing and so on.

A lot of what I'd been considering was - and I realise this is going to sound stupid - based on what my parents told me. That although my sisters and I were at risk of carrying HD, it'd only manifest itself in our late 70s, and take another 20 years to kill us. And that, if we were carriers, and our children also inherited the gene, they would get it at the same age we did.

Except, that turns out to be only half right. While my Dad has a mild form of HD, HD is more likely to become stronger if you inherit it from your father than your mother. So if one of us does carry it, it could appear in our 40s.

Which obviously means doing an egg share is a complete non starter.

Things then got a bit frustrating with the genetics man, who I think already thought I was weird; admittedly, years of infertility does change your boundaries when it comes to fertility treatment.

I asked if we could get pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (ie, the embryos get scanned for HD before being transferred).

He said we couldn't in the UK as we already had a child. He said we couldn't. I thought he meant on the NHS, as it is very rare for health boards here to fund someone who already had a child.

I thought this was kind of bizarre, and so asked if we could get PGD privately. He said no, "they" thought it would be unfair if one child had been cleared but not the other.

I then asked about getting it abroad. The guy looked a bit weirded out and waved his arms, saying it would be very expensive and difficult to get (which, frankly, seemed a bit odd; I've read enough about IVF to realise that some countries have very liberal laws about donations and screening).

I can do a test that, if I don't have HD, would clear me to go down the original egg sharing route.

If I do have HD I can find out, practically to the year, when it will onset. Which means I'll roughly find out when I will die, too.

I'm not really sure what to do. In some ways, if I was going to have it at 40, then I'd rather know now so I could get around to writing my novel, stop spending on a pension and try to enjoy life more. I could practically advance book my ticket to Switzerland to be euthanised (if I do have it, I'm fucked if I'm hanging around until the bitter end, choking on cranberry juice in a home somewhere, smelling of wee).

But then, I'm not sure how I'd cope with having the certainty of  HD. Depending on how strong the gene is, it becomes problematic to buy a house as nobody wants to lend money to someone who isn't going to be around in 25 years.

Perhaps most importantly, if I get the test and know, then the Boy will know he has a 50:50 chance. At the moment he has a 25% chance of having HD, and I feel those odds are more comforting.

Having thought about it and done some light research, it appears that the genetics man wasn't entirely familiar with IVF abroad; I've found clinics where IVF with PGD can be done for less than a regular cycle here.

 I think I'm inclined to want to do a PGD cycle abroad, which would eliminate HD, although I don't think I'd want to know if I was a carrier.

I think my husband thinks it would make sense for me to get tested before we do that, which could bring the egg sharing option back into play.

I might need to try and get some expert advice from somewhere - I think the genetics people probably aren't too familiar with IVF, but my normal sources of infertility information don't have much on genetics.

Sunday, 1 June 2014


I was doing some voluntary work in my hometown. Pausing outside one of the doors in the very ordinary road I was on, I heard shouting:

"I want to rip your arse!"
"I want to sniff your fanny!"
"I want to fuck your cunt!"

And so, a group of lads, in their 20s, came towards me. I took a step back and started studying my clipboard.

One came up to me and said:

"Awright! Do you want to come with us?" and gestured further along the road, bottle in hand.

I don't know if the normal chat up tactics there revolve around having your mates hurl abuse and then think you'll be - what? have your self esteem so destroyed you'll shag anything? - enamoured enough to swap bodily fluids with them.

I declined, to much laughter from the guy's mates.

I called the police, and suggested they might want to send a squad car around to check on the party of 8 loud, drunk men wandering aroun a small, quiet town. They called me back later, and weren't terribly interested. It is my right to give a statement, but they're not going to follow it up, realistically.

I've been angry about misogyny this week. Elsewhere in the world, a pregnant woman has been stoned to death in an 'honor' killing, another woman has been sentenced to death on trumped up charges for denying a religion she was not brought up in (hopefully she will be freed). Two teenagers have been gang raped and hung in India; after the police refused to investigate, people from the girls' village refused to let the bodies be cut down until suspects had been arrested.

And let's not forget the missing girls in Nigeria. Whatever they're going through now, it is unlikely to be pleasant.

And that's just the ones we know about. All over the world, countless women and girls have been abused, raped and tortured this week. Just for being female.

Me being shouted at is in no way the same as some of the horrendous abuses perpetuated against women elsewhere in the world. But the motivation of a small subsection of inadequate, small dicked, badly educated, easily threatened men is the same the world over. Men whose hate is ignored by a disinterested state, or who actually, terrifyingly, are in charge.

I don't hate men. I am, after all, happily married to one an the mother of a very small one. But there's just no excuse for the men who hate women, however that hatred manifests itself.