Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The geometric Waltons

The Boy has a bedtime routine, like most toddlers - a bit of In the Night Garden (a weird and quite trippy programme), bedtime, then his Dad takes him up to bed cos I tend to do more of the mornings.

Anyway, when he ascends the stairs, the routine goes:

Me: "Goodnight triangle!" (it always starts with triangle).
Him: "Goodnight square!" (normally)

And then we work our way through the shapes as he goes up the stairs. The Boy is very big on shapes. We normally have rectangle, circle, nonagon, hexagon, pentagon... although as I write this I realise we have both forgotten about octagons.

This started because we were trying to get him to say "Goodnight Mummy" but he refused and instead started saying goodnight to shapes instead.

It is a bit geeky. But I love sharing this routine with him.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Do you want fries with that?

We are about to finalise treatment at the new clinic. We're getting standard ICSI, but then, thanks to private medicine, we also have an array of extras.

It kind of reminds me of those relatively expensive Mexican fast food places, where cheese and chilli sauce come as standard with a burrito but if you pick the jalapenos and other extra things you find out it all adds up.

I don't want to write the particular technology that the clinic are pushing as there are only so many clinics that do it, but it seems to be heavily patented and its logo appears everywhere, from the screens in the reception area to the consultant's mouse mat. It gives them a better idea of what is happening so in certain circumstances better embryos can be put back, rather than actually helping the embryos.

I'd seen the fucking thing advertised everywhere in the clinic to the point that I believed it must be standard, but no, it costs the best part of a thousand pounds more for - based on a statistically invalid sample size - a six per cent improvement on odds.

Then there are other extras - I never thought I'd be paying someone to... what's the word... traumatise my womb lining. But that is now a thing.

Then there are options around extra drugs, and acupuncture and all the rest.

I had a root around the internet and none of the add ons seem to be backed up by much data. There are a couple of studies with a few hundred participants.

Last time round I would have spent hours researching all this, obsessing over it and then probably paying for it all too.

Part of the reason why I'm more cynical is that at least one of the things that were touted as a wonder solution during our first cycle - aspirin - is now meant to do more harm than good. In five years time the contract for the technology the clinic are pushing now will have run out, or they'll have bought another fancy bit of equipment, and they'll be encouraging patients to do something else.

Granted, some of it might boost your chances a bit, but I've yet to see any of the treatments that are press released to great fanfare getting over the 50% success rate mark, at least in a reliable study with more than a thousand participants and a control group.

I know from bitter experience that no treatment is guaranteed - essentially, you're paying for something that gives you a reasonable chance of getting pregnant and that's all. A burrito is a burrito and I'm wondering if I really need the sour cream on top and extra nachos.