I go to CVS and hand over my prescriptions, one for Letrozole—to stimulate follicle development—and the other for an Ovidrel shot—to trigger ovulation. I’m absolutely sure the clerk is going to say, “OK, but your insurance doesn’t cover it, so that’ll be one million dollars please.” She tells me they have to order the Ovidrel so just come back the next day to pick them both up. I do, and she hands me the Letrozole—“That’ll be $12” (WHEW)—but the Ovidrel hasn’t come in yet.


The following day, I go to pick up the shot. “There was an issue with your insurance, so we’re waiting on Prior Authorization from your doctor,” the clerk says.

“Prior Authorization?…Isn’t a prescription already prior authorization?” I say.

No, she tells me. If I don’t want to wait, I can pay for it out of pocket. How much?, I ask. A hundred fifty bucks.

I’ll wait.

I get a text 24 hours later that my prescription is ready. Yay! That must mean my insurance people have a light spot in their black souls! I go to pick it up. Sixty-four dollars. The light spot in their souls is very tiny.


I write an email to my doctor saying my #1 donor choice (CMV-positive) is a million times better than his CMV-negative runner up. I need him to tell me again that, in his medical opinion, I should pick #2. He writes back: Nah, do what you like; just sign a waiver saying you acknowledge the slight risk you could contract CMV from the sperm. I sign.

I go to the cryobank website and put one vial of sperm in my cart. A window pops up: YOU SHOULD REALLY BUY FIVE BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT IT USUALLY TAKES.

No. One vial, and fingers crossed.

My total is $890. I click Confirm Order.


Second ultrasound to check if everything looks ripe. Different nurse, same lubey wand. She tells me my uterine lining is 6.9 mm. Ideal is 10, but the Letrozole often thins it. She points the rod toward my right side. On the screen, a black hole opens up amongst the clouds. “Oh yeah,” she says. “Big follicle right there.”

She shifts the wand around and finds another follicle on the same side but says it’s small. Then she checks the left. Again, a big one and a little one.

She says, “That’s exactly what we worry about.” I stiffen. She shakes her head. “What am I saying? You can tell it’s after lunch. I meant, that’s exactly what we hope for. Perfect.” I’m a noodle.

I check out at the front desk. It’s dripping cold rain, so I jog to my car, plop into the driver’s seat, and turn on the engine. Because public radio is having their spring fund drive this week, I have the dial set to a pop station. Justin Timberlike croons, “Cry me a river, oh.”

I text my family: My follicles are “perfect”. Getting inseminated on Wednesday.

And then I cry. A river.