At 11 a.m. I rush past my office mates and out the door. I have a 12:30 appointment at the Kaiser Infertility Clinic. I say, “See you later, I’m going to get pregnant.”
First, I drive to the California Cryobank. I walk down a long, dark hallway to the pickup window and look around for men to try to get a glimpse of the kind of guy who donates here, but the donors seem to use a separate entrance. I consider the possibility of bumping into someone I know, but the hall is empty. There is no waiting room, just a glass window that slides open when I ring the bell.
A woman in a lab coat charges my credit card $320 and hands over my baby’s daddy—a vial half the size of my pinkie, encased in a freezing tank inside a three-foot-high box with arrows and the words “This Way Up.” I tuck the sperm behind the passenger seat and head to the clinic.
The day is bright and blue and mild. A fine day to get pregnant. I take Sunset, which is tree-lined for miles, and I’m thinking it’s one of the prettiest streets in Los Angeles until I get farther east, and then Sunset becomes as ugly as any other strip-mall stretch of LA.
The music this morning is my favorite, classic hits from the ’70s and ’80s. I haven’t moved on. In 2003, I’m still listening to ABBA and Fleetwood Mac. The windows are open, and I’m singing “Oh Oh, dream weavah, I believe you can get me through the niiiihhiiight.”
I carry the sperm box inside—it’s unwieldy but not heavy—and hand it over to the nurse for defrosting. This is my second attempt, so I know the routine.
The first time, I brought my best friend Stephanie, a professional photographer who took pictures like she was the proud dad: me walking in with the loot, me in the waiting room eating a peach Danish, me on the table with my feet in the stirrups, and even some crotch shots of the sperm going in.
I’m lucky: most people don’t get good photos of conception.