Monday, January 17, 2011

Turkish Infertility

I continue to be blessed by the presence of women in my life travelling the road I have previously travelled. I say blessed because their presence reminds me that our own journey through so many difficult years of infertility had reason. It had purpose. They may think for me for standing along side them, but truly, I find I have so much to thank them for. While I was blessed with many people who stood alongside me despite not knowing at all what infertility felt like, the people who can minister best in the darkness are the people who have been in that darkness and know all too perfectly what it feels like. It isn't pain that can ever be explained.

So many women have said to me, "Wendi, I watched you go through it. I felt for you. But I didn't get it until I did it myself." That is very true. Just like I cannot understand the loss of a child, the loss of a parent, the grief of a divorce -- so only those who have walked this road can truly understand the devastation of being barren.

Two of the women that I am praying and joining with in this journey are here in Turkey. There is no REI (Reproductive Endocrinology) department on Incirlik. In fact, if you remember, there isn't even an OB department (thus my departure to Germany in June). These friends are having to traverse the world of a Turkish REI Clinic -- a whole new ball game! I was honored to accompany one of my friends to her appt. prior to her first procedure and will be visiting the Clinic again with another friend who is beginning the search for answers.

Never, ever, did I think I'd find myself in an infertility clinic in Turkey of all places!

A few things jumped out at me during my first appointment:
  • There is definitely a language barrier. There is one doctor who speaks very good English, but even that English is accompanied by a thick accent that can make deciphering difficult at times. But how blessed these ladies are for this one English-speaking doctor. Attaining a translator can take up to two weeks of paperwork. Not really possible when you are playing a spur-of-the-minute game like IUI and IVF. There is also a gal who speaks English who works at the front desk. However, despite how kind she is, I have to wonder what defines something as being able to speak English. Her definition is a stretch!
  • The Clinic is sparse, as is most Turkish architecture, but very clean, and very comfortable. The one major difference was that on our tour of the facilities, we noted you were to remove your shoes prior to going into the operating room. This was how it was in Nigeria too. There continues to be more of an emphasis on feet than hands when it comes to germs.
  • The cost is incredibly less than that in the USA. One round of IVF in the USA runs approximately 10,000USD. One round here in Turkey, closer to 3,000USD. Quite a big difference.
  • Childlessness and the desire to fix this issue is a problem everywhere -- around the world. This is a country that looks lightly on abortion and uses it as a means of birth control. People often only have 1 or 2 children with many years inbetween. And yet the desire to have a child is overwhelming, suffocating, and real enough to fund this many floor building in down-town Adana where people who make only $10,000 a year are spending $3,000 of that in trying to have a baby. Adoption is also not done here. It is very rare. I often do not even tell people I am adopting here. They view me as some sort of angel who did a favor to someone. Oh how untrue that is!
  • The lingo and protocol is nearly identical to my years doing IUI and IVF. I was amazed at how quickly all the words and phrases came spinning back into my head. Every word he was using. Every phrase. I knew these phrases. I knew these words. I lived these words. Being able to speak the lingo, to understand the lingo, is incredibly helpful when living this journey.
I want to ask you to join with me in prayer for these three friends. Two are here in Turkey. I am standing along side another family friend who is currently at a stand still in their journey. There is the couple we are sponsoring with Because of Isaac. I have another friend waiting for her son via adoption to come home. I have two friends who have been unable to get answers for their issues due to financial setbacks. I don't want to share names as these journeys are intensely personal for some. But would you add these women to your prayers? Please pray for answers. For peace. And, for miracles.

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