Do you come here often?

What an odd experience this morning. There’s nothing like a bit of pressure to perform sexually for the medical laboratories, is there! Into a small clinical pot. My word, these doctors certainly know how to make a man feel sexy!

Anyway, I managed it. With my semen sample safely captured, my medical form duly filled in: date, time, date of last ejaculation and an odd question that asked if my sample was complete!? I wrapped the whole sorry lot up in a (comedy) Virgin megastore plastic bag and tucked it away under my oxter (that’s armpit) to keep it at body temperature, and Jane sped us both down the A720 Edinburgh bypass towards the Royal Infirmary.

There’s nothing like the added pressure of leaving home just that bit too late to be sure that you’ll arrive at the hospital well on time. It seems that semen samples are collected on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 08:15 and 09:30 — you get turned away if you come late, if you’ll excuse the expression, and told to come again next week, as it were. (I was doing so well, too, on the innuendo front!)

Jane dropped me off at the Human Fertility department at 09:27. I strode in through the automatic doors — whoosh! — turned left and arrived at a sign saying “Laboratory Reception”, and on the counter was a large polystyrene container: Semen Samples.

I now wish I’d said one of the following, as I handed over the Virgin bag of magic man’s milk:

  • “Excuse me, erm… I found this in the corridor, I think it belongs here…”
  • “Right… I read that I was to keep this at body temperature, so I just topped it up with boiling water, I hope that’s okay…”
  • Look what I made…!”

But I didn’t. I simply told the kind lady behind the counter that my GP had asked me to bring in a semen sample (and not a ‘sermon sample’, which is what I first typed there) and here it was. I did make mention of my ‘comedy’ Virgin bag. Once the lady had checked that the accompanying form was indeed accompanying it, I handed over my tub of genetic material and returned to the street to search for Jane, who’d nipped off to fill the car with petrol (just the petrol tank, actually).

It felt rather weird, that whole experience. But there you go. My semen is now in the hands of some anonymous laboratory assistant. I’ll find out in about ten days time whether I have stupid sperm that is not getting my wife pregnant, or not. (Of course, as I’ve pointed out to Jane, one way I could find out is just sleep with someone else!! Yeah… not a great idea, is it.) I’ll just wait…

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 46 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall. Currently on sabbatical. I am a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir.

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