Hindsight, You’re a Real Jerk

If I had stuck with the original plan, we would probably be having a baby at the end of June. 

Back in September, we had finally found a suitable egg donor and made a down payment to “reserve” her. Good egg donors are hard to find, and they go fast. We had found a new fertility clinic we liked well enough, better than the other four we interviewed. The plan was for her to begin taking ovary stimulating drugs, like I did when I did IVF, and she would produce a bunch of eggs, then have them retrieved about ten days later. At that point they would have been fertilized with the hubs’ “genetic contribution,” and the ones that developed into suitable embryos would be transferred into my uterus around six days later. 

I halted the plan two days before our donor was to begin injections. It just didn’t feel right, for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons was that I had spent the past 11 months undergoing nearly nonstop treatments, which resulted in 2 miscarriages: one of those was my beloved miracle twins, lost at 9 weeks because they were conjoined. The other miscarriage was at 4 weeks, with what doctors said was almost certainly another set of twins. A third cycle resulted in nothing at all. Right after the third cycle, we learned that we would have to use an egg donor to proceed if we wanted more children. That news came exactly one year ago today, on June 3, 2014. 

So, we charged ahead with finding an egg donor. We so badly wanted more kids that I didn’t bother to stop and evaluate what we had been through in a short time. Three cycles and two miscarriages in 11 months. It became very real to me, right before the donor was to begin her stimulation meds, that I was opening another Pandora’s Box of physical and emotional pain. I was tired of all the fertility drugs, all the time. The drugs you take to do the treatments are very hard on your body, and it doesn’t get easier with experience. I was tired of medical professionals constantly hanging around my lady parts, and I so badly wanted to reclaim both my body and my sanity.  I prayed about it, and that was when I began to feel a strong call to adoption. I had never considered it before, and now here it was, feeling like the most obvious answer in the world. 

Another reason I walked away is because an egg donor cycle costs almost exactly $30,000. And there are no guarantees. If the donor doesn’t respond well, or if the eggs don’t fertilize properly, you are out all that money and it’s over. If you do end up with healthy embryos, transfer them, and they do not take or you miscarry, it’s over. We worked hard to acquire the money we needed for an egg donor cycle, and if it didn’t work, that would be the end. We weren’t going to come by another 30k and have a second chance at this. 

On the other hand, for a similar amount of money, we could adopt an infant domestically and if we never gave up, eventually we would adopt. (Well, that was before what happened to us. Now my expectations are pretty low, if I’m being honest).  Besides my personal feelings about another cycle, the idea that our money would be “safer” going this route was very appealing. I discussed my feelings with the hubs, who was at first quite surprised but then very supportive. 

Today, I’m feeling guilty. If I hadn’t changed my mind and the cycle had worked, my husband and I would soon have the second child we have dreamed of for so long.  My son would have a sibling on the way, and he probably wouldn’t be asking me all the time when God is bringing him “his baby.”  I would be nesting and preparing for a new son or daughter, and revelling in the sheer joy and excitement that a new baby brings. I would not have experienced the past 8 months, which is a huge hypothetical bonus. 

But, I followed my heart, and I listened to the answer that was given when I prayed about what to do. I’m questioning now if it was really God steering me towards adoption, or if that’s what I wanted to hear because I needed a break. Only time will tell. Until then, I have to carry the “what if” burden, which is probably my least favorite kind of burden.

Discover the rest of the story at www.borrowedgenes.com

The Big Secret That Never Was

When I learned my eggs were for naught and I would need to use a donor, I took it in stride. Like, deeply, sincerely, in stride. I guess after many years of infertility I just felt grateful I still had options. The day my husband and I learned this news, we decided that the first people who would ever know we used an egg donor were any children conceived via donated egg.

This was a noble plan, and a good one. However, at some point I was seized with madness and I thought to myself, I’ve been through a lot of infertility shenanigans. I’ve experienced success and failure. I’ve had nearly every fertility treatment known to man. Perhaps, possibly, if I shared my experiences it might make someone else see it can be done, and there will be one less childless mother in the world. I’m motivated not because I see myself as A Shining Beacon of Hope for the infertile-I just know that I have personally found encouragement and hope online during my darkest infertility times, and I humbly would like join the ranks of those who have educated and inspired me.

And that is the thought process behind how the pendulum swung from one extreme to the other; my husband and I became part of a documentary, to be televised nationally on a major network, discussing our life living with infertility. Like I said, madness. Now we bide our time, fingers crossed, praying we made the right decision.

The Great Donor Search: Day One

When I learned on June 2nd of this year that I would require an egg donor to become pregnant again, my first step was to immediately log on to the donor database provided by my fertility clinic and pick a donor.  Here was my game plan:

1) Log on to database

2) Enter “brown eyes” “brown hair” into the drop down menu

3) Review lengthy list of highly suitable, attractive, educated donors (animal lover a plus) and select the one that resembled me the most closely

4) Become pregnant using the genes of this magnificent specimen who is 15 years younger than me but that probably was similar to me 15 years ago

What actually happened:

1) Log on to database

2) Enter “brown eyes” “brown hair” into the drop down menu

3) Review paltry list of three donors: one Asian, one Portuguese, one Caucasian*

*The Caucasian donor stated on her personal essay that her reason for being a donor was that she herself did not plan to have children, but due to her incredibly high IQ and the significant accomplishments she already boasted at age 21, she felt it was her duty to pass along her stellar genes so that her inherent greatness would go on, improving our country, and possibly the world, as a whole.  

PASS.

And that, dear friends, was the moment I knew this wasn’t going to be the process I had imagined it would.  Being told your eggs are old and unusable is one thing; trying to find a suitable egg donor is another.  It is much, much harder.  Being a potential egg recipient is no joke, but I’m pretty confident I’m going to find the humor in it just the same.