So in a previous post I mentioned that 2015 is the year of egg donation. We reached this decision rather painfully after our two experiences with IVF last year… If you recall, the first round was cancelled due to poor response and the second resulted in a miscarriage at nine weeks after a month of slow rising betas and poor ultra sounds. We met with our doctor in January and his opinion was that because I did achieve 8 eggs and two 5 day blasts on the estrogen priming protocol, I certainly was not at the end of the road using my own eggs and I could definitely try a few more cycles BUT the chances of success are significantly higher with donor eggs. This was really all I needed to hear. I’ve lost faith in my own eggs and I am extremely tired of this infertility journey and all the hundreds and thousands of ways in which it has changed me, my body and my relationships. And so we made the leap to donor eggs.
About a month ago we contacted the egg donor coordinator at the clinic where we go for treatment. She sent us a whole load of profiles and we finally picked out a shortlist of donors. This was not at all easy. Our doctor had told us to focus on a few basic qualities: age, a healthy bmi and a non smoker were his bottom line criteria. The agency had based their criteria on a close physical match… Dark hair, dark eyes, similar face shape and physique to me. The tricky part was matching the doctors criteria with the physical matches that we had been sent. We’d find a great donor and then see that she smoked, or had an unhealthy bmi, or had severe heart disease in her family history… Etc etc. Nevertheless, our choice was finally narrowed down to two donors… Donor 944 and 822. 822 was a little old for our doctors liking and our top favorite, 944, had donated previously… She had produced 16 eggs, 2 embryos and no pregnancy. I was devastated. It completely and utterly threw me to even contemplate that there could be a negative result… I mean, I’m making this sacrifice so that we can have a baby and so that we can move on with our lives and suddenly I realized that even this might not work. By this point I was also getting frustrated with our coordinator who seemed to be battling to get information from the agencies… We waited ten days just to get feedback on 944’s previous donation, which seemed ridiculous to me. Our coordinator suggested that we contact the agencies directly with the criteria that were important to us.
So we went back the the drawing board and contacted the donor agencies directly with a new list of criteria, asking them to move away from physical criteria to focussing only on egg quality. This would mean including age, bmi, non smoker and Caucasian as our only criteria… We did not want to miss out on a great donor simply because she has blonde hair and blue eyes!
They came back to us quickly with a large selection of donors. To be honest, we had a harder time choosing this time round as we felt a bit overwhelmed by choice and it became harder to see the wood from the trees. In the end I suggested to my husband that we each independently make a shortlist and then compare, which we did. Amazingly, we both chose the same people except that I had an extra person on my list. Most wonderfully, we both agreed on our favorite. She seems great… A very young 23, bmi of 22 (which is what mine was before I became fat through ivf!), non smoker, completing a medical degree with a special interest in genetics, which I found interesting. She is half Portuguese and so our child is likely to look more Mediterranean and less fair than I do… But that’s not a big deal for me. As it is anonymous we do not get her real name or adult pictures, but the agency described her as beautiful and she is a cutie in her baby pictures. Best of all, she has donated twice before at our clinic and so our doctor can look at her records and formulate an informed opinion on egg quality. As of today, he has been given her details and we are just waiting for him to get back to us. If he gives her the green light then we will book her. I am not too sure of the exact next steps but I am sure these will be revealed in due course.
My husband is now starting to experience the feelings that I had initially, and which I feel I have more or less processed… The feelings that come from a third person entering such an intimate space, of a complete stranger playing such a major role in the future of our family, of having to make such an enormous decision for our children before they are even conceived. And then, the twinkle of excitement and hope thinking that maybe, just maybe, this could be our solution and that we might actually, finally, have a baby.