Choosing an egg donor

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.

12 thoughts on “Choosing an egg donor

  1. It is really hard to make this decision. And so frustrating to lose your number one pick. Ours was matched the day we went in for our consult. Previous cycles weighed heavily on our minds during our choosing. Especially when choosing between our top three choices. Choosing a proven donor took some of the stress off of us. Best of luck! Also check out the PVED website, Parents Via Egg Donation. It is a fantastic site for info and support. http://www.parentsviaeggdonation.org

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  2. I’m looking forward to your success in 2015! I love that egg donation is an option and I wouldn’t hesitate to take advantage of this miraculous science. Of course I realize it’s not a simple decision. But I think it’s wonderful to have the choice. Hope everything goes smoothly for you! XOXO

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  3. We did the same thing to choose our egg donor–my husband and I created separate lists and our top two choices were identical, and frankly, they were the only two we wanted. In the end we agreed on our top choice and luckily she was available. It is difficult process and a little sad to be going through the exercise–how do you balance looks, personality, education. Earlier in this summer I was participating in a team building activity and one of the questions was “would you rather be smart or beautiful” and I felt like I was making that same decision with our egg donor–we couldn’t have it all, so how do we pick what’s most important.

    So many women prioritize proven donors, which is such a good idea. The donor we went with hadn’t donated so we were on pins and needles to see how it was going to turn out. We only ended up with 2 blasts, which was honestly a bit of a disappointment, but one of those blasts will be our baby come July (the other is frozen, we only transferred one). As sad as it is to give up your genetic link, there is such comfort in knowing that you’re moving forward with healthy eggs. Yes, of course there’s still nerves, but the pessimism I felt after transferring my own eggs (like you, we ended up having a miscarriage–we knew at 6 weeks it wouldn’t work out but I didn’t miscarry until about 9 weeks; it was a tough time) was almost debilitating. However, after transferring DE, getting our positive pregnancy test, it was quite comforting to think that I had created an embryo with healthy 21-year old eggs. I can’t say that I haven’t worried, but I just think it’s been easier knowing that my chances of a healthy pregnancy and a living child were/are so much greater. The odds were finally in my favor and it was great–no more phone calls with bad news. I think once you’re there mentally and emotionally it’s such a relief to let go of some of that worry. I still think about the donor, particularly in the beginning I thought about it all the time, but overtime it becomes less a DE (and DS) baby and more of our baby.

    I know this is a long comment, but I’ve been right where you are today and it gets better. Good luck, my fingers are crossed that your clinic approves your donor and you can move forward quickly!

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    • Thank you so much for your time and effort taken to leave your comment…. Our experiences have been so similar and I cannot agree with you more… I already feel relieved to leave my crappy, 36 year old DOR eggs behind and know that if we tried again with my eggs i would be an absolute wreck. I’ll probably still be a wreck but i think it will be mitigated by the knowledge that they are young, healthy eggs. I’m also so chuffed to hear that she/ he feela like your baby… Music to my ears!

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  4. Wow what an exciting step. I’m glad that you feel positive and like you are moving forwards. It’s those little steps that matter so much in this journey, to boost your morale and make the glass half full again.
    I haven’t even contemplated the thought of donor eggs- is this something you thought about having read blogs or via your doctor?

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    • It was something suggested to us by our doctor when i was first diagnosed with dor… I wanted to know all my options and this was one of them. For me personally and for mu husband it is a good option. I’ve always known i could adopt or be a stepmom… I have no difficulty loving other peoples children, and so i know with ansolute certainty that i will love and feel connected to a child even if they are not genetically mine. However my husband feel the same way and he has a lot of difficulty with the concept of adoption. Fortunately i guess, the problme lies with me and so i am happy to sacrifice my genes and he has a genetic child. I also want A child more than i want MY child and ao am happy to take this next step if it will get us off the infertility train and onto parenthood!

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      • I am so so sorry – I’m such a rotter. You wrote this lovely reply, which I read and then forgot to reply back to.
        Thank you for taking the time to write. I find it really interesting to read, as it’s not something I’ve ever considered or has been discussed with us, but is something I will look into if this cycle fails.
        You say it wouldn’t genetically be yours, but you would grow that baby, and your blood would be a part of it (that sounds more gross than I want it to – I hope you know what I mean!)

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      • Please don’t worry at all about delayed responses… It happens to me often when life is crazy! I also know what you mean about the blood supply… Very important to me! Apparently there is also a theory called epigenetics whereby your body and environment causes certain genes to either switch on or off, and so even on a genetic level you as the carrier, influence the child… Amazing stuff, hey?! I hope your cycle is successful though and that you don’t have to explore further optionsxx

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  5. Amazingly well written. I am so happy that you’ve been able to take the first steps towards creating your family. No matter what treatments you pursue, infertility changes you. I think you’ve done a great job capturing DOR and donor selection. Honest and compassionate. Good luck!

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