Egged on: Navigating the world of secondary infertility and egg donation

Join us on this journey into our hearts, a petri dish and (hopefully) my uterus.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

New hope

I expect to see some new profiles tomorrow morning. Two sound promising. One has donated before and produced eggs for three families. One is new to the process, but has had a pregnancy so we know she's fertile. One's a blonde with brown eyes. One a brunette with green eyes.

It all still feels so futile and far away. The first two girls seemed like such good choices. They were experienced. They knew what they were getting into. They both were described as responsible and smart.

The challenge will be opening up the new profiles with a positive attitude. Because, right now, the idea of starting over and opening myself up to that heartache again just doesn't seem smart.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How quickly things change

So, I was just getting used to the new donor. I thought her lips were a little funny -- thin. I was hoping our baby (assuming we were successful) would get my husband's mouth. She seemed OK. But I didn't feel like she was someone I'd be naturally drawn to as a friend. She was a donor. That was it.

Well, she's not even that anymore.

She called our clinic yesterday and said she didn't want to donate again. She had gained some weight and didn't want to go on the fertility drugs right now.

So I'm back to square one.


And I'm frustrated.


And I'm questioning the wisdom of even continuing.


I also joined a discussion group about egg donation -- possibly a big mistake. I'm just a lurker. And I don't mean mistake in the way it sounds. But it's so hard to hear the reality of the process in motion. The ups and downs. The failed cycles. The desperate need to find answers to the question of why this might be happening.

It's easier to just hold on to the positive stories and think about how much better a 65 percent chance of success is compared to the 15 percent chance that IVF with my own eggs offered. It's easier to look at my (now former) donor's history and think, "she already helped create a half dozen kids out there. That's a good sign for me."

Instead, I'm reading the sad stories. And now I'm donorless.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Oprah, the future and the past

It's clear to anyone who watches Oprah that she's not really a fan of assisted reproductive technologies. She recently had a show featuring Martha Stewart's daughter, who has been undergoing repeated IVF treatments without success. Last week, she had a show about sperm donors, who she kept referring to as "fathers."

Honestly, I wasn't nearly as offended by it as others on some of the discussion logs I've read. Let's face it, IF I get pregnant and IF I have a baby, we won't really know how that child will feel about being the biological product of a known father and some randam anonymous woman. Ideally, we will have a second child. And that child will feel as much a part of me as my first child feels. But I have to agree with Oprah: There will always be a curiosity about the woman who laid the egg. Heck, I'm curious about her. So it's only natural that her biological offspring would be curious. Then there's the whole question about half siblings. We know that there are at least 6 from this donor, I believe. Maybe more from frozen cycles.

This led me to make a phone call today to our attorney. I asked some big questions:

* Is there a way to work out some arrangement to make it known that I'd be willing/interested in meeting other families built by the same donor? I have this great image of some kind of fantastic summer picnic with all these half-siblings from different families. Crazy, I know.

* What about those half-siblings? Were they all born healthy? Have they ever developed any kind of terrible disease that could possibly be traced back to genes?

* Our donor has indicated that she'd be willing to eventually be contacted by the children she helped produce. Do we need to put anything in the contract to say we'd be happy to do that?

Well, ultimately, my lawyer said it is probably best to talk to the agency about the things regarding the families from the previous donations. She said the agency's contract with them is done, so anything would have to be arranged informally.

Some recipients put statements in their donor agreements regarding meeting the children in the future. Those are met with mixed reviews sometimes. Our donor said in her psychological evaluation that she'd be willing to meet the family in the future. So I figured that was good enough.

Until then, I'll just be dreaming of coming out on the positive end of that 65 percent chance of success.

And I'll be dreaming of that fantastic family picnic that would bring together five families built by the same generous woman.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

We're back on track!

After last week's developments, I wasn't really sure if we should even continue. Then we found a new donor. But she was scooped up by another couple before we got to her.

This week, the egg donation agency sent us a file on another former donor. This woman is a little older. She has donated four times -- all resulting in pregnancy. They say she's very reliable. She understands what she's doing. And she is doing it for both the money and the desire to help.

So we're going with her.

She's not the person we'd necessarily pick for ourselves. She doesn't have musical ability. She has different interests. But she has a clean health history. And she's a proven fertility machine.