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.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

You know egg donation has gone mainstream when ....

You know it's part of the mainstream when there's a contest to win a donor cycle. Check it out:

When you have been blessed in many different ways, you want to give back to others that are in need. This site was created to help families that have or are experiencing infertility and are in need of an egg donor. Reproductive Assistance Inc. and Fertility Consulting, LLC want to provide this gift to a deserving family.
Infertility is a disease that is a very expensive endeavor and touches many different people. Statistics say infertility touches one in every six families. So, you are not alone.
If you are in the process of selecting an egg donor or will need one in the future, you are in the right place.
Beginning January 1, 2008, we will begin accepting applications for three months thru March 31. From April 1 thru 14, we will choose one winning application, and April 15, 2008, we will announce the family that will receive a free egg donor from Reproductive Assistance Inc. and Fertility Consulting, LLC.
Please complete your application before March 31. We look forward to helping create your family.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Name plus voice times sense of humor equals connection

I like her. I really like her. She seems like someone I'd wish I was friends with if we were in college together.

How do I know?

Because we talked on the phone. Actually, I sobbed. My fantastic husband did a lot of talking. She did a lot of talking, laughing and storytelling. It was so emotional it has taken me 30-some hours to recover enough to write about it.

First, I don't want to use her real name. So let's call her Tanya.

The woman who runs the agency knew I was having second thoughts after Donor No. 2 backed out. So she suggested we talk to Tanya on the phone. We scheduled a time. I came home in the middle of the day. And the phone rang.

Nancy, the woman from the agency, asked Tanya to start by telling us why she chose to be an egg donor. Tanya said she got into it because her sister did it -- in California, I believe. Her first cycle didn't go very well because they didn't get her drugs straight. So she did a second cycle with the same couple. She said she felt like this was something she could do to help people who would obviously be amazing parents. She admitted the money was also a factor -- of course. She's a college student, works two jobs, lives thousands of miles from her family. I liked her honesty.

We told her that we have one child and we want to give her a sibling. We told her we aren't perfect parents, but we have done a few things right. My husband told her the story of how our daughter donated her hair to Locks of Love because she heard that kids with cancer might need it. She seemed touched.

My husband is a comedian. He's dabbled in standup. He can be incredibly funny, amazingly emotional and unbelievably inappropriate all in the same sentence. Some people love his humor. Others are freaked out by it.

Tanya clearly got it. She even kicked back a few jokes worthy of genuine laughs. We connected. And that is more important than all those other factors that we had to look at on paper -- hair color, eye color, medical history, etc.

I go back to the Oprah show on sperm donation. The one thing that I carried away from that was the reality that even an anonymous donor could eventually be part of our lives. So I need to think forward 20 years and decide if this donor is someone I might want at a family Thanksgiving someday.

And she is.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Reading the numbers

All fertility clinics have to report their success rates to the CDC.

Today, I just noticed my clinic updated their numbers, posting the 2006 stats.

They did 100 fresh egg donation cycles in 2006. And 80 resulted in pregnancy. That's 80 percent. WOW.

In 2005, their numbers were much lower -- 63 percent resulting in pregnancy. I don't know if they have just improved their lab techniques, gotten more selective in terms of the women they take as patients or donors, or if they just got lucky. Maybe it's a combination.

Either way, 80 percent success rate sounds so much better than 60 percent, doesn't it?

Now, the updated numbers don't give us the live birth rate. In 2005, abouot 50 percent of the fresh donor egg cycles resulted in a child (or two or three ... ). I don't know if the higher pregnancy rate translates into a higher birth rate.

But I am feeling more positive overall about our decision to roll the dice on a 22-year-old film student.


I also found the following story posted on Associated Content: An egg donor's view of the process.

My Egg Donation ExperienceEver Wondered What is Egg Donation and What the Process Entailed?
By versacemystyle
As a young lady in my mid twenties I've always wanted to do something to make someone else's life a little easier. Growing up, my siblings and I were all taught the golden rules of life. Always saying please and thank you, sharing with a neighbor who may have been less fortunate than us and even turning the other cheek when or if we are slapped. The latter I've always encountered problems with however, it was on this foundation after watching a movie of the similiar nature I decided to become an EGG DONOR.
I researched it online and then proceeded to a clinic that I thought had the best credentials in New York. I filled out the routine application which was a detailed personal interrogation. This included everything about my family's medical history as well as mine. Details of my daily life and lifestyle as well as a photograph of myself to put on file. There was also the informative aspect of this which chronologically explained the donation process from the time medications would be administered to the time the eggs would be retrieved as well as prerequsite tests. The institute also stated their obligation to myself as a donor/patient.
I was told that the most difficult part of this process would be my regular visits to the clinic. After filling out all the paperwork I received a call from the nurse adminstrator asking me to come into the clinic, this was approximately one week later. This I did and she basically reviewed my application with me then informed me that a sonogram would be required. This I was totally not prepared for, not to mention the awkward feeling of having to be examined by someone you just ten minutes ago met...Following the sonogram blood was taken from me to test for sexually transmitted diseases, blood type as well as other things that I can't remember at this point.
Sonagrams and blood testing I was told will be done on eac of my visits to ensure that everything is normal, healthy and responding favorbly to all medication. My next step was to visit a genetic counsellor who did a simply family tree of my family. This was done by asking for information about my generation of family and theif offspring's medical history. This information was used to determine if further genetic testing was needed. I was then on my way to my next evaluation which was a psychological one. I met with a therapist who askd me a series of questions to check my mental state to donate eggs as well as my reaction to the fact that a child with half my genes may soon exist as a result and what part would I be legally allowed to this child in such a situation.
After completing these testings and evaluations successfully my file was submitted to the doctor for further evaluation to find out if I was eligible in all facets to become an EGG DONOR. As you could guess I was accepted. This all took about 6-7 weeks as I had to reschedule some appointments.After being accepted as a candidate to donate they started me on contraceptives to regulate my period to coincide with the egg donation process. At the third or fifth day of my period I was started on hormone treatment which did not have no immediate effect.
A few days following this medication I was called into the clinic went through the routine tests and sonogram this time approximately six tubes of blood were drawn and I could have felt the difference when this blood was withdrawn. Following a moment of recuperation from this, my nurse came in and took me in another room filled with trays of medication. At this point she demonstrated to me how to inject the bottom of my tummy just below my navel with medication that would mature and increase my eggs. Before this stage of injecting however, I was taught how to mix the medication to exact specifications as well as how to transfer medication into correct dispenser before injection.
As any layman would have imagined this made me very nervous as I am not a nurse nor did I have any experience in this field at that time. I got scared at the thought of having to quickly give myself this shot with a syringe without delaying, I also had to ensure no air was in the needle transfering it to my tummy. This demanded tremendous emotional support. At this time my wonderful husband was as consoling as any loving partner could ever be. I had to inject myself for approximately 6-7 nights. Also for everynight I injected myself I had to visit the clinic early the next morning to do the regular tests. The first two shots came and passed without much difficulty, but by the third night I started to feel different. My mood changed, I was more emotional as well as a bit soar from sticking myself with the needles.
I have never been pregnant and have no idea of how it feels but I got an idea from this next step. I started to experience a mild difference in my tummy but my husband kept telling me it was my imagination. Upon my next visit my nurse showed me the difference in the number and size of eggs. They were the size of quarter (or magnified as they were magnified at some of the ultrasounds). My fifth day of injection I was totally experiencing the effects of the medication. I felt bloated and alot of discomfort I constantly used the washroom at work and had to undo the waste of all my slacks. I felt like i was nine months pregnant with twins. My nurse then advised me not to walk too fast or engage in any rigourous activities including sex and exercise.
One day following this, which was either the sixth or seventh day from the beginning of the injections I was told to come in early the morning as the procedure would be done. I was scared as well as anxious for his. Scared of the procedure But anxious to get these eggs out as they were causing alot of discomfort. The morning of the procedure we got there late. The anaestagiologist was almost ready to leave and postpone the event. Nonetheless, I got changed into thos hospital gowns, hair in a hat and laid on an operation table. I was then engaged in converstation by the anaestagiologist who tried to get my mind off what was happening. We were speaking of water as I was extremely thirsty. He then told me he'd inject some in an ivy tube and put in my arm because oral water is not allowed. Yes I actually fell for that one and next thing I knew I was in a recovery room!!! The all told me you did well the surgery was a success. By the way the eggs were surgically removed using a needle extracting them vaginally.
I was placed on a high sodium diet and was told that everything/my body would be back to normal in two weeks. Those two weeks were the worst feeling of nautiousness, vomitting, indigestion. I thought something had gone terribly wrong as I was not told to expect this. Exactly two weeks later I was requested back to the clinic for a post-operation check up. I was told that everything is back to its normal place and all that was required was rest. Indeed I felt wonderful after that two weeks. It took me approximately four to five weeks later to resume my period. Oh and I was compensated $8000!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Go Hawaiian

We picked a new donor. This one, I'm assured, won't back out.

Maybe there's something to the idea that things happen for a reason. This girl seems like someone I would really like -- like someone I'd be hanging out with if I was 20 years younger. She's a creative type. She wore Chuck Taylors with a formal dress. She looks more natural than made-up. And, she's part Hawaiian. Interesting, right?

Her fertility stats: Never been pregnant. Never had VD. Donated three times. The first time, there wasn't a pregnancy. But that was with a different fertility clinic. The next two times restulted in pregnancy -- both through my clinic. So that's a good sign.

We're going to even talk to her on the phone -- so we have a better sense of her dedication to the process. I'm starting to feel better about everything now.