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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

choosing a clinic for egg donation


Being me…
I've researched just about every potential donor agency and clinic from California to Ukraine. 
No, literally. 
I'm not kidding. 
And here's where we landed.

Overseas Egg Donation 
Although the cost is significantly lower because programs are run by the government, 
there is complete anonymity so you don't even get a photo of your donor. Also, the screening is not as stringent since drugs, smoking and drinking are more socially acceptable in other countries. Lastly, the thought of traveling to a foreign country when the best clinics in the world are in the US didn't make a lot of sense to me. Not to mention, the stress of international travel and language barriers are just too much. We ruled this option out pretty quickly.

Staying at CCRM
Although we would like to stay at CCRM because of their high success rates (83% success on fresh donor cycles), their in-house donor program doesn't work for us. To protect the privacy of their donors, they only provide recipient parents with child photos of the donors and there aren't very many donors to choose from. Most other in-house programs and third-party agencies provide child and adult photos. Some agencies even provide videos of the donors so you can establish a connection with them and get a sense for who they are. We'd really like to know more about our donor.

If we want to go to CCRM but use an outside donor agency in Denver, we would have to pay about $6,000 for the donor's physical, psychological and genetic screening. If the donor doesn't pass, we loose that money and have to start from scratch with another donor. 
That is too risky for us. 

Searching for a new clinic
The most recent SART success rates for the last year available (2012) just came out at the end of February. When they were released, I looked at the best clinics this side of Denver to be closer to home. Unfortunately, our local clinic does a small volume of donor cycles per year and their results aren't too impressive. So we decided not to go back there.

The best two clinics in the West are San Diego Fertility Center and Oregon Reproductive Medicine in Portland. With 72% and 77% success rates, respectively, on fresh donor cycles. They both perform over 100 donor egg fresh cycles per year which is 5x the number of cycles performed at our local clinic. So we got it narrowed down to these two.

Sunny SD vs. P-Town
Both programs are similar however San Diego offers a little more flexibility and their in-house donor database is more robust than Portland. If we choose to go with a known donor or third party agency donor, San Diego will screen the donor with a $1,000 deposit. If the donor doesn't pass, we can apply those funds to one of their pre-screened in-house donors. 

Portland works similar to CCRM but the cost to screen outside donors is less expensive at around $3,000. But if the donor doesn't pass, we would still lose that money. At this point, I'm an super risk-averse so this isn't as appealing as San Diego.

The other consideration is travel. Flights to both locations are about the same cost and travel time. But we have family in San Diego which would alleviate the need for lodging which is a big expense.
So San Diego wins.

Establishing with a new doc
We had a phone consult with Dr. H at San Diego Fertility Center. I found him to be very knowledgeable and patient. He took the time to go over all of my questions without making me feel like he had somewhere else to be. Although the clinic seems to have a much more laid back approach than what we've become accustomed to in Denver, I do think that we would be in good, capable hands. 

I even found a few pluses over Denver that I wasn't expecting.
- More consistency and accessibility
I'll have access to my doctor and nurse via email and my doctor will perform our egg retrieval and transfer. At CCRM, I didn't have access to Dr. S via email and he didn't perform either of my two egg retrievals.

- Advanced technology and different philosophy
SDFC has the ability to do PGS genetic screening with results in 24 hours so that you can do a Day 6 fresh transfer. I don't think we'll take advantage of this but it's nice to know that it is an option. And if you do the screening, they will disclose the sex of the embryos if you have a gender preference. Again, that doesn't really matter much to us but nice to know we have the option if we want it.

- SDFC tagline -
How perfect is their mantra 
"Hold on to your dream…"

It totally speaks to me at this point in our journey. At the end of the day, 
we just want this to work so we can be parents 
and move on with our lives.


54 comments:

jAllen said...

I'm so impressed with your research! Best of luck with this step of the process!

Chelley N said...

Praying for you and all the decisions you are making right now.

Nina S said...

It's so exciting that you have found the perfect clinic for you! Getting pregnant in San Diego sounds like a great plan to me!

Ashley @ Life on the Parsons Farm said...

Praying for you sister!!!

Mrs Green Grass said...

Dr. H is my doc! I loved SDFC. If you are coming out here, we need to get together! Please let me know if you have any questions at all about the clinic or area.

Desirae said...

I really have my fingers crossed for you Jess! I really think SD is going to make all your dreams come true! Good luck! Xo

Laura Rahel said...

So glad there are some positives in SF!

Allison said...

I'm so glad you have found a clinic you feel comfortable with for this journey. Praying for peace, strength, and success.

Infertile625 said...

San Diego is my favorite place in the US. I hope it's the place that gives you your baby. Xoxo hugs.

Amanda said...

"Move on with our lives"... I think this sums it up quite nicely. The details, while important, become less so if we could just move on to the next phase of life. This journey has been long enough. I think you've made a great choice! I LOVE the level of patient/doctor interaction. It sounds like you'll have more opportunities to get your questions answered. I'm excited, Jessah! I hope you are too!

"B" said...

I am praying for you and your new journey. I hope the change to the San Diego Clinic is exactly what you needed to acheive your dream of becoming a mommy. Blessings!

Susan said...

Researching the clinics is quite a chore, but being comfortable with your final decision will, in the long run, ensure you're more relaxed along the way. Like all medical offices you'll find nuisances you like/dislike, but you did a great job narrowing down what was important to you. Good luck and happy/healty baby making!

Elena Ridley said...

So glad you are finding a solution. Fingers crossed for you!! Xoxo.

Anonymous said...

Consider looking into RGAB in Atlanta as well. They have an amazing egg donor program and are the forerunners of the frozen donor egg industry in the US. That's what we just did (working with our local affiliate clinic) and it did work. Their national frozen bank is called myeggbank.com Their success rates are very high - my clinic has had about 90% success since affiliating with them - and there are a lot of upsides to using the frozen eggs (like cost and scheduling). You do only get childhood photos of the donors but this didnt bother me as much as I thought it might. I got five pics from varying ages. There are also about 30 pages of family health history and personality questions which I found so fun to read.

Best of luck whichever way you go. I was so worried about choosing a donor and it turned out to be really easy. Looks-wise, the donor I picked is not what I expected. There were others who looked more like me. But something just clicked reading her profile and I felt like I would be proud to have her as a friend. It was a natural fit.

waiting and wishing said...

I'm so glad you've made a decision. It must feel good that you've made a big huge step in the right direction. I was curious going into this post if ORM would be your final choice (it's the clinic we used) but SD seems like a great option for you guys and the ability to stay with family will cut down on the travel expense- yay! I'm excited for you and hope nothing but the best for you as you start this process!

Life Happens said...

Wow, lots of research and information to take in! I'm glad you were able to find a clinic that meets all your needs. Praying for the best!!!

Mrs. Lost said...

It looks like you are moving in the right direction. And I can't wait to see you guys as parents either! Prayers coming your way..

Just T said...

It sounds to me that you have made the best decision after careful and extensive research. I want this for you so badly Jessah. Always in my thoughts.

Stephanie said...

It sounds like you've done a lot of good research when it comes to choosing a clinic and how to move forward with egg donation. I hope the decision on how to move forward comes easy to you.

Lilee said...

Very well thought out and articulate. I'm sure you are making the best possible choice for you, your husband, and future baby. Wishing you the best!

holly said...

So glad you've decided on a plan! I can't wait to follow the next steps of your journey! Good luck!

Chelsea said...

Hey there Jessa, I've never commented before but have followed you story as its so similar to my own. After 4 unsuccessful IVF's between ages 30 and 31, we moved on to donor eggs at SDFC even though we live in Boston. Dr. Hummel is my doctor and he (and the clinic as a whole) has been amazing every step of the way. We did the success guarantee program which really eased my mind as I wasn't sure I could even get pregnant. We did our transfer in January using a 4x proven donor but unfortunately I miscarried at 9 weeks (last Thursday). Dr. Hummel called me right away and was so compassionate and so confident that we would still be successful as we have 13 perfect frozen embryos. I'm happy to tell you more if you're interested.

Lanie said...

Yes! I love this, you are getting so close! San Diego sounds like a great option. Nice job on the research! I need that open communication and trust with my doc, plus sunny San Diego seems like a warm happy place to get knocked up. :)

gypsymamasjourney said...

Sounds like you've done your research! I know you will make the best decision for your family in the end.

We went international for one donor cycle (that didn't work) and domestic for the cycle that worked. I'm glad we have a photo of the donor and more information than was provided in Mexico.

I will be cheering you on all the way!

shay said...

wow, sounds so complicated and like a ton of decisions, but sounds like you made the right choice for you! Good luck! Hope it goes smoothly!

Morgan Brooks said...

Wow, what an overwhelming process. I am praying for peace and comfort and direction as you move forward. It sounds like SDFC has a lot of positives to it. You,my friend, are so strong to walk through this! I really admire your determination and willingness to be so open! You are so brave! Love you! XOX

Kimberly Q said...

sounds like great research and a good plan! when will you start looking at donors? for me, this was the most emotionally challenging part. it is difficult making the decision to do DE, but it becomes really real when you are actually looking at the profiles. once we decided on a person I felt much better. The choosing process was stressful and emotionally exhausting

Lisamarie said...

It sounds like you are making excellent decisions. Best of luck, lady! San Diego is always amazing.

Jessica said...

I'm glad that you've narrowed it down and have found a clinic with a program that will fit your needs! I think the San Diego one sounds wonderful, and am so excited for this next step in your journey!:) Despite how it started off, I think 2014 is going to be a good year, Jessah!!!

Jess Bjokne said...

So glad you have found the right place, and exciting to be moving forward still too. I am following you as I feel so connected to your story though it has different details than my own, it is still quite similar in the way we share the desire for a baby. We have recently applied for embryo donation/adoption with the NEDC in TN. Hope we both are able to be mothers this year, Love Jessica

Aubrey said...

Wow! So much research! It sounds like you've narrowed it down though, for the most part. Keep that beautiful precious baby in sight! XOXO

Non Sequitur Chica said...

San Diego sounds like the way to go! When does everything get started??

Endo_Life said...

I am so pleased to hear you have found a clinic that will work for you. SD sounds like a good option. I hope that things move forward smoothly and at the right time for you. X

Rach said...

Wow, what a tough decision! It sounds like San Diego is a good option...and at least your visit would be somewhere warm and beachy (if you have to stay a couple days).

Good luck!

Aramis said...

I've got a post like this coming soon, but I've kind of stalled out at the contacting clinics stage. I think it's just too overwhelming for me to make a solid decision right now. We're very seriously looking overseas, mostly because I don't think we can afford it otherwise...so it will be interesting to watch how our journeys unfold!

Sunflower said...

I would avoid overseas too since I agree the stress of adding international travel to an already stressful process would be too much. Looks like you have done some good research. The SD clinic sounds nice and having family to stay with will be a plus for sure.

Amanda Raye said...

I was gonna suggest you check out my clinics donor program if you were considering traveling www.cnyfertility.com but it looks like you already made your decision :) sounds like you made the right decision seems like a good fit! Good luck!

Northern Star said...

I love how resolved you are about all of this - your "get this done" attitude rocks and I can see how committed the two of you are to bringing your baby home. The journey hasn't been easy - but what I do know is that you will never take parenthood for granted. I have such a good feeling about all of this Jessah!!!

Dream Chase said...

Lots of prayers!! I have a feeling you've picked the best clinic for you guys. *hugs*

monica yard said...

You seem like a different person in this post...more hopeful...and {stronger}. I am moved by your resilience and how you keep pushing through all of this. Not many people could - but you and your husband are. I love the tagline too. It's perfect! Good luck and you'll be in my thoughts and prayers!

Just Beecuzzzz said...

Hi there - I have followed your blog for a while now (and have my own IVF/journey to a baby blog). I just read this post, and I have a few people on Twitter that have done cycles at both of these places, one a recent DEIVF success at SDFC if you want to follow them/connect:
@OnFecundThought
@hopefulfor2014
I myself am at FSMG in San Diego. Wishing you the best of luck!

xo, @justbeecuzzzz
justbeecuzzzz.com
Pilar Bower

Cristy said...

Wow, Jessah. I got shivers from reading this. It seems like this is meant to be....

Thinking of you and hoping that all the pieces fall into place.

Lauren said...

I am currently 5 weeks pregnant via donor eggs using an in-house donor at SDFC. I'd be very happy to share my experience and my blog password if you'd like to learn more.

conceptionallychallenged said...

I'm glad you have already done your research and found a clinic! It sounds like a good fit, and I so much hope they will help you finally become parents and bring home a baby.

Charity said...

Jessah wow so much to digest and process. I pray God gives you peace and discernment on the right decisions. I do know one of the doctors at the Oregon office you are thinking about on a personal level. He is a wonderful person and helped me to make decisions on my clinic in NYC. He also helped to advocate for me from afar.

Laura @ Making Baby Provence said...

You're the best researcher I know! I'm praying, praying, praying for you.

If you have time, could you read my latest entry for me? I think we are about to embark upon the last thing you did with IVF, and I'm scared. I don't know what to think. I thought you might be able to give me some insight. If you don't have time, I completely understand! http://makingmoviesjealous.blogspot.com/2014/03/cracked-door.html

Emily said...

So excited for you transfer to a new clinic! San Diego certainly isn't a bad place for travel and having family is such a bonus. Plus, the guarantees on better communication is pretty darn priceless! Looking forward to hearing all about the new clinic and protocol. Routing for you always girlie!

An Airman and a Doctor said...

Jessah, this is so exciting. And brings me such hope for you and your husband. Keep us posted on your decision and I will be praying for you!!

Amber said...

I'm excited for your new venture toward parenthood. I know it's scary going down the road of egg donation, but I can happily state tha it is well worth it. While I would have liked to know my babies came from my own eggs, it ultimately doesn't matter. They DID come from my own body and I'm the one that grew them, which is a true miracle all by itself. I love them so much, as I know you will love your baby too. I want this so much for you Jessah. I will continue to keep you in my prayers.

Augusta said...

wishing you well on this new part of your arduous journey.
from a DE mama to a future one :)

Heather said...

Jess,

So many decisions! I'm glad that you have found an option that gives you peace and hope. Many continued prayers for you in this journey.

Janna Renee said...

I have a friend that has donated eggs. I thought that it was such an amazing thing for her to do! I hope you can benefit from a donor.

Melissa said...

I was an egg donor, and it was one of the most powerful things I could have ever done. Praying for you on your journey :)

John Powell said...

A very good and informative article indeed. It helps me a lot to enhance my knowledge of process of Egg Donation Denver

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