Saturday, May 31, 2014

asking a family member to be your egg donor

we'd been browsing agency online anonymous donor profiles for a while when a blog friend asked me,
"don't you have a family member that could donate"?
we hadn't really given it much thought.

but we did have someone to consider.
my beautiful cousin m.

i ran the idea past my husband expecting him to say "no way".
i thought he'd think it was too complicated to use a family member.
but he didn't.

he said that i should talk with m and see if she would be interested.
if so, he'd be okay with going that route. 

so i spent days thinking about what i would say to her.
i searched the internet for tips and talked to the gals in my office about it.
how would i ask her so that she wouldn't feel obligated if she didn't want to do it?
what are some things to consider when using a family donor?
would my child be confused about who their mother was?
how would i feel if she said no?

i planned to meet m for dinner after work.
i brought her up to speed on what happened in denver and explained our next steps.
then i outlined everything that was involved with being an egg donor.
and then i just asked her.

you're smart, sweet and beautiful
and we love you so much
we would love it if you'd consider being our donor.

honest and from my heart.

i told her not to feel obligated because we would find another donor if she didn't want to do it. she wouldn't prevent us having a baby if she said no. 
i told her not to make a decision right away…take a few days to think about it.

i gave her a description of the IVF process including side effects and risks.
i gave her some peer to peer articles written by egg donors on We Are Egg Donors.
she left and went home to speak with her mom (my aunt).

a few days later…
she called me and said "yes, I want to do it."
we were over the moon excited and grateful that she'd consider doing this for us.

but there were some complications.
m is a smoker. 
so she'd need to stop smoking for six months before the clinic would do her screening.
and our doctor told us that smoking is detrimental to egg quality and there is no research that suggests that cessation of smoking for a period of time would correct that.

dr. h said that we should expect a 10-15% decrease in quantity and quality of eggs if we wanted to try to quantify things. wow. that's huge. he mentioned that our best chance of success is using a proven donor….someone who's donated before and the intended parents achieved a healthy pregnancy.

still at this point, it wasn't enough to deter us.
but something else began haunting me.
m is only 20 years old.

she isn't married and doesn't have any kids.
not only is IVF a huge undertaking for someone at her age and stage of life,
but her future is unknown.

what if she has fertility issues down the line as a result of donating her eggs to us?
what if she meets her husband later in life and has trouble conceiving and her only biological child is ours? infertility is the most painful thing i've ever experienced. the thought that i could be possibly be putting someone i love dearly in a position to suffer the same fate was more than i could handle.

after a long heartfelt conversation on my couch plus a big cry (on my end),
m and i decided not to move forward. 
both concerned for the other person.

me: concerned for her future fertility 
her: wanting us to have the best chance of success and if someone else gave us better odds, she wanted that for us.

the next couple of days, i moped around. feeling sad. feeling like i had to grieve the loss of yet another baby that i'd imagined, envisioned, and dreamed about. first a baby like me. then a baby like m. 

not to mention, i was discouraged because i really liked the idea of knowing who our donor was. the peace of mind that i'd be able to contact her if any issues came up with our child's health. i didn't want to find an anonymous donor off the registry that i'd only know as JMS or ALW. to not have answers to offer if our child wanted to know more about their genetic makeup. but i didn't know what to do about it. i prayed for guidance and direction.

soon thereafter…
our prayers were answered and we found our donor (or rather she found us).

(to be continued)

Monday, May 12, 2014

great gatsby garden party wedding

Last summer, I posted this about my dear friend J's gatsby themed wedding.
I know, I's been almost a year since the big event.
I did promise, however, that I'd post an update to share the outfit that I ended up wearing. Many of you sent some great suggestions for potential roaring 20's dresses. In the end, a few of my real life friends ended up finding this dress online...and on sale. 
Better late than's the dress and the wedding recap. 
The wedding was in Sonoma. 
The winery was quaint and romantic.
The outfits were amazing.
The food was delicious.
The evening was magical. 
My closest girlfriends from college were in attendance as well as some of J's friends that I've met in San Francisco over the years. I also got to meet J's husband for the first time and share in their very special occasion.
It was simply wonderful.

What is your favorite wedding or event theme?

Friday, May 9, 2014

choosing an egg donor is like online dating

A few people have asked what it's like searching for an egg donor. 
My answer:

it's a little like online dating.

You go to an agency or clinic's website and browse their databases....
searching for someone that you connect with.
Which reminds me a lot of online dating services.

Some websites share more information about their donors than others.
But many of the sites include multiple adult photos. Some include photos of the donor as a child. 
A few sites even include videos of the donors so that you can get a sense of who these women are.

Below is an example of an egg donor profile summary. 
There are 5 other pages to this profile and each page contains the information listed on the left. Family, ob, health, and educational history as well as answers to general questions.

The numbers directly above indicate that this particular donor is a "proven" donor which means that she's cycled before. The results from her previous cycles are shown so that you can see how many eggs were retrieved, fertilized, transferred and frozen in her past cycles. The best indication of future success is past success. Proven donors offer the best odds for a take-home baby over new donors.
There are so many things to consider when choosing a donor so it's really important to determine your priorities. Some people look for a donor that looks the most like them. So they zero in on ethnicity, height, weight and hair color....the donor's physical characteristics. Maybe education is super important to your family so your focus might be on the donor's GPA and career aspirations. 
For us, we just want our child to be healthy and we want to feel a connection to our donor. 
To get a sense that she is a good person and is donating for altruistic reasons. That if we were ever to meet her, we'd like her.
After the initial "attraction" to a donor's photo, I spend most of my time reading the question and 
 answer sections for each donor. 
Things like the donor's:
hobbies, interests, talents 
favorite color, book, show, movie, sport
greatest inspiration, life goals, best childhood memory
personality, character and reason for donating
 The most important thing we are keeping in the back of our mind is our future child's life story. The special lady that we choose is going to provide one half of the genetics for our baby. She is going to help us grow our family and be a part of our child's story.   
That makes choosing the right donor pretty darn important.
The more profiles we look at, the pickier we find ourselves becoming. 
There are literally hundreds to choose from - all over the country. I start thinking about dumb things like "if I choose someone who is taller than 5'5 and my husband is 6' child will tower over me (I'm 4'11)...would that be weird?" Things like, "I'd always hoped that my child would get my husband's blue eyes. One way to ensure that would be to pick a light-eyed donor." 
So. Many. Silly. Things.

For now, we are just going to sit tight and keep our options open.
I believe that when "the one" comes along...
we will know it.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

we do need this day.

My mom sent me a link earlier this week to let me know that tomorrow is National Infertility Survival Day. I was busy at work and feeling strong. Busy allowing myself to be so distracted by whatever was right in front of me that I thought the holiday seemed so dramatic... "survival day"...what are we Vietnam vets?
That's the thing though. That's what we do when we are in the trenches. We allow ourselves to get so distracted and focused on whatever is right in front of us that we push all the stress and emotions down...all of the pain and the frustration. At least I do. That's how I function. 

But we are not really okay. We are surviving infertility every day. We are damaged and shell shocked. We are fighting a war against our bodies. And it is traumatic and difficult. People who've not experienced this struggle often look at our sadness with pity and then move on with their lives.

Some Most days I wish I was not 1 in 8. I wish I could live footloose and fancy free. Have a baby easily. After a drunken romp in the sack. And not have to deal with the deep emptiness in my heart. The aching of my empty arms.

And I must remind myself that none of us...and I mean none of us...leave this life unscathed. What does that mean? Well, if your life has been easy, then your time to struggle hasn't come yet...but it will.

So if someone wants to acknowledge the often unrecognized heartache that many of us face everyday just trying to become everything we have and continually coming up short. We should just say okay and take it. Use the day to recharge. Pamper ourselves and prepare our hearts and minds for the next step...whatever that may be.

Happy National Infertility Survival Day...
congrats on making it this far.

Hoping your miracle baby is just around the next corner....

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