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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)


55 comments:

Aubrey said...

Ahhh! You left us hanging... Dying to read more! xo

Erika said...

Oh wow. What an incredibly difficult roller coaster!! So brave of yall to ask M, and her to agree...and then to both agree to not go that way. I hope you at least can agree to go have some more Glamour Shots done together?? ;) Can't wait to hear what happened next!!!

Cristy said...

I've been wondering how you were. What a rollercoaster you've been through with simply selecting a donor. All the factors and concerns you've considered show what an amazing person you are Jessah. I'm so sorry that things fell through with m. But am glad there is a part 2 to this story.

Ashley Sanderson said...

Oh Jessah, I can't wait to hear the rest of the story and see how God provided the perfect donor for YOU!!!

Non Sequitur Chica said...

I can't wait for the next blog post!! I'm so happy that you guys found a donor!!

Laura Rahel said...

YAHHHHHH!
Many congratulations on finding your donor! Can't wait to read more.

Nina S said...

Ahhh, the suspense is killing me! So excited for the next chapter Jessah!

Caroline said...

Oh girl - you can't leave us hanging like this - continue soon please :) Glad that someone found you!

Amanda said...

To be continued?!? What a cliffhanger! : ) I like where this is going. It's great to hear from you and I'm excited to hear some good news.

jAllen said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing this part of the process. I can't beleive that even at 20 years old smoking would have such a detrimental effect. They should put that on the warning labels!

Northern Star said...

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness! I can't WAIT for the to be continued ... omg, omg Jessah, I can't WAIT to read the rest of the story!!!!!!!!!!!

Amber said...

Oh my goodness! That is SOOooo not nice leaving us hanging like that! lol

I know exactly what you went through in asking someone to be your donor, although I was 99% sure I knew beforehand what my sister's answer would be. She wasn't a "proven" donor, but she did have 3 healthy babies and her eggs were 5 years younger than mine. We knew they wanted one more, so we had the concerns of what would happen if they couldn't get pregnant again. We wondered if holidays would be weird, or any other family functions. It has all worked out for us, but I don't think we would have come to the same conclusion if she wasn't already married with a family of her own.

I want this to work out for you so badly Jessah! It sounds like you are on the right path and have a donor lined up. I can't wait to read about it!

Please let me know if you ever have any questions about using an egg donor, even if it's just for moral support. My email is pantheramber@gmail.com

Brittnie said...

So happy to find your blog. And I cannot wait to read the rest of this story. :)

Allison Glover said...

Very exciting Jessah! I can't wait to read the rest of the story! Sounds like God has brought you your perfect donor... There's not a better feeling!

waiting and wishing said...

Yay! I can't wait to read more about this! It sounds like things are chugging along :)

Elena Ridley said...

I'm so excited to hear more about your donor!!

Dream Chase said...

Dying to hear the rest of this story, especially with how it ends. I'm so sorry about M, but feeling good because it looks like you found a donor.

acoursetothefinishline said...

oh! no fair leaving us with a cliffhanger like that! :)

The Run Away Stork said...

I'm sorry things didn't work out with M but it sounds like God has another plan! Can't wait to hear it!

Emily said...

I love that you're seeking out all options, and even though it isn't going to be working out with M, I'm excited to hear all about the positive turn of events with the donor you have chosen!

conceptionallychallenged said...

Wow, what a rollercoaster. I was so excited when she said yes - but I completely understand your concerns. But it sounds like you found someone after all... cannot wait for the next part!

Mrs Green Grass said...

What a tease! I hope you post the rest very soon! I'm so happy that you found somebody :)

Melissa Venable said...

Wow. I am really glad you were able to talk to m about it... both asking her & then talking about your reservations. And i'm glad you found a donor. :) :)

Laura said...

Can't wait to read the next part! What an emotional process that must have been with m.

Jennifer T said...

Love your cousin for being willing to do this! I understand your concerns though... Can't wait to read your continuation of this!!

RunCC37 said...

I'm in tears, it's so beautiful the way you asked your cousin, and the way she said yes. It is so wonderful that you both have each other's best interests in mind, and I'm so sorry that it's not going to work out. BUT I am jumping up with excitement at the last sentence of your post!!! I can't wait to hear about it!!!!

Lindsey Gage said...

Can't wait for your "to be continued"! Egg donation changed our lives. We went with an anonymous donor through our RE practice and I'm forever grateful to her.

I had to come to grips with not having my genes represented at first, but I love that my blood flows through his veins, that I had the privilege of carrying him in my womb, and smile so proudly when strangers tell me how much he looks like me. I love that I am Arlo's mama. I know that all the waiting, pain, heartache and turmoil was so that this little man could be in our lives.

Praying for you as things move forward and wishing you all the best, Jessah!

Aramis said...

We considered asking my 26 year old cousin to donate, but had the same concerns as you about not wanting her to feel obligated. Also, she smokes pot on the regular and I was concerned she wouldn't want or be able to stop for long enough to donate. We ultimately decided that if she heard about our problems through my aunt and made an offer, we'd accept it, but otherwise we wouldn't ask. Some people seem to think it's such an easy thing to ask but it really isn't. Can't wait to hear the rest of your donor story.

Charity said...

Oh praises to God for how he works everything for our good. I am so excited for this process for you and A.

shay said...

wow that was incredibly generous of her to even be willing to do that for you, but i understand completely why you both decided against it. I can't wait to read the to be continued part!

Court said...

Omg I can't wait to read part 2!!!

Joanna Clarke said...

I am happy that you and M made a mutual decision and are so considerate of each others future. I can't wait to hear about your donor!

D. said...

What an interesting twist of events, Friend. I cannot wait to hear the rest of this story. Ps. You are such a captivating writer!

I can haz babyz? said...

(((Hugs))) I had a similar situation with my cousin's and also with my sister. I wish you the very best with your upcoming donor cycle.

futureMom said...

Hi Jessah,
I'm so sorry that it didn't work out with your cousin. How wonderful that she initially said yes, though. My RE described exactly the scenario you were telling, about what if she were to have her own reproductive issues, etc. She had asked if we knew anyone who could be our donor and insisted that they already have at least one child of their own for this exact reason. Unfortunately the young relatives that I have all do not have any children yet (three young cousins and a niece), so we won't even ask them for this reason. It would have been cool to have a genetic connection to the family, but oh well. I'm glad to hear that you found a donor, anyway, though. Looking forward to the next part of your story!!

Sarah said...

Wow!! What an emotional roller coaster!!! Can't wait to hear the rest of this! Xo

Ashley @ Life on the Parsons Farm said...

Jessah! You are so STRONG! I so admire your commitment and mature decision making skills. I am so pleased that you are loving forward with your egg donor and just have you in my prayers all the time!

Sarah said...

oh girlfriend. i am so glad this is working out.
what a cliff hanger this post is!!

Mrs. Lost said...

What an emotional rollercoaster.. I am on pins and needles! I hope your next post comes soon!!

Lilee said...

Quite the cliffhanger you left us with! But I'm excited to read the rest of this and for you to move forward.

Amie said...

I can't wait to hear what is ahead for you!!

A Few Good Eggs said...

You found a donor! Can't wait to read the "to be continued."

Suzanne said...

The love and respect that you and your cousin have for one another is so admirable. That you both were able to look at what was best for the other rather than your own interests says so much. But knowing you as I do, it doesn't surprise me in the least. Love you!

Little Misadventures said...

Oh my gosh, I'm so glad that you have found an egg donor! :) Having M to be an egg donor would have been an amazing experience, risks and concerns aside, but I'm glad that you have found another :) Eeeep! Can't wait to read about it :)

Ashley said...

Wow! Can't wait to hear how this story ends!

myhopejar said...

Oh the emotions I felt when your cousin said she would donate her eggs and I was full on crying as you described your couch conversation and decision to not proceed with her eggs. I cant even imagine how hard of a decision that must have been for both of you!

I was so relieved at the end to read that you found your donor and can't wait to read more about her! Sending you and your donor so many prayers that this it hon. Hugs!

jAllen said...

Hopefully, this will help her quit smoking for good! I'm even more convinced that smoking is the single worst thing you can do for your health!

Kristin said...

ahhhh can't wait to read more!

Lisamarie said...

Wow! This is exciting. I can't wait for the update.

Heather said...

What a rollercoaster! Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

Always Maylee said...

Oh wow, I'm emotional just reading this, I can't imagine what you're going through. I'm excited that you may have found your donor though.. I can't wait to hear more.

xo, Yi-chia

babystepstobump said...

So exciting! I'm so happy you've found a donor!

Katie said...

sorry for another emotional rollarcoaster. . . . anxious to hear about finding your donor. thankful for answered prayers!

Krystal Sullivan said...

I think you absolutely made the right decision regarding your cousin, out of the goodness of your heart. I am so excited that you found a donor! I cannot wait to hear the rest :)

Whitney B. said...

O my goodness! Soooo excited! I think it is really sweet you thought of her, she should feel honored even though things didn't work out.

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