Thursday, January 27, 2011

Another Beautiful Princess/Fairy Godmother - Our Anonymous Egg Donor

Today I got the message I have been waiting for…we’re ready to start moving on my egg donor cycle.  Over a month ago, when our names got to the top of the waiting list of our anonymous donor choice, we decided we were ready to go ahead with pursuing this option of family-building.  We committed and I was relieved, excited, terrified and sad all at the same time.  Because we were doing a split cycle (two recipients split the eggs retrieved from one donor during one cycle, each recipient paying half of what she would normally pay for a donor cycle), we had to wait for the donor coordinator to get confirmation from another couple that they also wanted to move forward with the chosen egg donor.  Then, the coordinator would call our donor choice and ask her when she would be ready to do a cycle.  Foolishly, I thought I would have my answers in a few days. 

I waited, and waited, often not as patiently as I would like, while day after day there was no news.  I tried to wait at least a few days between each email to the coordinator, asking for a status update (she’s got to be ready to kill me at this point).  Always the same reply, “Just waiting for another couple to confirm.”

So last night, a couple finally confirmed.  My first thought when I received the news I’ve been waiting for during the last month was not “great” or “finally.”  No, instead I ruined the moment by thinking about the fact that if we both get pregnant, my child and their child will be half-siblings.  There are a lot of thoughts that randomly pop into my head which make me worry that I am not fully onboard with this option.  But I also get that feeling on the way up the hill of a rollercoaster…I know that it is too late to back out and a part of me knows that I really don’t want to because the best part is still to come, but I’m so scared as the cart goes higher and higher that I think, for a split second, about freaking out and trying to get them to stop the ride to let me off.  Pursing the use of donor eggs has been my “rollercoaster experience” to the tenth degree.

I was worried that our donor wouldn’t be ready to do another cycle for a while, as she just finished one in November or December, but she is good to go.  So, now, after waiting and waiting, I feel like I’m starting down the hill of the rollercoaster, and the momentum is already terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.  I still have so many questions (which I’m sure the donor coordinator appreciates me bombarding her with via email the second I got her message that we were going to start in February).  I don’t know how long the process takes once our donor has her “Cycle Day 1,” which is what I am currently waiting for.  When do I fork over the thousands of dollars for the cycle and when do I get my medications that I will be taking during the cycle?  These are all questions that I feel as though I need answered RIGHT NOW.  I’m panicking a bit, and information is my only lifeline.

During those brief moments that I step back from the panic and breath, I am reminded that I should be filled with gratitude, not fear.  I recognize that this family-building option is not available to a lot of people for financial reasons or for moral reasons.  Many religions frown upon what we are doing and I am blessed enough to believe that God would never wish childlessness on a woman who truly desired a child, so God is okay with me using an egg donor.  Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong, but either way, I’m not losing sleep over that issue.

I also realize that I need to be so grateful that the beautiful, amazing woman that we have chosen to be the genetic mother of our child is willing to give such a precious gift.  I understand that there are some financial incentives for donors, but I have read the answers my donor gave to a whole battery of questions (and reread them about a million times), and I truly believe that there is a huge altruistic motive for our donor giving us the gift of hope. 

When we started choosing a donor, I came up with a mathematical formula that rated and weighted the characteristics that were most important to us, plugging in each donor’s characteristics to determine which one had “the highest score.”  My husband and I both agreed that we wanted to use someone who had donated before and had a good response.  To my husband, it was also important that the donor be smart (in his mind, this means an advanced degree or a high SAT score).  For me, I felt like our donor should look something like me and her answers should be well-written.  But after hours and hours of pouring over each “candidate,” I realized that we were missing the big picture.  Some of the donors seemed very smart but had children at a very young age, or had financial situations that prevented them from pursuing college degrees.  My husband wasn’t happy about it, but I decided that I was not eliminating any candidates based on their education.  I also realized that I was incredibly nervous about being a recipient, and would probably have a ton of spelling and grammatical errors if I was asked to complete a pile of questionnaires without the benefits of spell-check, so I got rid of the “well-written” requirement that I had placed on the donors.  It also became less and less important to me, as I researched the donors, whether the woman looked like me.  Sure, a resemblance would be nice, but lets face it…no one is going to say that our child looks just like his/her mother and if someone does say that, it will be tough for me not to suppress a giggle.

Eventually, I started to get a gut feeling and my gut kept drawing me back to the same donor.  At that time, she hadn’t donated before (yet another one of our criteria down the drain), but I just felt like she was the one.  She does bear some resemblance to me, she has an associates degree, and she is very well-written, but most importantly to me, her answers jumped off the page.  It was like I could hear her voice and she was there with me when I read her responses to such questions as “Why did you choose to be a donor” and “How would you describe yourself” and “Who is your role model and why.”  I made my choice that she was “the one,” got my husband’s blessing (which was more like him being so sick of my indecision that any decision was fine with him), and I put our names on her waiting list.  As it turned out, while we waited we found out that she has an amazing response to stimulating medications and, in the two single cycles before our upcoming cycle, her eggs have helped both recipients get pregnant…one with twins!

I spend a lot of time thinking about what I would say to our donor if I could.  I would say that no matter how this all works out, I am so thankful that she was willing to share the ultimate gift with us.  I would tell her that she is so amazing and so beautiful inside and out, that I could see her radiance from a piece of paper she filled out.  I would tell her that I am honored to have her DNA in my child (okay, that would be a little awkward to say, but it’s my fantasy, so it’s fine).  I would assure her that, if I do get pregnant and have a child thanks to her assistance, I will be the best mother ever and that child will be showered with love every day of the child’s life.  I would say “Thank you,” through the tears of joy that are flowing down my cheeks as I write this post.  


Lindsey said...

This is a beautiful post! I love thinking of your egg donor as a fairy godmother, its perfect! It cracks me up that you've set up a matrix to rate them, I do that for everything! In fact I just made one last week to help me decide on IVF providers, working on a blog post on that now...

Christina said...

I tried to be an egg donor while in college. I responded poorly (which now I know why), but I can say the financial incentive was not what I was doing it for. It was a nice perk, but really the idea of making someone's dream come true with something I had no intention of using for several years, that was the clincher. I'm glad you found "the" donor for you and I hope you have a great cycle and that 2nd line in February!

Princess Wahna Bea Mama said...

Thank you so much, Christina, for giving me the perspective of a potential donor. Lately there has been such a public campaign against egg donation, essentially portraying the whole process as the rich taking advantage of poor girls who have no choice but to sell their eggs without any understanding of the long term consequences. I have to ignore that crap and focus on how amazing my donor is.

Egg Bank said...

If you are having trouble conceiving a child you may be considering In Vitro Fertilization or IVF. This process allows you to buy eggs from a donor and have them implanted into your uterus. You can even choose to have the eggs fertilized before they are injected so that your pregnancy chances are better.

Egg Bank