After a truly long and agonizing struggle I think I’m ok with moving forward with donor eggs. One thing that seems to be critically important to me is that I am 100% comfortable with the donor. And I have 2 deal breakers –

  1. She has to at least resemble me. Even if my children don’t have my genetic makeup I want them to physically blend in with our family. This part is problematic, because as I’ve mentioned before I have very red hair and there aren’t very many red-headed (or strawberry blonde or auburn) donors. She also can’t be too tall – my husband is 6’7″ so we want to minimize the possibility of any enormously tall female children (this is mainly my husbands request). In a perfect world she would have light eyes (green, blue, grey) because I think that’s very attractive and if I can choose, hey, why not? And yes, I know that having a donor with red hair doesn’t mean we’ll have a red-haired child. What it does mean is that similar characteristic to mine (including skin tone, coloring, hair, whatever) will be passed on to the child.
  2. It has to be an open donation. I absolutely understand why people (both donors and recipients) would want to be anonymous. It’s extremely appealing. But I believe that donor conceived children have a right to know their genetic heritage, both for medical and personal reasons. I feel it’s vital for humans to have a sense of who they are. Also, my husband and I are going to a great deal of trouble to ensure that our children are genetically related to at least one of us, how could we dream of taking away their right to know the people they are genetically related to? Plus, if I were a donor I would want to know that my eggs went to good people. I would be concerned for the health and happiness of any children that might have come from my donation. I would never want a donor to regret their decision to donate the eggs that allowed us to have a family. Ideally, I would like us to keep each other informed of milestones and/or health issues, with the understanding that any children I might have would have the option to contact them in the future if they ever were curious.

So, our pool of possible donors is small. My frustration with infertility and all of the testing and uncertainty is high. And our bank account (after 3 IVF cycles and all that goes along with that) is very low. Frozen eggs seem like the way to go – cheaper, easier, less uncertainty. That gives us 2 main FE options –

  • Donor Egg Bank USA – this is the group my RE works with. They have absolutely no one that fits our criteria. I am uncertain as to whether or not they allow open donations.
  • The World Egg Bank – in order to see the donors you have to be a patient of an “affiliate” and do a bunch of testing. The nearest affiliate is more than 600 miles away, and I don’t want to do more testing. I have been poked and prodded enough for 3 lifetimes. There is also a fee to see their donor database, and they do not allow open donations. So, no deal.

I guess that means frozen eggs are out unless by some miracle a reddish haired, medium height, green-eyed donor who explicitly wants an open donation pops up on Donor Egg Bank. It could happen, right? Based on my track record with infertility…my magic 8 ball says “Not likely”.

This has led me to look at fresh donation. MUCH more pricey, few or no guarantees, much more complicated. Our clinic only has 8-10 donors, none are even close to our criteria. The other local clinic doesn’t allow open donations. BUT, I’ve found a donor through a nation-wide agency that I really like. She has auburn-ish hair, blue eyes, 5’7″. She donated once before (7 years ago-no report on the outcome of the donation but she is recommended by her agency) and she has 2 kids of her own. She’s married (he’s very supportive), we have the same interests, I love her reasons for wanting to donate, she’s open to future contact. She’s currently available and interested in donating to us.

BUT, she lives 300 miles away (there are no donors in our area that meet our criteria). She’s 29. The donor fee and agency fee combined are well north of $10,000. Then there’s travel ($4000), meds ($~6000), monitoring ($3000), legal/psych/health insurance/etc ($1500) and then the actual IVF part ($14,000). In the end we’re looking at ~$40,000. With no guarantee that it’ll work. Where a million things coud go wrong. Will she pass all the tests? Will she take her meds properly? How many eggs will she produce? How many of those eggs will fertilize? And even if we get the expensive “guarantee” it only refunds the cost of the IVF itself, not the $25,000+ of donor fees, travel, meds, etc.  That’s a lot of money to gamble with. Not to mention the emotional costs.

I am truly at an impasse. Do we wait for a frozen egg donor who may never show up? How long do we wait? Also, most frozen donations aren’t open, which is a deal breaker. Do we go with this fresh donor and just hope for the best? Anyone have any suggestions? Someone? Anyone?