No one expects that they’ll need to use someone else’s eggs to conceive a child. Well, maybe a few do, but for most of us this is not the way we planned it. It’s a last resort, rather than a first choice. And it is a long and painful road to get to the point where you make that decision.
First, there is the decision to go to the fertility clinic, usually after months or years of dedicated effort to procreate and continual, repeated disappointment. At the fertility clinic there are the tests, the waiting, the fear. Then the shock of “The Diagnosis” – that condition that suddenly defines your reproductive potential and, by proxy, redefines how you see yourself. Then “The Treatment”. Whether it’s corrective surgery, medicated cycles, IUI’s, IVF, etc, it is invasive, expensive, time-consuming, soul crushing, relationship damaging and anxiety ridden. Add in generous measures of shame, guilt, fear, failure and anxiety and you can come close to understanding how absolutely devastating infertility can be. But, we all think that treatment will work for us, we all think we’re the lucky one. Maybe you are, but maybe you aren’t. If you are, congrats! But if you aren’t (and statistically most of us aren’t) – you search your soul and you muster your courage, because either you will move forward and try another treatment, or you will reevaluate and choose a different path. Both roads take immense courage and sacrifice. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat until your strength, patience, or bank account run out.
At some point during this process you will have a crisis of confidence, a crisis of self, a breakdown, a total loss of joy. There will be moments where you can’t go on, where you can’t get out of bed, where you can’t face your husband/wife/mother/father/friends/doctor/expectations/life. Days of extreme anger and frustration and “why me?”. There will be bargaining and pleading and praying. And there will be pain, both physical and emotional. Lots and lots of pain.
At some point during this process someone may say some version of “This isn’t going to work. I’m sorry. Despite all of the advances of medical science we can’t help you. You will never have children.” And at that point you will begin to consider things that you never imagined you would consider. For me, that was egg donation.
Early on, my RE asked me if we would consider using an egg donor. I gave her an absolute, unequivocal NO. No way, never, not ever would I ever even consider that. NO. NEVER. EVER. But, that was before 2 failed IUI’s, 3 failed IVF’s, 1 miscarriage, countless nights spent crying, untold numbers of heartfelt talks with my husband, and hundreds of hours of considering my dwindling options for motherhood. That was before I spoke to many, many people who decide to use egg donation to help create their families. And then, once I began to consider it, I was completely overwhelmed by my feelings about what that would mean for me, for my husband, any DE conceived children, our families…. Would I be the mother? Would I feel like an impostor? Would I love the child the same as if it was my own? Would my husband/family/society view me or my child differently? And how on earth do I choose a woman to replace me? Because that’s what it feels like initially – that you’re choosing a replacement. I didn’t think I could live with the decision to use an egg donor, but I also didn’t think I live with not having a child. (The adoption conversation we will need to save for another time). One of the wonderful ladies who follows my blog wrote to me and told me that at some point you magically turn a corner – it may be finding the right donor, or coming to terms with the situation, or completing the grieving process – and it suddenly feels ok. Not perfect, not ideal – but doable. And she was right. One day I woke up and it didn’t hurt to look at the profiles. I start to feel excited. I stopped looking for myself on the donor sites and started looking for traits I would like to pass on to my children. Somehow, lord only knows how, I was not only ok with donor eggs, but embracing the idea and excited to begin.
I chose to share our decision to use an egg donor with some close friends (we don’t plan on keeping our conception journey a secret from our children so we may as well start getting used to talking about it now) and unfortunately we were met with mixed reactions. I don’t know why I was surprised given that I was conflicted initially as well. But, it still hurt to have my friends tell me that our choice is “unnatural”, “deviant”, “desperate and selfish” and “horrifying”. Of course, those same people had to get off the phone with me to go put their children to bed. So, easy for them to make pronouncements from on high. But, I can understand their knee-jerk reaction. Truly, I can. But the thing that I wasn’t able to communicate to them and the point that I’m trying to make here is that no one arrives at this decision quickly. No one takes it lightly. We have all, every last one of us, been through hell before we arrived at this particular cross roads. I would wager that everyone who has ever chosen to use donor eggs gave it an incredible amount of thought and did an unbelievable amount of soul-searching. And something that I have learned from this is that my choices are for me, my husband and my family. These are the right things for US. They may not be the choices you would make, they may not be the right thing for your family. But I believe they are the right choices for me and my family. I hope that we get support, but if we don’t – oh well. I can live with that.
This post resonates with me so much right now. Thanks for helping me to not feel alone.
🙂 You are not alone, my friend. Thank goodness for the internet, right?
I’m excited for you! You are right, nobody does the egg donor thing for the fun of it, so I hope you get some good support.
Thank you! I’m excited too!
Aw, I just saw that I’m one of the blogs you follow – I’m honored, and apologize that I haven’t posted lately.
I wish you the best on your journey – it’s a hard path, but now, at almost 27 weeks, I have no doubt that this is my daughter – despite the fact that her genetics came from someone else, I have grown her from the time she could “dance on a pin head” and I am the only mother she will ever (hopefully!) know.
When I think of how we agonized over choosing the right donor it makes me laugh,because honestly, right now I can remember almost nothing about her, and I don’t care. I have no intentions of hiding that information from her, it just seems supremely unimportant right now.
Continued congrats on your pregnancy! I’m glad to hear that things just keep getting better. Goodness knows you’ve earned it! Keep me updated!
I’m totally shocked by the response of your friends….I’m sorry they weren’t more supportive. I think its an incredibly brave decision that you’ve made and am so pleased that you are excited and raring to go. Wishing you lots and lots of luck finding the right donor x
It’s definitely not the road anyone sets out to take when they begin to think about building their family. I hope your friends come around and can see that, for you, this is what’s best, and support you in that decision.
Too true, and thank you.
Just wait til you start the process and then get to see a picture of YOUR embryo! I was always ok to having to use donor eggs. I mean from time to time I would get a little “why me?” but for the most part I’ve been very accepting and willing and ready. It wasn’t until I had my chemical that I was like Holy crap batman- this is 100% MY baby. I grieve that loss just as much as I would have had it been my eggs. Best wishes on your journey!
I’m so sorry about your loss. Thank you for the good wishes!
Well said. It’s such a difficult decision, but I really want to believe, and really hope it to be true, that all the anguish disappears when you hold your baby in your arms, no matter how s/he got there.
This post is absolutely amazing!!! I have read it 3x and once out to my husband. Our infertility is make factor and I’m a healthy 28 year old considering one day donating my eggs to try and help people in this situation. U have really opened my eyes and made me want to do it even more. This should be shared LOTS to try and encourage egg donation. If I could figure out how to link your blog into a new blog post on my app I’d write a post right now. I think u should send this to those friends who don’t understand your decision. The picture & quote is perfect too. Would u mind me contacting u if I have any questions regarding egg donation in future?
You just made my day! I’m so glad you liked it, and that it helped to convince you that egg donation is an amazing, unbelievable gift! Please feel free to contact me at any time, and thank you for your kind words. (email@example.com)
Thank u so much. Ps I meant to write male factor not make
Reblogged this on Nat JezzCrawford and commented:
This blog has caused an overwhelming reaction in me!!!! I’m still considering donating my eggs one day and this opened my eyes to how much of an incredible act it would be.
I am so sorry you have recieved some negative reactions from some of the friends you have told. I don’t really know what to say but thought I should reply. I am sorry this was their response. I do think it comes from an uninformed place. Not because DE is perfect but “horrifying” is very strong. I wonder if these people would say the same things about sperm donation for a lesbian couple?
I’m sure they wouldn’t – that’s an excellent point. I don’t feel like DE is discussed much (in the media or anywhere else) and so people have a visceral, immediate reaction to something that seems alien and “weird”, whereas DS is much more well known. They’ve been acclimated, so to speak. I know they’ll come around (especially if lovely bouncing babies are the end product) but it was an unanticipated response. Have you told many people, and if so what has the response been like?
That word “uninformed” so hits the nail on the head. It’s all coming from the same place as the “just adopt” platitude in which naively fertile people think the world is crawling with all these babies that are so easy to scoop up to so effortlessly solve the pesky problem of infertility. If people really understood, they might receive the news of DEIVF with some compassion. All I can think is how I’m still in the no way, never, ever place (lying: mostly in the place of please, don’t make me do this, please, no, no, no, I’m so scared) and I can really appreciate what a heart-wrenching grieving process it is to come to a place of peace as you approach motherhood in the best way you can given the resources available. How unkind to so cavalierly dismiss all that soul-searching! Lucky for them they never had to think quite so much about how they would become parents.
I am excited to see you happy, and I don’t care how it happens.
‘m mad at your friends. Those are some harsh words!
So, you're saying there's a chance? said:
Hugs! I’m sorry your friends weren’t understanding, but I think until you are faced with infertility you truly can not understand what one would do to be a parent. You and DH are creating own family in your own way 🙂
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