Possibilities of an egg donor

When my husband and I first discovered that it was possible for me to carry a child with the help of an egg donor, it opened up a whole world of possibilities for us. However, along with those possibilities, it also presented it’s own cluster of decisions to make, emotions to work through and thoughts to process.

The Doctors informed us that the most common egg donors for those in our situation were close relatives. “If you have any sisters?” As I have previously written, both of my sisters were also diagnosed with premature (primary) ovarian failure many years ago.  “What about your mother?” As I as not aware of the egg donor option for the first 10+ years, my mother is no longer an option as she is now in her late fifties and has gone through menopause herself. (Also, I feel that in my head I would think all along that I would be giving birth to my sister in a way? Ew.) “Any close cousins?” My closest cousins are male, and the others I feel I am not nearly close enough with; in age, or in relationship.

As it was turning out that a familial donor would not be an option, I felt that I would not be comfortable going with any other known donors. I believed that I would not be comfortable with seeing our donor on a regular basis; knowing that when they saw our child, they would see themselves in their nose, eyes, chin or cheek bones. That they would associate themselves and that a small part of their subconscious would identify our bundle of joy as their own.

Over the years, I have had friends offer me their eggs or children in an offhanded, flippant manner. As I started to get more answers from the various Doctors I visited, a dear friend of mine offered to be our egg donor but my perspective remained unchanged. I was very appreciative of the offer; however, in addition to my other concerns my friend was complete opposite from me. Aside from being a fertile-myrtle (she was currently pregnant with baby #3), her physical characteristics were 100% different from my own. If I am not able to have a genetic link to my future child, I selfishly would like some physical similarities to passed along through the donor gene pool.

After considering all of the above, my husband and I felt as though our only option would be an unknown egg donor. After some extensive research, we discovered that our best option would be to travel to the US for a fresh embryo transfer with an unknown egg donor. (In Canada, it is illegal to financially compensate others for egg donation, semen donation or surrogacy. As a result, anonymous donation does  not occur. Canada does not have an abundance of sperm or egg banks where infertiles can choose what they need from a database of information.) With information provided by our Doctor, we were directed to a fertility center in Washington. We were facing a process that could run us $45,000. We would share a donor’s eggs with two other couples and have six attempts for a successful birth or our money back. We were prepared to do what was necessary.

Although we were still a while away from starting the process, my brain filled up with questions and details that I felt the need to have figured out well in advance. I researched the cost of flights from Ontario to Washington, researched the whole process and discovered I would have to travel there approx. three times for each attempt. Everything started adding up and was seemingly further out of reach than I ever imagined. We are not wealthy by any means and the thought of such expenses and debt was terrifying.

Four days before our wedding, my then fiancé was driving by his friend’s, parents house and happened to see that he and his wife, were in town already for our wedding. They invited him in for a beer and eventually the conversation shifted to our wedding and the future of starting a family. I had already explained our situation to her at a previous wedding and my husband shared a little bit more of our story with them. Afterwards, while my husband was driving away from their get together, his friend called him and presented the offer of being our donor. When he returned home, my husband filled me in on his chance encounter, I cried. Everything about it clicked, it just felt right. It was meant to be.

I didn’t get a chance to talk to them at our wedding as it was not the place and our prospective left early due to being heavily pregnant at the time. They live two hours away their lives following our wedding were consumed with buying/selling their house and having their second child join their family. Our lives remained separate for nearly 8 months without having the opportunity to discuss their offer in more detail. Once we were able to reconnect, they confirmed that their offer was still on the table. The funny thing is, they were offered a job in our city and suddenly moved back to the area. It doesn’t concern me in the least having them so close by. Like I said, something about it just seems right.

As she is still breastfeeding her youngest child, it will still be a while before we start the next chapter of our journey together. There are still many discussions to be had, details to be figured out and so much more. We will forever be grateful to our friends for their unmeasured generosity and will be thankful for the day when it is our turn to begin.

Let me introduce myself

I was diagnosed with pre-mature ovarian failure when I was 11 years old after my two older sisters were tested at the respective ages of 16 & 14. When it came to be my turn to for diagnosis, the wonderful Doctors all presumed that I would just inherently stumble upon the information from everything provided to our household. What they seem to have forgotten is that I was still an 11 year old CHILD.

In my perception, there were no immediate consequences effecting the life I knew other than I was placed on hormone medication (essentially birth control) when I was in grade 7. To me, it almost seemed ‘cool’ as it made me feel all grown up.

I am now 27 years old, married and slowly coming to terms with what it means to be infertile. Throughout the past 16 years, I have been to countless doctors appointments, faced many side effects and concurrent issues that stemmed from my diagnosis. When I began dating my husband, I knew he was the one and began picturing what I wanted from our future together. I was very open and upfront about my diagnosis but when he started asking more specific questions, I realized how little I really knew about my condition. I began seeing a specialist at Mt. Sinai Hospital, almost two hours away from where we lived. I began the journey of discovering what it meant to have pre-mature ovarian failure, our options for having a family, and what it would all entail.

After speaking with a wonderful Doctor in the women’s unit and explaining some of my history, it was quickly discovered that as I had never started ovulating naturally, my actual diagnosis was Primary Ovarian Failure. I underwent a number of tests and procedures that had been performed over the years to verify results and gather further information. They ran tests that concluded I had no eggs stored in my ovaries (women are born with all of their eggs that are released approx. every 28 days after they start puberty). I was however informed that my uterus was very healthy. I was given hope for the first time in as far back as I could remember; they informed me that since my uterus appeared to be healthy, there was a significant chance that I could carry a child with the help of an egg donor. This was a concept I was foreign to as I had always been under the impression that my only option would be to adopt.

My husband and I have discussed our options endlessly and hope to start the next chapter of our journey in the next few months. We know we will have countless challenges to face and it will be an extreme rollercoaster ride, but we hope it will bring us closer to our dream of starting our little family. I intend for this blog to be an outlet for my frustrations, emotions, hopes and dreams. I recognize the importance of connecting with those who know similar struggles and also hope to  support those who are only starting out on their own difficult journeys.