Are you facing a crossroads about what family building path to take? One woman shares her story of decision-making.
“You are not a candidate for IVF…”
I had not prepared myself to hear those words or be faced with the decision: egg donation, adoption, or life without a child. I had suspected technical intervention based on family history and a year’s worth of irregular cycle charts, but two months prior to this shock, I emphatically told a friend, “If the results [of the FSH test] are not what they should be, we will have to use an egg donor and I am not doing that, because that is just weird.”
I now firmly believe you never truly know what you will decide in a given situation until you are standing on the edge of that cliff. Sure that sounds dramatic, but the gamut of emotions infertility evokes are nothing short of dramatic.
Which path to choose? How do we both agree on a path? Will our family and friends be supportive? How do we choose a donor? Why do I feel like I am playing God? Will I feel like the baby is mine? What if the child says, “You’re not my mother?” I recall feeling dizzy and confused about the process and the associated emotions.
What helped us sort through these questions was talking, talking and more talking. We tried very hard to be honest with each other about how we felt and worked with the counselor at our clinic to understand the more complicated feelings and get insight into “normal” feelings and the decision making process. As luck would have it, a coworker revealed she had used an egg donor upon hearing my news. Asking her questions, hearing about their journey, and knowing she was a happy mother to a healthy, precocious daughter was incredibly helpful. Strangely enough, I had always thought her daughter looked like her.
Another firm belief of mine is that there is comfort in knowing you are not the only one, which is where RESOLVE New England’s workshops, events, and support groups can be extremely beneficial during the decision making process.
Being engineers, we engaged in our typical approach, creating a spreadsheet to compare options and weigh the pros and cons. I leaned more toward international adoption because I felt adoption was a more guaranteed path to parenthood and I feared the mothers’ rights in the US. My husband struggled to abandon his dream to experience pregnancy. Though time was not on our side from an age perspective, we decided to roll the dice with an egg donor.
We chose a donor agency based on a list we were given by our clinic, input from my coworker, and website searches and conversations with the agencies. This was a relatively simple decision. The agency provided an attorney recommendation, so that was straightforward for us also. On the other hand, selecting an egg donor was the real challenge and a quite emotional. We opted for an anonymous donor since my husband is an only child and my sister had struggled with infertility also. Coincidentally it was Easter time when our search ensued. At one point I joked that it felt like a dating service for eggs. The process felt a bit judgmental, but we discussed important characteristics. Health history was key and we did opt for a woman who looked similar to me. In the end the donor’s commentary and her prior two donation experiences clinched our decision.
Our donor, whom we nicknamed Samba Mama, produced 13 eggs which developed into 7 embryos; we had 3 chances. The first resulted in a chemical pregnancy so our limited hopes were dashed quickly. The second transfer was negative 2 weeks before Christmas, making it a stronger blow. After gaining weight and losing hope, I wanted to dismiss the final cycle. We wanted some control. We had attended a day long RESOLVE New England conference on adoption and walked away feeling ready to pursue adoption instead, but we had a doctor’s appointment.
Through the only tears I shed in her office, I asked, “How can I get pregnant if I have no hope?” She replied, “Just go through the process. I have hope enough for both of us.” But the comment that pushed us into the third cycle was, “What if that’s your baby in the freezer?” We decided to go through the last cycle and prepare for the adoption home study to commence when the third cycle failed. But the last cycle was a success, and we were blessed with a healthy daughter.
Not a day goes by that we are not incredibly grateful to have her in our lives. Thanks to our medical team, technology, perseverance, and the generosity of a donor, we became parents. The road was difficult, we both feel we appreciate being parents far more as a result of the hardship. We wish anyone struggling with the process strength and good luck in your pursuit of parenthood.
If you’re trying to decide which family building path is right for you, join us on Saturday, May 4th for our Adoption, Donor Egg & Surrogacy Connect & Learn Seminars in Waltham, MA. Financial assistance is available, so register today!