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Moving Forward: I'm Using Donor Eggs and I'm Torn

I’ve known for about three months now that having a child with my own eggs wasn’t going to be a possibility. Well, to be fair, I’ve known since the start of the third and final IVF cycle back in November, ever since my doctor sat me down and told me he’s willing to give IVF with my own eggs one last shot. So, officially nine months. (The irony on that isn’t lost on me, by the way.)

Nine months to prepare myself, and grieve the loss of what could have been. I’ll be honest, the first few months were tough to work through. The shock of three failed IVFs, the tears shed when I realized I was going to lose the genetic link to a future child, the numbing fear that nothing was going to work and in fact I would remain childless forever.

I remember one particularly bad evening with Chris, I had tears streaming down my face during a discussion of the next steps. “I don’t want to think about any of this. I don’t want to do donor egg. I don’t want to adopt embryos. I don’t want to do anything!” And then I cried harder because I realized if I was true to my word, there would never be a child. Barring the miscarriage from the first IVF, I had never experienced such an overwhelming sense of loss in my life.

I’m better now. Kind of. I can think about donor egg options, and moving forward and all that. I can think about mixing another women’s eggs with my husband’s sperm without completely losing my shit. For the most part, I have come to some sort of acceptance of the whole thing, while at the same time, in awe that I can be this totally, completely, wholly infertile.

I can think about mixing another women’s eggs with my husband’s sperm without completely losing my shit.

So it was with this new sense of growth that I could listen to a friend a few weeks ago tell me about a frozen egg program in Texas that sounded like I may have a shot at. I would be given eight frozen eggs from an anonymous donor of my choosing, and fly down to Texas to do a transfer for about $15,000. The cost of my medications would be about $500 or so. Doing this would cost less than the price of a fresh donor IVF cycle here in Minnesota.

Of course, anyone looking to spend a few grand on treatments needs to have options. My husband and I already had an appointment with our doctor and donor coordinator in mid-July, as scheduled.

We went in needing to be impressed, as a single cycle of anonymous donor eggs had a price tag of $25,000. The donor coordinator walked us through how donors are screened, what the process would be like and how she matched up donors to recipients. The first step was meeting with the clinic’s psychologist, who would then give us a form to fill out about our personalities. We needed to provide a good headshot of us, particularly me, because the coordinator would then take that picture and match it up with donors to find someone who looked as close to me as possible. “You could be sisters, that’s how good I am at matching,” she told us with a smile. Once the personality form was turned in to the clinic, we would then be added to the waiting list, where we will remain for 6-9 months until we are matched with a donor.

Clearly, this option will take us well into 2015 before we would even have the chance at trying to get pregnant again. We were told however, that this would give us the best chance. At a 70-73% pregnancy rate, the odds on us getting pregnant were far better than my chances with my own eggs, even if they were completely normal. That’s huge. That’s something to consider.

Our doctor later that day confirmed that yes, using a fresh donor cycle (meaning the donor goes through the IVF process and all her eggs retrieved would be given to me) gives us our best chance. There is also the fact that since we are working with healthy eggs, instead of my own craptastic ones, we will have embryos left over to freeze for any future siblings if we so desire.

RELATED: Why I never thought my fertility treatments would fail

The appointments with the donor coordinator and our doctor left us even more in turmoil. We were facing a decision: Go to Texas for frozen eggs, with far less of a wait time, risking it not working and left with nothing and $15,000 in debt; or go on the 7-month wait list for our clinic here, pay more than the clinic in Texas for a fresh cycle, with possibly more eggs to fertilize to embryos to freeze for the future.

Or, we could do both. We will be having a phone conference with the doctor in Texas. If we liked him, we could go to Texas for the frozen transfer while on the waitlist here, hope and pray one of the choices are successful ... and give out homemade peach jam as Christmas presents the rest of our lives, because all of our money would have been spent on trying to grow babies.

Whew. Some tough choices. All of these major decisions are enough to make you want to go eat a doughnut or two. Which, by the way, I am going to go do now.

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