Finding an egg donor while losing your mind
True Story- Sitting across from Dr Blue Eyes, my husband and I were presented with two options for our shitty situation. Since my eggs were rotten, (see blog post Rotten Eggs), Dr Blue Eyes suggested Option A -Adoption or Option B-Donor Eggs. Now if we are being brutally honest, my husband was fiercely against adoption. End of discussion. He had 2 healthy beautiful daughters and he had no interest in adopting a baby that wasn't at least partly one of us. Looking back, knowing what I know now, that's ridiculous, but at the time it was how he felt, and I tried to respect that. By this point we had spent SO. MUCH. MONEY. and to walk away without trying one more option seemed like we just blew it all for nothing. So we decided to double down and give it another try. The donor egg process would cost between $10,000- $40,000, but the odds of success were much higher, and it checked off my desire to not only be a mother but to experience pregnancy.
Donor eggs could be done one of two ways. We could pick a woman willing to donate and do a fresh cycle, kinda like cooking up some sunny sides on a nice Sunday morning. However this option would take more time and more money, two things we were short on. Or we could pick a donor that already froze her eggs and get started much faster and cheaper. Sort of like grabbing a hard boiled egg from the refrigerator on your way out the door. We chose hard boiled eggs. Shocker! After you've been through over a year of trying, and 5 failed IVF attempts, you are not the most patient of patients. Our pockets were empty, our endurance was slim. We wanted our eggs, and we wanted them now.
So we paged through the donors our clinic had in storage which by far was the weirdest experience in my journey to motherhood, hands down. Picking out which strange woman's egg you want to mix with your husband's sperm and grow inside of your womb felt like a new low for me. I was to be the incubator for their baby chick. It was like searching Tinder for a threesome without any of the fun and none of the sex, and I was totally terrified. (Side note, I have never used Tinder, nor have I ever had a threesome, not that there is anything wrong with that). We looked for women who closely resembled me most. We did this for several reasons but mostly because we didn't want to have to explain why I gave birth to a half Asian baby. After an abnormal experience in reproduction, we wanted some sort of normalcy, and not telling the world we used a donor egg was at the top of our list. Donor eggs can be controversial, and completely misunderstood. Most people don't understand the process of IVF let alone the egg coming from another source. It was a conversation that resulted in most people making an odd face, one of trying to understand the technology while simultaneously being grossed out. It's unique enough, that we were required to see a therapist specializing in donor families. She made us feel better about the process but how many times have you had to see a therapist before getting pregnant? Exactly.
I believed, in my heart of hearts, that was my reason for being infertile. There needed to be women like me to adopt babies that needed mothers. Without infertile women, what would happen to those kids?
A few weeks before our decision to move forward with donor eggs, we went to Key West to blow off some steam and reconnect. Infertility can can really fuck with a marriage and we needed to clear our heads and have fun together before making our next move. I will never forget sitting at a little bar on the beach, drinking a margarita, tears streaming down my cheeks and into my drink , because my husband reiterated his refusal to adopt. He was pro donor egg and I was very anti. I was really struggling with the idea of growing someone elses baby inside of me when there were babies already created that needed someone to love them. I believed, in my heart of hearts, that was my reason for being infertile. There needed to be women like me to adopt babies that needed mothers. Without infertile women, what would happen to those kids? It was my destiny. My husband drew the red line. It was either donor or we were done. So I did it out of my desire to me a mother. I truly would have stopped at nothing. And I don't regret a thing.
When we returned from Key West we started the process of prepping me for the embryo transfer. At least this time I didn't have to go through all the hormones and injections to produce mass amounts of eggs. My eggs were staying out of it this time, and instead we casted a 23 year old woman who was Italian and German just like me, 5'3 just like me and had brown hair and hazel eyes, just like me, to play the part of, you guessed it...Me! She was my understudy. A woman I would never know, never meet, but I would be having her baby....it felt like I should have at least taken her to dinner. This time around I was so optimistic. The only problem in our 6 previous attempts was my eggs, my old rotten eggs. So this was sure to work. Right? Wrong. Two attempts with all the eggs she had frozen and we got zilch. Even our doctor was shocked. It was the end of the road. God hated me, life was cruel and I had never felt more worthless in all my life. What had I done in a past life that I was being kept from becoming a mother?! These were the thoughts that swam in my head. I must have done something awful to deserve this. It appeared that after all the worry, and stress of finding a perfect donor, all the internal debate and struggles of whether or not this was the right thing to do, I found myself being served a great big plate of rotten eggs, this time someone elses, but rotten eggs none the less. And they were equally as hard to swallow.