Tuesday, 17 December 2013

News and First Support Group Meeting

Straight away to our news! We selected another donor!  This time we chose a donor with 15 vitrified eggs from CCRM.

I feel good about the fact that she already has been through the stimulation process and we know what we've got in terms of the number of eggs.  We have eliminated the emotional and financial risks of being side-swiped with news that our donor didn't pass her work up (again) or worse, that she passed and then didn't produce a good number of eggs.

The donor's childhood pictures are really cute.  I like her medical history and the information she's written about herself.   She's 21 which is fan-freaking-tastic.  She's identity released donor too, which is important to me.  This means that when our child (please, please, please let this work this time!) is 18 years old, they may seek out the identity of the donor.   They will be given at minimum a name and social security number if the donor continues to be willing to do so.

This is different from what I was hoping for in terms of openness but I'm trying to come to grips with it.   I'm feeling desperate to end this IF misery.  I'm also feeling like I need to accept that things might not always be how I'd imagined them to be, and that can still be good too.  I'm hoping that if we were so lucky to have a child from these eggs that our child(ren) (please, please, please! One or gasp - more than one is such a dream) won't hate me for this decision, because they desire a more open relationship with their donor.

In a way,  no contact until 18 years old takes a big weight off us.  There's no pressure for us to maintain a relationship.  We've been in an open embryo adoption arrangement and it takes a lot of work and thought to do it well.  This time around, I was only hoping for a minimum level of contact from the donor, to express our thanks, to obtain relevant medical information, and to keep in contact with them so they may be available to answer the questions that the child may have one day.

I'm still trying to make peace with this decision.  In a way it feels like the first time that I've let my kid down.   I think that I would be the person who would want this kind of information if my parents used a donor for conception.  I hope my kid doesn't care, but want to be prepared if they do.  I don't know if I've done enough by choosing this limited level of openness.   I hope I'm not making a mistake and rushing into things.  If we waited we could have likely found another agency donor who was willing to be more open.  Gosh, I just don't know.  I think how I'm going to feel will depend on the how the child reacts to the information that they are donor conceived.  There's so much to process.

I'm so pumped that there are 15 eggs.  Sure, some of the donors we looked at had 20+ eggs, but I think this is perfect for us.

We've been given some odds from Dr. Schoolcraft and we've done the math.

With 15 eggs:

Updated April 2014 with actual results.  

How many will thaw?  14 actually did. 

93% are expected to fertilize with ICSI and PICSI (even with D's wonky sperm)
= 13.95 embryos.  We had 13 fertilize.

80% of those are expected to get to blast
= 11.16 embryos.  We ended up with 10 embryos in the freezer. 

60% of those are expected to make it to freeze or transfer
= 6.7 embryos.  We don't know yet how many will survive thaw.  So far we used our fresh 5AA. 

The doctor expects a 78-80% chance of pregnancy with a viable embryo. 

So for our purposes, I'm saying that we might have a shot with 6 embryos total.  If all 6 were transferred that would mean the doctor expects that 5 of those would result in a pregnancy.  Nope - this is incorrect.  My calculations were missing how many of the surviving embryos would be normal.  This brings our chances down even further.   I now estimate we may have a shot with 3 or 4 embryos. 

I'm not sure what the miscarriage rate would be after a positive pregnancy test with donor egg? Do any of you know?  Updated: 20% chance of miscarriage with a 20 year old donor according to Dr. S. 

Gosh, these seem like really great numbers.  We could actually have more than one child! Oh my, I really, really hope so.   I especially think it would be great for a donor conceived person to have a genetic sibling.

Oh, and something else.  In the big scheme of things is not important.  But, it's bugging me so I'm going to write it.  The donor has different coloured eyes than me.  Hers are hazel/brown.   D has green eyes and I have blue/green eyes.  I didn't need to have many physical criteria that are to be similar to me (height, weight, bust, face shape, etc) except I wanted her to be Caucasian (I didn't want strange people wondering/ questioning if I cheated on D when a non-Caucasian baby came out of my body, because we both are).  I really was hoping for a blue or green eyes because my family is known for their blue/green eye colour.  It's something that people comment on and often even say that they can tell we're related because of the shape and colour of our eyes.

When we adopted embryos we knew that they would likely have brown eyes based on their family tree.  For some reason, it didn't bug me as much then.  I don't know why it's bugging me know.

Overall, I know in my heart that when I look at my child it's not going to matter.  I just wish the feeling would stop nagging me though.   I suppose it's because I'm still mourning the loss of my genetics.

When I think of the adoption journey it helps me put this in perspective.  Things in the adoption world are so much more scary in my mind because of the exposures that many of the children have had while in utero.  Our social worker's words to us were, it's not IF the baby has been exposed to alcohol, but how much.  That freaks me out.  I've never been a parent, and sometimes I don't know how good I'm going to be at it.  Could parent a special needs child in a way that they deserve?  I don't know if that makes any sense at all, but it helps me calm my feelings on something so silly as eye colour.


We also recently went to our first support group meeting.  It was a bit of a bust.  We traveled 1.5 hours (it should take under an hour to get there usually) in poor weather and fighting busy traffic to arrive just in time for the 7pm meeting.

Except there was no one there!

We had RSVPed to attend, and received a confirmation that others would be there too, so it caught us a bit by surprise.   We decided to wait awhile due to the weather, and hoped someone else would show up.   A few minutes later, the coordinator showed up apologizing for her tardiness.

She was very kind and we ended up talking with her for a couple of hours!  I kept trying to find a way to end the conversation and leave because it felt awkward to be the only ones there.  We learned about her experience with egg donation and her infertility history.   We shared ours.

I didn't feel any relief from attending.  But surprisingly, I think D did.  I forget that he doesn't talk about this stuff with anyone.  He said it was good to talk about it.  The next time we go, I hope he'll do most of the talking for this reason.

We will give it another shot in the new year.   We know that we won't be able to attend the next meeting,  but I haven't given up hope yet.

I'm not sure if the support group is going to touch on the things that are top of mind to me these days.  Which are:

1. Managing my depression associated with infertility
2.  Having some type of emotional plan for handling a negative pregnancy test after transfer (God - I hope I don't need one! But it scares the shit out of me to think of not having a plan.  D wants to live in the positive and feel the hope right now.  I'm too scared to make that jump.
3.  Making peace with our decision for a less open donor relationship.


  1. Julia, congrats on finding a new donor! I so hear what you are saying about donor contact at 18 and what will be enough information for your child. I found out DE was my only choice at 36 and it was very easy for me to give up on my genetic link to the child but I struggled and struggled with how the child would feel about not having a genetic link to me. I read all the research (which is somewhat limited) and did decide to go forward with DE. I am now 26 weeks pregnant. I am happy to share the research if you are interested. Send me an email and I can pass along either a summary or the original papers. But I wanted to reach out to you since you seemed to be going through the same struggle as I did...

    1. I would love that! Your offer is a generous one. I really appreciate it. How do I contact you?

  2. Big update! Congrats on picking a donor. Our agency did not have any open donor relationships, so that is not something we even considered. I do wonder how our kids will feel about that. But my hope is that egg donation comes with less feelings of loss or rejection than adoption. Our kids will know that the donor donated 1 cell that made them, and we grew them intentionally to be our own. Maybe that will be enough. Maybe that, combined with their shared DNA and their genetic relationship to their dad will be enough.

    That is a great number of eggs! Remember that even though numbers like 70-80% are amazing, they are not a guarantee. I was shocked when our first donor transfer did not work because come on it's young 26 year old eggs! I was shocked again when the second didn't work- isn't this supposed to be flawless? I had to remember that when they stim the donors they turn off the natural selection process and not all those young eggs are healthy. On the third try, two took! Sometimes it takes a couple tries, even with those great odds!

    Cheering for you!

    1. I am hoping that there are less feelings of loss and rejection as compared to adoption. I think maybe the adoption training has me scared?

      Thank you also for the note on needing to try donor eggs more than once. I'm so scared if it doesn't work on the first try. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  3. Also keep trying with the support group! I am guessing that December is a low attendance time and it jumps up I january! Ours did!

  4. Congratulations on finding a new donor! I think the odds of miscarriage with 21 year old eggs is quite low, but I have no idea specifically. Your thoughts on donor openness are similar to mine...if we do donor egg, it will probably be in a country where it is totally anonymous by law so we won't have any option. I hope our child won't be upset about that but I can understand wanting to know your roots. It's a tough decision.

  5. What a great update! So happy that you've picked a donor and have the eggs already to go. What a huge sense of relief that must be. It's funny, the eye color is something that's the one thing about our donor as well that I think about. At the end of the day, I'd move mountains just to have a baby, so I'm sure the eye color will be less and less important (to us both) as we get closer to that dream!! I also had 15 mature eggs from my donor (she did fresh) and out of that I had 6 blasts frozen, so your math is spot on!!

  6. Yay! Such exciting news about your donor! It really sounds like you've made some wonderful decisions, so don't be too hard on yourself. ;) And, gosh, that is so wonderful the eggs are retrieved. That will make things way more convenient for you. Exciting!!!!

  7. Congrats on finding a donor! I would try not to let the eyes bother you too much...just remember that blue eyes are a recessive trait so the baby may still have them. My husband and I adopted a baby and this baby has no genetic match to us. Funny thing is though, everyone says he looks SO much like my husband. His eyes are blue and ours are green and brown. But the funny thing is, it's like our son was ours to begin with. He acts just like me and fits perfectly into our family. I've heard some people say their adopted children look more like them then their biological children so try not to get too caught up on the looks. I'm sure the baby (or babies!!!) will blend into your family perfectly!!!


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