Dealing with infertility can be a difficult and emotional journey, especially when it comes at a young age. I was just 28 years old when I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, a chilling diagnosis that can be devastating to anyone, but particularly at a fertile age of the late twenties. My diagnosis was not entirely unexpected, as I had undergone major surgery at the age of 20 to remove two ovarian cysts that were each 10cm and 11cm in size. However, what was shocking was that every doctor I had seen over the period of eight years, specifically to follow up on the topic of my fertility, had reassured me that I would not have fertility issues, despite having significant portions of both ovaries removed. I suppose you could have called me naive for having believed them, but they were medical professionals, and who was I to doubt them?
When I did want to start trying to have a family, I was told that my hormone levels reflected those of a woman in menopause. Our first IVF cycle was an epic failure, and our fertility doctor did not have many alternative options for us, saying that an egg donor cycle would be our best bet. Our second fertility doctor, who had significantly better bedside manner, said that while she would not rule out the possibility of us conceiving naturally in the future, doing an egg donor cycle would be our most successful option to have a child within a definite time frame.
At that point, I was not ready to consider donor eggs, but my partner, who is a worst-case scenario type of person, immediately started looking into the egg donor process. We ended up purchasing a dozen eggs as a back-up option, not knowing how many failed IVF cycles we would have.
We did not do an egg donor cycle immediately. I needed to have closure on my body’s failure, to accept that my eggs were of terrible quality and that using my own eggs would likely be unsuccessful. Only after doing two more IVF cycles did we decide to do our first egg donor cycle.
Ultimately, what convinced me to do an egg donor IVF cycle was that I so desperately wanted to be a mother and a parent, even if the baby would not genetically be mine. I also wanted to experience the miracle of carrying and growing a little human inside of me. My options were limited because my body would not cooperate and give me good quality eggs that would be able to produce a healthy embryo with my husband’s sperm, hence my only viable path to motherhood was via an egg donor.
Infertility, IVF, and surrogacy are topics that are often discussed publicly today, without stigma and shame. The number of celebrities who are coming out with their own infertility stories of undergoing multiple IVF cycles and/or having used a surrogate to carry their baby has increased significantly in the past number of years. However, the one IVF treatment that is hardly ever talked about is egg donor IVF cycles.
When I was looking for information on egg donor IVF cycles from the perspective of a couple considering an egg donor IVF cycle, there was nothing I could find beyond the information on egg donor bank websites and fertility clinics with information about their egg donor IVF programs. As someone considering an egg donor IVF cycle at this point in their fertility journey, the questions I had included: How do I select which eggs to buy? Will I feel connected to the baby if the baby isn’t genetically mine? How will I feel when I give birth and meet this baby who isn’t genetically mine? How do I feel about another woman making a baby with my husband’s sperm, and essentially being the surrogate for it?
Some of these questions I felt ashamed to ask and even think of. However, after going through two egg donor IVF cycles, one miscarriage,
one surgery to remove retained product from my uterus, and two years later, my husband and I were blessed with our miracle egg donor baby who is unequivocally ours in every imaginable way. All the doubts and reservations that I had had ceased to be of any real significance or to occupy my thoughts once I was successfully pregnant with him and birthed him.
Our journey to bring him into the world was a fraught one, with many hurdles along the way. But my husband and I also practiced supporting and loving each other throughout each trying event we experienced together. By going through this incredibly difficult time together, we learned more about each other’s personalities, our individual initial reactions to bad news, our distinct coping mechanisms, and ultimately, how to complement each other during hard times. We have been brought closer by this difficult journey. There truly are silver linings to every dark cloud.
I am so grateful that egg donor IVF cycles are a fertility treatment option, and don’t think it is considered enough by couples who are experiencing infertility as a treatment option. My hope is that by sharing my story, I can spread awareness about the joy and beauty that egg donor IVF cycles can bring others and that more people consider the egg donor IVF option. This has served as the inspiration for the creation of my blog, Making Joy, where I share personal stories about my journey to motherhood and common resources for other parents potentially considering using egg donors.
Egg donor IVF cycles can be a daunting concept for couples to consider, especially when it comes to selecting the right egg donor, bonding with a baby who is not genetically theirs, and dealing with the potential emotional challenges that come with the process. However, it is important to remember that this treatment option can bring immense joy and happiness to those struggling with infertility, just as it did for me and my husband.
If you are considering an egg donor IVF cycle or simply want to learn more about this fertility treatment option, I encourage you to visit my blog, Making Joy. Here, you can read about my personal experience with egg donor IVF cycles, find answers to common questions, and connect with a supportive community of parents who have gone through similar experiences. Remember, you are not alone in your journey, and there is always hope for a happy ending.