I really struggled as to whether or not I would even write a blog on this topic. Egg and embryo donation is such a taboo subject! How could it even be? We are talking about the gift of life! But I get why it is considered taboo, like the gauntlet of infertility, many people don’t understand it. Never mind the emotional and psychological undertaking of parents asked to make the choice of whether or not this is how they want expand their family. But I know there is someone on the other side of this computer screen, right now, struggling to make the decision of choosing donor eggs/embryos (DE) to grow their family. I am hoping you will find something here worth taking in.
I want you to keep in mind, family should not be defined by your ability or not to have kids. We all have the right to make our own decisions on how we want our families to look, whether it is with 2 people or a group of 109 people. The DE journey is not for everyone but I believe that it is right for me and my husband. It wasn’t a simple choice made overnight, there was a lot of discussion, research and questions that were asked amongst my husband and myself, our doctors, therapists and other couples who are considering or have completed their DE journey. When you are navigating the delicate path of infertility I think it’s important to always be informed of your options, always think about your Plan A all the way to your Plan R, if need be. If you have not had to experience infertility then you simply don’t understand a lot of what we go through and the tough decisions we are asked to make time and time again. There are a lot of personal decisions, the average person simply cannot fathom, that go into making the ultimate decision of having a child with no biological link to either one or both partners.
From the beginning of time, societal pressures have inferred that there is a succession to status in life. There are levels in this game of life which you MUST attain in order to feel satisfied or be normal. Which you know this goes without needing to be said but it’s not true. But you know them, some of them include getting an education, a job, finding love, getting married, buying a home and having kids… you may repeat the latter three, not in the listed order, a few times. Those are the beliefs society imposes on us! I know this because throughout my life I have been asked a question or 10 about them – when am I going to find love, get married, have a kid, etc. You’ve had the questions too right? SO here I am married, for a few years, a beautiful home and I am trying to unlock that next level but someone set my game to difficult so I am having a hard time achieving pregnancy on my own. My eggs, simply put, are non-existent. The ones that are there are crappy in quality, at best. I was diagnosed with ovarian failure at 30 and it was a tough pill to swallow. Learning that I would never be genetically linked to my future children was hard. But there were options. My Plan F as I like to call it was the choice of egg donation.
I chose egg donation as my means of expanding my family for a number of reasons:
Selfishly, I want to experience a pregnancy, even if it is just one. Modern medicine has paved the way for something as miraculous and exciting as using donated eggs for us to experience the joy of having a child. I want to be able to feel the baby move and grow. I want my husband to make fun of my waddle when we get later in the pregnancy and it becomes harder for me to walk. There are so many women that complain about pregnancy and it makes me sad when they do. They will never live in the fear of knowing that this experience could be robbed from you.
Simply, for my husband. I cannot pass on my genetics to our children, that’s a given, that will not change – 5 doctors have confirmed it so. But that does not mean that he should suffer the same fate. I want his genes to carry on. There can be a lot of guilt associated with being the ‘problem’ in the baby-making equation so anyway I can have him experience some form of normalcy in the art of reproduction I would do it in a heartbeat.
Adoption and donation are not easy. Media has painted the process as damn near perfect but it is far from it. It is expensive – it can cost the same, if not more than that of an IVF cycle. It takes time. Adoption is a long road and not everyone is fortunate of getting a newborn. Newborns are obviously the group of children in highest demand and some may have been exposed to abusive substances. Older children may be dealing with a lot of emotional, behavioural and psychological issues that can be more than what any couple could anticipate. Fostering is most times a temporary solution where you will need to give the child back to their parents at some point. Please understand, I am not knocking either option because the reward of adopting or fostering is far greater than all of the challenges combined. However, we had to think about this logically and we asked ourselves if we could actually handle those possibilities. If we were ready mentally prepared to explore that avenue. We have left adoption on the table and may consider this as another option to add to our family in the future.
Everyone’s reasons for entering into the world of DE is different but the goal will always be the same –to fulfill our dreams of becoming parents. After all of the waiting, trying and years of failure and disappointments, science has opened a door, where for so many of us, it may have once been closed. I don’t see DE as a negative, never have, I see it as way to grow my family. I have chosen to be candid and share some of my thoughts on why we chose this path. If you are contemplating the same journey, please do not feel as though you have to justify your choice with anyone. Be firm in your choice if it is what you want… there are a number of awesome resources available online to support you. Oh and I didn’t mention this before, as it is a whole other topic but, Epigenetics is a heck of a thing, and if you don’t know about it… do your Googles, it just may change your mind and life if you are on the fence and even calm your fears around the beauty of being the recipient of donation. Whatever choice you make on your path, I think at the end of the day we all make the same choice… we choose to support the gift of life.
You can read more from Latoya on her blog here: infertilesoil