The Not-So-Sexy Infertility Adventures of a Girl in the Big Apple

Friday, October 21, 2011

Donor Egg Discussion

I've been meaning to write a post for a while about donor eggs.  It's something I've been giving a lot of thought to as we get ready for our last 1 or 2 cycles with my eggs.

When my doctor first brought up the idea, which was right after my first failed IVF, I was stunned.  Both H and I had a very strong "not for us" reaction.  But after another poor response to IVF and several depressing second opinions, I have completely transformed my thinking around this issue.  I really believe this could be a great solution for us if things don't work out the way we planned.  In fact, the only thing that keeps me going sometimes is knowing that we have a real shot at succeeding with donor eggs should all else fail.

That's not to say I don't have reservations and concerns - I think everyone does at some point.  But they seem manageable in comparison to the scenario of having no baby at all.

Unfortunately, H is definitely not in the same place as I am on this decision.  I started to broach the topic with him right after our second failed IVF.  Knowing that he wouldn't otherwise think about it, I asked him to give some serious thought to the issue over the next few months.   He agreed to do so, but of course never really did.

I say "of course" because among H's many wonderful qualities is an ability to live in the now.  He takes life as it comes, and generally enjoys the hell out of every day.  I envy him this quality - I think this is how he maintains such balance and equanimity.  I, on the other hand, tend to grab difficult problems by the horns and try to work through them right there and then.  I think through possibilities, imagine and plan for future scenarios, and try to prepare myself emotionally for what's to come.  I guess that makes me sort of a control freak, but it also makes me more organized and prepared.

Last week I brought up donor eggs again, and we had our first serious discussion.  I asked him whether he'd thought about it since we last spoke, and he admitted that he hadn't thought about it much more.  He reiterated, however, that he wasn't on board with the idea.  If worst came to worst, he'd rather live child free - he feels we could still have a great life without children.  I told him that I didn't disagree - we could have a very nice life without children.  It would be very comfortable, much less stressful, and much more free.    But we would be missing out on one of life's great gifts, one of the things that connects us most directly to Nature and to our humanity.  And that thought makes me sad, and would continue to make me sad later in life.  Would it ruin my life?  Absolutely not.  Would I have regrets about it?  I'm pretty sure I would.

I probed a little further into what his reservations were.  Was it purely having the genetic link that was the issue?  After all, he has been willing to go to pretty extensive lengths to have our own children, so why not with donor eggs?  And we uncovered that, yes, not having children with my genetic material was the main issue.  However, he is slightly more comfortable knowing that the children would be genetically his.  If it were the opposite case (my eggs, donor sperm) he said he would really not be on board.

And this is where we left things off.  I am not going to push the issue too far while we still have a chance at my own eggs - there's no point.  But I'm hoping to slowly acclimate him to the idea and get him to evolve his thinking.  I don't blame him for resisting - I did too.  And I don't ever want to force him into such a big decision - he has to be truly on board, because he will be a 50% partner to me in raising a child and that is a huge responsibility.  But I am hoping that as he thinks about it more, he will come to the same place as I have.  All I can do is get him to think about it with an open mind.  The rest will be up to him.

More on this to come.  I hope we will never have to reach a decision on this topic, but looking objectively at our chances it's far likelier that we will then that we won't.  And I'd rather be prepared when that time comes.  In the mean time, am very glad I have a place to share all of these thoughts - sometimes I don't know what I would do without this blog (and all of you)!


  1. The donor egg discussion is tough. I think it's something that all of us who have struggled with failed cycles have had to think about and discuss with our partners at some point. It's a complicated issue and I think it takes some time for both partners to work through their feelings on. I have a lot of admiration for women who have made the leap to DE - I think it must be a tough decision to get to and I think it takes a lot of courage to pursue (and, of course, thank goodness for those generous donors out there who make the impossible possible).

  2. I completely appreciate your planning & control freakness! Because I am the same way! Donor eggs is a big decision & one we made with the help of an infertility therapist. It was good to discuss our options with a objective 3rd party. My husband was resistant at first, but after I took him to a traumatic adoption seminar, donor eggs started looking pretty good! Hopefully you won't even need to use them, but it's always great to go in with a plan B! I am hoping you get to be a mother, one way or another!

  3. Though I think you have a good chance with your own eggs, it doesn't hurt to think about the donor egg option. The first time I heard about it, it did not seem like something I would do, but I think the longer you are on this path, it seems like the next logical step if it's not working with your own eggs and you still desire a biological connection to your child. Even if the child would not have your genes, you would affect how his/her genes are expressed due to your physiology during pregnancy and imprinting on him in early infancy and childhood. When I initially talked about donor eggs with my husband, he thought it was weird, but now he is on board with it and sees it as a more desirable option than adoption.

  4. It defiantly is a tuff decision that can't be made over night. We are in the opposite boat. Donor Sperm, we have talked about it a lot. Although it is something we don't want to do at this time, it may be something we do down the road. I think you have the right mind set right now. Do all you can do with your eggs and see where it gets you. I think since you are going to CCRM they will make this happen for you. It's always good to talk about all the options that are available.

  5. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog.

    I'm glad to see that you're at CCRM and I hope that they can make it happen for you before having to actually make a choice about DE.

    I look forward to following your journey.

  6. Newbie...I'm living proof that one can overcome those OVERWHELMING objections one has about DE. You DH I think is simply overwhelmed with the whole topic and with may become less overwhelming to the point that "yeah...I could do this". But you are making the right decision on questioning "would I regret not having any children at all"...that's the main question I asked myself and the thought that I would have NO baby was completely devastating and we are. I guarantee you that once your DH has a baby in his arms regardless of whose genetics he/she has...his heart will melt. Here's hoping the two of you will be on the same page soon.

  7. Hi dear! I just found your blog today and I was shocked to see how similar we sound. I, too, am the one who likes to have a plan and know where we may be headed. It personally just helps me cope knowing we have more options down the road that we both agree on. As we continue down this path of using our own eggs, hubby has become more accepting of the donor egg option...but it's taken a lot of time. I haven't blogged much about our discussions yet, but we are having them..quite frequently. He definitely is more welcoming to donor eggs than adoption. I always wondered would he be okay with this route if the roles were reversed? Anyways, this is really tough. It's been very difficult for me to come to this point where I am feeling ready to think about other options. I plan to try using my own eggs at least once more, maybe twice. But I do find some comfort in having a long term plan too. I look forward to following your journey...I think we have a lot in common. (I guess in this case, that is unfortunate..hey?)

  8. Goodness I could have written this, just replace donor egg with adoption. I don't mean this rudely, but i did find some comfort in seeing another male having the same reservations about alternate options (donor eggs, sperm, adoption) and leaning then towards a childless life. I know men and women differ, but sometimes I think the blogs here only show the good convos and paint this picutre like these decisions were so easy and they were 100% on board, when in reality I just don't see that. So thank you for the honesty-you helped me out :)
    C has a hard time 'letting go' on the biology and seeing us happy with a child 'not ours' and hell so do I half the days, but like you, I feel like something would be missing-this wonderful gifl! C would be more willing to do donor eggs, but with the egg testing having been done and return great, it's not recommended. It helps so many couples and I think it is a great option.
    I am glad you guys were able to talk openly and like you, I try not to push (holy hardness sometimes!). thinking about you :)