Today I have a guest post on the topic of infertility, and the option of egg donors and IVF. This is not something I personally know anything about, as I have not had to deal with infertility myself, but I’m happy that my guest poster has graciously agreed to share some information about the options of egg donors and IVF treatment, for those readers who are going through infertility themselves. While I have no experience with it, I do have friends who struggle with infertility, so I’m happy to have this topic covered today.
Regardless of the life plans we make, the unexpected is bound to happen. Finding out your eggs aren’t viable for conception – or you’re unable to carry a pregnancy to term – is about as unexpected as it gets. Women struggling to get pregnant never imagine they’ll hear from their doctor that they are infertile. However, a couple’s dream of having a child and family reaches far beyond their diagnosis. This is why the egg donation process gives hope to couples struggling with infertility.
The emotions following such monumental news can be very intense. Negative emotions such as grief, anger, a sense of inadequacy, hopelessness, and depression are normal responses in such a stressful situation. Many couples seek professional counseling to deal with the resulting shock and emotional fallout.
Choosing Donor Eggs – a New Hope
For couples coping with infertility, choosing IVF using donor eggs can be a solution leading towards parenthood and a happy family. Nevertheless, the thought of a future child not being genetically connected to the mother can be quite challenging to deal with. So, coming to terms with the decision to use this method is very important for the mother’s overall well-being. In some cases, feelings of resentment towards the partner might develop as he would be the biological father to the child – thus having a ‘closer’ or ‘more real’ bond. Biological connection doesn’t equate to a stronger bond, however!
But this, too, is a normal part of the grieving process, and doesn’t make you a bad person in any way. Some couples even decide to use donor sperm as well. Honest and open communication between the partners is imperative for making a healthy compromise.
Choosing the Right Donor
Finding the right donor is perhaps the hardest and lengthiest step of the process for many couples. The criteria which are important to each of the partners may differ significantly. Therefore, it could take up to a few months for the couple to reach a mutually acceptable decision. Some women may also choose a close relative to be the donor, so they feel genetically closer to the future child.
Fresh or Frozen Donor Egg Cycle
Though largely similar, there are some key differences, including pros and cons, between these two methods.
Fresh donor egg cycles require the donor to be localized in your area and available at your convenience. This considerably limits the pool of available donors. Next, the donor’s medications, costs of travel, as well as other relevant costs make this method much more expensive than a frozen donor egg cycle. However, it offers slightly better chances of a successful pregnancy.
On the other hand, frozen donor egg cycle offers a substantially larger donor pool – at the fertility clinic, you are able to choose a donor from a national egg donor registry. Frozen donor eggs are more available and easier to obtain, plus all costs regarding the donor are already factored into the price of the cycle. This makes this method significantly cheaper than fresh.
Legal and Ethical Concerns
It is important to have all legalities on paper before implantation. Thankfully, if using a donor egg bank, they take care of this for you. Otherwise, you need a lawyer to draft a contract regarding the donor’s rights and involvement in the child’s life.
Quick Overview of the Implantation Process
After the initial interview, you will undertake several tests to determine if your uterus can carry a pregnancy to term. If all is well, you may begin the journey of donor egg IVF. Depending on the donor egg cycle you’ve chosen, the process of implantation differs.
In a fresh donor egg cycle, you and your donor are brought to the clinic and undergo a cycle synchronization treatment before the donor’s eggs are extracted, fertilized, and implanted into your uterus.
In a frozen donor egg cycle, the cryopreserved eggs are transported to your clinic where they are thawed and fertilized with the sperm of your partner or donor. After a period of 3 – 4 days, the most viable embryos are implanted inside your uterus.
The Big Moment and Happily Ever-After
After two weeks, you’ll be called back to the fertility clinic to take your HCG pregnancy test. This period of ‘calm before the storm’ can be accompanied by mixed feelings of anxiety, hopefulness, eagerness, or even a sense of impending doom if prior IVF treatments weren’t successful. Proper counseling and emotional support from your partner is vital to prepare yourself for the final outcome, whatever it may be. Nonetheless, when all is well and you are preparing bottles or cleaning up after your bundle of joy, you won’t be spending time thinking about genetics.
The journey to parenthood can be long, hard, and costly – both emotionally and financially – but it pales in comparison to the immeasurable happiness and fulfillment of having a child. The latest advancements in medicine offer hope to many couples who might otherwise give up on their lifelong dream of becoming parents. There’s always hope!