The following is a guest post regarding a topic that many women near and dear to me have faced. May this article bring peace and hope to future moms.
Parenthood is a fascinating study of selfless love; the days are filled with many beautiful, yet chaotic moments as you watch your child grow into his or her own amazing being. For many couples, this journey is impeded from the start, but despite the hardships, the one silver lining to infertility is the joy of bringing a long-awaited baby into the world. Now more than ever, couples have more options available to them, and egg donation with is one way couples are forging the path to parenthood.
Many women who need an egg donor to become pregnant are in their late 30s or 40s, and the quality or quantity of their eggs is hampering their fertility. Some women experience premature menopause, while others have gone through medical treatments that affected their eggs. Many who experience infertility believe their bodies have betrayed them or that they are inadequate; however, reframing these beliefs may help. For example, an older mom is often more financially secure and has more life experience and wisdom to offer her future children. A woman who has gone through a medical hardship is a true warrior who can teach her children what it means to persevere. Embracing the situation and focusing on positive aspects of the fertility journey may help women progress toward the family they wish to have.
Coming to Terms Emotionally
The decision to use donor egg is often made after many other options have been exhausted. It is very common for a potential mother to grieve that she cannot bear a child that is genetically “hers,” and it’s wise to seek to discuss the many emotions that come with infertility.
Using donor egg also stirs up a lot of questions such as, “Do I tell my future child, as well as friends and family, that a donor egg was part of the equation?” Questions like these are great for learning how to consider another’s needs and to evaluate difficult situations.
The Beauty of the Donor/Recipient Relationship
While the two may never meet, the fact that one woman has donated her cells so another can grow her family is mind-bogglingly amazing. It’s also a beautiful thing that nowadays there are many donors for couples to choose from with compatible life interests, education, physical traits or ethnic background.
Couples may choose to acquire fresh donor eggs through a family member, friend or agency – or use frozen donor eggs through an egg bank. Fresh donor eggs are associated with slightly higher success rates; however, the highest quality fertility clinics report similar success rates between fresh and frozen donor eggs. Securing fresh donor eggs takes two to three times longer and costs about twice as much due to cycle synchronization between the recipient and the donor. IVF using frozen donor eggs has the advantage of taking less time, needing less medication on the part of the recipient, and being able to fit more easily into the couple’s schedule because it’s more predictable.
Allowing Science to Shine
Donor egg IVF, much like other infertility treatments, requires certain medical and technical processes. The recipient mother takes medications and hormones that prepare her body to accept the fertilized donor eggs. Once the donor eggs are available – whether they have just been retrieved from a donor (fresh) or they have been thawed from an egg bank (frozen)—it’s time to fertilize the eggs, allow them to develop into embryos and implant them into the recipient mother. This part of the donor egg process is very much like traditional IVF.
Letting Nature Take Over
Of course, the real magic begins after a pregnancy test reveals that elusive positive sign. Experiencing pregnancy is a major reason why women choose egg donation to overcome infertility and become pregnant. Once they can feel a squirmy little being inside, any lingering questions about whether the baby will feel “theirs” seem to dissipate. Knowing that her body can nurture, sustain and deliver life is indeed a powerful feeling.
Heidi Hayes is the Executive Vice President of Donor Egg Bank. She has more than 20 years of healthcare experience and has worked extensively in the field of reproductive endocrinology. Having been unsuccessful at traditional IUI and IVF treatments, Heidi personally understands the struggles of infertility. After many years of trying to conceive, she ultimately built her family through adoption and donor egg treatment. She always believed that if she didn’t give up, her ultimate goal of becoming a parent would someday become a reality.
Have you or has anyone you know gone through IVF treatments? We would love to hear your words of wisdom below 🙂