How I Accepted Our Donor Egg IVF Future
We love this blog by intended parents Stevi and Michael, who have kindly allowed us to reprint their story. We're so grateful to them for their honesty and openness about their egg donation journey.
With the look of sadness and trepidation in their voice, I get the question…”How can you accept that you need to use donor eggs and IVF, why don’t you just adopt”?
A small smile flickers on my face as I think about the moment I knew IVF and the use of donor eggs was my fate if I was to ever have a family. In those first seconds that I fully understood my test results, my reaction was rather anticlimactic, there were no slamming doors or flying expletives. The instant I knew in my heart that I was going to need donor eggs to carry a baby I was staring at my phone screen after having googled my AMH number which my doctor had just left for me on a voicemail…I KNOW YOU SHOULD NEVER GOOGLE ANYTHING FERTILITY RELATED….but there I was looking at my phone and my only emotional reaction was the escape of a single tear that slid down my cheek. I then drove home, silent, and stunned.
Over the coming days, I searched and googled and looked at every resource I could think of…I know, everyone says “never google medical issues”, but listen, folks, I’m a realist, I wasn’t looking for that one long shot example or Hail Mary pass to prove I could beat this, I was looking for what the average women my age (38) with similar numbers like me were being told by established medical professionals, and more importantly….what they had success with. It became plain as day to me….donor eggs was it. My crappy low AMH number was 0.03….it wasn’t hard to figure out that was no good, no matter how it was cut or diced when paired with high FSH, and low follicle count, and most importantly my age…my genetic fertility palm reading read in bright bold letters…..YOU’RE SCREWED!
So back to my point, how did I deal with the news, well I was slightly numb, angry that my body had failed our family, and nervous how we were going to afford the treatment (as you come to know me you will find a theme that money worries have always been a trigger for me), but more importantly my mind raced with nervousness about how Mike would feel, could he have a family with another woman’s eggs? Would he still want to start the family we had been dreaming about since we started dating? Maybe he would just need time to think about it (but how long would it take) or would the idea or act of doing IFV with donor eggs repulse him? WE JUST GOT MARRIED…I didn’t come with a money back guarantee when he said I DO. My mind and heart were racing…can our newly minted marriage survive this?
You might have noticed one key thought missing…..and it’s missing for a very good reason. What about the donor-conceived child? Shouldn’t I be thinking about if I can love or connect with a child that’s not my DNA…hell can I carry another woman’s child, made by doctors and lab techs with my husband’s sperm? Could I really do ALL of that and still feel like this child’s mother? YES, YES and HELL YES….I’ve never once doubted, during all the chaos or emotions, that I was capable of loving, nurturing or cultivating the unconditional bond of love and devotion a mother and child should have. The moment I knew this was my future, my heart still thought of my future child, regardless of DNA, my soul was still aching for the opportunity to bring this beautiful blessing into the world. This was God’s plan for how our family was to come into our lives, and then I laughed out loud, with tears in my eyes, like a wave crashing down around me, the realization hit…
God had actually been preparing me for this moment since I was born, and for the first time in my life, I thanked God for ALL THE THINGS…the beautiful and ugly, the blessings and the traumas of my unconventional and oftentimes dysfunctional childhood. I can honestly say that I never could have foreseen that the little girl that was loved, nurtured and raised with the saying blood doesn’t make you family, LOVE DOES, would be in this position…God had this planned for me all along.
See to understand my mindset you need to know my family life was not the norm growing up, I had a stepmother, and step-family that loved me as though my blood was their blood, even when her title of stepmother was no more, she took a young 6-year-old girl into her home and continued her unconditional love and nurturing that any mother and child should have. Our relationship never skipped a beat even after she found her true love and remarried. Heck, I now had an even more complex family dynamic, a stepfather and a stepmother all under the same roof, chew on how you explain that one to strangers. My stepfather took on his new role without any hesitation, at least none that stayed with me. From him, I learned some of the most magical stories I’d ever heard at bedtime, all because he often times took on the special task of tucking me in at night. My family life was not conventional, and definitely was a head-scratcher for many, but the years I spent with my stepmom and stepdad, where years I felt truly loved, truly supported, and fully nurtured.
Why are my journey and story important, because I know so many of you have had the devastating discussions regarding using donor eggs come up in your own infertility journeys, and every time it sneaks into the possible options you feel that kick in the gut or stabbing knife pain. My testimony is unique and because of my story I have been able to look at this journey with a different perspective and understanding, I want YOU to have the opportunity to see this beautiful gift the way I view it, I want the husband of the wife curled up in the corner, unable to look life in the eye right now, to read this and understand that your dream is not lost, it’s only just beginning.
Less than 5% of donor egg applicants get accepted to donate their eggs (this stat is from my clinic, be sure to check donor egg sources in your area), and a major factor in those that are eliminated is for psychological reasons. The women that do make the cut, truly understand the gift of life and the families they are blessing complete strangers with.
While yes, you’re accepting a sliver of DNA (the egg) from another person, it’s only a tiny portion of what will ultimately define your child and family story. Accepting donor eggs (or doing IVF in general) does not mean you are intercepting God’s will…God’s hand never leaves the creation of life. Life is created only after a string of events takes place, and God’s hand is never removed from the process.
For example, once the eggs are fertilized, you may have 10 eggs from a donor, but only 8 fertilized, God decided that science can’t….then only after 3-5 days of growing, only 4 of those fertilized eggs make to embryo status….science can only do so much, again God decides which ones survive and which ones don’t. Then ONLY after that embryo is implanted into YOUR womb, with YOUR blood, and with YOUR cellular makeup does that embryo being to attempt to thrive and grow; yet again it’s in God’s hands to decide if that implanted embryo will survive and grow into the precious life you’ve been dreaming of.
Doctors and science can only do so much, the donor is only providing a small portion of this massive process, it’s YOUR body, and God that has the final say into how this story will end. YOUR blood flows through your baby, YOUR body provides the nutrients, it’s YOUR voice your baby will hear as it grows, and it’s YOUR heartbeat your baby will feel as it develops. YOU provide all the final ingredients YOUR baby will need to grow and thrive, YOU ARE the biological parent.
If my stepmom could embrace a two-year-old child and continue to love and nurture that child with absolutely NO biological connection as though I was her own, then I want everyone that has been told that donor egg, sperm, adoption or surrogacy may be your only path to parenthood, PLEASE do not fear this option for lack of connection or love. My testimony is this…..I felt more loved, nurtured and supported by two people that did not share my genetics, than those that did PERIOD. It’s LOVE that makes you a family, and I promise everyone reading this message this:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It ALWAYS protects, ALWAYS trusts, ALWAYS hopes, ALWAYS preservers, LOVE NEVER FAILS.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
You can follow Stevi and Michael on instagram or on their website: www.steviandmichael.com