Leaning In While Considering an Egg Donor (Part 1)
I’m a big fan of Sheryl Sandberg and the “Lean In” movement, especially from the perspective of this point in my life and career. I started reading Lean In with the expectation that I might not agree with Sheryl, especially since many of my clients who are looking for an egg donor or surrogate are in their early 40s and may feel they waited too long to get started with building their families. My readers and clients may feel they are in a holding pattern, just waiting to get started with building their families.
Every intended parent has a different fertility story and not all have put their families on hold for the sake of their careers. Some may not have found the right partner until later in life or may have been trying to get pregnant for many years before their 40s. One of the Lean In principles that strikes me is, “Don’t leave before you leave”. Fertility treatment or finding the right egg donor can take a long time and be all consuming and stressful. Especially because treatment can take a long time I think it’s important to continue with your career during and beyond family building.
One of the reasons I stress continuing your career or not leaving too soon is because women who are going through fertility treatment need to keep perspective. One way to do that is to continue to enjoy your work and be challenged by it as you are on your family-building journey. Continue to look at new job opportunities and move up the ladder; don’t sit back because you’re going in for another IVF cycle and you may be pregnant soon. Hopefully you will become pregnant either through a cycle with your own eggs or with an egg donor. If you are successful, you will have 40 weeks before you deliver. That is almost a year that you can be learning and growing and, hopefully, not fixating quite as much on your fertility.
Your work should be a healthy and productive distraction from the stress of getting pregnant. It’s good to have something outside of yourself to help you to have perspective and offer you a bit of sanity when you are feeling overwhelmed by all of the fertility issues you can’t control. At least you can have some measure of control in your work. Your career may help you cope with your fertility struggles. If you do not have a successful IVF cycle your work may once again offer you a bit of solace, something you can throw yourself into when you have to pull your self together and press on.