After E.'s karyotype came back and we learned we couldn't use her as our egg donor, I spent a long time on the phone with the genetic counselor in Denver.
We talked about the different paths in front of Will and me, potential frontrunner options being: transfer some of our normal embryos back into me since I'm on depot lupron and prepping for a transfer anyway, find a new egg donor - such as potentially my sister, or go straight to a gestational carrier.
The counselor and I mused about what a great story it would be to transfer our own embryos after this donor fell through and have at least one healthy child from the five embryos. That it would feel like it was "meant to be" that the donor fell through (a concept I don't so much believe in usually). It would be a really lovely ending to a harrowing four-and-a-half year story. Because those embryos are so precious and are basically irreplaceable, I thought of maybe putting in a couple of the more wonky ones, in particular, one or two of the day 7 blasts.
At some point in our conversation, I told the genetic counselor that she is one of the few people who truly understands the medical complications of our situation - my cancer history, the reality of having five frozen chromosomally normal embryos that may or may not be able to make a living child, and whether or not that would need to happen in someone else's body or not. I asked her, since she understands the nuances of our history, what she thought she might do next if she were in our shoes.
She said she didn't know. She also said she thought it was a really good question.
She said what she wanted to do was write up a one-page summary of our history, embryology reports from our blasts, and the options before us, and she was going to convene a meeting with the head of genetics (who also has a PhD in embryology) and Dr. Schoolie himself and let them talk about what they recommend, how they see the situation, etc.
I was so, so moved by this, nearly brought to tears. It's things like this that make me feel the Denver clinic truly has our backs. Our situation still stinks, but it is helpful to know this.
So they met, and then they got in touch. Everyone agreed that we face a tough situation with no obvious answer.
Forced to give an opinion, the head of genetics said she didn't know what to recommend, but felt strongly that if we wanted to transfer our normals, we should transfer the best two or three. Problem is, there are only really two good ones, the rest are not so hot. So it seems terrifying to risk them in my body when we don't know if I can carry a baby to term.
Dr. Schoolie said what I thought he would say (and what my rational side had already told me): nothing about our situation had changed. He thought Will and my idea of trying an egg donor was a very, very good one, one that could scientifically answer the question of whether I can carry a baby or not. Given this, we should just gather ourselves emotionally, pick a proven donor from their in-house pool, and run this experiment asap. (No problem!!) Sounds good from a scientific perspective but misses entirely the fact that it is not so easy for us to find a donor we feel comfortable with. God help us, but we're skittish about this; it took months of searching through multiple agencies to find E. And...well, we know how that turned out. The sister donor idea, he said, was also not a bad one, assuming she is fertile enough and that it makes sense for us and our family psychologically.
Bottom line, there were no clear cut answers, but it was really great to hear their thoughts. Even more than this, though, it just meant so much to Will and me that they took the time to discuss our case and weigh in on it. This is one of those reasons why it would be very, very hard to leave the Denver clinic. They get that we are a tough case with potentially multiple reasons why conception and carrying has been such a struggle. Their medical care is excellent. And then on top of that, they really want us to succeed.
I'm not sure there is much more I could ask for from a clinic. (Unless maybe they could relocate to NYC. Now that would be pretty cool.)
p.s. My sister has passed the paper and phone screen...we are trying to get some of her bloodwork drawn locally as soon as possible and then get her in for a one-day-work-up. Fingers crossed.
Click here to subscribe