Thursday, February 17, 2011

What's it like to have a donor embryo baby?

We're considering a bunch of options on how to move forward. You've read many of our thoughts on the matter since we lost our sixth pregnancy in November. We now have a new possibility we're strongly considering.

A wonderful friend has completed building her family using embryos made from donor egg and her husband's sperm. She has offered us her remaining embryos. Eleven of them.

We are stunned by her and her husband's generosity. And we're really considering it.

But it also raises many questions. In my mind, I have a paradigm of what adoption is and how to explain it - to myself and to others, what donor egg is and how to explain it, what surrogacy is and how to explain it, but donor embryo is a whole new arena for me.

And it's a new arena for the world - one that is relatively unexplored. Much of the reading I've done on it says some version of: Congratulations on choosing embryo donation/adoption- you're a pioneer! (subtext: no one knows yet the social or personal outcomes of embryo donation, because it's brand new. Good luck!). If we went this route, we'd have (if we're lucky) a child or two who is not genetically related to myself or my husband Will. But who I would give birth to. Down the line, if we saw that my body could support a pregnancy, we might be emboldened enough to try again with our own wonky embryos.

But I have so many questions. I'm someone who does not take decisions like this lightly. I want to think through all the potential consequences. And so something like this that is so new, is, well, a little extra scary. Some of my many questions are: what would the impact on a child created in this way be down the line? We're in contact with the family who would donate to us and so our child will see these wonderful folks periodically. I'm also wondering how we would explain the donor embryo situation to the world, or if/ when we would even need to. And I'm wondering how our families would react and feel about this (would they love or feel bonded to the child any less?). And I'm wondering how our child/ren would feel and what identity issues they might face once they were old enough to really understand what this means (We'd tell them from the beginning, but I'm thinking late childhood/adolescence is when they'd really grasp the nuances).

So I'm hoping to hear from any of you out there who have used embryo donation as a family building option: what has it been like? What have been the most difficult parts of using donor embryo? Do you think you are any differently attached to your child than you would be if you were genetically related to them? (realistic or not, this is a fear of mine). How often do you even think about that fact? How's your family been accepting the child? Have you told other people in the world (beyond immediate family)? And if so, how has the world responded to you? What else would you want to share about your experience now that you've been through it - any things you wish you'd known then that you know now?

Feel free to comment anonymously if that allows you to be more open with your thoughts.

Thanks for your candor, your wisdom, your experience. We really appreciate it.


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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Good news for once: We'll take it where we can

I've been feeling beaten down by the infertility part of our lives. Really saddened by it, and for the moment stymied. And one of the things I've been trying to do to cope with that is make sure that the other parts of my life - the non infertility parts - don't wither away and atrophy from lack of attention.

One of those areas has been my physical health - eating, weight, etc. Which I am working on (more in a later post).

The other is professional. I finished my PhD a while back and have been completing a postdoctoral fellowship. In my field there is also a licensing exam that has to be passed once you've accumulated 1750 supervised hours. This test is notoriously onerous and is sort of the Bar exam of psychology. I've been studying for it for a while, but really ramped it up after we lost the baby in November.

And I quietly took the exam a couple of weeks ago. (gulp).

Yesterday, I got a letter in the mail.

I PASSED!!! And cooler than that, not only did I pass but I earned a score in the mid-90s! (figuring I can brag a little since this is an anonymous blog)

What a relief! It's such a feeling of accomplishment to have finished this final hurdle to allow me to practice independently after years (and I do mean years) of classes and practicums and internships and dissertation research and writing and defending.

It's great to feel that I can actually influence something - that I can set my mind to something and achieve it - even if this whole baby making thing feels hopelessly complicated and confusing at the moment.

So a minor celebration going on over here. We'll take the good news where we can.


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Thursday, February 3, 2011

All we are is broken

I've been so quiet because I'm not sure what to say.

Because Will and I have just been wading through this. Through all the loss. The heartache.

And it's hard to know what to write about it. I am so sad, and so angry, at our situation. At everything we have given up, all the losses incurred on our journey. And I don't just mean the pregnancy losses, although those are substantial. I mean the loss of innocence, the losses in my marriage (we've been doing IVF since two months after we married - almost four years now).

I am angry at all Will has sacrificed as we've tried to start a family - huge emotional sacrifices, huge financial sacrifices. And these are my losses too. There are also physical effects of all we have been through: I am 30 pounds heavier than I have ever been in my life. I used to run marathons, complete triathlons. I can't even imagine doing that now.

And I am not just physically heavy. I am emotionally heavy. Months of lupron and prednisone will do both to you. Six miscarriages also take their toll. Even with these sizable costs, I'd do it all again - I'd give up anything, go through anything, to bear a child.

Except we don't succeed. We've gone for broke over and over again. And all we are is broken.

So I am in a place of grieving. And of reckoning. And of mending things in my marriage and maybe in my own heart, too.

The way forward is as murky as it has ever been.

But I am here.


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