Infertility is like a dull ache in the pit of your stomach. A constant sensation of dread, knowing that no matter what you do, it never seems to make a difference. Always wondering about a pregnancy after diagnosis.
Double or nothing: an infertile woman’s tale of pregnancy after diagnosis
Nine failed rounds of IVF proved exhausting. My husband and I questioned if the dream of a child, would come to fruition. After being told my eggs were subpar at best, I wondered if there was a chance I could get pregnant through another means. Eventually my husband and I took a break from trying. The idea of adoption came to us.
Our dream came true when we brought our son home from Guatemala. We felt blessed to receive this beautiful little boy into our lives. Yet still, we didn’t feel quite complete. We’d always wanted two children, so we began the process of trying to adopt a little girl.
After six long years, several trips to Guatemala, and days spent with our hopeful daughter, it was a no go. Bringing her home wasn’t a possibility.
The Search for a New Solution
Just like that, our daughter, and sister for our sweet son, ripped from us.
My husband and I felt hollow. We felt defeated. Words like angry, upset, even depressed, did not seem to do justice to the emotions we were feeling. My own body had turned against me, and changes in adoption laws had left me without another solution.
I wallowed in these emotions. How could I come to terms with the sense of loss I was feeling? The emotions came over me in waves, crashing down on my heart. However, our journey? It was not over. I began looking for an answer.
Over the years, I had heard several times about donor egg IVF. While always a consideration in the back of my mind, I was never sure it was the right option for us. I’d always dreamed of being pregnant and carrying my own child, but the lack of genetic connection was something I had a hard time coming to terms with. But after our devastating adoption experience, I realized that donor eggs might be the miracle for which we’d been hoping.
We began the process of searching for a qualified donor in our area. Did we want a donor that shared my physical traits? Were we searching for someone that held great success within her own personal life? How important was the same ethnic background to our decision?
We were ready to start after finding the perfect donor candidate.
Undergoing Donor Egg IVF
Any kind of IVF treatment can be exhausting. It’s both physically, and mentally, a roller coaster. A fresh donor cycle, however, can be especially grueling. It involves delicate timing, endless appointments, and a surplus of tests and lab work.
Preliminary testing to determine our individual reproductive profile for our donor, and myself started our long process. Things like blood work, ultrasounds, and a mock embryo transfer gave the fertility doctor insight. Insight into information such as hormone levels, ovarian health, and the quality of my uterus. The donor underwent medical, infectious disease, genetic and psychological screening. All necessary to determine her eligibility to donate.
Following these tests, our donor began a protocol of stimulation drugs. The drugs encouraged her ovaries to prepare more eggs than normal, for release. Blood work and ultrasounds monitored her progress. All of this is done to be sure the donor’s body is ready.
During outpatient surgery, her collected eggs were fertilized with my husband’s sperm.
Prior to the retrieval of our donor’s eggs, I had begun taking medications like estrogen and progesterone to thicken my endometrial lining. Taking these meds helped prepare my uterus for implantation. When my body was ready, and our embryos had properly developed, our fertility specialist told us we were ready for our embryo transfer.
On the morning of our transfer, my husband and I anxiously traveled to the surgery center. During a pain-free process, taking less than 10 minutes, our developed embryos were placed into my uterus. We collected our things. Went home. Thus began our painful two-week wait.
Our process took nearly 5 months to complete. It felt like an eternity. With frozen donor eggs, the time from start to finish is significantly decreased. Frozen eggs provide a shorter process. One that can be completed in as little as 4 weeks. While this option wasn’t available when I began my journey, the convenience, reliability, success and affordability makes it a great option for most people.
Double the Love
Following several positive blood pregnancy tests, we had our first ultrasound and were surprised to learn that we were expecting twins.
Though astounded and slightly overwhelmed, we were thrilled that our lengthy journey had blessed us with two sweet little babies. Nearly eight months later, our twins made their debut and joined their big brother as a part of our family.
While I still sometimes wonder how I will one day explain our parental journey to our children, I feel a sense of gratification for our struggle. The years of trying were incredibly painful, but had it not been for those experiences, we would not have these three beautiful children.
Author bio: Heidi Hayes is the CEO of Donor Egg Bank USA. 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.