Egg donation: my eggs become someone else’s child.

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I wrote a post last week that briefly mentioned that the woman I donated eggs to would be keen to expand her family using more of my eggs. The comments on that entry (go read ’em!) made me think that this was worth writing more about.

The question that just popped into my mind was, ‘When do they go from being my eggs to her children?’ For me, that happened pretty much instantly.

The first comment was asking me if I ever felt odd about this. She said she wouldn’t want to donate her eggs, as it would be the same as carrying a baby to term and giving it up for adoption. And you know? Of course I sometimes feel odd about it. I started feeling odd right about the time that my children were born, and I suddenly wondered about that third baby out there (in the city just south of me).

Did it look like Snort and/or Coconut? Did it look like me? Would it like writing? Scary movies?

So, yes, I feel that way sometimes. On one occasion I did say to TMD I felt like I’d given a child up for adoption. I have all those feelings, and in a way would love to meet the family I helped to create. I think it would make it easier.

But you know what? Every time I talked to my clinic about this lady, I just felt good. Like a deep, bubbling joy.

I knew I would donate eggs when we went to a presentation at our clinic. I looked at the statistics for conception of babies done by IUI versus IVF and was terrified. I wanted a baby so much it was like my heart was big and fragile and wounded and longing. It was all I could think about, talk about. Having a child has been my deepest longing for years.

And I thought about how badly I wanted one, and then about the women who would need egg donation. If they were straight, they probably tried ‘the natural way’ for a goodish amount of time. Probably had IUI. Probably had IVF multiple times.  Waited possible years for a donor egg. Month after month of disappointment, of bleeding, of their dreams becoming more wanted – and more unlikely. Those women are fucking heroes in my book.

So I gave half my eggs to a stranger. In return, my IVF treatment was paid for (egg sharing means I give half my eggs, and recipient couples pay for their IVF and a donor’s IVF).

I got Snort and Coconut, these exact perfect wonders, because I shared my eggs with someone who wanted a baby. My children would not be here at this second if that other baby had not had a chance of existing, if that other family was longing for a baby and remained without one. I had my eggs collected one sunny, if chilly, morning – and from those couple of uncomfortable hours came three shining souls into the world.

I say  it’s worth it.

I will probably continue having mixed feelings, but perhaps my truest feelings happen when I hear from that other woman. She sent us a simple card, a card of deep and powerful gratitude (anonymously, it’s all anonymous to protect everyone). She sent messages through the clinic to me. And when my eggs were harvested and in great condition? When the nurse called to congratulate me and say how happy the other woman was, too? My eyes filled with tears for both of us.

I don’t know who she is. I don’t know if she is single or married, gay or straight, young or old. But whoever she is, she went through a lot to get her child. I hope she is parenting that child well, but I choose to believe she is because of the tremendous effort and commitment it takes to have a baby when you are infertile. I would like to meet her and her child when that baby turns 18; I sincerely hope it happens.

On the flip side, we also used donor sperm to conceive Snort and Coconut. Using someone else’s genetic materials makes those children no less fiercely mine. I am grateful to the man who shared his sperm with us. I don’t know who he is, either, but without him, again, our children would not be here.

It all feels quite karma-ish, you know. I give eggs away, and I get two children. I give eggs away because I needed to accept sperm from someone else. I give eggs away because we needed the money for our IVF treatment.

I would consider donating eggs straight out to this family if we chose to not have IVF again for us. This is a surprise to me, because I do still have all the pain and confusion and wondering and hoping for that other child. That child that feels a little bit like he or she is a piece of me, but when I look at our own children I see – when that baby comes into your life  (by embryo, sperm, or egg donation, by adoption, however) that baby belongs to itself. And to your family.

I am happy I do not have several little embryos on ice somewhere, because that would also make me feel nervous and a bit guilty. Instead of being forever frozen and possibly nothing more than potential, should we choose not to have a third or fourth child – those eggs went to someone who wanted a baby and had one.

It makes me feel good. Plain, old fashioned, ordinary good.

Having children has changed my life forever. That my body nurtured two little beings to a full term pregnancy and real kids resulted? Amazing. That somewhere not too far away another woman’s belly was swelling at the same time as mine and I had helped her? Humbling.

I would do it again.

I would not change one thing we did as we tried for a baby, because everything led these two loving, funny, mischievous miracles to our family. I am grateful for that.

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15 Responses to “Egg donation: my eggs become someone else’s child.”

  1. Kate Says:

    Wow, very very well written and I agree whole heartedly, you get what you give. You gave with goodness in your heart and you got twice the joy for it.
    Good for you xxxxxx

  2. Christy Says:

    This is so touching.

    Infertility was something that I was always scared of. I knew that I wanted to have babies when I was just a baby myself and I was scared that as bad as I wanted one that would somehow make it harder. And then when I was married to my first husband and we weren’t trying but we weren’t using protection for years and I didn’t get pregnant my fears soared. I never said anything to anyone but when Waldo and I started trying for a baby every time my period started (three times by the way) I died a little inside. When I found out I was pregnant with Lily I realized that I never got pregnant with hubby #1 because he was the wrong guy and my body knew it.

    What you did for this other woman is so amazing. I don’t know if I would have the strength to do it myself if I’m being completely honest. You are my hero (and I’m sure this other ladies too).

    • existere Says:

      Aw, thanks.

      It is funny how life works out. Like you being worried you weren’t getting pregnant, but now looking back it seems like your life has worked perfectly – a great husband and magically beautiful little girl with him.

  3. Katie B. Says:

    ❤ ❤ ❤

    On the other side of the sperm donation thing (I'm not a guy, but… and it wasn't anonymous), it's kinda cool to know my kid(s) have a brother out there, and eventually they'll get to meet him *as* their brother. Meanwhile, we get to see the chubbalicious guy occasionally.

    • existere Says:

      It is very cool!

      From our side of things, though we haven’t discussed it, we wouldn’t see any other kids resulting from that guy’s sperm or my eggs as brothers/sisters to Snort and Coconut. That being said, we have every intention of being very open and honest about where they came from, and at age 18 they will have the legal right to find out identifying details of their sperm donor. Before we had them I thought I would feel hurt if they wanted to do this, but now I can say I wouldn’t. I DO wonder if the ‘other baby’ will be curious about me, or if his/her parents will be open with them about where they came from.

      Also, I love the word ‘chubbaliscious.’

  4. Amber Morrisey (@birthroutes) Says:

    This was so amazing. Thank you so much for writing this.

    I’m sitting here with my jaw open, and surprised I feel the way you do. (off to go explore these feelings more).

    • existere Says:

      I think it is interesting the value placed on eggs, but perhaps not on sperm in our culture. Or maybe just in my head. Of course eggs take a lot more work to get at, but ultimately and logically they are half of the equation. I guess to me there is additional connotations of eggs bringing forth life, of fertility, etc. OFF TOPIC, but there you go!!

      I do know there are many people who desire children, but also desire to be pregnant on the journey to getting those children. If that other lady feels a hundredth of what I do towards my children, I feel happy for her.

  5. Natasha Says:

    Thank you for elaborating on this. It gave me goosebumps to read and really gave me a greater understanding of how you can give your eggs up for donation, why you chose to, and what you got from it as well as affirming the knowledge I already had of what a good deed you had done and what a great gift that other family had recieved of that additional life being brought into their world.

    I still know I wouldn’t be (emotionally) strong enough to give up my eggs. Maybe I’m too selfish, or jealous, or emotional. I don’t use those words to describe me as negatives, that’s just a part of who I am. And I am always trying to accept myself for who I am – even when I acknowledge my strongest traits aren’t always shiny and glorious and to be proud of, they are part of me. I feel atatched to my eggs and, for the reasons I wrote about before, I know in my heart I couldn’t do it. But even more so than before I respect you for being able to, and for the good that has come from you giving your egg away.

    • existere Says:

      I think we share a lot of views. I certainly have had (and still do have) all – not some, but all – of the feelings you mentioned in that other comment. The thing is that for me, what is done is done. I knew I was going to do it, I had my doubts along the way but did it, and now it is done. And how can I regret something that brought my children to me? I can’t. I think that’s the bottom line for me.

      (Also, I need to reply to your husband. He is SO RIGHT. Sand is HARD. Wheelchairs plus sand = BAD.)

      • Natasha Says:

        Yes that is certainly the best way to look at it – There is NO way you could regret it ever; Not only did it allow for your two beautiful babies to come into your life, but it aided someone else in having a beautiful baby enter into theirs as well. It would be hard to regret that.

        I know that if we had our children by any other means that what we did, no matter what it took, there’s no way we could have regreted it because we would have got them out of it, and they are worth the world. My life. Now that I have them, I know that there’s nothing I wouldn’t give or do to ensure that we got to have these little people in our lives… So I guess that part of me CAN relate to and understand how you can live happily with having shared your eggs to bring about your children, and somebody elses x

        PS: I always thought my husband was mean, because he’ll never go to the beach with my and the kids! Something about the sand and his wheels. After seeing your post on that the other day, I think maybe it’s not quite so unreasonable after all. Heh.

  6. Natasha Says:

    From my husband:

    “Can you say to her please, I have a list of things that wheelchairs do not go well with. I will rattle it out for her at some point.”

    How is the SPD situation at the moment? I don’t know if I’d missed an update but last time I read you were walking, is that just short distances? Are you still using the wheelchair? I’ll have to go through your tags and bring myself up to date! x

    • existere Says:

      I can walk short distances – like maybe five minutes pushing the stroller? Walking with crutches is easier for me. To actually really go anywhere and do anything I DO need a wheelchair – which is a bummer as I don’t actually own one. We keep getting ones from the Red Cross, but they are the sort someone needs to push you in. Obviously that doesn’t work for us as we always need an extra adult as the pram needs pushing and so do I!

      • Natasha Says:

        It might be worth contacting remap (http://www.remap-internet.org.uk/remapedia/tiki-index.php?page=Projects+2) They make adaptations to make getting around easier (I err away from the ‘d’ word).

        They made an adaptation for somebody who couldn’t walk without crutches, so that she could use crutches AND independently push her buggy. I’m not sure if they could do this with a double buggy as they are heavier and harder to push. It’s worth asking. http://www.remap-internet.org.uk/remapedia/tiki-index.php?page=Buggy+pusher&structure=Projects

        To my knowledge, although I don’t have the link, they also made an adaptation for an electric wheelchair where they put a car seat onto the front of the wheelchair so that the child had a seat on the wheelchair, too. You’d need your own chair for something like this but REMAP might be able to help you with that as well. If you could even just end up with a wheelchair that one baby could also sit in, could you then wear the other, and be able to go out with them on your own? It might be worth looking in to?

        Have you been living in the UK long enough to get help from the NHS in getting a wheelchair? It sucks that you have to pay so much for something as simple as your independent ability to go out. I’m dreading the time where hubby will need a new chair as one to his spec will cost us somewhere in the region of £3000. It’s ridicules!

        Hubby asked me to add that if you do have any questions about the whole wheelchair / access thing you’re welcome to email him. I’ll email you his address if you want it?

        I really hope you can get something sorted out. x

  7. halfadozen Says:

    Seriously, what an amazing post. So interesting. When we talked about what we would do with leftover embies from IVF, our donor (who is known) wouldn’t consent to anything but science or destruction. I was firmly in your camp. I really didn’t want to “destroy” those embryos, and didn’t love the thought of donating them to science when there were some perfectly loving, wonderful families out there who would be able to have a family because of them. It just made sense. I knew it would be emotionally hard, but lots of things involving kids are hard. Using a KD is hard sometimes (the whole “sharing” our child thing) and I still did that… It was a moot point because we had nothing left over, but we still had those conversations early on.
    It was so interesting to read this post. You touch on the issues and your perspective is so informed, and so clear… As you point out, our kids never “belong” to us,– they belong to the world, themselves, and their families, and this is what drove me to never fear using a KD. And your post reinforces and puts to words all the feelings I had about the potential leftover embies from IVF… Thanks for your honesty…

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