In just a few days, we’ve moved from, “we’re probably going to move forward with donor egg” to actually starting the process. I figured out that, because of the timing of our vacations in the upcoming months, it didn’t make sense to try to conceive naturally again. If I miscarried, we wouldn’t be able to try donor egg until July or August. I didn’t want to delay that long, so now I’ve started the meds (ironically, birth control pills) and we’re sorting through photos and background information on potential egg-donors. Yikes! Yipee! Holy shit!
When it comes to picking a donor, we benefit from the irrationality of others. Apparently, most people get extremely caught up in the donor-selection process, sometimes shopping around at various egg banks and clinics to find that “perfect match.” Women seem to want to pick a donor who exactly like themselves, or who they think they would like as a friend. (You would not believe the wealth of information they collect on these donors – audio interviews and written essays and what their favorite animal is and more!) But I found out today that these women can donate their eggs multiple times, so that some of them have a history. The case manager assigned to me (I’ll call her K. because I have a feeling that I’ll be talking about her a lot in the coming months) said that there are superstar donors – women who produce a lot of eggs with no complications. So, aside from some basic criteria like race and maybe a couple of other things like that, we’re going to narrow the field based on the donor’s history. We’re going to pick someone with a track record of success.
We’re also going to pick someone who is available soon. Apparently, some donors have a long waiting list. At least one that K. told me about has ten people on her waiting list. She can only donate nine times total (each donation is called a “cycle” and during the process the donor is “cycling”). That tenth person put herself on this waiting list and may never get this donor. Why? What does she think she’s going to get out of it? I can’t imagine the donor’s genes being more important than moving quickly and having a good chance of success. There are plenty of good donors that will work with my schedule.
As for genetic health issues, we have nothing to worry about. Only 3% of the women who apply get accepted into the donor egg program at my clinic. They screen for everything imaginable. It’s a much higher quality gene pool than my own, that’s for sure.
Still, after those considerations, we probably will make our choice based on the photos more than anything else. And I have to admit, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that we could have a baby that might look like this one or that one. It’s quite a power trip.
There are other things we’ll have to decide – do we do a split cycle (split the donor’s eggs with another recipient to save money), pay up front for multiple cycles (at a discount), sign up for the exorbitantly expensive but partially refundable pregnancy guarantee, freeze embryos for future use, etc. The options are amazing. We’ve come a long way since that first test tube baby.
The process is also quite interesting. It’s a major time investment, as well as financial, but it’s not nearly as intense as IVF because I don’t have to go through both the retrieval and the implantation – just the latter. I’ll be sure to document the whole process here in great detail.