Figuring out what happens now

posted by Mel 

I don’t know how to blog about it, but I’m going to because I think it’s important. Because last night when I was surfing like a mad woman for information I found nothing but sterile white abstracts from clinical journals about to what research purpose fertilized Day 1 or 2 embryos that had arrested could be put. There were no reasons why the embryos might have arrested. We still don’t have any good reasons it happened.

Apparently my eggs are just shit. Of the 17, 12 fertilized but didn’t change at all– no cell division. 5 gave it a half-hearted best shot and managed to cleave but badly. There were no walls differentiating one cell from another. We got big one-ish cell multi-nucleated embryos– meaning too many chromosomes. Meaning nothing but bad news if something had managed to somehow make it to a place where it could possibly implant– not that a responsible RE would ever try to transfer such horribly disfigured embryos.

Dr. G outlined our choices.

Option 1: To my surprise, he was willing to try IVF one more time with my eggs with a different drug protocol. By no means, though, did he think that was our best shot at a take-home baby. I agree. I think my eggs are out. After an emergency counseling appointment last night, I’m looking at this with more clarity. It turns out that biology hasn’t been that big of a driver for me in trying to conceive. More than a biological child, I want a child I have the experience of carrying and birthing. It’s surprisingly OK with me that said child does not share my genetic make-up. Disappointing, absolutely, but, because of the wonders that are embryo and egg donation, not the end of the world.

Option 2: Anonymous egg donation. This is probably our best shot because the donor’s eggs are young and ripe, and we get to hoard all of them for the future. In this scenario, some younger woman gets paid around $5000 to put her body through the same hell I just put mine through. $5000 just does not seem like nearly enough, and I’m having trouble justifying it. I also have a difficult time justifying the probably $30K total we’d be looking at spending. I’m not judging others that go this route. I think it makes sense for a lot of heterosexual couples, but Vanessa and I are already using donor sperm. It isn’t like we’d have a shot, in this scenario, to have a child that’s biologically related to either of us. The child would be biologically related to two strangers. While I have no problem with the idea of carrying an embryo that is the product of two strangers (see option 3), it seems like a lot of money out of pocket for us and a not-rewarding-enough proposition for me to feel comfortable making to another young woman.

Option 3: Using donor embryos. This one intrigues me. In this scenario, infertile couples like us who have had successful IVF cycles resulting in leftover frozen embryos, who have already completed their families, selflessly donate their remaining embryos to other infertiles. I don’t know how much this costs, but Dr. G indicates that it’s our cheapest option. Seems reasonable to me. We had already contemplated donating our leftover embryos to other infertile couples (ah, how naive we were– counting our embryos before they cleaved), and this would give us the opportunity to perhaps even provide our child with biological siblings if the donors were willing to maintain contact.

Option 4: Vanessa does IVF. I carry. Frankly, I thought this was out from the beginning. Vanessa appears to have very little inclination to carry a child, and she had always said that she did not want to do IVF– that she would not have chosen to do it, even though she supported me in it. She has really surprised me by changing her mind. At this point in her career, a pregnancy would be highly inconvenient for Vanessa, but she is willing to do a month and a half of fertility meds to make it possible for me to carry our child. I can’t imagine a greater honor. The baby would be biologically Vanessa’s, but my own blood would flow through its veins. As it stands right now, this is the way we’re leaning.

We will take a few months off to regroup and then plan for a December retrival of Vanessa’s eggs for fresh transfer into me. I must be the luckiest woman on earth to have a partner who loves me so much that she’d be willing to put herself through IVF after what she has just witnessed. One way or another, we’re still going to have our family.



Filed under Gettin' Knocked Up

10 responses to “Figuring out what happens now

  1. Again, I just want to say how sorry I am that this has happened to you both. I’m sorry too that you weren’t able to get much more information on why (although that perhaps would not make much difference anyway).

    It’s great to hear you are looking at the other options open to you, and indeed that there are these other options. The way you described your vision of #4 really moved me – it resonates with the strength of your commitment to each other and to the baby that I know will eventually find its way into your family. I hope the break revitalises you and wish you every success come December.

  2. SW

    Just started reading. Sorry about your loss this week. I just want to tell you that I’m so impressed with the strength of your committment with your partner and the family you’re creating. It’s a beautiful thing, and that is one lucky child that will find his/her way into your lives.

  3. Lo

    Reading option #4 moved me greatly as well. And yes. You *will* have your family.

  4. jay

    I’m also very moved and thinking of you both – indeed you will have your family. Big luck to you.

  5. missanthropy

    For what it’s worth, I am also very moved, especially by the idea of Vanessa doing IVF and you carrying. That really makes me feel very warm and mushy. 🙂 I think it sounds like a good option.

  6. Co

    I am still so sorry this happened and that you had to go through that much hell just to find out there is an egg quality issue. It sucks that no one can tell you more specifically why the embryos arrested either.

    It sounds like you two have a good plan though. Taking some time off sounds smart also.

    Thinking of you both.

  7. You ARE going to have a family. I like the option you’re leaning towards. I am also impressed with Vanessa’s obvious love for you and both of your dedication to the quest.

  8. Hey M – thanks for the email the other day. I haven’t taken the time to properly write, but oddly enough, I had found YOUR card in my bag just that morning. Weird how the world works sometimes. I’m really sorry the eggs didn’t work out, but it sounds like you have some really good options down the road. We go for our first consultation on tuesday (eep) and then start down this road too. For me, I am definitely biologically motivated. I know if my eggs don’t work, I’ll be pestering Sandra for Option #4 too. Anyhow, this is too long for a comment, so I’ll email you next week. Hang in there!

  9. Hi there.

    I just found your blog and I read this post. Ouch ouch…my partner and I have been there and we’re about to embark on a similar path – she’s doing IVF w/ my eggs. It is, I think, the most wonderful idea we’ve had together, ever.

    As close as we can get to making it together, ya know?

    Anyway, thanks for sharing.

  10. This article may be of interest –

    not quite appropriate as it’s your partners eggs, but still a lot of good stuff about grieving and moving on from using ones own.


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