So - we're in the middle of a donor egg cycle.
We got a call about two months ago to tell us that the clinic had a egg-share donor for us. We'd promised ourselves that, having twice said no to donors because it was the wrong time (I know, I know - it seems mad, but I'm glad we did it), we would say yes to the next one regardless of what they said about her (eg job, eye-colour etc). So I was a bit nervous, to say the least.
I haven't really talked much about our donor egg process on here. It was after the 6th miscarriage that a lovely nurse who saw me in the early pregnancy unit asked me if we had considered donor eggs. We had, in theory, but had thought that - hoped that - it wouldn't come to that. Several friends offered to give me their eggs - how lucky am I! - but they were all the same age as me (or older) and had all had issues of their own with getting or staying pregnant, so they weren't suitable. Plus, I really wasn't sure I could put them through the regime, never mind the issues surrounding their existing kids. And that's before all the concerns about whether I could cope with the idea of the child not being genetically mine. Still, we found a brand new clinic at a city near home that was doing egg-share and we put our names on the list.
A year later, we heard from them and that bit I have blogged about. The first donor came at a time when I had a temporary promoted post and the second just as we heard about the array CGH cycle possibility. So it all went on hold. Then there was the hypertension diagnosis and the concern that all thoughts of pregnancy might be over for good. But we got the go ahead to try, had a little bit of "normal life" and a nice holiday in Chicago and then told the clinic we were ready to go for it. In the meantime, I came to terms (as much as anyone can, I think) with the thought of giving up on the idea of my own genetic child.
However, I was worried. Our clinic has been at great pains to tell me all about the physical features of our possible donors - height, hair colour, eye colour. But, really, I really couldn't care less about that - our family has ranged in height from 6'2" down to 4'11"; we have blue, grey, brown and green eyes in our range; my grandmother was a redhead, my sister is mostly blond, my mum is mousey-brown, I am dark brown and my dad has black hair; my paternal grandfather had tight, tight curls while my mother's hair is as straight as anything; My skin is, as Billy Connolly joked, a typically Scots "blue - it takes me a week in the sun to go white" (actually, I burn in seconds and am covered in freckles) while my sister goes golden-brown after an hour. Short of a totally different skin colour (which, frankly, only bothers me in terms of the prejudice the child might face from the ignorant of the world), you could give us any combination of physical features and we could track it back to a close relative. Plus, since we're planning on being totally up-front about the fact that any child that might result from this is a donor child, we don't really see the point of making sure that their features match mine faithfully.
Call me an intellectual snob, but intelligence was important though. Not book-learning, mind, or social class, just common-sense smarts. My mother's side of the family is upper-middle class and I'm the fourth generation of women on that side to go to university. My dad's family is very working class and my sister and I are still the only women on that side of the family to have gone to university. BUT - both sides of the family are smart people - my dad's mum would have loved to have continued her education beyond the age of fourteen (and would have been well able to), but she had to go out to work to support her family and only her brothers got to stay on at school. Opportunity is everything, so I know very well that your level of education and your social class indicate nothing about your IQ. How on earth do you work that one out from the very limited info you get about a donor?!
Well, we hit extremely luck with ours. While it sounds like she probably hasn't been to uni, she goes to night classes and her main interests are the same as mine and CM's - art and music. That's all I needed to know - she is interested in learning and she values some of the same bits of life. That's more than good enough for me! I said yes without even consulting CM. He was as delighted as me.
We're now at the stage where I've downregulated (prostap injection, then another 3.5 weeks later when it became clear that my donor was a wee bit further behind than me) and been taking progynova for two weeks. I'm feeling a bit nauseous and lethargic, which I think is down to the progynova. The donor has had egg-collection and we got five eggs - I felt a little disappointed, but cheered up when I heard that all five had fertilised and that, if we manage to get four good embryos, we might go to blastocyst.
Just hearing that all five eggs had fertilised catapulted me into an optimism I really didn't want to feel. That optimism seems to come with every cycle - first time it was getting 16 eggs and then 13 embryos (all of which were slow growing and relatively poor quality and led to a BFN), second time it was hearing that one of my own five eggs was genetically normal and had turned into an embryo (but that was slow growing and also led to a BFN). A bit of me would love to dive deeper into that optimism and enjoy it while it lasts, but a bit of me is terrified that it will end in the same way as the cycles with my own eggs (and the IUI and the six cycles with Clomid and the countless totally natural attempts that ended in BFNs or miscarriages). Superstition, white magic and bargains with God are all under consideration at this point!