Monday, July 16, 2012

DE Subtleties

The ALI community is an incredibly varied one.

I'm happy to say that, in real life at least, my experience of it has been of women banding together and supporting each other regardless of where they are in their journey. Before I came to the stage of looking at donor eggs, I was unaware of the maze I was entering. Sure, I knew that DE was different from DS, and harder to come by. But once we had decided that it was something we could/should do, what a lot of decisions there were! Should we accept the offers of eggs from several friends/family who were, medically speaking, bad bets? Should we approach other friends and family who were younger or had better pregnancy records to ask for their eggs? Should we join a waiting list at our local clinic for an altruistic donor (even though the consultant was very discouraging)? Should we go further afield in the UK for egg-share? Should we go abroad, where the donation would be anonymous but the wait shorter?

In the end, we went to a clinic in our part of the UK - not local, but somewhere we wouldn't have to factor in accommodation for appointments - which was the only one in Scotland doing egg-share and the only one we came across that seemed to have a waiting list you could join for DE (and combined altruistic donation and egg-share - you were offered whatever option came up when you were top of the list). Our donor turned out to be an egg-sharer.

There are some who feel that this form of DE is exploitative of women who might feel this was their only way to do IVF - that did give me pause. On the other hand, our donor had already had a child (a prerequisite for a donor at our clinic) and she'd had him by IVF (male factor, so I'm assuming ICSI), so they'd managed to afford it before and also knew the territory. Plus, there was a part of me that felt pleased that we might help someone fulfil their dream at the same time as trying to achieve ours - she had said pretty much the same thing on her form, apparently.

So I was very pleased to read this blog entry from a co-founder of the UK's Donor Conception Network which seems to echo my feelings on egg-sharing. I'm also wondering - is egg-sharing a peculiarly British thing, or are there other countries that do it to? Anyone out there know?

Monday, July 2, 2012

One Big Good Thing

I haven't done very well at keeping up with my "5 good things" posts - life is busy and that's good in itself.

I have a friend who I met through my main online infertility support group. We met IRL about 7 years ago just as we were both starting IVF treatment at the same NHS centre. She and her DH had already been trying for around 5 years, at that point, to my 2 years. They are the only IF couple that my DH and I have met up with regularly together - the 2 DHs are in the same line of work and get on well. She has tried just about everything alongside her IVF treatments - all sorts of special diets, complimentary therapies, immune treatments, genetic testing of embryos. She had one precious, short-lived biochemical pregnancy about 5 years ago and hadn't done any treatment for a couple of years. She is the same age as me - 43 - and she and her DH have spent every penny they have (and some they haven't) on treatment. They have been stalwart friends to us through our own journey - and even met up with us while I was heavily pregnant, when our son was a newborn and earlier this year when he had just started walking. Every one of those visits must have cost them, emotionally. If babies could be awarded for sheer hard work and dedication, they'd have had one a long time ago.

I got a text from my friend two weeks ago to say that they were abroad and in the middle of a donor egg cycle. I was so pleased - we'd spoken about DE before but they were uncertain. I got a message last week to say that she'd had her first ever positive pee-stick and then another message to tell me she had a really strong beta, then yet another to say the following beta had shown lovely 48 hour doubling.

She is in brand new territory - after 12 years of trying! - and taking things one day at a time, naturally. But I am ecstatically, deliriously, overwhelmingly happy for her and her DH and hoping and praying that this is FINALLY their turn.