Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wind Out of My Sails

Wow. I have to say I am still so relieved to find these other DE bloggers. I have been so worked up since our last meeting with Dr. Thera Pissed and our preference for disclosure and her obvious bias that we will eff up our child(ren) by doing so. However, reading all the DE blogs, disclosure (or not) just doesn't seem to be at the front of anyone else's mind going through the process. Instead it's happiness at being pregnant or being a new mom or even just starting the process. Perhaps I haven't delved into these new blogs enough, but I just don't see the trauma my Dr. Pissed has implied.

What a relief.

And what a relief, too, about the finances of this. DE Daddy just got a teaching job for the first part of the summer. That, plus some of my additional consulting money means that we will be able to about pay for this by the end of June. On the one hand, one may interpret this as a "sign" that it's going to work out because this new money has fallen into our laps at exactly the right time. Surely, that means it was meant to be. On the other hand, one may also interpret this to mean that it won't work out but we won't be in debt for "nothing." It will essentially be a wash financially; we won't be ahead , but we won't be in a hole either.

In fact, I could easily choose to see my last 6 months as having plenty of signs that this is going to work out: these frozen eggs fell in our lap, a major health scare that could have led to a miscarriage or worse was resolved before we started, we found money to pay for it without going into debt, we are going to a doctor who (unusually) understands auto-immune problems in recurrent miscarriages, other life worries have come to a happy conclusion.

I could see the events as predicting that what we want to happen will happen. Instead, what I see is more evidence that whatever happens, I will look back and say, "That was the right thing to occur."

I really feel the need to protect myself in this process even while I continue to feel positive and excited that we will end up with a child.

We go Friday to have my lining checked and learn the doctor's decision on when they will thaw the eggs.


Monday, April 28, 2008

More People Out There**

Over the weekend, I finally found some DE blogs. I've been googling like crazy but did not find these folks that way. In fact, I don't know how I found the first one, but I've been moving between them and trying to find out their histories. (Herstories, actually)

On the one hand, I'm really glad to not feel so lonely in this. On the other, I'm learning about stories in which the DE doesn't work and that sort of freaks me out considering that we're going in with frozen eggies and those are much less likely to succeed.

THAT SAID, these eggies come from a super donor so of all the people out there using frozen eggies, these are the most likely to work.

And the Magic Eight ball has repeatedly told me that we're going to get pregnant and it's going to be a boy and a girl. So there. The Eight ball always knows, right?

Also, I have no idea why it excites me so, but I'm now up to 3 estrogen patches and then tomorrow I go to 4. It feels like I'm doing something to help, even though I'm just putting hormonal stickers on myself.

We go in Friday to check my lining and make a decision about the thaw. Last week, that seemed like a long time away.

**I realized after I wrote the title, that there are more people out there doing donor egg. But I'm thinking the number of people using frozen donor eggs is only in the hundreds, at most.

Friday, April 25, 2008


After figuring out that Dr. Thera Pissed was talking out of her asshat, I decided to do a little investigation on my own to determine the pros and cons about disclosure to DE children. To be honest, there is not a lot of academic research out there and I have not had a chance to really evaluate it.

However, I did find an interesting article on "resemblance talk" and DE families. Resemblance talk the normal chit-chat from people when they see a new baby with his/her family ("She has your nose! He has your eyes!"). This, obviously, can be quite stressful for parents of DE babies, but for the mothers in particular.

I realized that after reading this article that I had always assumed we (or at least I) would always let the child(ren) "pass" should strangers say to me "Oh! She/he looks just like you!" My thoughts have been that if someone notes that we share the same chin, well, honestly, I believe there are only a finite amount of chins in this world and why as a matter of fact, we DO share the same chin. But there will also be talk about "Oh! His/her personality is just like yours!" and that is much more murky.

So after reading the previous article, what has come first to my mind is what comes from the donor, what is shared between the real mother (me) and DE child and what is really important. First, physical characteristics are most definitely inherited. Height, eye color, hair and bones are inherited. However, we know from current cloning studies is that clones don't look alike. That is, identical twins gestating in different mothers are born looking differently. One thought is that the gestating mother influences what genes are turned on or off during the pregnancy thus having some influence on the child's appearance.

But physical inheritance is one thing. It is important and we know about tons of research that shows that how people look affects how they develop (particularly for attractive people). But what about "personality?"

Well, to be honest, personality does have some genetic roots, but it's much less than people think. The same is true with intelligence. For example, psychologists think that the most inherited personality characteristic is extroversion and that, at most, 50% of extroversion from the genes. What kills me is that people get soooooo excited that extroversion can be explained by 50% of the genes. Great! Yippee!! Guess what?! The exact same amount, 50%, comes from the environment! That's the MOST inherited personality trait and its 50:50 nature vs. nurture!!

Even more so, in our case, of the 50% inherited, 50% of that is from dad's genes and 50% are from the donor's genes (which I will influence having inside of me).

So, back to the original issue here, Dad will account for (at most) 75% of the child's personality trait of extroversion and I will account for at least 50% of the personality traits. I say "at most" and "at least" because psychologists believe that mom's have more influence on the home environment than dad's do. I also want to point out that the 50% estimate is the minimum amount of influence that mom has on the DE child's personality because most personality characteristics are caused more by the environment and less by genetics than extroversion. For example, it is believed that intelligence is 30% inherited. You can do the math yourself, but to me, it says that the donor's genes has a less than a 15% role in the "intelligence" of a DE child. (There's even new research on adopted kids that shows a very strong relationship between adopted parents' intelligence and their children's intelligence. That really challenges the genetic links of intelligence.)

So I really don't believe it's "passing" when someone is going to tell me "Oh! Your child acts just like you!" It's more than likely the absolute truth! I don't think our child(ren) will inherit my hair nor my feet (THANK GOD!), but I do think they will inherit the core me, the inside me, my way of being and thinking. Oh, and I guess DE Daddy, too. I guess he does play some role in all this... :-)

And I don't think that's rationalization. I think it's the truth based on what we know about know about personality. And I think that's just fine.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A New Sort of Two Week Wait

I went in on Monday for bloodwork to see if the lupron is working and an ultrasound to make sure I have no cysts. A nurse (not my usual one) called back to let me know that everything looks good and to start my estrogen patches.

"So you're having a frozen embryo transfer," she said.

"No, I'm having a frozen egg transfer," I corrected.

"Oh, OK." Pause. "We're still working out the protocol because your husband needs to start cipro. And we've got to work on timing. Because this is not a natural IVF cycle."

A natural IVF cycle. I have to say I laughed (in my head). Natural IVF. We've come a long way in ART when typical IVF is considered "natural."

In any case, I'm in a weird sort of two week wait. We go back on May 2 to check on my blood work and see how my lining is doing. It is completely possible that we thaw the eggies and go for it right then. However, we are more likely to wait until May 5 (a Monday) to thaw so that embryologist can keep a closer look on them while they develop.

Also, we're going to have to be really flexible on when the transfer date is. In the research I've seen, most frozen eggies are transfered at 3 days and lots (up to 5!) are transfered at once because defrosted eggs don't grow that well. I'm really, really hoping we get to do a 5 day transfer because the odds of them taking are much higher with a 5 day transfer than a 3 day one.

No matter what happens, in 2 weeks we'll know how many survived the thaw, how many are fertilized and certainly two weeks from today, we'll know how many are growing in what capacity.

Oh, yes, and now is the time for me to complain about how Dr. Thera Pissed advised me "not to think about this" unless I'm at the clinic. Just put it out of my mind and get on with the rest of my life. Tic-a-loc on my feelings and my thoughts on this DE IVF. Sure!! And then, by the force of my will alone, I will stop the tide from coming in. Isn't that advice along the same lines of saying "Don't feel that way", the #1 thing you are never supposed to say to another person who is having problems?


I'm doing fine with this. Either it works or we know we tried. So many weird things have happened in my life that seemed awful at the time and then led to something much better. So whatever happens now, we will just wait and see. For two more weeks, it appears right now.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

How Paranoid Are You?

I want to talk about our decision to disclose the origins of our next child(ren), should we be so lucky to get pregnant using donor eggs. However, I don't want to write some long preachy blog post about why we think what we going to do is the right thing. First of all, I fully believe that everyone has to make decisions that reflect what is best for their family. If I believed that my choices were the Best Choices To Be Made to make then pretty much the whole world would be sitting in my (wonderful) house in my (fantastic) city and we'd all be content knowing that my decisions are best for all. And although I believe that my house is the best house in the world and I wouldn't live in any other city, yet I sit here alone not judging you for not being here, I'm going to say that others have to make decisions that are right for them.

Second, I don't want to write a long preachy blog post on disclosure because I am too freakin' tired. That is my main side effect of lupron, well, fatigue and bitchiness. Hooray!

So here is what is most on my mind with disclosure: our clinic's therapist (Dr. Thera Pissed) wants us to be as paranoid as possible in thinking about how someone might find out about us using donor eggs and how that information could get back and hurt our child. She does not want us to tell the pediatrician or my OB or anyone except for her, our RE and each other. She believes that people in the offices will talk about it and the word will get out and someone will come up to our child in middle school and tell him/her/them that he/she/they are not really my child and ask where their "real" mommy is.

First, might I suggest a review of the governmental policy HIPAA? Second, really? My life is that interesting that, in a metropolitan region of over 1 million people, multiple people are going to keep track of our lives and then tell their children who will then find our child of whom they will not know their last (correct) name and then taunt them. Really?

Thera argues that DE is so unusual that people will notice it and talk about it and because they are not as informed as we, they will same stupid things. I do agree with that part and it's one of the reasons we've decided not to tell our neighbors or even our family. There is one judgmental, hyper neighbor of mine for whom I can see that scenario playing out nearly exactly. But we shouldn't tell our pediatrician? Really?

I think Dr. Pissed is paranoid about the wrong things. They are now taking the DNA from all the children in foster care from the Mormon sect in Texas. DNA is going to become the first choice for medical and law officials in the not too distant future. Prescriptions could even be tailored to your specific DNA. My paranoid mind takes me down a variety of paths in which someone is going to be in for a nasty shock and I really don't want it to be my children.

More later, but I really am pooped. And I want to stop thinking and go watch some mindless TV.

Friday, April 18, 2008

As Good A Chance as Any

Although we've already bought into this process, I keep going over the numbers in my head about the likelihood of success. Frozen eggs have about a 75% thaw rate and then a 75% fertilization rate after that (a study reported in Fertility & Sterility). Once they are fertilized they appear to do as well as fresh eggs as far as development and implantation. It's just that right off the bat, you lose quite a few eggies.

We have 15 frozen eggs. My calculations suggest that we could have between 8 and 9 fertilized eggs. Based on my friend's success rate with these eggs, I think that means that we could have between 1 and 4 high quality day-5 blastocysts to work with.

That is exciting. Even one high quality blastocyst would have a good chance. Two would be even better.

My doc said that it all depends on how these guys do. If they are high quality and we're at Day 5, we'll implant those two and freeze the rest. If it's Day 4 and all of them look like crap, we'll put them all in. (I don't think he meant that literally, but we'd put in 4 or so of the best crappy looking ones we had).

I don't think the problem with these eggs is going to be they getting to a good place. I think the donor's history attests to that. I think the issue is going to be how many of these survive the thaw. And that freaks me out. If we get an 75-80% thaw rate, I think we'll do great. If it's more like 50%, I don't think it's going to work. Ok, I'm searching and I've found an estimate of 60% thaw rate and one at 90%. I think the 75% estimate is nicely in the middle.

In any case, it doesn't matter what the number say or what we hope, we have to wait until this actually happens. And I'm ready to just see what happens.

On another note, I do want to talk about disclosure. But I feel like I'm sidling up to it. Did anyone else hear about the new fed standards of taking a DNA sample of everyone arrested by a federal agent? Not convicted, arrested. I think it's going to be sooner rather than later when we all have our DNA on file in the doctor's office. And that could make for some complicated discussions for some folks down the road.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Easy Part

I wish I had known the last two months had been the easy part. Today was the trial transfer with the RE. The point was to make sure there would be no surprises if and when we get to the point of moving some blastocysts into my uterus. The doctor called me easy; just don't tell my husband.

The "work" for this cycle starts now at least from the doctor's perspective. He did acknowledge that our legal process may have been more work for us and I have to say I agree. Because we accepted anonymous donated frozen eggs from our friend and there have been horror stories upon horror stories of people who change their mind, the clinic wanted a legal document about the eggs. My friend and I naively thought we could simply have a piece of paper notarized and that would be it! (Or maybe that was just me.) Two months and $2500 later, we have a contract that covers these eggs as a gift, a donation and/or an adoption. The state I live in has laws that are still fluid in this area and our lawyer wanted to cover every possibility.

Some good news is that I am relieved to hear the doctor today say that the embryologist is very, very keen on this process being successful. As I've said, we're the first frozen eggs (donor or otherwise) that our clinic has worked with. Because my RE is understandably non-committal about the success of this venture, I'm glad to hear that the embyrologist is at least going to try really hard!! Why is it understandable that the RE should be so circumspect (to use his own words)? He's the one who'll be the bearer of bad news, should it come to that. He doesn't want to get my hopes up.

Honestly, after suffering 8 miscarriages since our son, I'm not altogether sure I believe that this is going to work out. I think that really, we're just spending $12,ooo so that 10 years from now I can say, "We did the best we could."

Of course, I'll be honest. I'm willing to go for another fresh donor egg cycle. So it's more likely to be "We spent $30,000 and we did the best we could."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I started Lupron 5 days ago. Lupron is the first step in a suppression cycle, which means they turn off all your hormones so that the next cycle they slowly start turning the hormones back on. In a regular IVF cycle, after AF arrived, I'd start estrogen and HCG to start egg production. For us, after AF starts, I'll just start estrogen. Then when my lining is looking good, they will thaw out our frozen eggs, DE Daddy will do his part, and then, hopefully, we'll transplant some good embies back into me.

So far the Lupron hasn't had that much of an effect on me. Well, much of a physical effect. Lupron essentially puts your body into a "false menopause". It can cause night sweats and hot flashes and even mood swings. So far, I'm not sweating any more than usual, but when I bit our poor dog's head off for barking more than I desired, my husband commented "Menopause, eh?"

Yeah. He has fun times to look forward to.

Just to make clear: we're using frozen eggs, not frozen embryos. It took me a while when my friend offered to understand that. In addition, we are the first couple at our infertility clinic to ever use frozen eggs. That is, they have never defrosted any ones before. So we get to be the lucky firsts. We're the lucky firsts in many ways at this clinic, so it makes me nervous. But if this works, it could make me very, very happy.

Monday, April 14, 2008


This is an anonymous blog about a family adding a child through donated eggs. We are starting with 15 frozen, anonymous donor eggs (DE) given to us by a friend who used this same anonymous donor and her clinic froze all the "extra" eggs from her donation. My friend has a successful pregnancy with twins. We hope we are so lucky, too.

We are currently planning to disclose to our child but not to our families. Thus, the main purpose for me for this blog is to talk about all the things that are happening, particularly the things that I cannot talk about to my friends and family. And I want to b!tch about my infertility therapist who is driving me crazy right now.

I also hope I can share the information, research and life choices we're making to help others on the way down this relatively new path.