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When DNA Doesn’t Matter: My Experience with Donor Egg IVF

By admin / October 15, 2018

I can still remember the smell of the doctor’s office when we found out my eggs weren’t viable for pregnancy – a sterile mix of antiseptic, paper, and worthlessness.

I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact my body was incapable of doing something everyone deems natural. I sat in one of their straight-back, leather chairs staring off into space as my husband listened attentively to our doctor’s words and attempted to make enough sense of the situation for both of us.

That’s when my eyes landed on a brochure called Become an Egg Donor: Egg Donation Requirements & FAQ’s.

The wheels began to turn and I asked our doctor for more information.

Deciding to Use an Egg Donor

I would love to say I was instantly set on my decision to use a donor egg. It would be a lie, though.

While DNA is microscopic, it seems to carry so much theoretical weight in our decisions to have children. We dream of looking into little eyes that match our own and seeing our mannerisms reflected back at us. When it comes to the bigger picture, these seem like such insignificant details, but as a woman, they feel so important.

I struggled with the idea that my son or daughter wouldn’t share my genes. It angered me that they’d obtain these characteristics from someone other than myself.

In the end, though, I found myself weighing all of the options.

Choosing adoption, for example, is a valiant choice. However, I’d not only lose out on a genetic connection, but also give up the opportunity to experience pregnancy and delivery.

After many months of back-and-forth deliberation, I came upon an article discussing how a donor egg baby can still receive parts of their mother’s DNA. Molecules known as microRNA are passed onto the baby in the womb and influence his or her genetic expression.

This little bit of knowledge was the information I needed to sway my decision – I made the phone call and set an appointment with a reputable donor egg facility.

How Do You Pick an Egg Donor?

Selecting an egg donor isn’t exactly simple.

While I wish it was as easy as going to the store and picking out a loaf of bed, there were so many variables to consider.

What type of woman did we want?

How much did looks matter?

Should educational background play a role in our decision?

There’s no right or wrong list of requirements when it comes to choosing a donor. Thankfully, all fertility clinics require their donors to undergo a rigorous screening process before they’ll accept their eggs for donation. This fact provided a sense of comfort to me and my husband.

After much deliberation, we came up with a list of traits important to us and were able to choose the perfect donor for our family.

It felt like the hard part was over; now we just had to undergo the transfer itself.

The Frozen Donor Egg IVF Process: What’s Involved?

Once we’d chosen a donor and were ready to begin our IVF cycle, our eggs were transferred to our local fertility clinic to await fertilization and development.

I underwent a variety of precursory screening tests including blood work and ultrasounds to evaluate my current reproductive health. Once that was done, our doctor prescribed a regimen of medications based on my needs. These primarily included progesterone and estrogen to help prepare my uterus for implantation.

The nursing staff at our facility monitored my progress with bloodwork and transvaginal ultrasounds until my body was ready.

The transfer itself was quick and painless. We arrived at the clinic early and held our breaths as we watched them insert our beautiful, developing embryo into my uterus with a thin catheter.

Once it was successfully in place, we waited out the two weeks before ultimately finding out our dreams had been realized– I was pregnant!

There’s More to Mother/Child Relationships than DNA

Do you want to know what I thought the first time I laid eyes on my daughter?

“She’s so perfect and beautiful.”

I wasn’t thinking that her nose looked like the donor’s, or that her blue eyes didn’t match my own – I was simply enthralled with my new little girl.

Nine months of feeling her inside of me and watching my body grow were all I needed to feel connected. While the idea of a genetic link through microRNAs was neat, I realized it didn’t matter.

I am her mother. She is my child.

That’s the only connection that matters anymore. No matter how this adorable creature came to be, I feel blessed that she’s mine.

  • Jessica C.

 

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