Written by Sandy Smith
Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate when it comes to having a baby. Many people struggle to conceive for various reasons, such as disease, an infection, endometriosis, or other reproductive issues. Fortunately, those who may have had no hope at all years ago now have many different infertility options to explore.
There’s nothing more disappointing than after years of heartache, hope, grief, and an overwhelming feeling of self-blame, that you’re unable to naturally conceive a child.
The good news is: there’s hope with donor eggs.
It’s important to understand there’s more than one route to parenthood, and egg donation has become increasingly popular in recent years.
Our Infertility Story
My partner and I were high school sweethearts and always planned on having a nice, big family; I wanted three, and he wanted more. You can imagine the pain I felt being unable to get pregnant after three years of trying. After undergoing extensive testing, I was diagnosed with infertility – in other words, we couldn’t use my eggs to conceive.
I went through a tidal wave of emotions; disbelief, grief, fear, anxiety and disappointment. I felt broken. After giving ourselves the time to grieve, I slowly started researching alternative routes, which gave me hope again.
It was actually a doctor friend of mine that explained the donor egg IVF process – the infertility solution that gave me the opportunity to be a parent.
The Truth About Donor Egg IVF
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 16,000 in vitro fertilization (IVF) attempts involve using donor eggs yearly. In fact, it has the highest success rate out of any of the fertility treatments offered!
Unfortunately, there’s still a slight stigma attached to using an egg donor to the point where many women – including celebrities – keep this fact secret… even from their donor-conceived children.
Another probable truth: you will – at some point – have a ‘meltdown’ under the stress of it all. Not being able to have your own child naturally and needing to depend on others to have your baby is a very emotional experience. However, please keep your mind open, gather as much information as you can, and keep your thinking positive!
A huge plus for me with the egg donor process was that both my partner and myself could be a part of our child’s creation. I provided the womb and my partner provided his sperm.
Our Frozen Donor Egg IVF Process Details
Selecting Our Egg Donor
We decided to move forward with egg donation and started looking for a donor. After a consultation we learned we had two options: either find a donor on our own (fresh) or go through a frozen egg bank like Donor Egg Bank USA. We decided to use Donor Egg Bank USA because of the diverse selection of donors available and quicker treatment process. While agreeing on our donor took about 2 months, we finally found someone who looked very similar to my sister.
Meeting with Our Fertility Counselor
My partner and I met with our therapist and she assured us many couples choose donor eggs to conceive. We also went over some of the emotional aspects of using an egg donor, such as grief over the loss of a genetic connection. We were also told to seriously consider telling our child at an early age about using a frozen egg donor, because this would keep the experience positive and give them the opportunity to weave their own story as they grow. Makes sense!
Signing Paperwork and Starting the Process
Next, we signed a pile of paperwork and began the actual process. Ultimately, we opted for frozen eggs because the cost was significantly lower than fresh and we believed it would give us the best chance of bringing home a baby, especially with DEB USA’s Blastocyst Guarantee and Assured Refund Plan.
Pre-Cycle Evaluation and Testing
Pre-Cycle Evaluation is where we both had a physical consultation, disease testing, and uterine cavity evaluation.
Preparing My Uterus for Embryo Transfer
Then, it was time to get my uterus ready for our embryo transfer. I took birth control to stop my ovaries from releasing eggs and an oral tablet to stimulate my uterine lining growth. Five days before the transfer, I used a progesterone gel to prepare my endometrium to accept our embryo.
In vitro fertilization (meaning fertilization ‘in glass’) happened immediately after my donor’s eggs were thawed. My husband’s sperm was injected and our fertilized egg was monitored for approximately sixteen hours by embryologists. They monitored our embryo as it grew over the next few days. Our embryo transfer happened on day 5, after our embryo developed into a healthy blastocyst.
Post Embryo Transfer Procedure and Follow-up
My estrogen and progesterone therapy continued to increase our chances of a successful conception. After 15 days, I took a pregnancy test to see if the process worked. Success!! Eight days later another test confirmed that my hcG levels were rising, and about 3 weeks later an ultrasound was performed to confirm our babies’ heartbeats.
Finding Our Happily Ever After
I was so excited to get a positive pregnancy test on day 13. We were pregnant with twins and went on to have two healthy baby boys that have my husband’s eyes and my penchant for chocolate ice cream. Frozen donor eggs made our dreams of having a baby (two babies, in fact!) come true – they might be the right choice for you, too.