Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sharing is Caring

In our decision to choose which hospital system to move forward with for IVF, one of the options C and I considered was an egg sharing program. This program was offered by UH, along with >50% reduction in the total cost to me. The deal is that I would go through the IVF protocol as planned, but in coordination with another person, and then share half of my eggs. I had to share half, unless there was an odd number and then I get the extra. The program was designed as completely anonymous.

C and I considered this option for a few reasons. First, I've been told repeatedly that I have "too many" eggs and that I am expected to respond really well to super-ovulation for IVF. If I have 20+ eggs and end up with 10+ eggs, that should still be plenty for both a fresh and frozen cycle for me, right? This was my argument. The second reason is the obvious financial benefit. Money is unfortunately a serious factor in our reproductive decisions these days. The third main reason is my mom. I mentioned previously that my mom was a surrogate, almost 14 years ago now. I have a half sister and I was able to see, first hand, the wonderful gift that my mother was able to give to such a deserving couple. To be able to do something similar myself would be such a blessing and I would be honored. 

We/I ultimately decided not to go this route. On the more selfish level, the anxiety about giving away half of my options at a child was significant. What if I only have a few eggs and then lose half of them and don't have enough leftover for myself? What if she got pregnant with my eggs and I didn't? My mom was a surrogate after her own family was complete, not trying to accomplish both goals simultaneously. Additionally, neither C nor I felt comfortable with the anonymity aspect. C's primary concern was What if we have two children of the opposite sex and they meet each other one day and fall in love and never realize that they're actually siblings? As silly as this is, I couldn't argue. Science suggests that we fall in love with people are similar to us, and who is more similar than a sibling? My concern was a little more realistic, but less gross. With my half sister, we see or hear from her every year or so. I know generally how she's doing and what's she up to in her life. She knows that she has ties to a second family, but I know she doesn't think of us like that and that's a good thing. She can know her medical history if she wants and she can know her ancestry if she's interested. We don't have to look at every strange 14-year-old on the street and wonder if we might be related. I wouldn't want a strong relationship necessarily, although I would be open to this, but I also do not want anonymity and I don't believe that is in the best interest of the child. 

I told C that I didn't feel comfortable with the program at this time. I think he was relieved because he was trying to let me make my own decision about this (they are my eggs after all). But I did tell him, that after we have our baby, assuming my eggs are really as plentiful as everyone says, I do want to donate my eggs. I do want to give back and pay it forward. But I want to do it on my own terms and not at the same time that I am so pressured to build my own family. I feel good about this decision. 


  1. I think that's a perfect choice; build your own family first, then help others. I actually was on an egg donor registry for a few years after college. I got picked once but the couple found out the woman wasn't in optimal condition to carry so they had to cancel. One of the things they had asked me when I first signed up was "what if you do this then find out later that you can't have your own kids." I kind of said "well that would be okay I guess." HA!!! If I had actually donated I would be tortured now by the thought that someone out there had a baby that was part of me.

  2. Hi from ICLW. Such a tough decision, but I would have made the same one. Infertility is like russian roulette...and I know, for me, it would KILL me to know that someone else had my baby while I was still continuing to struggle. And, God forbid, what if they did meet? That's totally plausible. It sounds like you made the perfect decision for your family - and down the road, if you still think you might want to help, there is always egg donation.

    1. Here from ICLW too, and I gotta say I agree 100%!