Considering Frozen Donor Eggs:
Understanding Your Emotions
The sisterhood of infertility is a club no one wants to join. From difficult conversations with your doctor to dealing with the barrage of pregnancy announcements on social media, you may experience a rollercoaster of emotions after receiving your diagnosis such as betrayal (by your own body), isolation, anger, frustration, and deep sorrow. Fortunately, there’s renewed hope for those wishing to experience the joys of pregnancy by using frozen donor eggs.
Vitrification, an advanced flash-freezing process, exposes eggs to a cold liquid cryoprotectant to prevent ice crystal formation. Not only does this greatly increase survival rates during thawing, but the cost of frozen donor eggs is about half the price of using fresh donor eggs for in vitro fertilization (IVF).
For those considering frozen donor eggs to conceive, it may help to know the most common emotions and concerns many can experience while undergoing the process.
Grieving your genes
Those choosing to start or expand their family by using frozen donor eggs may need to grieve the loss of having a genetically related child. You may have had dreams of what your child would look like or who they would take after; saying goodbye to that vision can be challenging, even if you use your partner’s sperm.
Many intended parents have found talking to a counselor helps them come to terms with the reality of using donor eggs. It’s important to communicate openly with your partner and doctor about your feelings surrounding infertility. Feeling supported and being in a positive state of mind will help you make an informed decision.
Worrying about your finances
The pregnancy tests, the numerous visits to the doctor, the medications, traditional IVF attempts (and failures): they all add up.
While you can’t put a price on the desire to have a baby, deciding to try yet another treatment does impact your budget. Fortunately, using frozen donor eggs generally costs about half as much as a traditional, fresh egg donor IVF cycle. Some companies may offer a refund if you do not deliver a bouncing baby after a certain number of attempts.
Releasing your fear and anxiety
Perhaps you’ve tried other fertility treatments, or you’ve known from the start your eggs aren’t viable. In either case, it’s natural to experience anxiety about whether a new treatment will work. For various reasons, many intended parents have found using frozen donor eggs is less stressful than using fresh.
Frozen egg donors are rigorously screened
First, you can choose among donors who’ve already undergone rigorous medical, genetic and psychological pre-screening and may select someone who meets your criteria for qualities such as education and physical appearance.
No cycle synchronization needed
Additionally, you don’t need to synchronize your body to another person’s menstrual cycle for egg retrieval and implantation. You won’t need to worry about whether your donor responds well to her medication or produces enough eggs because your donor’s eggs are ready and waiting to be shipped to your fertility clinic when needed.
To help prepare your body, your doctor will provide a hormone protocol of progesterone and estrogen to create a hospitable womb for implantation. After your donor eggs are fertilized and reach suitable maturation, your doctor will insert 1-2 embryos into your uterus with a thin catheter in an outpatient procedure.
You may still experience anxiety over the next two weeks while you wait for a pregnancy test, but this is a good time to have faith!
Free yourself from common fears and concerns
If you’re concerned you won’t bond with your baby because he or she wasn’t conceived using your own eggs, remember that you’ll share everything while growing them inside your body. Your baby will even be able to share in your experiences by hearing sounds within your environment, the foremost being your voice.
You know more than anyone how much you’ve yearned for this baby. With so many options available for creating a family today – from adoption to gestational surrogacy – there’s no reason to worry your baby born from a donor egg will feel any less yours than any other baby to any other family.
Preparing for your birth and baby: hope and excitement
After successful implantation, you can look forward to the relief and excitement of finally getting your positive pregnancy test, hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time, feeling the flutters of your baby’s kicks, and seeing black and white blurs resolve themselves into your baby’s head on an ultrasound.
Closer to your due date, there’s the ‘any-day-now uncertainty’ of when the baby will come, and then the doozy of labor that leads up to you meeting your little one for the first time.
No matter how you conceive, your baby will be perfectly yours… just like every other mom.