Saturday, July 26, 2014

Kaleidoscope: Donor Selection

DH and I always knew that choosing a donor would be a process fraught with angst (and yes, maybe I worked that in only to use that phrase).  Although he was more worried about me becoming attached to one and then losing that donor and I was worried about choosing just one amazing donor because there would be so many! 

I did prepare for the search by reading online blogs and articles.  The best advice I gleaned was to realize I wasn't going to find 'me' in the search and I gave myself permission to back away if a first look was overwhelming.  (I also made sure my DH understood that I may need to back away).  It turned out that I didn't need a break and there weren't all that many options.  Below is a general accounting of my day-by-day feelings during the search:

Day 1:  I don't have much to say, let's be honest.  No profound thoughts on how this has affected my life.  I finally started looking at donors.  I was disappointed in the selection amount, outside of the 4 the coordinator sent, there were only another 8 that were Caucasian with brown hair (basic requirements) to consider and 3 of them had American Indian heritage.  Not that I don't like Native Americans, I'm not sure I'm qualified to raise one.  I always wanted to have that heritage (it would have given me hope that my skin would tan), but unless there is some in my French Canadian heritage then my family is all Northern European.

It's hard to read the donor profiles because you do say 'omg, I don't know if I want that for a child'.  A mother with endometriosis, an aunt with breast cancer, a relative with diabetes.  It's hard to remind yourself that your grandmother had 5 miscarriages, that your uncle is schizophrenic, that you are hardly a perfect specimen and these donors are being as honest as they can about any possible genetic diseases.  Plus you have to wonder what is nature and what is nurture.

I do have two current front-runners, but I have concerns with both.  Mainly that one has a negative blood type (I am O+) and the other is 31, which makes me worried about how that would affect my success rates.

Day 2: Last night I did have very odd dream.  I dreamed I found out the 31 year old donor was this really nice Asian lady at work and I was very confused on why she had donated.  This coworker is not close to me, she is new and in a different department, and part of it was surely wishful thinking, she is very sweet and outgoing and maybe the donor sounds similar.  She is also at least in her 40s so I am sure she isn't donating eggs!

I decided to ask additional questions about both front running donors.  I sent emails to the coordinator and the questions for both donors were: is she proven (has there been a positive outcome from a prior donation)? is she open to contact at a later date (this is for my child)? 

I also questioned whether a negative Rh donor would affect the success of my pregnancy since I am positive Rh. 

DH declined to go through any of these applications with me, he had earlier said he would and then he backed out.  I might have been upset if I hadn't been so utterly surprised that he even wanted to look at them in the first place.  DH is not a touchy-feely person, so when he backed out I texted a good friend and asked if she wanted to look at them.  She is so excited! I am still conflicted as to how this is going.  I feel like neither donor is quite what I want.

I think the hardest thing is not that it isn't me, I was prepared for that to some extent.  It's that I'm so worried about making the wrong choice.  I don't want to make the wrong choice, I don't want to think what if I had looked more, had more options, used a younger donor, used a proven donor, used a positive Rh factor donor.  Right?  I want to be sure, positive, engaged, excited.  And I'm not - not yet.

Day 3:  Last night I dreamed my clinic wouldn't return my emails and it was two full days later and I was wondering what I should do.  This was clearly just stress, multiple emails were exchanged on this day (the first business day since I started looking).

I brought my laptop to work so that the friend I'm enlisting could see the applications.  We took a look and she also liked my two donors.  We waited for additional information back, the 31 year old wasn't proven (surprising to me) and she was open to further contact. 

I ended up deciding I could not live with a 31 year old donor.  What if it all failed spectacularly, would I think 'if only I hadn't spent my money on a 31 year old'?  Yes, I would and it would be horrible.  I couldn't live with that...

So that leaves the 21 year old.  Interestingly when I was chatting with the coordinator she said that not many 21 year olds are accepted into the program and they have to be 'remarkable'.  I found out that a negative Rh donor would not affect my outcome and, outside of the negative factor, would end up with the same possible blood types as if it was me and DH (A or O).  Plus if I make an O- baby then I am doing a small part to save the world... and I will probably have to train said baby to donate blood, which may be difficult. 

By the evening, after some chatting with twitter friends (thank you!) I found that I was pretty much set on her.  She had a 'positive outcome' and she was young!  The doubts remaining were, perhaps, the doubts that we all have about losing our genetic connection.

Day 4:  I woke up after essentially making the decision very worried that she didn't look enough like me.  Sure, she was brunette, my approximate height and weight, with my hair and eye color... but was that enough?  I had seen two pictures from mid-teen years and I was just not convinced.  So I promptly emailed the donor coordinator, She emailed me back and said yes, she looks a lot like me.  We look like we could be sister (we're not since I have no sisters of which I am aware and certainly no younger ones). 

I felt the last of my doubt melt away, yes, this was the one.

Then I asked about my double lot and found out I would have to pay 10K now for the extra lot.  I may have panicked just slightly trying to figure out how to pay it.  Then I worried, what if I had to pay for BOTH lots of eggs now and I wasn't aware??  I called the clinic back and she put me on hold after assuring me that the rest wasn't due until suppression check.  I waited and she came back and said they had decided to allow me to buy two lots now and pay for them all at suppression check! Woohoo!!  My savings is safe for another month.

As I write this last part I am finally feeling excitement again.  This donor is perfect, she is proven, very young, she looks like she could be in my family, and we're getting 12 eggs!  At least if it goes horribly wrong I won't be second guessing my choice. 

I can commence (and have) dreaming about babies, children who forget to tell me when their science project is due, teenagers that spill drinks when they should know better and respond sarcastically to everything, in essence: life!

And now we only have to figure out how to pay for this all.  (waah-waah) 

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