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Gina's Story
Posted January 6, 2006 (last update Jan 28,, 2011)

My story begins five years ago. On December 31st, 2000, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at 35 weeks. She was instantly rushed to the NICU. The next day the doctors informed us that our daughter, Logan, was born with a severe form of Myotonic Dystrophy. We had never heard of this disease and as it turns out, my daughter inherited the mutated gene from me. I didn't even know I had the disease. Logan had the illness so severly that she could not breathe on her own. She died at 5-and-a-half weeks.

Since Logan we have tried several cycles of IVF. We were not infertile but we did want to avoid having another child with the disease so we tested eggs to only implant the ones that were free of the illness. I have a 50% chance of passing this disease on to another offspring. After one miscarriage and two failed cycles using IVF, I was diagnosed as infertile. I had some surgery which didn't help my infertility, but did allow me to do another cycle. I became pregnant but miscarried again.

Now we have begun our research on egg donation. For me this is a very difficult decision. I have had a child that was biologically mine and my husband's, now she is gone and having another child that is ours genetically, is impossible. I do know that I want children and as it goes, this seems the best way of having one but... I have so many questions. My husband doesn't understand. I read another story that mentioned both being "on the same playing field." It is so true. In some ways I feel jealous of my husband that this is his child and not mine. Will I be jealous of this baby because of my husbands' love for him or her and it isn't even part of me but part of another woman? What if one day my baby wants to meet their "real" (biological) mom?

I was wondering if anyone out there has been in this same situation - having and losing and then turning to egg donation? I wonder about your experience and if you had any of the same questions. Please help me if you can.

To all of those who donate their eggs to women like me I praise you for your strength and generousity. Hopefully one day you can help me - when I get this all clear in my head.

Response - posted Feb 13, 2006

Gina, I have tried for quite some time to have a baby. Finally this year my husband and I turned to IVF. Unfortunately, at 35, I am experiencing early menopause & early ovarian failure. I have no eggs left. My only option is to turn to an egg donor. I, like you, am really struggling with this.

I don't feel like it would be "my" child even though without me it wouldn't have life. Will I feel left out & have to watch a different type of relationship develop between them & my husband because they are a biological family and I'm not? I feel very confused, hurt & cheated (I just found out last week of my infertility so its pretty hard to cope with) so I know I have a lot more thinking to do but it's comforting to know I'm not alone.

I guess we both have to think about what the most important thing to us is - how the child got here or just being able to develop this child & have that bond that only you can have with a child that you carry for 9 months even if it's not biologically yours... I wish you luck with your decision & hope that you can make peace with whatever decision you make.

I too would like to thank egg donors for the amazing gift to those of us who are unable to create these little miracles on our own. I hope to become strong enough to make the right decision.

Kellie

Response - posted March 3, 2006

Gina, I like you have all those feelings of what if. However, if you have a strong bond with your husband, then these feelings should not be a problem. I am now embarking, at 46, on the egg donation course. After a 3yr wait for an egg donor, I am now at the top of the list.

I think sometimes it is because of these feelings that I have not tried more actively to get a donor of my own. However, although not desperate for a child, after years of IVF and ectopic pregnancies I thought in the last 3yrs I had finally come to terms with the knowledge that if I have a child it would not be biologically mine. Unfortunately though, since I am now going to attempt an egg donation cycle a lot of feelings old and new have come to the fore.

Me and my husband have been together for 13yrs and married for 9 and have a wonderful loving relationship and have to say he has not once made me feel I should do this solely for him. When this chance of an egg donor came up he left the decision up to me as he didn't want me to feel pressured and tried hard to reassure me that if I decided not to go throught with it that it wouldn\'t make any difference to what we have.

Our love is such that I really believe him. However, realistically how could I be the person who comes between him and the only chance left of him having a child that he could also pass on his blood line? Apart from that, he feels that we would both make great parents and have a whole new way of developing our lives. It is this that has made my mind up to go ahead and I know deep down that the love I share with him can only be passed on in a positive way to the child, if we are lucky enough to have a successful implantation.

I am sure, Gina, that the bond that you forge with the new child will be just as strong as any biological mother bond if not more so because of all the effort, pain and tears you have both had to endure to get there. So, good luck.

I too admire and applaud wholeheartedly the egg donors altruism and generosity more than could be written down here and I thank you all for making so many other women's lives so happy and fullfilling again.

Nina

Response - posted 7 Dec 2008

Hi Gina, I am from England, and I have just been reading your story, and feel I totally understand how you feel. When I was four I was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer, it had spread around my pelvis, which left the doctors no choice but to give me huge doses of radiation and chemotherapy. They did this and I survived, unfortunately it severly damaged my ovaries and when I was 14 I was told I had entered the menopause, as the ovary function was so low. When I was 23 I found out I was pregnant by some miracle. I couldnt believe it. I never moved for the four weeks I knew I was pregnant. Whe I was 10 weeks I went for my ultrasound scan and I was told my baby had died. I couldnt believe it.

It happened once again a few years later. The IVF clinic wouldnt even try to use my own ovaries as they said the function was so poor. I was devastated. At only 26 you expect to beable to have a baby of your own. You certainly dont expect to be in the menopause.

When I was 21, my partner and I went onto the ovum donation list at our local hospital but were told the wait would be around 3 years, we were so upset. Unfortunately we have been waiting almost 6 years now and still there was no sign. My friend who knew about our situation, contacted me and offered to donate some of her eggs. I was over the moon, but also very scared, as I so wanted a child of our own and this really hit home that it was never going to happen. If we couldn't have a biological child of our own, I would really have preferred an egg from a stranger. As I am CMV Neg, my chance of receiving an egg from a stranger was slim to none. My friend went to get her tests done and I couldnt believe it when she was CMV Neg also, as apparently the population is 85% positive.

I am really excited but so, so scared. I am so worried that when our child is born, my partner will see it as his baby, and will use it sometime in the future. I am so worried about it, but in the same breath am so excited as I have wanted a child since I was a child, and can't believe, it is starting to move in the right direction. My uterus is not quite ready as it shrunk when i was not taking my tablet properly. I think it will take about two more years to get back to normal size, if it ever does. I can see your concerns, and also share them. I have not given birth to a baby, but have carried two, maybe three, as they think I may have misscarried again but it was not diagnosed by the hospital only me with a pregnancy test. I feel sick with worry. I am also so worried about the donor, as she is having trouble concieving, with her partner as he has had the SNIP. I am so worried that if she doesnt actually get pregnant with her partner, will she look at my baby as hers. I am soooo scared and dont know how or what to think.

Good Luck with your Egg donation I wish you more luck than I have had. A child is the most precious thing in the world, and it shouldn't matter where it comes from, you will love it no matter what. If you have this beautiful baby looking up at you, needing you. You wont be able to help yourself loving it. I'm sure of that, you sound like a very nice woman and would make a fantastic Mum XXX


Response - posted 28 Jan 2011

I completely understand your pain and am so sorry for your loss. My husband and I struggled with PCOS-driven infertility. We were blessed in 2009 with a sweet little boy, Ryan. At the time, we did not know that I had DM1*. Ryan was diagnosed with the congenital form 3 weeks after he was born. He had other problems as well, and we lost him when he was 7 1/2 months old. We debate back and forth whether or not we even want to look at other options regarding children, knowing what the worst can be. The only concern I would give you regarding donated eggs is that I donated eggs when I was in college, not knowing I was sick, and DM1 is not something they test for. I hope you and your husband are able to find something that works for you. I know the joy that having a child brings to your life, regardless of that child's health. Children are a blessing; all children.

Best of luck,

Leslie

*DM1 refers to Myotonic Dystrophy type 1, a multisystem disorder that can be mild or severe. See more information here.

 

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