Sunday, March 9, 2008

Eye on the Prize: No grief here

I think I am in a distinct minority of women who did not experience much heart ache or grieving about the process of choosing donor egg as a road to family building.

I was 40 when I married, and knew from my own life experience that the likelihood of birthing a healthy child was slim. We got pregnant on our own accidentally when I was 42, and dilly-dallied another 6 months (read that: "trying") before consulting an RE.

When he proposed DE, I had some of the following thoughts:Do I want a child, or do I want my own genetic child? Answer: Child. I was willing to consider adoption, surrogacy and baby theft ala "Raising Arizona," so why not consider "adopting" a cell from a willing donor. What's so great about my genes, that only they would create an "ideal" child for our family? Answer: Nothing. I am attractive and very smart and atheletic, but that fact alone did not gaurantee a "great" kid.. Nothing does.

My mother and grandmother were alcoholics, with manic depression, my dad and his sibs and parents were diabetic, my brother has schizophrenia, I have depression, blah, blah, blah...and everybody dies before they turn 70. I veiwed DE as a way of wiping the gentic slate clean, to some extent and significantly reducing the likelihood of my kids being burdened with all the crap that came withmy genes...

Why DE over adoption? I wanted to influence prenatal health. I didn't care whether I were "pregnant," since pregnancy is fleeting, but I wanted to influence diet, environmental factors, etc. to increase the likelihood of a baby being born healthy and full term.

What was important to me about choosing a donor? Did I need someonewho looks like me or shares by heritage?Answer: No. I wanted someone with a great genetic dossier and lotsof longevity - and blue eyes, since both DH and I come from blue-eyed families. I wanted her to be smart and I wanted her to be fertile.

Since having my kids, I often reflect on the fact that if I had not chosen this road, I would not have these kids. I would have others,and I am sure they would be lovely - but I would not hold my children's hands, hear my children's laughter, or kiss my children's cheeks. I am a highly sensitive and emotionally based person, but in this process, I stepped back and examined it with the same detachment Iwould any major life choice (choosing a spouse, changing careers, selecting a university), recognizing that the road that took me to motherhood was far less significant to me than the destination itself.

While many, if not most, women suffer and struggle with the process along the way, it is, imho, possible to proceed without suffering, especially that which is born of what others may think, or what others may have (i.e., fertility). When we were doing donor selction, my highly scientific husband downloaded many profiles from our clinic's website and created an excel spreadsheet which we sorted and re-sorted based on vairous criteria to see which women kept popping up at the top. We made alist of 12, and went in and sat down with the coordinator and went through in greater detail all of the profiles and medical backgrouonds. The fact that we had a broad fieldd of 12 tells you that we were not "picky" in the pool, but were selective in the end.

I kept my eye on the prize every step of the way and delivered healthy twin boys at 37 weeks (7 lbs and 7 lbs 5 oz). Whatever lingering doubt or sorrow of not being able to use my own eggs was washed down the drain in the operating room with all the other placenta schmutz and I have never looked back, not for a minute and have never felt that I am missing something that most other women I know have - their own genetic children. My love for my sons is absolutely intoxicating, utterly exhilerating and completely boundless. It could not be any greater if I had born them of my owneggs. There's just no way.

From MVED: July 20, 2007

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