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Egg Donation - Not an easy decision

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Thursday, June 21, 2007 | 0 comments

There Is No Me Without You

The day before, a catheter was guided by ultrasound through Carly's cervix, and eggs, 16 of them, were extracted from her follicles, made artificially mature by fertility hormones. These eggs were meant for me — I had purchased them. She was going to be the genetic mother of my child.

I was 43 when I reached the painful but inescapable conclu­sion that I wasn't going to be able to give birth to another child. My husband and I had a six-year-old son and had been trying for several years to add to our family, despite the fact that I'd had a terrifying emergency cesarean the first time around and several doctors had urged us to use a surrogate rather than risk my health or a future baby's. By the time we agreed to try IVF, the likelihood of success (referred to in the fertility world as the "take home baby rate") for a woman my age using her own eggs was less than 5 percent.

We're not going to do anything crazy, my husband and I kept reminding each other. We're not desperate, we already have a wonderful kid. We thought about people we knew who had spent tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in an unsuccessful quest for a child. We knew couples whose marriages had been wrecked by the physical, emotional, and financial strain of multiple IVF cycles. But each insemination, each near-miss made us feel as if there was an empty chair at our table. We had considered adoption, but ultimately our desire for our son to have a biological connection to his sibling was simply too great. And so, we tentatively began to explore egg donation and surrogacy.

In recent years, gestational surrogacy with an egg donor — in which an egg is taken from a donor, fertilized, then implanted as an embryo in the uterus of another woman, who serves as the surrogate for the woman who can't conceive — has virtually replaced traditional surrogacy, in which the surrogate uses her own eggs and is simply artificially inseminated. The beginnings of this shift can be dated to 1986, when a New Jersey couple, William and Elizabeth Stern, paid Mary Beth Whitehead $10,000 (plus $5,000 in expenses) to bear a child for them. Whitehead had a change of heart after giving birth to Baby M, and though the court eventually awarded custody to the Sterns, it decreed that a relationship with Whitehead was "in the best interests of the child," and she was granted visitation rights. Splitting up the reproductive work — such that one woman contributes the egg, another the womb — is the best way to avoid this nightmare.
Full article: http://www.elle.com/featurefullstory/10235/there-is-no-me-without-you.html





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Catherine

About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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