Secondary Infertility Isn’t the End: Adding a Sibling to Your Family with ART
Hi Blog Friends! This week, Heidi Hayes of Donor Egg Bank USA is guest posting. While Heidi is the executive vice president of Donor Egg Bank USA, she is also a mama through adoption, as well as egg donation. Below, she explains the process of becoming a parent through the use of donor eggs.
Trigger Warning: Pregnancy photos included.
Heidi Hayes, co-founder of Donor Egg Bank USA,
“Mommy, when will I have a baby brother or sister to play with?”
Such an innocent comment from your firstborn may have been something you smiled at and brushed off in the past – “Not just yet, my love” – but now, it’s the most heart-breaking thing you could possibly hear.
Giving birth to your first child was easy – you only faced the usual morning sickness, anxiety leading up to your first scan, and apprehensions about giving birth.
If conceiving your second child starts looking like an impossibility, perhaps egg donation (click here for egg donor info) is the next step in your journey. Whether you’ve been trying for a while or have received a negative fertility diagnosis from your doctor, using donor eggs can be your solution.
You may wonder, “Is this treatment right for my situation? What can I expect along the way?”
We explore this in more detail below by answering some of the most common concerns you may have.
The Impact of Age on Infertility
First, it’s important to understand why you’re facing secondary infertility.
Unfortunately, age isn’t on your side – even if you’re still what someone would describe as “youthful” and “having your whole life in front of you.”
In fact, a woman’s fertility starts to diminish as early as her thirties.
Yes, that’s right. At a time when a lot of women are still charging ahead with their careers and enjoying luxurious holidays before they settle down, their biological clock is ticking.
Each month, an average woman in her thirties has a 20% chance of conceiving naturally. By her forties, this reduces to a mere 5%.
Despite this making for concerning reading, you must remember: you are not alone.
With approximately 3 million women in America facing the same hurdle of secondary infertility, it’s a highly common occurrence. Thanks to modern medicine, there are plenty of fertility treatment options available.
Egg donation is one of them.
What Does the Egg Donation Process Entail?
To begin, you’ll need to find a donor. You may choose a close family relative or friend, or you may opt for an anonymous donor through a donor program.
Once you’ve decided on your donor, your choice between fresh and frozen eggs will determine your next step.
If you’re using fresh eggs, your cycle needs to be synchronized with your egg donor. This involves much more traveling, cost, and time, as the donor needs to travel to your clinic (or you to theirs) when you’re ready for implantation.
In contrast, using frozen donor egg means once you’ve taken your course of hormones, the donor’s eggs are shipped to your clinic where they are eventually thawed and prepared for the next stage.
Before implantation in your uterus, the eggs are fertilized with your partner’s (or a donor’s) sperm. After 3 to 5 days in an incubator, embryos are formed. One or two of the highest quality embryos produced are then chosen for implantation.
Two weeks after they’re implanted, a pregnancy test can confirm your happy news. From this point, you’ll enjoy a “normal” pregnancy under your fertility clinic’s care.
Why Egg Donation Over Other Potential Options?
Because secondary infertility is often the result of a diminished quantity or quality of eggs, traditional IVF can present the same difficulties you’re already facing. By using a donor’s eggs, you’re immediately eliminating this problem – without sacrificing the experience of carrying and giving birth to your baby.
At first, you may feel concerned about using another woman’s eggs, but this apprehension tends to fade – especially once your pregnancy is confirmed!
A Mixture of Emotions Outshone by Love
It’s understandable you’ll experience a wide range of emotions throughout your journey. From despair that you can’t conceive naturally to elation when you’re finally going to have a sibling for your firstborn, this will be a roller coaster ride for your entire family.
However, all of these turbulent feelings and times are outshone when you hold your new baby in your arms and hear the cheers of delight as your firstborn meets their baby brother or sister for the first time.
And connect with her on social media here:
As most of you know, I became a mom thanks to adoption and gestational surrogacy, another form of ART. Like surrogacy, the use of donor eggs, sperm, and embryos can give believers pause. Is the use of such technology biblical? Is it ok to be messing with business that seemingly should belong solely to God? In my humble opinion (though there are MANY opinions out there), each person must work out the answers to these questions--through prayer, wise counsel, and discernment--on his/her own.
If you are a Christian encountering push back from the church and/or other Christians, you're not alone. My friend Lisa Newton of Amateur Nester shared this article with me, titled Christians Considering Surrogacy Encounter Conflicting Views.
Have you considered egg, sperm, or embryo donation? What about surrogacy? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Until next time,
a.k.a. Infertility Cheerleader