Double Miracles on the Way
When my husband and I married 7 years ago, we immediately started trying to have children.  We had both just turned 34, so there was no time to waste.  But things didn’t work out quite like we planned.  We did manage to get pregnant once, but it ended in miscarriage at 11 weeks.  Several years of trying later, still no baby and no other pregnancies.

I don’t miss those years.  Anyone with fertility issues knows that the monthly roller coaster of trying to conceive is one of the most stressful things a marriage can go through.  Making love on demand might sound like fun to the uninitiated, but we know better.  Forget about being in the mood, or having the right atmosphere or even the right state of mind.  All that matters is the blip on the ovulation stick.  Then the hope.  Then the reality of yet another failure.  Then start all over again.  Those were bad years.

We finally scraped enough money together to try IVF.  In a strange way, it was a relief to put our hopes in the hands of the doctors instead of it being just our responsibility.  By then I was almost 40, so I was really concerned about egg quality.  My plan was to do PGD testing on my embryos and implant only the perfect ones.  Unfortunately, I only produced 3 decent embryos, so we were unable to do any testing.  I had a chemical pregnancy, and nothing left over to try again.

We needed some alternatives.  I didn’t want to have to try IVF over and over again – given our financial situation, it would take a year to save for each cycle, and the clock was continuing to tick.  We contacted adoption agencies, but given my husband’s health issues and our age, we realized it was very unlikely that we’d get a baby that way.  And it drives me crazy when people refer to children as “so-and-so’s adopted daughter” – I hate the labels.  And I really wanted to be pregnant!  There had to be other options.  Then we read about embryo donation.

My husband warmed to the idea immediately, but I took a little more convincing.  My husband started to put it in perspective for me by using humor – he pointed out that if I did have my own genetic daughter that inherited my personality traits, we’d probably fight like cats and dogs.  True.  And I also realized I had never met a baby I wouldn’t be happy to take home as mine, no matter who the genetic parents were.

I also thought about my mother.  My mother has been nanny to a now 11-year old girl since the girl was three months old.  That little girl adores my mother and spends as much time with her as she possibly can.  She has my mother’s mannerisms and expressions, and even shares my mother’s hobbies.  These two share no genetic link at all, but they are so alike!  My siblings and I joke that she’s my mother’s “minnie-me.”

Genetics may dictate hair and eye color, height and body type, but when it comes to values, morals, mannerisms, work ethic, and the type of human being we become, that is the direct result of how we are raised.  So my daughter may not have red hair and blue eyes, but I’ll make sure she is polite, hard working, self-confident, and happy.  I’ll make sure she values her family, is kind to others, and looks for ways to help people who are less fortunate than her.  Those are things I can teach her, genetic link or not. 

Once I was sold on embryo donation, the next hurdle was to find a donor.  My preference was to find donors who we could maintain a minimum amount of contact with.  I wanted my children to be able to meet their genetic siblings one day if they wanted.  I made contact with a few donors, but nothing worked out.  In the meantime, I put our names on the waiting list at my clinic for anonymous donations. 

Six months later, I got the call – the clinic had 12 embryos for me!  Better yet, the genetic mother was young (32) and healthy at the time she produced the embryos.  She didn’t have any fertility issues; she had had her tubes tied and then wanted another child.  It was perfect on so many levels – little chance of chromosomal problems, enough embryos to try more than once or have more than one baby, and a much higher chance of success than I would have with my own eggs.  While I would have preferred that it was not an anonymous transaction, I found out enough about the genetic parents to feel really comfortable with the whole thing.  I don’t know their names or what they look like, but I know so much about them and their family history.

Well, it worked on the first try!  We put in three embryos, and two stuck it out – we’re having twins!!  I rarely think about the genetics.  Except in relief when I realize the babies come from a healthy 32 year-old instead of an infertile 41 year-old.  There are so many age-related issues I don’t have to worry about.

And I know I’ll be a good mother.  Being infertile has had one amazing benefit – I have spent years dreaming about being a mother so I’ve had plenty of time to study.  Over the past seven years I’ve read every article I could get may hands on about child-rearing.  I’ve watched every television special on parenting.  I’ve given tons of thought to the things I want to teach and show my children.  Truth is, if children had come easily to us when we first married, I would not have given much thought to the type of mother I wanted to be.  I’m much better prepared now, and my children will benefit from that.  And isn’t that a lot more important than hair and eye color?

About embryo donation stories: This story and the other stories you will find at the Miracles Waiting website are contributed by the authors, and we do not verify the details or content for accuracy. They are offered on this site for informational and entertainment purposes only. They are not a substitute for medical or legal consultation.

The Miracles Waiting, Inc. Team