Monday, 11 August 2014

Egg v embryo donation

Am I being pessimistic? I have one embryo, just one, and I'm planning to transfer it in a few months (the wait is an insurance thing, but I'm ok with it, the embryo isn't getting any older). But I can't stop thinking beyond that one. Like I assume it will fail. Is it the two massive disappointments that makes me feel this way? Is it because I always wanted more? I can't imagine doing a third fresh cycle. The lengths we had to go to for these three embryos just makes me say no more - we can't possibly expect anything better and the drugs alone cost upwards of $6000. I still can't believe I spent and injected that much money in a two week period. So I start considering egg and embryo donation. How did I even get to this point?

Just a year ago, my partner and I were on the same page, we considered it ethically more responsible to give a child who already exists a home rather than use vast medical resources to create new lives in a lab. But for bureaucratic reasons (based on where we live), we aren't eligible to adopt. We were, however, offered "free" IVF due to my diagnosis. This "free" IVF quickly snowballed into "not so free" but more like heavily discounted, and my biggest expense on both cycles was the drugs. Still nothing compared to what my American peers are paying, and I know plenty of couples who can't afford IVF at all, so I shouldn't complain. It was my foot in the door, I never would have considered it if it hadn't been presented as "free". So down the rabbit hole I went. No baby (yet).

If I want to try beyond this frozen embryo, my more realistic options seem to be egg or embryo donation. Egg donation seems to be the more "available" option, but I would prefer embryo donation for the same reason I would prefer adoption - why put someone through another fresh cycle to procure eggs, when there are potentially viable embryos in a cryo bank somewhere that could be adopted. The answer of course is that there are very very few embryos in cryo banks that are "put up for adoption" just as there are very very few infants put up for adoption these days. We destroy. We terminate. Don't get me wrong, I'm pro-choice. If there was a way to transplant a 7 week fetus to a new uterus, I'd be on board, but I imagine there would be a lot of people creeped out or bothered by the idea of someone else raising their child. 30 years ago the culture was different, but today we are very anti-adoption. I'm not sure we will ever go back either. It's a lot to ask a woman to reluctantly carry a baby to term. It's a lot to ask her to give her child to someone else to raise after she's done so. The simple fact is that we have much better supports in place to allow her to raise her child than we did in the past. And that's a good thing. It just leaves a hole in the hearts of couples with fertility challenges. And you would think that couples that have been down that road would be more open to sharing their surplus, if any. However, a recent study of patients from my own clinic showed that there is a high tendency to change intentions for unused embryos over time, particularly towards destruction. It should be noted though, that donation to another couple isn't an option at my clinic, they are hoping more people will donate for stem cell research.

I don't know if we will have the conversation. I don't know if we will schedule an appointment at a new clinic to discuss egg or embryo donation. I don't know what we will do if this frozen transfer fails. All I can do is keep looking at the calendar, waiting for the time to schedule the frozen transfer cycle.