Infertility feels like trying to pull a U-turn with a tanker. You experience grief and death and failure and that is fucking hard. Then you prep yourself for something even more difficult. Maybe you say, OK Self, I will need to stimulate my ovaries to kingdom come, treat my body as a human pincushion, and then put my vulnerable being in the hands of doctors who may or may not have the personalities of used car salesmen or game show hosts. And then, when you learn that the difficult path you steeled yourself for is off the table for you because your ovaries and eggs are shot, you bring yourself over the river and through the woods to the concept of donor egg IVF.
Bringing yourself around to the concept of carrying a baby made of some strangers maternal DNA is no joke. A few days ago I thought long and hard about identity and anonymity and the implications of a child born of completely anonymous genetic material. There are a million existential and unanswerable questions that seem to spring up when you think about it. Is motherhood a form of narcissism? If I am brutally honest, am I seeking to replicate myself? What does it mean for Niblet to be the LAST surviving member of my maternal line? (Yeah, I know, she would be whether I had a kid with another woman's DNA or not, but the question is still out there, and yeah, she is the last. My mom's siblings are childless. Niblet's well and truly the final leaf of that family tree).
Those questions scratch the surface, but then there are the logistics. And anyone knows me and knows how my brain operates, knows that I can get lost in the logistics.
First, there's the Fresh vs Frozen aspect to this all. Frozen donor
eggs are a thing now, and a potentially good thing too. The most
important pro for me is that the process is a million times quicker. I
wouldn't have to time my cycle with a fresh egg donor. I wouldn't need
to use as many drugs myself. I've been through a lot. Easier
Easier also narrows the pool though. It's less likely I'd find the short, artistically inclined,
brown-eyed brown-haired brunette who writes a killer essay. Which
circles back to the earlier existential question: Am I seeking to
replicate myself? Or maybe, am I seeking to make all of this a little
easier by bearing a child who doesn't present too many questions from
But at the end of the day this comes down to a central issue. Money. This is a fuck ton of money. And the more "perfect" the scenario you want, the more money it costs. Generally, people find their willing-to-be-identified-and-contacted-in-the-future donors through an agency. That's another ten grand off the bat. Some people get lucky and find these donors through the clinic's existing pool, but it's not a sure bet.
Viking has one "must-have" in this process. And that is a guarantee. This actually exists. The personally triggering Babies Guaranteed clinic offers a million tries of IVF and you get your money back if you don't have a live baby at the end. Viking has watched me experience 5 consecutive pregnancies without a live baby. He wants this option. But it is the forty-thousand dollar option. And hear me now: I. WILL. NOT. GO. BACK. TO. THAT. CLINIC.
Now I held off on publishing this entire post, until I had more information to the puzzle.... A few days ago I asked Viking, where his office was headquartered. See, he works in a specialized field in the financial services industry Lot's of women with MBAs and PhDs and JDs behind their names. Viking, can you look up the fertility coverage in your insurance policy? It turns out, we may have coverage for a smidge of this, at least for the labs and monitoring and the actual transfer. We also have some unused money from a home equity loan we took out to refinish our basement (it's now a lovely man cave with the best bathroom in the house).
I'm not going to say this is financially possible, but finances haven't put it completely off the table, and I know I am luckier than the majority of women who have been dealt this hand.
But I'm not going to lie. I am still working through some anger, and I need to get past it to move forward. I am honestly ticked off that I even have to go here. That I have had to figure out how to live like a sane person with this shitty hand I have been dealt, and that every day I put a fucking smile on my face and my most-fertile office. Why does this STILL have to be so fucking hard and why does it require so many mental gymnastics that are exhausting? I still have to worry about the very real possibility that I will miscarry a baby with another woman's young and sprightly eggs, so it's not enough to shell out twenty grand we don't actually have for these services, we need to think about how we would shell out forty grand.