And then there were 10…

March 2016

4 days later I learn that 10 embryos have fertilized, divided and been sent for PGS screening. 

If you’re like me this is the first time you have heard of this. That’s the thing, before you experience IVF it is hard to imagine any of this. 

“Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) for aneuploidy is a powerful genetic test that may be performed on embryos during IVF treatment to screen for numerical chromosomal abnormalities. PGS is performed on a small embryo biopsy prior to transfer and identifies which embryos are chromosomally normal.” (Courtesy of google)

This test was important to me because knowing what embryos have the correct chromosomes helps to ensure we can create a viable pregnancy. It is impossible to know without this screening. Despite using a 29 year olds eggs there is still a chance of abnormalities being present. 

Again, I wait. I will not know the results of this screening until tomorrow when I arrive for implantation. I go to bed praying that my 10 little golden embryos are strong and contain the correct chromosome makeup. I need as many of these as I can get. 

A Dozen + One


March 2016

After many months of legal negotiations and signature after signature we are here. The past 84 days have felt like forever. Each day I have imagined my little baby. 

Will these donors help me become a mother? Will these donors help me reach my biggest dream? Will all of these tears, fears and financial investments actually lead to my desired result? I have put all of these questions in faiths hand each day. This has been the only way to keep going, to keep moving. 

3/24 – Today the donor will have her egg retrieval. I need a good number of eggs as the reality is we will only likely end up with 60% of what we start with. My desire is to only fertilize SOME with donor sperm. I believe I will one day meet someone and having some eggs will give me an opportunity to have a child with this person and their sperm. This is VERY important to me. 

I check my email again and again and again. No update. The waiting is torture. I must check my email a million times. 

Finally… there is an email! I take a deep breath before I click it open. 

16 eggs, 13 mature. My intial feeling is disappointment. All of the previous donations resulted in a larger number of eggs. I wish there was more. After I have a moment to sit with my initial feelings I focus on the fact that one of these 13 eggs will result in me becoming a mother. I tell myself to stay focused on this. 

After seeking guidance from my physician we decide that there are not enough eggs to save some for future use. We must fertilize all of them. Remember, we will likely only end up with 60% after fertilization and chromosome testing. 

I have such mixed emotions. I am so happy because I am closer to being a mother than I have ever been but I am also extremely sad that I won’t have any remaining eggs. Will someone want to be my partner if I cannot give them a child? Will my pool of mates decrease because I don’t have my own or donor eggs to have a child with them?  This might sound irrational to some people but these are the thoughts in my head. I do my best to not sit in this mental space too long. 

Step 1 done… now we wait for five days. What will these little eggs do when fertilized? Will they grow and divide as they should? Will they be strong enough? Will they be boys or girls? Again, just like every other step, a lot of questions remain. 

As I end this very important day I pray and quietly cheer  for each of my 13 eggs. 

Dreams Become Reality When You Take Action

January 2016

The day had come. The day I was going to meet the potential female, genetic link to my child. How am I feeling… scared, anxious, uncertain, excited, sad, nervous, grateful. 

So many emotions all mixed up. What happens if I don’t like her? What happens if there is something weird about her? What happens if we don’t connect? What happens if I have to start all over? The risks of actually meeting are a reality now. I have thought about this meeting so many times. I have sought professional guidance on what to do. I keep coming to the same answer – “Tiffany, you must meet her.”  Despite this answer, it is NOT easy. I will be her 6th donation and not a single family has elected to meet her. That shows you how hard it actually is. 

Why do I want to meet her?

Since I have to pick both genetic sides, sperm and egg, I want to at least have some sort of connection to one of them. 

Some of my reasons… I do not intend to keep my child’s genetics a secret. I intend to share age appropriate information throughout the years and this meeting will give me important pieces to the puzzle. I am a curious person so I will likely raise a curious child. Lastly, I never, ever want to have to answer “no” when my child looks at me and asks, ” Mom, could you have met the sperm or egg donor?”  

As I drive to meet her at Starbucks I am filled with anxious nervousness. I find a parking spot and just sit. I have arrived early which only gives me more time to think, damn it!

As the meeting time approaches I make my way into Starbucks. As I enter the coffee shop, I see her. I am a few people behind her in line. She doesn’t see me. I spend the next few minutes watching her. What do I notice?

  • She is polite to the Barista
  • She is soft spoken
  • She is confident
  • She is pretty

She finds a table outside where I eventually walk out to meet her. These few steps were extremely hard, but necessary. 

But there was only one option – keep walking. 


We embrace one another and I immediately like her. I can tell she is just as nervous as I am. Five previous donations and only one meeting like this. 

We talk about so many things –

  • Life experiences
  • Likes/ dislikes
  • Childhood experiences
  • Art
  • Yoga
  • Travel
  • Family
  • Parents – their thoughts on her numerous egg donations. They are supportive
  • Her motivation for donating – she states this is because she has a desire to help someone like me. I can’t help but wonder, does money play a role? It must. 
  • My intense desire to be a mother 
  • Our future relationship – I will dictate this. She is open to meeting my child in the future should they have this desire. All necessary legal steps will be taken to ensure I am the driver of any and all contact. 

There are several moments during our meeting where I almost experience an out of body observation of us. I hear my mind saying, “This is the woman who will give part of the genetics to my child. This is the woman who will give part of the genetics to my child.”  

After spending time together we embrace one another and take a photo. I will forever keep this photo as it is a reminder of my strength and her generosity. 

As I get back to my car I just sit. What emotions do I have now? Hopefulness. 

What an amazing time we live in. One step closer to becoming a mother. 

“You cannot use your time to the best advantage if you do not make some sort of plan.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt 

December 2015

“You have only a 10-12% chance of having your own genetic child.”

“You have only a 10-12% chance of having your own genetic child.”

“You have only a 10-12% chance of having your own genetic child.”

I will NEVER forget these words and the way I felt after hearing this from my IVF physician in September 2015. I heard these words over and over in my mind for many months following that appointment. I asked myself the same questions over and over again…

  • How could this be happening?
  • How could my biggest dream have another obstacle within it? 
  • Why was this happening? 
  • Wasn’t it enough that I had to use a sperm donor? 
  • How would I EVER pick an egg donor?? 

This went on for many months and I cried many tears. I felt a lot of loss during this time as I am sure all other women in my position have felt. It still brings tears to my eyes. Throughout my soul searching I kept coming back to one image – me as a mother. It was clear, I needed a plan.

I spent many days near the ocean as I came to terms with my situation. The ocean brought me a sense of peace and acceptance. Here is where I found the strength to keep moving ahead. 


I slowly began to look for an egg donor. I’m not going to lie, this was a big mind F$&K!!  There was no one like me – someone who looked like me, shared my  likes and dislikes, shared the same heritage. It felt impossible to pick someone. I was overwhelmed and frankly so sad about my situation. It was the little  things – my green eyes, my freckles, my height, the certainty around my health background. There was so much to consider. I felt sick each time I looked for a donor. 

Cautiously I continued my search and I kept coming back to one woman in particular. We looked somewhat alike, but she wasn’t me. We had similar interests, but she wasn’t me. It went on and on. To be honest, I was so so scared. Picking an egg donor was much scarier than picking a sperm donor. 

In December 2015 I finally selected the donor. She was as close as I was going to get. I liked certain things about her – she seemed happy, we shared some similar features, we were interested in simiair activities, she was smart, she was healthy and she had demonstrated pregnancies from her previous 5 donations. 

Yes, 5 DONATIONS!!! And, most important, she was an open donor. This meant I could meet her and she was open to  meeting my child one day should they desire this. 

As I closed out 2015 I had a plan… the journey toward motherhood moved forward. 

Time spent in self reflection is never wasted – it is an intimate date with yourself


The last time I wrote was 19 months ago. While at this moment it seems like yesterday, a lot has transpired since then. 

September 2015 – The journey of pursuing motherhood with a partner was not meant to be.  Why you ask… it got too complicated. The realities of life appeared and they were too great to overcome. 

Making a long story short – the man and I tried to conceive via IVF using my frozen eggs and his sperm. Only one of nine eggs made it and actually fertilized. That one embryo was of poor, poor quality and did not result in a pregnancy. 

Once this happened the two of us moved in an opposite direction. I guess that was a sign bigger than any sign. In a time when we should have been there to lean on one another, we were not. In a time when we should have comforted one another, we did not. In a time when we should have grieved together, we did not. 

That was September 2015. It was a dark, sad month for me. I was grieving the loss of my dreamed about child and grieving the loss of my budding relationship with this mans child. When I reflect on what made me most sad it was the following:

  • The reality that my relationship with this mans child was going to be very different than I had hoped, most likely only from a distance 
  • I had no more frozen eggs left
  • Only one of my eggs made it and it was poor quality
  • I was back on the journey to motherhood alone
  • I was uncertain of my next step…

I spent the next few weeks somewhat lost and afraid of what was next.

“Do I regret exploring this path?” I have often asked myself that question. No, I do not. I believed that it might be possible for us to co-parent together. I believed I could be a mother to this mans child. I believed this man could be a father to my child. Was this stupid, I don’t think so. I would rather be a believer with open eyes than a constant skeptic. 
While I had no clue what my next step was…. I believed I would figure it out. 

“Life is what happens when you are busy making plans.” ~John Lennon

The time had come…. or so I thought.  I guess one can only do so much at one time.  I had been looking to make a career move for 1.5 years and go figure, I get an offer the month I am supposed to do my first IUI.  Really?!?!  This isn’t just any job, this job requires me to move across country and take on a new role with more responsibility. 

 

  

So, I am faced with what to do:

  • Accept the job/ decline the job?
  • Move ahead with the IUI this month?
  • Postpone the IUI until a later day?

After much reflection and thought, I have decided to take the job AND postpone the IUI.  The job is an amazing opportunity that also happens to return me to the West Coast.  This makes sense all around in terms of having a baby alone.  Also, to be honest, I am not sure I could have done it all – new job, IUI and potentially a pregnancy.  I think being able to apply myself to my work for a few months is the smart thing to do. 

All of the preparation for baby is not lost.  I will continue my acupuncture in California, will establish myself with a new physician and continue to visualize having a healthy, happy baby. 

So, it is with great sadness I leave NYC to pursue a new dream professionally and personally. NYC, you will always have a special place in my heart and I am so thankful to have had the chance to bask in your amazing glory!

  

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes The Baby In The Baby Carriage…

December 2014…

Since August I had been thinking a lot about my situation. I really had envisioned a sense of relief by freezing my eggs, but that feeling never came.  

I never in a million years thought I would be making a decision to actually have a baby by myself either via adoption or artificial insemination. 

 As little girls we are taught that when you have a baby you do this with your husband.  Your husband is by your side in a Lamaze class, your husband will tell you that you look beautiful as you carry your child, your husband will be in the delivery room encouraging you.  At least this is what I was taught and believed deep in my soul. 

 I remember being a little girl and singing, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.”  Well, we see how that turned out.  I know that the times are different… blah, blah, blah.  



We are ingrained with these beliefs and when they turn out different it is scary and takes getting used to.  Changing this lens has been more difficult than I imagined. 

 I do know that I am tired of dating and if I am not willing to date then how can I meet someone?  I have been actively dating for 20 years and frankly, I am tired.  I just don’t have it in me anymore. This is a big dilemma.  One which suggests a pro-active decision must be made about a baby – either adopt or donor insemination.  Being a parent is not an option, this is something I will do. 

Of all the futures that I can imagine, I cannot image a single one that doesn’t have a child in it…

Day 1 -Egg Freezing 

Day 1 – July 2014 

Edit

The first morning has arrived. Not sure what I thought it would feel like. It is 7am and the women are reporting for blood work. I sit and watch them arrive. ‘Them’ as if I am not including myself. It kind of does feel like I am an observer from the outside looking in. 

Married, single, with a friend, one with her husband, lesbian partners. Different races and religions, brunettes, blondes. Wait, I’m the only blond… Let’s just say that highlights are my friend. Can’t get the Southern California out of me! 

Some read books, some thumb through magazines, some just stare off in the distance.

It feels somewhat like a factory. To the left you go for blood work. To the right you go to have a sonogram. What a mix of emotions is displayed in this waiting room.

I keep asking myself, “Why am I in this situation?” Not married, no kids. Is this a bad thing? Logically no, emotionally it is a different story. Hello logical mind are you there? Stop this thinking pronto!

At least I still have options. Truthfully, should have done this years ago. But, I didn’t and here I sit. 

Some women seem like they have done this before… Old hat.

$15,000 is the bill. Due before retrieval. 

 The couple and her sister (I think) have left looking defeated. They walk out in a single file line. My heart aches for them. You can see the sadness on their faces. Another couple checks out. She has tissues in her hand. More disappointed faces. 

 They call my name. The phlebotomist takes me back. Nice enough, although she doesn’t introduce herself. “Sit down, arm here,” she says with a smile. I do as I am told.

As I look around I notice a mural to the right of my head. Pictures of babies, babies, babies. I mean, really!?! They are working it! I don’t ask anything about the pictures, just sort of stare at the wall. Truthfully, the pictures kind of look old. 

 Back to the blood… ‘She’ (I still don’t know her name) proceeds to prepare me for the blood draw. In the needle goes. 15 seconds, it is over. Snap off the tourniquet and that is it.

“I will call you this afternoon,” ‘she’ says. “What is your name?” I inquire. “Jasmine (with a smile)”. Seems so transactional, but again, polite. 

Well folks, that is it. I am done. Just like that. At least I am getting service with a smile! 

 As I near the elevator I come across the man of the couple who was checking out. He stares off as he waits for his wife to come out of the restroom. I am willing to bet she is in the bathroom crying. Again, my heart hurts for her, them. 

 As I step in the elevator I remind myself that their stories are not mine, mine not theirs. I will be married and a parent one day. And hopefully they will too.

Photo credit – http://www.vogue.com