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Life after IVF - donor eggs, fostering, adoption or child free?

(31 Posts)
Bumpless Sun 25-Oct-09 21:04:06


Anyone else wondering whether to see the future as a whole world of new options, or a corridor of slammed doors?

I'm at the end of the IVF road and wondering what next, and I'd be glad of some company on the road less travelled!

I've realised that, having been thinking of donor eggs as a backstop, for me it's absolutely not a substitute for my own genetic baby. It's an alternative way to have a family, sure. But do I want to take it? Or should I get on with living a childless/free life?

A potted history of me: TTC 2 1/2 years (since married DH), age 41, 3 cycles clomid, 3 IVF cycles this year, with one semi-hopefull one and two spectacular busts. Low responder, with AMH of 2.8 and FSH 15. The whole saga has now come to an end with a fabulously clear quote from a lovely doctor who I trust: 'There is no point in stimulating these ovaries'. Amazingly, what I mainly feel is relief that the pointless struggle is over, although I was so devastated after the last IVF cycle failed that I cried for 6 weeks - maybe I really knew then.

Anyone else living life post IVF, I'd love to meet you!

Clure Sun 25-Oct-09 22:42:23

hi, I haven't had ivf but have been offered it as a next step with donor eggs. Your post struck a bit of chord with me. My background is I have a DD aged 4 who was conceived 1st cycle clomid, now trying for number 2, currently on cycle 4 clomid. Consultant said my FSH levels indicate premenopausal/limited egg reserve.
DH and I still trying to get out heads round it. Like you said - do I want a genetic baby? Also cost for us as we already have a child. x

sootykalucy Sun 25-Oct-09 23:27:30

Hi Bumpless and Clure who I don't know yet . . just popping in to say hi and have a look at the new thread (come over from IVF'ers). I'm on my last cycle (attempt number 8) and I expect I shall be joining you shortly . . if by some miracle I don't . . . good luck.

Bumpless Mon 26-Oct-09 16:36:06

Hi Clure , nice to meet you. If I'm not being too nosey, what was your FSH level? I haven't heard of too many people jumping from clomid to donor eggs, so was just wondering what the story was there. Good luck with clomid cycle 4 though, you never know!

I'd be interested to hear how your thoughts progres with the genetic link thing. I've been really struggling with it and have backed myself into a sort of corner, hemmed in by 'if it's not my genetic baby there's no point' versus 'I've bonded so much with my cats, who aren't even the same species, that I shouldn't doubt I'd love any baby that I bear'. I recently read someone refer to DE as 'adoption in the womb', which made a lot of sense to me - rather than trying to pretend it's really my genetic baby, I could look on it as adopting an embryo. Bizarre, but somehow more honest!

Hiya Sooty , thanks for looking in! But I've got everything crossed that you don't join us (not to be unwelcoming or anything...)

Clure Mon 26-Oct-09 18:06:59

hi bumpless, my FSH level was 36 (horrendous) thats the reasoning behind going from clomid to ivf. Consultant said such a high FSH show limited egg reserve. My mum went through an early meno and I was also treated for hodgkins as a child, I had chemo and so really I am totally totally lucky to have had a child at all. I thank my lucky stars but I would love for her to have a brother or sister. I too am struggling with the donor egg thing, although having already given birth I think there is nothing quite like the moment when a baby comes into the world - the baby would be grown and nurtured inside you and you would be given birth - thats only one side of it and a bit simplistic I know! just trying to make some sense of it really. I'm 42 by the way.
I'm so sorry that ivf didn;t work for you, so would the donor egg be your next step? x

peanuthead Mon 26-Oct-09 20:08:44

Well at last a donor egg recipient thread on Mn - I sometimes feel like I'm the only barren person on here surrounded by feckin fecundity. Would love to join you in mentally torturing ourselves over ED!

My - very - potted history should give hope to you though, am 41, have 2 yr old DD concieved via IUI. Started trying for no 2 - 4 failed IUIs, at our first and only IVF got 2 follies with no eggs at EC, despite FSH of 6 and antral follicle count of about 15+. They said DE was the only route as my eggs are knackered if there at all and we started mentally preparing when I got naturally pregnant while waiting for my period so I could start the Pill to synchronise with our donor. So it can happen even once you've been written off.

Unfortunately the baby was diagnosed with a fatal heart condition so I had to terminate at 17 weeks but it was nothing to do with my age or my eggs just really really shitty luck. That was a month ago so now back on the infertility wagon, still trying to get my head round the donor issue. I'm so desperate for another baby I'm not sure I really care where its genes come from. Though no doubt I'm stting myself up for future issues by not dealing with it too much now.

Have you heard of epigenetics? It's a fairly new field of science which studies the environmental factors which decide which genes get switched on - ie basically in the womb. So in fact as a mother we would have more input that we realise - 9 months inside us isn't to be sniffed at.

But I do also worry about bonding, being sad the child doesn't look like me etc. However I'm the only natural chuld in my family, both my siblings are adopted so that probably makes it all easier to deal with as I've already been through it once.

Bumpless, what a terribly sad name. Tis how I currently feel though having managed to grow quite a large one in just 17 weeks of pregnancy and not managing to lose it yet.

But yes, don't give up, there could be a rogue egg in there somewhere.

But also Bumpless, I bet once you had the child it would feel like your own baby. Well that's what they say, but I also wonder if it's true....

Clure Mon 26-Oct-09 22:23:19

hi peanuthead, so sorry for your loss, I really can't imagine how terrible that must be, and all the more so after everything you have been through.
Interesting - the epigenetics thing. Food for thought. I can identify with what you said about about "setting mysielf up for futrue issues by not dealing with it too much now" thats me-I'm a bit of an ostrich! I'm currently on cycle 4 clomid, so desperatley trying to believe THIS could be the one but not quite believing it.

Kewcumber Mon 26-Oct-09 22:41:43

I'm not sure if its helpful but I'm a post-unsuccessful-IVF'er who went on to adopt my beautiful DS (see profile for just how beautiful!)

I had clomid, injectibles then three rounds of IVF with low FSH (about 5) but had a differnt problme each time. First attempt haemoraged massively half way into the two week wait and had to move to injectable Progesterone (ouch) for subsequent attempts, second attempt developed OHSS and had 34 follicles over 2cms (didn;t bother counting the ones under 2cm!) after coasting for 3 days - collected ONE egg! Third attempt went OK but only 4 viable eggs.... and sperm died in vitro without fertilising the eggs.

I knew I couldn't just keep going indefintely - money alone would give out and I knew I didn't want to use donor eggs (just my feeling at the time) so knew I would have to adopt overseas as I wanted a younger child than I would get in the UK.

All went well in the end (though slowly) and I look back now with a sense of relief that its all over for me - all the worries about whther I coulod get pregnant all the concerns about not being able to bond with an adopted child etc all seems a distant memory now.

How to decide whether to be childless or to use donor eggs or adopt? I thought about what I wanted my life to be like in 10 years and decided that I really REALLY wanted a family, I wanted to nurture and teach and be a part of a childs life and be important to them. It was less important to me whether they were genetically related.

I grieved terribly for my infertility and adoption didn't "cure" that, however my lovely boy does make it seems like a less important trauma than it was at the time. I'm also slightly horrified now that if I had got pregnant that I wouldn't have DS which just wouldn't do at all!

Good luck with your decision-making - if it helps you make your decision this is a montage of the first 2 yrs with DS dium=text_url

Clure Mon 26-Oct-09 22:54:22

kewcumber what an inspiring story. He's gorgeous, thank you for your post and good luck on your journey x

islegrin Tue 27-Oct-09 17:59:02

Like sooty I'm nearing the end of the IVF road too. Has anyone considered surrogacy? We've had a couple of women volunteer for us, but never took it seriously - now I'm beginning to think about it.

Kewcumber Wed 28-Oct-09 17:23:45

I feel like I killed the thread now! Please feel free to discuss surrogacy etc - don;t think you have to consider adoption just becasue I did!

peanuthead Wed 28-Oct-09 20:11:10

No, you didin't kill the thread KC! I just have nothing really to say about it all, it's so bloody depressing.

Also personally no need for me to consider surrogacy as my womb can hold a baby ok I'm just too old to produce the eggs. Haven't really thought about it but it must be somewhere in between adoption and egg donation int erms of getting used to the idea.

I do actually think that once you hold your baby it doesn't matter too much where it came from though..... but maybe that's a bit trite. Don't know... sigh

SpeckledHen Wed 28-Oct-09 20:25:20

Kewcumber your boy is indeed lovely. I have had my own dcs but always felt inside me that I could give so much love to another non genetic baby. It will not be so since my dh says no but I so understand the maternal urge. Good luck ladies.

peanuthead Thu 29-Oct-09 09:34:16

KC - he's gorgeous. Your montage made me cry - mo mean feat.... I wanted to lift him out of the computer and give him a cuddle. And all the way from kazakhstan, what a journey. Coincidentally we decided yesterday to call our recently lost baby Daniel which is helping me no end.

Bumpless Thu 29-Oct-09 12:57:37

Wow! Just come back from a couple of days away on a work trip and very excited to have all this company! Fantastic!

Peanuthead I can’t believe what horrible, tragic luck you’ve had. How unbelievably cruel of life to throw you that one. I hope you and your DH manage to come to terms with losing little Daniel under such traumatic circumstances, especially after you must have been thinking that finally things were starting to go right… (((Peanut)))

You’re right, I may have jinxed myself with my name – I’ve thought about changing it but I want to change it in triumph when I have a bump!

Kewcumber my steam-powered computer can’t cope with the full montage but it did manage to download the first two pictures of your DS and I’m already a fan! Will have to go back on DH’s better computer for the full experience. Your ‘where do I want to be in 10 years?’ tip is good. I had always very firmly imagined a family, right up until a month ago, but something has shifted somehow and I’m less clear. Maybe it’s just part of adjusting to the fact that it would be a different kind of family. I don’t think even I am shallow enough to think that big holidays and unbroken nights would really make up for being no-one’s mummy. Am I? No, I don’t think so! Similarly, I have thought about adoption, but been very put off by the UK process – and a big factor for me is that my DH still has the chance to have his own DCs, which takes us back to the ol’donor game again. You mentioned still grieving for your infertility, although you’d never give your DS up – I’d really like to hear more about how you manage to fit both those thoughts in your head, as I’m sure I’d end up somewhere similar.

Thanks Speckledhen for the good wishes!

Isle it’s just personal but to me a surrogate would be very hard. I think believing I was mother to a baby that someone else was carrying, would just be too tough. Of course, this would be very different if my eggs were fine but I couldn’t carry it or in an adoption scenario when the baby was already out there – but if I imagine it now I see myself spending the whole 9 months going ‘my baby? Yeah, right!’ and feeling jealous of the surrogate… That's just me though. Have you had medical advice on it?

Bumpless Thu 29-Oct-09 13:01:01

On the donor theme, this is my current dilemma:

UK donors – about 30% hit rate on an egg-sharing programme, 6-12 month wait, around £6k, not much travelling, donor possibly also has fertility problems.

Clinic abroad – about 60% hit rate, no wait, similar price, need to organise travel and dates, donor likely to be younger.

So clinically, I should go abroad for the best outcomes, despite the increased stress of fitting in the travelling. BUT I’ve recently read various articles on how badly donors abroad are treated, some being left infertile with scarred ovaries, not given all the info and only given £300 or so for their trouble. Plus outing clinics as telling recipients that the donors are educated university students when in fact they’re poverty-struck factory workers. Not sure I can have a family at the expense of someone else… not sure I should be a ‘rich’ fertility tourist if the industry’s this dodgy…

Anyone else come up against this?

Kewcumber Thu 29-Oct-09 13:14:03

a friedn of mine recently travelled to Madrid to have IVF with donor eggs - I can ask her how she found it. I do know she got pregnant first time though.

Kewcumber Thu 29-Oct-09 13:44:29

"You mentioned still grieving for your infertility, although you’d never give your DS up – I’d really like to hear more about how you manage to fit both those thoughts in your head, as I’m sure I’d end up somewhere similar."

Initially I didn;t think about it much (too painful) threw myself into the adoption 200% which co-incidentally meant I was well prepared!

Once the initial manic phase wore off I found newspaper reports of improvements to IVF very painful, pregnant women very painful. I thought a lot about whether I should try again with newer technology etc. I read 100's of blogs of adoption journeys and cried all teh way through them!

Afetr that and when the adoption was imminent, the excitement when I was actually given a region to go to in Kazakhstan and was just waiting for my visa, then the excitement was just so absorbing that I just didn't have the energy to still think about an event which was no longer relevant to me.

After ds came home and my circle of friends expanded to include motherws of simialr aged childrne, I did find the regular discussions of labour stories sad that I couldn;t join in. Then when DS was around 2 ish that all seemed to stop - it seemed to become a bit irrelevant to everyone! I don't mean it wasn't an important part of their own story just that people didn;t seem to want to talk about it much.

Now I have reached a place where I accept the sadness that I couldn't ever conceive but it isn't sharp or even very present. I think just time helped and the fact that DS is everything I could have wanted in any child.

There is an adoption fable which is a bit long but (to try to shorten it) it equates becoming a parent with travlling to Australia. Most people turn up at the travel agent book their flight and bugger off - arrive 24 hours later and have their holiday and come home.

We, however, turn up at the travel agent to be told there is no space on the plane but there is a boat leaving next week and it will take two months to get there. Its a rough journey with many ups and downs and your firends may have been on several holidays in the time it takes us to get there.

But when we arrive the place is the same that they all visited and we appreciate it all the more because of the difficulties in getting there. And the friendships of the people we met on the journey make it seem like we were the honoured ones.

It sounds a bot twee but I truly feel that the difficulties I have had and the amazing people I have met, fellow adopters and the fantastic women who cared for my DS before me, have all added to making me a much nicer person than I was before and a more empathetic mother to DS.

My life now is just as is it (if that makes sense) - I feel 100% DS's mummy (even whilst acknowledging the presence and importance of his birth mother), its a part of who I am now. The lingering (and slight) sadness I feel at not ever being pregnant is really a separate issue and I don't feel impinges on my relationship with DS.

The feeling of being so closely bonded with a child that you didn't give birth to is so miraculous that it truly does compenate for anything I missed out on.

Kewcumber Thu 29-Oct-09 13:47:27

ooh crikey that was a bit longer than I'd intended! blush

bamboostalks Thu 29-Oct-09 14:00:32

Message withdrawn

Clure Thu 29-Oct-09 15:21:18

hi all, thanks for sharing all your stories ladies, its helpful to hear of your concerns opinions etc. As we have only just been "hit" with the ivf news we haven't yet discussed any details with consultant or even been referred to fertility clinic yet. I'm completely in the dark about so many things, on a financial point can I ask anyone what is the average cost of ivf with donor eggs? I've done a bit of reading on the net but have really ended up confused and going round in circles. Thanks x

peanuthead Thu 29-Oct-09 15:39:30

Bumpless, where did you read the articles? We're going to Cyprus and our donor was gorgeous, DH was very suspicious but I just had to trust in the clinic as I'm so desperate for a baby. But would be interested to know more. I did read one in the Observer a while back which didn't really say anything or have any facts. Apart from the risk of dying of OHSS which isn't very high.

You could go to America and pay alot more but get a huge amount of info on your donor.

Re stress of travel - we had IVF in Istanbul and I found it far less stressful than treatment in the UK. Only one lot of travel to organise rather than frequent trips into clinic, one lot of time off work for me and DH etc We treated it as a holiday and had a lovely time, rather bizarrely.

peanuthead Thu 29-Oct-09 15:49:56

Message withdrawn

islegrin Thu 29-Oct-09 22:43:21

Bumpless I haven't had any medical advice on surrogacy - wondering what advice they would be able to give? Our embryos are fine, its me with a non-sticking-factor that is the problem. We're giving it one more go, but we'll still have three frozen embies left... so surrogate could get those.

Me, personally I'm not really the jealous type, but I have to admit it would be strange. I wouldn't mind missing the preggers stuff (if a baby could come by stork that would be fine by me) but it would feel odd not to be listed as the Mother on the birth certificate - even though genetically I would be. The birth cert would then be a constant reminder to the child... that's my only reservation at this point. OH, and of course how the surrogate would feel, think, be inconvenienced, emotionally drained, etc.

Kewcumber Fri 30-Oct-09 17:19:34

bumpless presumably if you use a surrogate you adopt th ebaby yourself subsequently. Then you get a new birht certificate issued which refers to the adoption but the short version doesn't mention anything - just your legal parents (which would then be you and your DH).

So not necessary to have a "constant reminder".

And anyway - how often do you look at your birth certificate!

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