Houston, we have a match

So, someone else must have recognised how “beautiful and clever and sassy and kind and lovely and funny my wife is” and has chosen us (her) as a donor – so we’re now good to go!

The nurse called me at work yesterday, it’s cute – she usually communicates with Bec (because it’s her body!) but couldn’t get hold of her.  She was so excited for us that she rang me at work as she was obviously dying to tell us the good news!  She asked me if I could talk at work and I told her yes, so long as we use code (open plan office full of gossiping ears).  We then proceeded to attempt to discuss periods and cycle dates and the birth control pill in code.

I really like her.  I really like our Doctor too (he complimented my stationery when I took out my notebook to make notes at the last appointment and told us he appreciates good stationery!  Always a sign of a good doctor!) We’re so lucky to have such a good team around us, it would all be such a completely different experience if we didn’t get on with them.

The timeline: Bec has approximately 4 weeks of daily injections before egg collection, they make the eggs do a little dance with some spermies (they will be using ICSI for anyone who’s interested) then 3-5 days later the lovely wee embryos are transferred back to me or put in the freezer for later use.  She has to start the injections on the first day of her period.  Her next period is due mid April, but the nurse thinks this doesn’t leave enough time for me and the recipient to get synced up with Bec, so it looks like we may not even be starting now until mid May, which will make the egg collection and transfer somewhere around mid June.

The positive aspects of this timeline: My wife is whisking me off away for a weekend in Brussels in April, so we can enjoy that without having to worry about injections and limiting booze intake (if you know us, you’ll know that there’s barely any point in going on a city break without endless bottles of wine consumed.)  We are also hosting a dinner party/murder mystery night (!!) at the beginning of May and there is no way I could have gotten through that without being asked 20 times why I’m not drinking.

The negative aspects of this timeline: We’ve waited so long already.  When you get this close, any tiny little delay feels like an eternity to wait. We so had it in our heads that we’d start it all in April.

Wine

What’s wrong with us!?

The lady our donor profile was sent to turned us down.

Logically, I know this could be for any millions of reasons.  Because the eye colour wasn’t right?  Perhaps their skin tone is slightly different to Bec’s?  I mean, they have a big choice to make (we will too, when we’re picking out a donor for ourselves) when picking their child’s genes.

But Oh! If you could see how beautiful and clever and sassy and kind and lovely and funny my wife is – you’d jump at having a piece of her in your family! WHATISWRONGWITHYOU!?

I know,  I’m being crazy.

It wasn’t meant to be.  Something, somewhere shook its head when that match was suggested.

Our donor coordinator has sent the profile on to the next on the list now.  She’s asked her to come back to her by Monday, so hopefully this is a little blip in the road.  In fact, such a tiiiiny weeeeny little blip that we’ll have forgotten all about it by the time the wheels are well and truly turning for us.

I hope the lady who decided to go with someone else has a lovely wee baby soon and happiness forever and ever.  It breaks my heart when I think of the journey that has led her to here.  Of course she has to pick the donor that feels right for her, rather than just the first one that comes along.

Everybody send her lovely baby making vibes please 🙂

Please like us!

We have another appointment tomorrow to go over the legalities/paper work etc.  We were also supposed to be submitting our egg donor profile at that point.

I know I haven’t talked very much about us Bec donating.  I guess it was a really easy decision for us.  I mean, on two levels: a) we have to rely on a ‘donation’ from some very nice fella out there in the world to help us create our little one, b) the costs of IVF for us drop significantly if we give over half our Bec’s eggs.

Initially, for a nano-second, I felt uneasy about the decision.  While Bec didn’t really have to give it a second thought.  I think I thought of it as selling a baby … which is bonkers.  An egg is no different from a single sperm.  It’s a tiny little cell which is nothing by itself.  It won’t become anything until it is fertilised by our recipient’s partner’s sperm (assuming she has a partner with working sperm, we don’t get to find that kind of stuff out.)   So Bec is just giving over a tiny cell, a tiny little bit of herself to someone who needs it.  It’ll act like the piece of a jigsaw for them to create their own baby.  Just as we need a piece of a jigsaw.

I wasn’t sure how I felt, morally, about financially benefitting (lowered IVF costs for us) from donating eggs.  But then, when I think of the people we are helping, and how it’s helping us, it seems like a win/win situation.  If we all end up with children, how can that not be a good thing?

We’re using Bec’s because she is younger than me, so will naturally have better quality eggs.  Also, I have all kinds of ailments, chronic asthma and eczema as a child, and I’m allergic to everything on this earth (almost!)  It makes sense to use hers.  We’re lucky to have two of us to pick from.

We received a call last week from the donor coordinator at the clinic asking us if we could prepare the profile a little sooner and send it to her.  That was an interesting write!  As well as the basic details on a questionnaire, she wrote a pen picture for the recipients and a goodwill message for any potential children born of her donation.

In the Pen picture, she described herself physically; she wrote about her favourite and least favourite physical aspects of herself, mentioned famous people she’d been compared to, talked about her achievements and aspirations, what motivates her in life and generally what her nature is (I think she captured the girl who dances on tables very elegantly!)

The goodwill message was a little more difficult to write.  It took an awful lot of discussion (at some points, heated, Bec was due on the next day!) and a few days of editing, but I’m proud of the message we got across.  Here’s some of it:

It has taken me some time to try and find the right words for this letter to you but I have decided there are no right or wrongs and all I can be is honest and myself. So here goes…

I will start by explaining why I have decided to donate my eggs. First of all I have quite a big and very loving family so family is very important to me. I am married to a lovely lady and we have two cute little white fluffy dogs who we love very much. We have lots of fun together and a very happy life. However we want very much to have a baby but we need somebody and their donation to help us. When we found out that we could also help other people in our situation by giving some eggs it seemed like an amazing idea. Just the thought of making others as happy as our donor will make us made it seem like the perfect thing to do.

If you’re reading this then I was right; it was the perfect thing to do because you are here! It makes me feel so happy that I have helped you and your parents find one another. Although my eggs and genes have helped, I want you to know that it was really your parents’ hard work, determination and love that has created you and made you the person you are now.

I think it’s ok to be curious about me though so I’ll tell you a little bit [details removed]

I understand you might want to find out more about me, or perhaps even meet me one day, but equally I also understand this letter might be enough. Either way I would always be happy for you to get in touch when and if you ever feel the need. My family and I will think about you and your family from time to time with love and affection and hope that all of your hopes and dreams come true.

I wish you and your family all the happiness in the world.

It makes me sob a little each time I reread it!

I was under the impression that the clinic had asked us to email it to them in advance to avoid any potential delays; in case they needed us to edit it, or if we just simply wrote a load of inappropriate twoddle!  As someone who requires a lot from other people in my job, I always set the deadline a week ahead of when I’ll actually need something, so that I have time to write back to them and ask them to do it again, but right this time.

For some reason, I thought that we’d have to sign some kind of final profile and give them permission to release it to potential recipients … apparently not!  It’s gone off to a lady already and the clinic should hear by the end of this week whether a match has been made!

Wooaah Girl! This is all moving so fast.  I’m not complaining – I think I set myself up for a year of impatience, waiting for test results, waiting for appointments, waiting for a match, waiting for cycles, waiting for drugs … but the opposite is happening, it’s all moving on around us!

I start taking the birth control pill today (an odd choice of drug to take when trying to actively get pregnant!) in order to get my hormones/cycles nice and in control so that I’m ready to synchronise with Bec (and her other recipient) when the time’s right – I’m assuming that if the lady who has the profile likes us (please!) then she’ll get started on the BCP straight away too …. Then I guess I’m going to need to learn to inject my wife.

Woooaaahhh girl, woah!

Here we go (except, not quite yet) Part Two

Part One here

We’d mentioned in passing, when we were having the consultation with the Doctor, that we were hoping for a sibling for the baby eventually, with Bec carrying – we hadn’t yet decided whether to use her or my eggs. When the doctor looked at our scan results, he told us Bec’s follicles were looking great with ten on the dominant side and five on the other. Mine were not great, with one on one side and three on the other. I asked if this was because of my age (a very old and decrepit 35) and he said it was very low for my age. He offered me an AMH test to check my ovarian reserve and I panicked and shrugged it off and said no it didn’t matter. I might speak to him about this again when we go back. It’s worth knowing what our options are. Worth knowing if I’m barren (which potentially won’t be a problem as it seems my wife has enough eggs for the both of us!)

He sent us back to the waiting room to wait for the nurse to take blood. We had to hand some forms in to the reception. The receptionist (sorry, Patient Adviser!) looked at the paper work Bec handed her confused and asked if she was having a blood test, she saw there were two requests there and she looked past me, in to the waiting room and asked Bec where her husband was. Sometimes people make this mistake, it’s a genuine mistake to make, after all, same sex couples are in the minority. The clinic has been nothing but welcoming to us, never made an issue that we’re a same sex couple, showed genuine interest in hearing all about our wedding, one nurse we met even got excited and said she loves it when wives go through reciprocal ivf (“such a beautiful way to share motherhood”) so we’re not concerned by the receptionist Patient Adviser’s comment. But my nose was put out of joint though.

They took several blood tests for Rebecca and a couple from me. We were told 4 weeks for the results but we got a call this week (one and a half weeks after the appointment) to say that three of the blood tests had come back fine, they were only waiting for the fourth, and so could Bec get started on her donor profile and let them know when she expects her next period to begin!? Feels a bit like we’re being hurried along. Perhaps they have a recipient in mind for her eggs? Feels like it’s all happening super quick …

I feel so hopeful. We have a 50/50 chance. I am not either a glass half full or half empty kind of person, I swing from one to the other on a regular basis. One moment, I really feel like it’s a given that I’m going to be lugging around a huge bump by the time Christmas comes around. But then I read case studies and look at statistics and feel a little naïve for being so confident that it will work for us so quickly and easily. I’m scared that one day we will reach a point where we’ve run out of money and have no baby.

See – I just swang from one end to the other in a single paragraph!

Here we go (except, not quite yet) Part One

We’ve had our first appointment at the clinic!

You know that feeling when you get on a roller coaster, and it trundles along the first section of the track, getting you to the start where it’s going to jiggle the bejeebuss out of you?  That’s what I feel like now.

The night before the appointment, we were watching The Real Housewives of Cheshire (I will not be shamed by this!) and Dawn was off with her husband for an appointment with a fertility specialist.  “Imagine if it’s ours …” we said.  And then she pulled up outside our clinic!

The ‘appointment’ lasted five hours.

First off, we met with a counsellor.  Standard, when we’re receiving donor sperm and going through reciprocal IVF.  We didn’t need it, but it was quite therapeutic (!!) to sit and talk through all the decisions we’ve made and are yet to make.  It really confirmed for us that we’re united in our thoughts and feelings on the whole process, and on parenting.  It was nice.

Then were our scans, and I have to say, the first time in my own process when reading other TTC blogs has come in useful.  I think most people would think of the kind of scan you might have when you’re pregnant – jelly on the belly?  Nope, I was well aware of what we were going in to, considering other TTCers have referred to this as a ‘Dildocam’ or ‘A Love Wand’ .. *cough* .. I was a little miffed this wasn’t explained to us by the clinic in advance though.  If I’d have gone along not expecting it I might have been a little put out for having to ‘put out’ without notice.

The Doctor was brilliant, it felt like we got on so well with him – I loved how he explained things to us with diagrams of timelines and metaphors (“in order for the egg to implant in to the womb, it has to knock on a door and ask to come in.  The Embryoglue helps that relationship, weakens the door – so no, embryoglue isn’t an actual adhesive, it doesn’t make it stick, it helps the egg to stick itself.”)  I really appreciated the pictures he painted for us, I’m not unintelligent, but it’s a big a complex subject to learn about – especially at my old age!  I have started now reading a book on IVF and his explanations have added a little colour to what I’m reading, helped me to really beef up his paintings with a bit more data!

He went over all the paperwork with us, and we have an appointment to go back in a couple of weeks to sign it all with him – we took it all away with us for reading.  It’s a legal minefield; Bec donating her eggs to me (I find it really bizarre that the moment the eggs leave her body, they belong to me!  Though she does have the right to withdraw consent right up to the moment of implantation.) Bec donating her eggs to someone else, us receiving donor sperm.  Not to mention Bec and I legally stating now that it is the intention that both of us will legally parent the child.  So many people in the equation.  So many things to consider.  We feel great about our clinic though, we really feel like they have complete control over it all, like they really know what they’re doing.  Aahh, private health.  So that’s what it’s like then!

… this post appears to be taking me forever to write in between also googling ivf stuff trying to work  … so I’ll post it unfinished and finish it off next week (after a lovely Spa weekend away with the wife, the mother, the mother in law, the sister in law and auntie in law.  Oh, and our two dogs.  They love a massage.)