While visiting an online forum for donor egg parents today (through Parents Via Egg Donation, an organization I highly recommend to anyone considering this route to parenthood), I had reason to reflect on how very fortunate I am to be in my current position.
Certainly this thought has crossed my mind numerous times before today. But I don't know that I've written much about my feelings on the subject beyond the posts about my initial positive pregnancy tests and ultrasounds.
I realize that suffering isn't a contest, and I don't minimize or forget the difficult emotions I struggled with during over three years of unsuccessful TTC. I also acknowledge that, even having had 40 unsuccessful cycles TTC, I've gone through much, much less than many others who have struggled, and continued to struggle, with infertility.
As you might guess, most people do not turn to donor eggs as a first-line fertility treatment. Although there are some women who know from the outset that conception using their own eggs will be out of the question, either due to prior cancer treatment or diagnosed medical problems, it is more often the case that women undergoing DE IVF have already experienced many failed cycles with their own eggs and/or many miscarriages before moving on to this treatment option.
On the forum I referenced above and on some of the blogs I read, there are a number of women who, in addition to having had failed cycles/losses with their own eggs, are now going through DE IVF for the second, third or even fourth time, sometimes with different donors. DE IVF generally has higher success rates than IVF with one's own eggs, but they still aren't anywhere near 100%. Knowing what goes into a DE IVF cycle, financially, emotionally and mentally, it's hard to contemplate how difficult it must be to keep trying after a failed cycle.
If you've read this blog (or even just our TTC history page), you know that we conceived my current twin pregnancy on our first DE IVF cycle, which was also our first-ever IVF cycle, since I never did IVF with my own eggs. I had many failed IUIs and a chemical pregnancy, but in the overall scheme, I'm one of the lucky ones.
Yes, our cycle was a huge investment, emotionally and financially. It was something we contemplated for a long time before taking the plunge. I needed counseling to come to terms with taking this path to parenthood. My husband was hesitant to go into debt to try this, even though the odds were (finally) in our favor.
But the gamble paid off for us; it worked on the first try.
Now I am in the (enviable) position where so many other women hope to be. I am humbled and moved to tears when I think of all the strong, deserving women who would give almost anything--and have given an unimaginable amount--to be where I am now.