I am a tad superstitious. I like believing in the little things. I lift my feet when driving over train tracks, I touch the outside of the plane before getting on, I make a wish at 11:11 and I eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Day! I believe in signs and meant-to-bes. I do not let my life be dictated by them, but I like believing. It makes me smile. When I started this journey, I googled symbols of fertility and I had one tattooed on me for good luck. Funny enough, I’m now realizing that this particular tattoo might have had a hidden meaning! A little meant-to-be message that I did not see until now.
The Viking Runes have this symbol, similar to two little XX, called Inguz. It is the symbol for fertility (mostly in men), but also for “where there is a will, there is a way”. I had these two XX tattooed over an arrow that I had done a couple years ago, near my heart and pointing forward. An arrow must be pulled back in order to soar, so it is a constant reminder that no matter what drags me back, I must keep aiming because something great is on the horizon. I liked the idea of incorporating fertility into this new horizon, so my new tattoo was formed.
For the purpose of this blog, I looked back on the Inguz and found this description:
“It often denotes fertility of mind, or the motivation and energy needed to start new projects. Of course, for a new phase in life to begin, it is necessary to finish old business and turn away from situations that are leading nowhere. Don’t worry that nothing will come to replace them: new and more productive opportunities will arrive.”
Both tattoos together now resonated louder than ever. Failed attempts have dragged me back, but I am keeping an aim on my goal and I will soon soar! I am putting aside these attempts that are leading nowhere and following the lead of a new opportunity! Where there is a will, there is a way…
MY NEW WAY
In my previous post, I mentioned that my doctor had asked if I was open to egg donation. I also mentioned that I had discovered these amazing support groups on social media. One morning, someone posted a question that piqued my curiosity. This person asked if any other egg/embryo recipient had ever felt fear that the child conceived would never truly be theirs AND if they had regrets for giving up on trying to make a child that is genetically theirs. Of course, many admitted to having questioned themselves in the same way, but with that came answers that not only opened my eyes and my mind to an option that I previously had said no to, but also opened my heart to an option that suddenly felt right.
Parents of adopted children chimed in saying that despite traveling to the other end of the world for their child, there was not one ounce of doubt in their minds that this child was meant to be in their homes.
One mom described how her adopted 6 year old had her mannerisms, which made her “look so much like her mom” that even strangers commented on the resemblance.
A pregnant mom of donor egg and sperm was at the grocery store with her husband when someone stopped to say how cute of a couple they were and how cute of a child they will have. She described how that initially hurt, knowing that the baby wasn’t genetically theirs and wouldn’t look anything like them, but then thought “Hell yes my baby is going to be gorgeous – ’cause it’s MY baby!”.
And then an answer that became a turning point in my journey:
“Who cares about the genes? That baby grew in your belly, got nutrients from your food, drank your milk & was raised by you. It is every bit your child”
Something inside of me clicked. What I want the most is to be a mom and carry a child. Why ruin myself financially and emotionally trying with my own eggs when odds are higher with someone else’s (50% versus my 20%)? Furthermore, since I would be paying for the sperm and paying for the egg, why not simply get an embryo?
We don’t often hear about embryo transfers in Canada, but it is common in places like Cyprus, Greece, Spain and the Czech Republic. It can also be quite cheaper there compared to North America. For example, in the Czech Republic, they can create an embryo for you via their banks of anonymous donor eggs and sperm (you get to pick the characteristics of both donors) and do the transfer/implant for approximately 3000$. That is about one fifth of the price of doing the same procedure in California. However, wordy laws in the Czech Republic forbid single women from using this method… REALLY?!?! Yes. There are loopholes, but I didn’t want to cheat the system, so I looked into other options.
WHAT IS EMBRYO DONATION?
With fertility problems affecting close to 1 in 8 couples in North America, many revert to IVF treatments, during which more embryos are created than are eventually used. Did you know that, in the US, it is estimated that over one million embryos are in frozen storage? Once the patients have completed their families, four options are open to them. They can keep them indefinitely, surrender them to research, discard them or donate them. Research has shown that 6% of those frozen embryos (about 60,000) belong to people who would be willing to donate them to another family. For many, who have spent so much financially and emotionally to finally have their dream family, donating their remaining embryos is a way to come full circle and help others in their own journeys.
I could adopt a child AND carry that child! With this option, I could live my dream of pregnancy; experience the whole 9 months, give birth and breastfeed a baby that I will have carried. How amazing is that! I’m teary just thinking about it.
Embryo adoption is actually becoming quite common in the US and there are agencies now that can help pair you up with donors. Like an adoption agency, they have fees. I discovered through these social media groups that many therefore resort to private donations by matching with families online. Donors and recipients set up profiles and through conversation and time, families match themselves.
I decided to post a profile, fully knowing that there are many more recipients than donors. You cannot directly contact a donor on these pages, but you can attempt to reach out privately. They can then choose to respond or not. Out of all the donors profiles, two caught my attention – enough to send them a short note. Later that week, I decided to browse the donors again and saw a new profile from a family in the UK; it gave me butterflies! There was something about the way it was written, the humour and honesty that came from it, that reached into my gut. I noticed that 16 other people had “liked” this family’s profile, which meant that potentially at least 16 other families had already reached out to them… However, I felt the urge to send them a long winded description of me via messenger.
A couple of days went by and nothing. I wasn’t surprised. Who would chose a single mom for their embryos anyways?!
Then, four days later, BING! I looked up at my phone and it was a message from one of the initial two families saying “thank you for your note, but we already found a family”. My gut sank… not because they had found another family, but because I was hoping it was a message from that third family… As I was typing my “No worries” response to this family, ears must have been burning in the UK because BING! a response came in from them!
“(…) this is just a little short message to say thank you for your lovely message. I intend on replying on the weekend with more detail. We have received quite a number of messages and I haven’t replied to any of them, yours in particular has been playing on my mind so needed to send you a quick message to say hi and I will be in touch soon”
I’ve never been so happy, excited, nervous all at once. It’s like that first time your high school crush actually notices you! My description played on their mind? That was a good sign! Could this couple like me enough to become my future embryo donors?! Was this the route I was going to take?
I sent them another note and waited for the weekend… My “Day 2” ultrasound was that next Monday and a part of me still wanted to try with my own eggs. It was perfect that I’d get to discuss it all with my doctor.
What timing! Sometimes people cross your path and change your whole direction…
(TO BE CONTINUED)