The Beginning of Everything Egg Donation

I know this update is long overdue.  So much has happened since I last wrote about this.  In order to keep the integrity of the whole experience, I will keep everything in one post instead of two.  Please bear with me as this post will be ultra long.

I am Chinese and 5’8″.  My criteria for a donor had been: 1) 5’6″ to 5’9″, 2) at least part Chinese.  I have since relaxed my requirement because of the limited availability of donors.  The height requirement has been lowered a few times.  It went to 5’5″ and then 5’4″.  I had been standing firm at 5’4″.  We would prefer an in-house donor with my clinic because 1) the donors have been screened and are all good to go and 2) the cost is lower without the agency fee and other fees.

The last time I wrote about egg donation was April 7th.  At that time, I was still not quite ready to contact the donor coordinator at my clinic.  However, I suddenly felt an urge to get things moving on Thursday April 9th.  I emailed the donor coordinator the next morning, letting her know that we were ready to move forward with a donor egg cycle.  I specifically asked about three donors in whom we were interested.

Donor 1 is half Chinese half other asian.  She is only 3 inches shorter than I am.  Here is her stellar cycle history:

Cycle 1: 18 eggs retrieved, 15 fertilized, 1 transferred, 7 frozen embryos, live birth.  

Cycle 2: 18 eggs retrieved, 10 fertilized, 1 transferred, 5 frozen embryos, positive pregnancy.

Cycle 3 (cryo cycle): 18 eggs were retrieved and split into 2 cycles of 9 eggs. The first recipient received 9 eggs, 7 fertilized, 2 transferred, and 4 frozen embryos. The recipient is currently pregnant.

Cycle 4: 17 eggs were retrieved, 12 fertilized, 2 transferred, and 3 frozen embryos . The recipient is currently pregnant.

I liked this donor.  I wasn’t in love with her as the answers to her questions on the profile were okay.  She is only 21.  Full asian.  However, she is not available for a fresh cycle.  There is a second batch of seven eggs left from the previous frozen egg cycle.  And she has committed to doing another frozen egg cycle in which her eggs will be frozen in batches for future use.  I asked Bob if he would consider using her 7 frozen eggs since her previous frozen egg cycle yielded excellent results (pregnancy and four frozen embryos).  However, Bob wants to give me the best chance of pregnancy and still believes that a fresh cycle will allow us to do that.  I tried asking the donor coordinator if we could sync the cycle when this donor donates again so we can get half of the fresh eggs instead of the frozen eggs.  She said that unfortunately the clinic won’t allow that to happen.

So donor 1 is no go.

Donor 2 is half Chinese half caucasian.  She’s got the height as she is slightly shorter than I am.  She just completed one cycle with 13 eggs, 11 fertilized, 1 transferred, and 9 frozen embryos.  The recipient had a miscarriage and has not done a frozen embryo transfer yet.  However, this donor is unavailable to donate again until 2016.

Donor 2 is not going to work out either.

Donor 3 is the same height as donor 1.  I was very impressed with her profile and felt her sincerity coming through the page.  However, she is a mixture of caucasian and another asian ethnicity and may have only a little bit of Chinese.  She was in cycle at that time and another couple was already in line to be matched with her.  The clinic’s policy is not to inquire about the donor’s intention to donate again until the cycle is done.  So as far as I am concerned, she is not available.

Donor 3 also doesn’t seem like a possibility.

Just like that, all three donors are not available.  I was disappointed because I thought I had a good chance of having one of those donors.

Bob and I were initially adamant about not going with a donor agency because of the extra cost.  I crunched some numbers and found that going with an agency is doable.  So I started embarking on the journey of looking at donor databases at different agencies.  Agencies come in different shapes and sizes.  Some are national and have donors all over the country.  Some are small and local.  Many of the local ones do NOT have any asian donors.  One well known one in the city actually has 15 to 20 asian donors at a given time, which is quite good.  However, we didn’t see anybody who stood out.  I was remotely interested in one girl who is 5’4″.  That was it.  And the agency director does not provide a password for full access of the profiles until potential recipient parents meet with her.  So we made an appointment for a meeting.  In the mean time, we continued looking.

One day, I received an email from one of the donor databases that a first-time fully Chinese donor was available from the other coast.  She was tall, pretty, and educated.  I quickly forwarded the email to Bob and started daydreaming about the possibility of working with someone like her.  I clicked on her profile and saw that she was already reserved by another couple.  Asian donors are like a hot commodity.  You have to snatch them quickly before they disappear.  Plus, I looked more closely at the cost associated with this agency and the extra cost of working with an out-of-town donor.  Did you know that you have to pay for the travel cost of the donor and a companion of hers for all their hotel, meals, transportation, etc etc.  It adds up in no time.  And someone like her who is a first timer, you don’t know how well she would respond to the stimulation.

Another day, we found another fully Chinese asian donor on another database.  She was within my height requirement and was highly educated.  She had already donated 6 times.  The donor agency coordinator informed me that our current clinic would not agree to working with her because the ASRM guideline is for donors to donate no more than 6 times.  In order to cycle with this donor, who is also out of town, we will have to cycle with a clinic down in the LA area that would accept the 7th donation as well as pay the extra cost of travel.  Uh. No.

And then, I discovered through a donor egg forum that you can actually cycle in Malaysia with Chinese donors.  I found a lady who owns a donor agency there and wrote her.  We exchanged a few emails.  I told her my criteria for a donor.  She sent me a bunch of donor profiles.  The thing is, the donor profiles don’t say much about the donor.  They include the donors’ names, a few pictures, the family’s history, and the reason for donation.  Some of the profiles have a lot of missing information.  And the family history for all the donors say “No” for all the health conditions.  I don’t know how much we should believe that.  I told the donor agency lady the top three choices.  From what she told me later, it doesn’t seem like any of them will work out.  Plus the cost of cycling there is not as inexpensive as going to the Czech Republic.  The cost of traveling plus the cycle would be about 60% of what it’d cost to cycle with an in-house donor at our current clinic.  We also have to factor in the cost of travel and frozen embryo transfer if the first transfer doesn’t work.  Traveling to Malaysia around summer time is pricey.  All these factors make me hesitate in actually thinking further about egg donation in another country.

Finally it came time to meet with the local donor agency lady who has many more asian donors than any other agencies in the local area.  It was a nice meeting. We learned a lot about the cost and the process of working with her.  The take home for me from meeting with her is:

  • If we see somebody that we like, we have to be proactive because the donors will be chosen by others in no time.
  • You pay the agency fees for a donor after you choose the donor.  With first-time donors, you pay the agency fees first, then pay for the donor to go through her screening.  If the donor doesn’t pass the screening, then you would lose the money that you have paid for her screening.
  • If a donor doesn’t work out and you decide not to go with the agency anymore, you will be refunded majority of the fees minus $500 administrative fees.   However, if the donor has started stims already and at some point the cycle is canceled due to no fault of the donor, she gets compensated at a fraction of the fees, ranging from $500 to $1500.
  • We were told to check on the donor database daily for new donors.
  • Working with this agency will be about $5000 more than going with an in-house donor with my clinic.

We were interested in one of the donors who had donated before.  She is half Chinese and is currently doing a cycle.  However, her first donation’s record was less than stellar.  There were only eight eggs and one embryo.  Although the recipient did get pregnant, there was nothing left to freeze.  We were told to call right after her egg retrieval, which is coming up on May 13th, to look at her performance this time.

After our meeting with this lady, I had been checking the website every single day.  I checked one weekend and saw a brand new donor who is half asian (not Chinese).  She was tall (almost my height), very pretty, highly educated at a great university, and young.  My reaction to seeing her profile was very interesting to me.  It was a visceral reaction.  I was shaking.  This was the first time that I actually saw someone that could be a possibility for us, because she was local, tall, educated, and pretty, although she is not Chinese.  However, I saw things that did not add up on her profile.  I won’t go into detail of it, but I wrote the agency lady about it.  The way she explained the discrepancies was less than ideal for Bob.  Plus, another couple with whom the agency had worked for longer got first priority in choosing a donor, and this tall donor was one of their top choices.  We had to wait.  The next day, I showed Maddie, Aramis, and Jane the profile and we were all daydreaming about having this donor for me.  However, I still hesitated because she was a first-time donor and who knows how she would respond to drugs.  I am thankful to have friends who would mull over these things with me.

The next two days, I prayed for God’s wisdom and His hand in making a decision for us.  If this is not the right donor for us, I asked God to move the other couple’s heart so that they would pick this donor.  And also prayer for me to not be disappointed.  The next day, the donor agency lady notified me that this couple had picked this tall donor.  There was another shorter, 5’3″ donor, that was also brand new and 100% asian.  Just not Chinese.  I liked her profile as well, and she seemed much more sincere.  However, do we risk our money on a first-time donor who has no Chinese blood in her?

This made me think of a donor on the in-house donor database at my current clinic.  I remember reading her donor profile initially.  She is 5’2″.  Definitely way shorter than the requirement I had set for myself.  When I saw her profile, I didn’t immediately click on it.  And then one day, I clicked on it and was attracted by her.  She is half Chinese and very pretty.  I was impressed by her answers to the questions in the profile and felt drawn to her. She seemed to have this drive and is very goal oriented.  I loved what she said about the reason why she looked into egg donation.  And I loved that she actually cared enough to fill out the three questions at the end of the questionnaire: what she wanted to let the program know, to let the recipient parents know, and to let the future child(ren) know.  Many donors did not complete that part in their profiles.  She also checked that she was open to communicating with the recipient parents and children in the future.  All in all, she came across as a very open person.  I loved that.  However, I never seriously considered the possibility of having her as our donor solely because of her height.

On her profile it says that her four previous donations resulted in pregnancies.  So I emailed the in-house donor coordinator at my clinic her cycle history.  Here it is:

Cycle 1: 30 eggs retrieved, 20 eggs fertilized, 2 embryos transferred, 4 frozen embryos. Positive pregnancy with the fresh transfer and a live birth. Negative pregnancy with FET.

Cycle 2: 23 eggs retrieved, 16 eggs fertilized, 2 embryos transferred, 6 frozen embryos. Positive twin pregnancy with the fresh transfer and a live births.

Cycle 3: 26 eggs retrieved, 21 eggs fertilized, 2 embryos transferred, 2 frozen embryos. Positive pregnancy with the fresh transfer and a live birth.

Cycle 4: 26 eggs retrieved, 13 eggs fertilized, 2 embryos transferred, 1 frozen embryo. Positive pregnancy with the fresh transfer—miscarriage. FET to be determined.

She is currently 27 years old.  And it seems like the last cycle the results weren’t as good.  However, I also have to keep in mind that the uterine environment and the sperm are also critical factors in how many embryos are made and the miscarriage.  So I wrote to ask for my RE’s opinion.  Given this proven donor who is slightly older and a younger donor who is not proven, which one he would prefer.  The nurse wrote back:

“Dr. No Nonsense thinks she is a good candidate even though she is 27 years of age.  He would go with this  proven donor, rather than the younger donor.  We want to see at least more than 14 eggs and she makes a lot more than this.”

It’s a relief to know that she is a good candidate.  Bob and I got into a very serious discussion about the height.  Is that really a deal breaker?  With Bob’s height (6’5″), does it really matter that the donor is not as tall as I am?  Given having no baby vs. a baby who is not as tall as he would be if he had my genes, what would I choose?  Would I have hesitated if the donor were an inch or two taller?  Given this proven shorter donor and a first-time tall donor, what would I choose?

So many questions.  No one could answer for us.

But the most important question is, is this donor available?  If she was not, then this discussion would have been moot.  About ten days ago, I asked the donor coordinator if this donor was available.  This is the answer I got:

“[Donor’s name] will be available to match and complete a cycle in mid-July/August. Have you checked with your care team in regards to your checklist?”

I immediately updated Bob and wrote the coordinator back.  Our trip is from July 4th to July 11th. She said, “That should not interfere with the cycle as it looks like you both would be out of town around the same time, and would most likely move forward with the cycle after that. The donor is coming in next week to update her labs, so I can let you know if everything checks out for her. I can match you as soon as you have completed your checklist.”

Dr. No Nonsense’s administrative assistant went over the checklist with me.  There are only three things we have to finish before we could be matched with the donor. One is my complete blood count plus platelets.  It is easily accomplished.  At publish time of this post, I had already completed it with normal results.  The second is a saline sonogram to check on the uterine cavity as well as a mock transfer.  I originally was opting to get it done with my OB/GYN using my own insurance to save a few bucks.  However, given the timeline, waiting for my OB would take too long.  This procedure has to be done between cycle day 6 and 12.  AF still had not come on cycle day 44 after my failed IVF transfer.  I was worried that delayed AF would delay the procedure.  AF must have heard the curses I had for her because she showed up that afternoon following my phone call with the admin assistant.  So a saline sonogram had been scheduled.  (At publish time of this post, the saline sonogram has been done.  I’ll write another update.)  Finally, a special semenalysis with strict morphology has to be done and paid for privately (because insurance won’t cover for this special analysis).  This is to determine if regular fertilization, half ICSI, or full ICSI is appropriate for fertilizing the eggs.  This is a matter of paying extra $1000, $2000, or nothing.  We originally scheduled it for end of the month.  However, after the donor coordinator told me that the donor’s updated labs all checked out, and we wouldn’t be able to be matched with her until all the items on the checklist have been completed, I moved up Bob’s appointment to this week. This is what the donor coordinator said: “I am unable to reserve any donor for you and can only match donors to recipients who have completed their checklist. I do, however, believe that there is a strong likelihood that you can match with [donor’s name], and will definitely let you know if someone else ahead of you on the waitlist becomes interested in her.”  So we are doing everything in our power to make sure that we move ahead faster so we can be matched sooner.

All of a sudden, things are becoming real.  We are moving from only talking about it to actually doing things and having the potential of being matched with a donor who is pretty, attractive, with a great personality, proven, and half Chinese.

However, I still battled the height of the donor for quite a few days.  I know that there is no perfect donor out there.  I myself would be perfect for myself.  And I am very far from being perfect. Height WAS the second most important criterion for me.  However, I set my criteria a long time ago not knowing the extreme difficulty of finding a donor that would match the height, ethnicity, and prior successful donation criteria.  Even when I saw the “perfect” donor with the height and ethnicity, they didn’t have some other things that I didn’t know I was looking for.  Cost and distance are a problem with some of these “perfect” donors.  Plus I didn’t know that I actually care a lot about how attracted I am to the donor’s personality.

So day by day, I have been feeling better and better about the donor’s height.  And day after day, I have been feeling like that this is becoming less of an issue.  Eventually it will become a non-issue.

One day Maddie asked me how I felt about this whole thing and if I was at peace with it.  This is my answer to her:

“I feel like some force is leading me to that direction.  Given all the people lining up in front of me, all the ones that we had come across and been given a choice to pick, I think I would still pick her.  It just works somehow, with her personality, her ethnicity, her looks, and her fertility history.  I was thinking, if the tall pretty donor was available to us, putting her with the current donor together, I would still choose the current donor.”

The force is God.  I have been praying daily for Him to lead us in the right direction.  Somehow things have been working out with her.  The more Bob and I talk about this donor, the more we are excited about the possibility of the future.  I am so grateful for having friends who have gone through this process ahead of me.  Other than excitement, I have also been feeling doubtful, terrified, ambivalent, and a whole other gamut of emotions.  I confirmed with Aramis that these are all very real, normal, and legitimate feelings.  Good to know that I am NOT going crazy, that it’s okay to feel positive and negative about the same thing.

Okay there you have it.  Over 3400 words for this post.  This is a first for me.  I guess I did have a lot to say.  😉  I will let you all know the results of all the tests and whether we will be matched with this donor.

54 thoughts on “The Beginning of Everything Egg Donation

  1. As someone who has battled with infertility, several miscarriages, and eventually was able to have 2 children, I have been following your blog with compassion and sending you prayers. I GET how deeply you want to be a mother. Last year, I considered donor embryos or donor eggs. I know how the process works. My husband and I also discussed adoption. You have been through so much. However, this is where I unsubscribe from your blog. First, Bob is wrong about fresh cycles being better than frozen cycles. Many studies document this. To rule out that donor because of that is capricious. Second, who cares about height?? Are you kidding me? Couples who have biological children never know what the height will be, regardless of their own heights. Have you ever considered that your child might look different from you? What about having an Indian child? Isn’t Bob Indian? If you were to have a biological child,there is no 50/50 split on what he/she would look like. My husband looks JUST like his dad, and nothing like his mom. I look JUST like my mom and nothing like my dad. Does the child NEED to be Chinese? Really? You both seem to have a lot of money (my husband and I do not) and are able to explore so many options. If it’s so important to you to have a Chinese baby, why not go to China and see what you can arrange there? Maybe you need to just sit with yourself and ask yourself, does your ego need a mini-me or do you want to be a mother??? Do you NEED to be pregnant or could you adopt a baby? If pregnancy is the issue, what about a surrogate? By insisting that the child look like you, you are limiting yourself tremendously. Your child is out there and you are passing him/her by because he/she doesn’t look enough like you, isn’t tall enough, doesn’t have a college degree. It’s too much to bear.


    • With all due respect, Cindy, I think you’re being a bit harsh towards Isabelle here. As you probably know yourself as someone who considered donor eggs/embryos, it’s a difficult process to reach a place where you can be OK with the fact that you will never have your own biological child. To know that you will never look at your baby and have that “oh, he/she has my nose and my dad’s chin!” moment. It’s a basic biological imperative in all of us that those of us who use DE (or go the adoption route, for that matter) have to sacrifice, along with everything else infertility has taken from us. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to try to choose a donor that might give you some semblance of that feeling, if that option is available to you. That doesn’t mean you’re trying to create a “mini-me” to feed your ego, as you unkindly suggest. For instance, I chose a donor with brown hair and blue eyes like myself, but if all that had been available was redheads or Asian donors, that would have been fine too. Obviously height isn’t THAT important to Isabelle as she’s already dropped that as a search criteria. As for the Asian component, that’s a more complicated issue because it’s not just about how you look, it’s about a shared culture, heritage and experience. I’m sure Isabelle and Bob will want to share their mixed cultures with their child, and though a small child won’t know the difference, could you say for sure that an older child/teen/adult from a non-Asian donor would continue to be interested (or even feel an affinity with) Isabelle’s Chinese background and traditions if they weren’t at least part Chinese themselves? It’s only natural for a child to want to know more about their roots, and it’s the role of the parent to teach that; this will come much more naturally if the baby is part Chinese. I’m sure this is also something that parents who adopt internationally outside their own race/culture take quite seriously. I think it’s legitimate for Isabelle to be interested in pursuing a Chinese donor if it’s an option for her, but I can guarantee you that if it wasn’t she and Bob would be pursuing parenthood no matter what, be it through adoption from any country of a child of any background. Yes, they are fortunate to have the means to have more options than others. But it certainly doesn’t mean she is passing her future child by, or make her the egotistical person you seem to think she is.

      Liked by 5 people

      • The funny thing is, Aramis,
        Most parents adopted children do end up seeing themselves reflected in their child. Maybe not in their nose or their cheekbones, but in their movements, their facial expressions, and their mannerisms. Nurture is surprisingly strong, even when battling nature.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I love this. I don’t really know any other DE/adoptive parents in real life to see this in action. I was mostly thinking physical attributes, but I really hope you’re right because I’d love to think that I’ll see at least a little bit of myself reflected in my DE son.


      • I agree with everything Aramis said. And to add, I did DEIVF, and I ignored physical characteristics, because I found that when it came down to it I felt more strongly about feeling a connection to the donor, and naively thought that it wouldn’t matter to anyone else (I’m single). And I have a wonderful 1-year-old son, who I can’t imagine being any different. But I was taken by surprise just how many people ask questions about his looks— I had to get comfortable fast with talking about DE, because for a while it seemed like every stranger we passed asked where his red hair came from. Which is a long way of saying that it was more difficult than I expected to have a son who looks unlike me, and trying to match physical characteristics makes sense to me now in a way it didn’t before. And that’s even without bringing race into it. (And I did make finding a jewish donor a priority, which gets at a lot of the shared cultural heritage stuff.)

        But at least I got all the awkward stammering out of the way before he’s old enough to notice. And now I take a perverse joy in how flummoxed people get when I answer a question they thought was a simple social pleasantry.

        Liked by 1 person

        • What you said about your experience is very interesting. I can only imagine what people’s facial expressions are like when you tell them about egg donation!


    • As someone who is pregnant with a donor egg/donor sperm baby, I think you’re being fairly judgmental in this comment. Ethnicity, height and education, practically in that order, were our primary concerns when selecting our donors. I’m Caucasian so I had hundreds of donors to choose from; my husband is Indian so he had fewer than two dozen. We were lucky that we found what we were looking for and because sperm can be frozen, we bought what we needed years in advance. Bob is not wrong in wanting to have a fresh cycle–you have a greater chance at more eggs and therefore more embryos and therefore more living children with a fresh cycle than a frozen cycle–we did the same calculations. To fault and judge Isabelle for being honest with herself that she prefers donor eggs to adoption and for being honest about what she wants in a donor is unfair. Sure, her baby could look 100% like Bob, but what about her grandchild? Maybe her grandchild will look more Chinese than Indian? I’m 100% sure my child won’t have blue eyes, but there’s a chance my grandchild might, and that is important to me. Maybe it’s vanity, maybe it’s ego, but it’s what I want so what different should it make to anyone else?

      Why judge Isabelle for wanting to honor her heritage by choosing a Chinese donor? Why judge Isabelle for wanting to give her husband a chance to have a biological child rather than go the adoption route? She doesn’t judge women who won’t choose donor eggs, she doesn’t judge women who seemingly futilely cycle again and again and again with their own eggs because they choose neither adoption nor DE. She doesn’t judge the women who skip intensive treatments in favor of adoption. Isabelle and Bob may be able to afford a number of different treatment options, but they’re pursuing the option that works best for their family. Who are you to decide when or how they choose to build their family? For someone who has dealt with infertility, you should know how personal and difficult all the choices we face are. I’m shocked that as a long time follower of Isabelle that you can’t understand and see how kind, generous, supportive, caring, thoughtful, respectful, and overall wonderful she is to the people in her lives–both virtually and in person–and how she’s doing her best to honor herself throughout this whole process.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow! I’m amazed at the calm your words exude. Whether or not you feel that calm or not. May God’s peace truly shelter you through this whole long process and journey. Hugs. XOXO


  3. Cindy,
    You probably won’t have a chance to read this, but I think you’re being a little hard on Isabelle. Consider picking your life partner. When we were young, most of us had lists of the qualifications we wanted in a partner and as time went on those changed or when we met the right person, we compromised or dropped some of the things from the list that weren’t as important as the person.
    Isabelle and Bob picked their ideal partner when they picked each other. It seems logical and makes sense that Bob especially, and Isabelle as well, would want a mother as close to Isabelle as possible. Not because they’re ego driven or desperate to create a clone, but because they love each other, and want to see that love reflected in the face of their child.
    My parents always recommended that I fall in love with someone of the same religious background as me. Not because people of other religions aren’t loveable, but because it’s one less problem; one less difference between you.
    I see trying to match as closely as possible on donor as “one less difference” on the path of true love and happiness. You may feel that it’s petty, or that my parents were petty in what they told me, but everyone is allowed to hold certain things important that others consider silly. People collected Beanie Babies, for crying out loud. You can’t tell me that’s less silly than having criteria for the genetic foundation of your child.
    And one more thing. my biological cousin is half Asian and from the day she was born, my aunt was pelted with questions about her adoption. My cousin was not adopted. She’s from a bi-racial marriage. It was annoying to my aunt every single time. Why would you not sidestep that ambiguity if you could.
    And I don’t want to pile on, but I want to raise one last point. I don’t know why height is important to Isabelle and neither do you. There may be some very good reasons that make it a priority, just as other people might look at whether a person has curly or straight hair. And Isabelle has shown that it isn’t a deal-breaker, but to say, it shouldn’t be a consideration and only ego is making it an issue is kind of cruel and short-sighted. Just because you don’t understand where it comes from doesn’t mean it’s wrong. And if you want to bring people around to your way of thinking, you might want to dial back on the judgy.
    Also, if you provide some resources to the studies you’re talking about, I’m sure Isabelle can pass them onto Bob for consideration.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am going to chime in here as a person who is currently pregnant from donor eggs, not someone who just considered it. First off, it is a difficult decision and not one that anyone takes lightly. Secondly, what a donor looks like plays a factor regardless of your ethnicity. It is one of the concrete factors you have to work with. You have health background, looks and education. I am Northern European and that was a criteria for our donor. You have to start somewhere. You have to find a good match, someone you respond to in some way. How dare you, Cindy, judge someone else’s decisions. If IF has taught me anything, it is to be compassionate because everyone’s journey is different. The only valid thing you had to say was the bit about FET. Other than that you were just offensive and rude.


  5. I wouldn’t rule out donor one, I thought she sounded great and has an amazing track record. And just because her eggs are frozen and not fresh, I don’t imagine that would make much of a difference.. But that’s just me. Best of luck with it all!!


    • Thanks for your comment. You are right about donor one’s egg quality. The main concern we have is that we want to have enough embryos for two children. (Yup thinking far ahead before we even get to have number one). A frozen egg cycle only guarantees 6 eggs. It’s highly likely that there will be one or two embryos left at the end for transfer. Vs. with a fresh cycle, there will be more eggs, and thus more of a chance of having embryos left to be frozen. It does seem like donor one’s frozen egg cycle also yielded good results, but it could be different for each frozen batch.


  6. Cindy, Isabelle has too much class to say this so I will: fuck off with your sanctimonious judgments. Her blog, her thoughts, her musing, her feelings. You don’t get to intrude on that.

    Liked by 8 people

  7. I applaud your working through all the issues. None of this is easy.
    Re height of donor: My parents had 3 children ~ son 6’6″, daughter 5’10” daughter 5’3″ on tiptoes. I have two grandchildren: one is 50th%ile from tall parents, one is 90th%ile from a mother 5′ and father 5’7″ (adopted). The natural grandchild looks like father’s side of family, the adopted one who is ethnically diverse looks very much like my sister who is not bio related. All of which means genetics is clearly important~ and also totally an unknown. A great deal of academic success and achievement is based on economics of the donor’s parents rather than sheer IQ, many very bright people who work hard are not able to afford advanced degrees or prestigious schools, and many graduates of such schools got there due to familial money and/or parentals alumni status not their own brains and drive.
    Totally hoping you move forward with joy and success in growing your family. Wish the whole process was easier but glad that in today’s world you have options and hopes of children.


    • Thanks for taking your time and sharing with me about your personal experience with height. And I also agree with your about education and opportunity. My dad is one of the smartest people I have ever met, and he never even got to have a formal education. It doesn’t stop him from being a successful person in the society. And thank you so much for your hope for us and your well wishes. I totally agree with you that I am very grateful to be living in this day and age. Options are definitely out there.


  8. I’m glad you have had lots of responses to Cindy because I was shocked to read such a nasty and rude message from someone who has experienced infertility herself. I totally disagree with every word she said and I’m glad you are beginning to move forward with your journey with donor eggs. Both of my IVF clinics had much higher success rates with fresh rather than frozen transfers so I would always prefer fresh cycles myself. I hope things continue to progress in the right direction and I’m looking forward to some more updates soon x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Isn’t it amazing how our priorities shift and change as we go through the process. I also started off feeling quite differently about certain issues to how I did once we finally chose our donor. I like that you got a feeling about the donor you’re now pursuing… We also got a ‘feeling’, and we’re told this is normal and desirable. I am really praying that this works for you (and me), and we can compare notes on a de pregnancy!!!


  10. I never commented before but I, as everyone else, was shocked to read the comment from this Cindy person – so rude and wrong on so many levels! Really, only a terrible person would write something like that, especially on someone’s personal blog.
    Just wanted to clarify regarding frozen vs fresh cycles. I think she is wrong because she is confusing frozen embryos with frozen eggs. While it is true that many clinics now (not all by the way) see better success rates with FET than with fresh IVF cycles, in FET the embryos are frozen and the technology is still not as good at freezing eggs as it is at freezing embryos. Eggs are difficult to freeze (only recently became a valid option) and the number of eggs in frozen batches is usually very limited, so Isabelle and Bob are right in their preference for fresh cycle if that is an option available to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I also have to leave a comment for Cindy. People blog and join this community to feel supported, even when sharing their most personal, intimate thoughts. You may not agree with their perspective. Guess what. There is s little box in the upper right hand corner that lets you close the page. You do not need to give an exit letter. I un-followed two bloggers who are choosing not to vaccinate their infants. Did I want to write and share how selfish and irresponsible I think they are? Yes, but I respect their choices, even when I don’t agree with them. It’s part of blogging etiquette, when you comment, think ‘is this helpful, is this insightful? Am I being supportive?’ And if the answer is no, as one commenter eloquently said, then shut the fuck up

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Without getting into the fray and as a first time reader whose family is complete (13 transfers, 9OE IVFs, 1 DE cycle, 2 donated embryo FETs, and the full pursuit of domestic newborn adoption (2 yrs homestudy approved and waiting for a match), I can tell you that NO matter how meticulously you try to stack the deck in your favor, NO matter what you think is important to you now as your pour over donor profiles, not a whole hell of a lot of it will matter when you finally have a child, no matter how s/he comes to you. I say this as an adopted person, married to an adopted person who have had the great good fortune to have both a genetic child and one whose genes we had no hand in choosing. At some point in our journey, after I, too, poured over donor profiles both in-house and myriad agencies and after I “connected” with the physical and intellectual features of the donor we ultimately selected and after her cycle was an abysmal failure did I realize that none of it made a hill of beans difference to the negative outcome of both our fresh and frozen donor egg cycles.

    Of course, when you have the luxury of choice you think you want certain things, but even still you can’t foretell how genes will express themselves and JUST that a genetically unrelated child is carried by a different woman than the egg donor means that through epigentics genes will express themselves differently.

    My BEST word of advice, after spending nearly $200K to create and complete our family, is to chose a PROVEN egg donor, someone whose eggs have proven themselves to produce a live birth (or two) in another woman. Not too much else matters when you are staring at a snow white HPT.

    Good luck and positive vibes coming your way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience and your advice. I sometimes wavered between first time and proven. I know that a proven donor is still not a guarantee but at least I know that it did happen before. I remember a donor agency person told us that it doesn’t matter how good a donor looks on paper, it’s no use if she doesn’t help you make a baby. So true.


  13. I am so happy to get an update on all of this! I am happy how confident and guided you are feeling although it has not been easy. My thought while reading was how tall Bob is. Since he is so tall, your child may get his height regardless of the female height. My mom is 5’5 and dad is 5’10, maybe 5’11. My sister is 5’7, brothers 6’3, 6’2, and 5’11… and then there’s me at 5’2 😦
    You never know!
    Regarding Cindy- she is a jerk and so insensitive. Easy to say this or that once you already have two kids that are biologically yours or even if they aren’t biologically yours, it is so much easier on the other side, so forget her!
    I am so excited for you!! Things are looking good and are so close!!!


  14. So glad to read an update. I am sorry your blog became a lightning rod for “Cindy” to download her issues onto you. You have had to make decisions that few people ever dream they will have to make. You and Bob need information, support and grace, not judgment. I am glad to read so many people speaking up for you, and will add my voice to theirs. I have learned so much from your blog. I wish you the very best in finding that right donor!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Isabelle, I’m so sorry for the judgment and harsh words your first commenter left here. I echo many of the compassionate things said by subsequent bloggers/commenters and just want you to know that I totally totally totally get wanting to feel some connection to our donors when we are giving up so much in not using our own eggs. The first comment is from someone who has never grieved that loss as she was fortunate enough with time to have 100% genetically connected kids. Thank goodness for her. That’s not your reality (or mine or others here) and I would like to think that being in your shoes is not a prerequisite for compassion but I have to tell you that I never cease to be amazed at the cruel and insensitive things people say when it comes to others’ use and choices around reproductive donors. Those of us who have chosen or been chosen to walk this path are driven to find features that help us feel connected and in control to some extent in a situation where we have been removed in a significant way from the founding elements of the equation. I believe in epigenetics. Heck I’m banking on it with this baby (please, God). But I wanted my donor to have some things in common with me. I don’t judge anyone who doesn’t want that. In turn I demand I not be judged. To each her own. Enough said I hope. Maybe too much. I’m sending a big hug, my friend. Hang in. It will be worth it. You are so much bigger than all of these words.


    • Thank you friend. Yay I was totally shocked but at the same time knew that there was a risk out there when we put ourselves in the public. I know that it’s truly hard to put oneself in somebody else’s shoes, especially when one doesn’t really have to make that choice of a donor for real, even if that person had the same condition as you do. It was such a heart wrenching thing to get through. It’s so easy to judge when it’s not your reality, like you said. I am 100% comfortable with our criteria and our choice. Thank you for your hug. I am holding on to the hope that it will be worth it in the end.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Life is so full of uncertainties… I’m holding onto the very same hope as I wrestle with my fears of losing this DE baby before delivering. I haven’t been able to write about it because it has unsettled me so deeply but hopefully soon I will find the courage. Are you at all worried that immune factors may play into your future DEIVF cycle(s) – praying you only need one – and have you thought about or talked to any of your caregivers about the known immune issues you have? I’m not asking to lump one more worry on your plate, but because I want you and Bob to succeed more than anything. I don’t expect you to remember this but my first DE IVF cycle that ended in miscarriage #8 was what finally compelled me to stop buying the lies about it all being “old eggs” and insisting on immunological testing and treatment.


  16. Isabelle – I am a long time reader of your blog, but have never commented. I go to the same clinic as you and found your blog when looking for information about their program before my first IVF last November. I also have DOR and am thinking about donor eggs if our next cycle should fail.
    I just wanted to say how much I admire your bravery for sharing your story, especially in light of the negative response you received on this entry.
    All of our family building decisions are such personal choices and take time and effort to work through. A big thank you for sharing your thought process on donor eggs. It is really helpful to read. I know you’ll end up making the right choices for your family.
    Big hugs to you – if I’m an example I imagine that in addition to your known readers, there are many strangers reading along and cheering for you. xo


    • Oh thank you for your support and comment. It is not an easy road to have to rely on technology to complete your family. This blog has given me such a great way to write everything down and get a dialogue going. It really helps with my emotional health. I am so happy that it is helpful for you to read. Such an encouragement for me to keep going. Thank you. Good luck with your quest. I hope that you will never need to make the choice that I am making right now.


  17. Pingback: “You Are Cleared To Proceed” | In Quest of a Binky Moongee

  18. Pingback: MicroblogMondays: Frozen Donor Eggs (a post not so micro) | In Quest of a Binky Moongee

  19. Hey there,
    Would like to go thru egg donor programme in malaysia.. can u kindly gives us the contact of the agency whom u meet up with? We greatly appreciate yr helps, God bless.


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