My favorite aunt, my mom’s younger sister, died of cancer at 52. Her older daughter is a couple of years younger than I am. I’ll call her Jeannie. I always think of her as very young, but of course it is no longer the case since I am already in my 40s. She lives on the east coast so I don’t get to see her much, but I love her dearly as I loved and will always continue to love her mother dearly. Jeannie disclosed to me a while ago (when we were expecting twins via gestational surrogacy) that she had not been successful in getting pregnant with her partner for quite some time. Her fertility issues are similar to mine (minus the uterine problems): diminished ovarian reserve. She had tried a few cycles of IVF using her savings. Since she and her partner are both small business owners, it has been hard for her to come up with more money for more cycles after spending her savings. It has been extra hard knowing that each cycle she may or may not make an embryo (you know, that’s the nature of diminished ovarian reserve). She knows the details of our journey and knows that the twins were conceived via donor eggs, so she knows that it is within the realm of possibility. With limited funds, she had to figure out with her partner how to proceed with treatment: continuing with her own eggs, donor eggs, or donated embryos? Or adoption? Everything cost money and she wanted to be pregnant and have a baby like.. yesterday. So how does one move forward when money is short? Being disappointed over and over again with her own eggs (just like me), she was more and more open to third party reproduction. Her friend’s friend offered her a frozen embryo for donation but she later found out that it wasn’t good enough for a transfer. Dr. E (my RE)’s patient had a set of Caucasian/Asian mixed embryos available but for various reasons that didn’t work out either. Watching her walk this path and walking alongside her every step of the way brings back so many memories of our journey. There are so many similarities, and it does pain me to see her on the same path as well. At the same time, because I have walked this path, I am so glad that I can be here for her whenever she needs me. I know the emotions behind it and I have practical suggestions and recommendations for her. I analyzed the pros and cons of fresh vs. frozen donor eggs for her. She eventually decided to go with a set of 6 eggs from a local program because the cost is lower. Bob and I offered to gift her a sum to cover a part of the cost but she graciously declined. She chose a first time Chinese donor who hadn’t started the cycle yet so there was a chance for Jeannie to get those 6 eggs fresh. To me, having fresh eggs to fertilize is better than thawing frozen eggs. It’s amazing that with her young donor, 4 out of 6 eggs fertilized normally, and three became blastocysts. Out of the three blastocysts, two were normal. I can’t help but be very happy and relieved for my cousin. We had 18 (out of 23) mature eggs, 17 fertilized, and we had 6 blastocyst at the end. Four were normal. So compared to our stats, my cousin’s donor eggs did fabulously. Jeannie just had a transfer of a 512 (5AB) embryo a bit over a week ago. Her beta was last Friday, which was 7 days past 5 day transfer. I don’t know about you. I find it a bit odd that beta was so early for her. But no worries, as she got positive results for the first time in her life! Her hCG was 80, which was a fantastic number for an early beta. When I heard the news, I was so excited for her and at the same time emotional. I’m just so relieved that the first hurdle is over. Her second beta will be today some time. I can’t wait to see how it progresses and I can’t wait to see my cousin become a mother finally. I hope that this pregnancy will be smooth sailing from this point on.