Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thoughts from an infertility support group

Thanks for all of your comments about diet and exercise. I'll see what I can do. Will start stims at the end of the month so have this whole month almost to try to improve things before then. Want to try to give it my best shot without getting obsessional or nuts about it. Will let you know what I decide to implement.

I went to the over-40-even though-I'm-under-40 support group for the first time last night. The others were nice. One is pursuing adoption, one is probably going to do donor egg, two are still doing treatments but starting to think about what is next (adoption or donor egg). Very nice women. All have been through the fertility wringer in various ways that I won't detail. It was great to be in a circle of women who understand each in their own way the difficulty of this infertility journey.

A couple of things were said that resonated and shifted my perspective a bit:

1. You can't move on to adoption or donor egg until you've grieved the loss of your own genetic child enough to be somewhat excited about these possibilities. I already knew I wasn't ready to throw in the towel yet on my own genetic child, but this helped me think more clearly about how to know when I am getting there. We went to an adoption meeting last month (will blog about it soon), and I was not excited about it at all. Which I knew meant I'm not ready for that step. But how to know when I am, if IVF keeps tanking? I now will look for a bit of a shift, not just feeling so keenly what is lost (what I so far can't have), but an openess toward new possibilities.

2. I've always seen donor egg as not so different than adoption in my mind, except that I would get to be pregnant and give birth and have the child from day 1 (which are big things, I'll grant you). Last night I also realized that with donor egg, you may not be genetically related to the child but you do nourish them with your blood, hormones, and neurotransmitters and in that way their development is imprinted with you in a very real, if not genetic, way. Someone last night said that if the donor had the same embryo transferred into them and had that baby it would not be the baby you would have - for all the reasons detailed, and this finally clicked. This seems kind of obvious now that I'm typing it, but it made donor egg a bit more appealing should we find ourselves there in the future.

The whole group wasn't about adoption and donor egg but was definitely skewed in that direction. The two women who are still cycling are both kind of down to their last IVFs and IUIs before moving on. In that way they were in a different place than I am but Will and I are starting to consider every option toward building a family so actually it was helpful to hear their thoughts and perspectives on where they are in the journey (it actually felt closer to where I am than if they were 35 and doing IVF #1).

How to know when to move on, or what path to take if we do move on, from IVF has always been a mystery to me. It's always felt like if IVF doesn't work that I will just be swallowed in grief. Last night it felt like there would be life after IVF, no matter what happens. A life I might even want. A life with children one way or another. The group shed a bit of light on the process of grieving and moving on should things not go as I wish. For which I was grateful.



  1. It sounds like the group went well. I am glad you went.

  2. I find myself always sitting on the fence as far as groups go - all groups. I tend to prefer one on one interactions. And I'm still debating whether or not to tap into any grief support groups nearby, but this feels like what can happen if you open your mind to the possibility. This sounds like time well-spent, women well worth knowing. This is great and encouraging news. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Hmm I don't know about the bit about the donor egg stuff - does this mean that our potential children will be different because they grew for 9 months in a surrogate? It's the same thing - different genes in another persons body? I'm not saying that they are wrong, but, if that is true - then what does it mean for surrogacy?

    I'm not all that attached to my eggs and would be fine with donor eggs (provided that it's not traditional surrogacy but donnor egg and GC)... but so many legal complications for DE/GS.

    How do you know when it's time to move onto something else, when you just can't face another cycle, when your mind and body are screeming I'm done!

    I think there is a big difference between adoption and donor egg, firstly with adoption the birth mother can change her mind (and they do change their mind).. and you're standing on the edget the whole time waiting never sure if you will have a family or not, but, with donor egg, you know that your baby is with you and that you will be a mother.

    But, what do I know?
    Glad you enjoyed the group!

  4. Duck

    you have good points.

    I guess following this logic, that a baby via gestational surrogate would be a bit different than if you'd carried them in your own body. Even if that is true (and I don't really know any scientific evidence that it is - guess you would need identical twin embryos somehow gestated in two separate women to find out - ethical nightmare) - I'd say the bulk of things comes fro the genes.

    there are lots of legal complications. and i agree that adoption has all sorts of pitfalls. interestingly tho, women in the group felt that donor egg was also at least as uncertain b/c you don't know for sure that it will work, I guess, and you might have more pregnancies losses/IVF failures, which is tough when you're feeling maxed out with the whole thing.

    bottom line I guess is that basically, none of these paths is simple or easy. For the first time, tho, they did feel like real options, which is probably a good thing.


  5. I'm so glad that you had a good experience at the support group. It sounds like you are in a good place, like you said, no matter what happens.

  6. Mo, sounds like the right group, and the right time.
    My idea is that donor eggs are a 1/2 adoption, because we'd be using my husband's sperm.
    At this poitn, on the eve of my last IVF ever, I am stuck between wanting it to work, and having some insane hope that it will, and preparing myself for DE.
    Sometimes when I think of my future child, and I think of a genetic child, I have a pang of loss for the DE child, and when I think of the DE child, I have a much harder pang of loss for my gentic child. But it is the pang of loss for the DE child that gives me the most hope--if I can already be attaching to a child who isn't even for sure going to come to life, then it feels like I'll be ok if that is what comes to pass. I haven't worked on adoption at all yet--I'm not ready to give up pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding yet. If I have to I will, but I don't, so I won't.

  7. It sounds like the group went well and that it gave you a lot to think about!

  8. this group sounds like it did it's purpose, then. glad you had a positive experience. :)

  9. Support groups are helpful. It helps you feel not so isolated. I'm glad it worked out for you.

  10. Mo - your totally right, none of it's easy and none of it is something that people want in their life (no one grows up and says I want to have donor egg babies). But a time comes when your thinking about things that you never ever thought that you would think about, and it get's easier, as crazy as that sounds. I'm glad that the group helped!

  11. Good for you for getting support. Also, in regard to the great nutrition suggestions you got on your last post: I also am a fan of raspberry leaf tea, as it is supposed to strengthen the uterus, but it should not be taken after transfer. Good luck!

  12. I think the group sounds great. I tried the local Resolve group a couple of times, and I found it to be really educational - no one knows as much about IF as the women who are experiencing it!

    I like the perspectives you shared on egg donors - something to think about. I'm not quite there yet, but I have thought about it here and there (particularly embryo adoption) and am trying to stay as open minded as I can about all ways to create a family.

  13. I think the gruop sounds great. It's so interesting to get perspective from other people in real life. People who are going through the same experience.

    I'm glad you went.

  14. Wow that is a great perspective gained on both when we know it is ok to move towards other options and also what a wonderful new take on donor eggs!
    thank you for sharing the really helpful insight.

  15. Great post. Sounds like a good group.

  16. We are struggling with donor eggs right now. I argue to myself that the child might be healthier of they came from a younger egg. Less damage to the DNA, if my eggs really are low quality, then maybe higher quality is what is best for the child. I just is a huge blow to my ego. I always loved the thought of a genetic experiment between my husband and I. But fate has other ideas and maybe the child will be healthier and happier without my DNA. I don't know, but I resolve to believe that.

  17. Hi -- I found your blog a few days ago, though I can't for the life of me remember whose blog I clicked from to get here. I've enjoyed reading through some of your past posts as my husband and I are just starting our first IVF cycle now - Lupron starts on Sunday!

    I just wanted to say that I think it's awesome that you have found a group to go to - I was just thinking that it would be really nice to have something like that here. This is such an isolating experience for me - I'm 24, so there is literally no one my age who can relate to what I am going through.

    It's good to find other people out there who are going through the same thing. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Sounds great. Sorry you fit in with the over 40s.

    Starting as late as I did, I started making the shift in my head early on. My RE very kindly told me I would know when I was ready to move on from my own eggs. It does make sense that you need to grieve and start getting excited about other options.

    No matter how he or she gets there, when you have a baby kicking the hell out of your bladder, that's YOUR baby!

    I hope this next IVF is the one, but if not, I know you will not be "swallowed in grief." It would be agony, but you would emerge. You've survived SO MUCH! Girlfriend, you are one tough cookie! You have Will and all of us to lean on. And now your new group.

    (Keep meaning to email you. I fly out on the 18th!! Let's get together before then.)


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