Thank you guys for your thoughtful comments - it really helps to read your take on our situation, your encouragement, and your questions. We appreciate it.
One of the questions you so thoughtfully asked was about whether we might want to leave the Denver clinic, since they are so stringent in donor screening and gestational carrier screening and preparation.
That's a good question.
Part of me is glad that if there is a chromosomal problem with the donor we wanted to use that we found it, and part of me is frustrated, since the finding is of unknown significance. But knowing what we now know, we wouldn't want to go with her without screening the embryos. And apparently, the CCS testing cannot pick up this problem (one thing we considered was seeing if we could go forward and just discard the affected embryos). Denver won't let us so it's a moot point anyway, and no other clinic we know of can do the CCS testing - even if they did, starting over from scratch with a new clinic would take a lot of time and $$$.
But going forward, the question remains: Would we maybe want to go with a different clinic?...tempting.
The problem is, the Denver clinic's stats are so darn good.
Here is a link to the top 10 egg donor clinics in the U.S. Denver is number 9 (lower than I would have guessed). But they also have a much larger sample size, so I trust their numbers more than some of the other clinics listed (and besides, they are still the closest to us of those listed...)
But really, maybe many other clinic's numbers are so close that it doesn't really matter significantly, right? So we looked in to this...There are two clinics in NYC we would consider, our old clinic and one other very reputable clinic. Our old clinic's success rate is 12% lower than Denver's (plus they don't vitrify embryos, which is really a deal breaker). The other NYC clinic's success rate is 8% lower (not as bad, but truly significantly lower, plus, we'd have to basically start over, which is expensive and time consuming). Also, have you noticed how unlucky we are? We sort of think we need the stats as much in our favor as possible.
I also looked into the best clinic near where my sister lives in case we go in that direction, since it would make her life so much easier if we kept things local for her. Sadly, the best clinic where she lives has a success rate that is 20% lower (shocking!! I'm a little embarrassed for them, actually). No way we could do that.
Based on all this, at least for now we're thinking of staying. Not totally happy with this, but don't see a great alternative either. I want to move forward as quickly and successfully as possible. I am beyond frustrated. I can't believe how difficult this is, how mired our situation feels to me.
In terms of alternate paths, we are anxiously mulling transferring some of our normals to me...so more on that soon. This scares us though, as we really don't know if I can carry or not, and at almost 40 now, I may not be able to replace those embryos (not to mention that I don't have the psychological stamina left to do more IVFs). I would hate to throw such carefully acquired and irreplaceable embryos in my old death trap uterus if there is no chance at life there, you know?
So that's where we are today, although things change frequently around here. We have emails in to the Denver clinic to find out more about the process/screening requirements involved in a sister donation and to find out the password to the Denver in-house donor pool (it would be great if we found someone suitable, although I'm not so optimistic about that since there are less than 60 women in the pool). Call also in to a psychologist for Will and me to talk to about the emotional complexities of a sister egg donation versus using an unknown donor. We want to be thoughtful about this decision, or at least screw up our kids thoughtfully, you know?
Everything remains unclear, but damn I'm trying to move forward anyway.
P.S. Guess what percentage of donor applicants passes the screening process at Denver? ...if you leave your guess in the comments, I'll post the answer soon. I think you might be surprised - I was. Known donor screening is different apparently (thank god!!), so hopefully not as steep of a hill to climb. Major kudos and a shout out to the closest guesser!
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