Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Baby Talk.

I was debating whether to write about this or not. It's a very personal matter, and I know that many people are divided about the issue. I'd love to hear your opinions on the matter, positive and negative.

It started with a simple conversation; Sulli and I were discussing a possible career change (for her), she is currently an environmental micro biologist but was thinking about applying to a medical facility that deals with fertility problems.
She told me that it was a very stressful position, as it was very easy to make a mistake that held great consequences (i.e mixing the wrong sperm with the wrong egg, accidentally throwing away embryos etc...). Along the way, we started to talk about egg donors. I was fascinated with the subject and spent the following few days researching what it was, the process, then interviewing friends about how they felt about it. As well, I did some soul searching; Could I donate my eggs, how would I feel having a genetic offspring I knew nothing of? Then, I called a clinic and arranged an information session.

Before I continue, I know many of you live in the states where the regulations on egg donation are very different from those in Canada. In the U.S, egg donors are compensated an average of 5-10 000$. Many times, if they are 'exceptional' donors, such as of a rare ethnic background or with high IQ and athletic skills, they can be paid 15-25 000$. Most egg donors in the states are cash strapped university students, who see this as an opportunity to clear up their debts. For this reason, egg donation is criticized; there is a consumer 'shopping' mentality when it comes to selecting eggs. In many cases, there are agencies who match up donors and intended parents.

In Canada, a law passed in 2004, that banned any compensation for egg and sperm donation. It likened to donating organs , which should be done altruistically. SO, egg donation in Canada has dropped 70% since then. Women must wait from 2-5 years to have access to an egg donation; it is a harrowing experience as many of them are in their 30's, 40's and the longer they wait, the slimmer their chance to get pregnant.
As well, this has created a medical tourism wave; Canadians seek eggs in the U.S, pay the donor and go back home. As well, some couples have resorted to finding their own donors through ads and compensating them for their 'time', and not their egg.

Now let me tell you, egg donation isn't easy, it is a 1-2 months process where the donor (i.e me) must self inject fertility drugs in her stomach or thigh, for a period of a week or two. In a normal cycle, a healthy woman will produce one egg, the drugs induce egg creation, so you will produce 10-12 times that amount. Then, you come back to the clinic for follow ups, and finally, to retrieve the eggs. This is done through a minor surgery that lasts 15-20 minutes. The fertility drugs do have side effects; imagine being on your period for an entire month. You can be bloated, moody, sensitive. It is time consuming and physically demanding. Not many people would go through this for a stranger, if there wasn't a compensation for the time (trips to the clinic, the tests etc...)

It is a mind boggling experience but having had a miscarriage in the past and spending time with my ex' daughter, I know that NOT being able to conceive and start a family must be heartbreaking.

I am still thinking very hard about this, but my belief is simple; a woman becomes a mother when she is pregnant, a man becomes a father when he sees his child.
I believe that donating my eggs (to a nurturing, loving family) isn't like giving up your child for adoption. I don't feel the attachment to my ova, and I won't feel like I have a child that belongs to me. Currently, I am e-mailing with a woman (she's had multiple failed IVF's and a miscarriage), her fertility has been compromised by fibrosis. She's a career woman, she sounds like a very strong person. She's of mixed ethnicity, like myself, and she can't wait to start a family.

I don't know what will happen from here on; there's so many medical tests to take and I might have a predominant gene that makes it impossible for me to donate, or maybe I will wake up and feel like I can't go on through the process, it's just too much.

No matter what, I learned there are a lot of women out there that are hurting; they have their careers, they are in love, they are healthy but their bodies won't co-operate. We take pregnancy for granted, God knows that I have sighed out of relief when I finally got my period after being late. Many of my friends have had abortions, I don't judge them as I believe that abortion is many times a viable option.
So many of us take our capacity to bear babies, nonchalantly, whilst too many of women have to fight for their motherhood.


Americanising Desi said...

i have had a persiostent heart ache [literally] for the past many hours...
this just makes it worse :(

Nana said...

Wow, this is some deep have to think about this very carefully and do what you think is right. You are the only one that can make such a personal decision. For what its worth, I think its very brave of you to even consider this - you just need to make up your mind early so you do not raise and dash the hopes of the woman you are communicating with

Retromus-ik said...

Nana,its commendable for you to be even thinking about doing this! But, I think you would be attached to the child once he or she is born, or maybe even while he or she is developping in another woman's womb...I think you would always wonder about them...Is the child being treated with love and does he or she look like etc
Some people would see it just as an ova...but considering how much you want to be a mother later on...I unno. It's ultimately your decision...please continue thinking it through carefully. Whatever you decide, I'm with you!

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

I agree that its something that must be carefully thought through. When you choose to conceive a child, there's always this thought in the back of your mind of all the what ifs but then, you concentrate on the end result, the child. Would you be able to move on knowing that someone else is carrying a part of you that may have your eyes or your mom's smile? Would that be okay or would it eventually cause you to have regrets. If you feel strongly about the decision without wavering, then, you have your answer. I know that you'll decide what you really want to do.

floreta said...

GREAT article! all very good points i never even have thought about. you are brave and so sweet for donating your eggs.

latree said...

this is a huge thing. it's a sensitive thing. I hope what I'm about to tell here won't affect any of your decisions and perceptions.

you are right, every country has its own regulation to this. and my religion does too.

in Islam, you need to know who is some one's biological parents to decide if you can marry them or not. the closest family relation allowed to get married are between cousins-- and there are many more rules.

by donating eggs (and sperm) the family line would be confusing. ok, it may be not. but having children in Islam, must be done in a family, by married couple. having babies by parents who don't get married each other is not allowed, or I should say, is a sin.

so I don't think this is some thing I would dare to do.

but above all, I do respect everybody's principles. I'm just sharing a thing I hold on to.

the decision you made, I believe, has gone through deep and long thinking. and it is you who know, what is good for you.


Americanising Desi said...

hey brave girl, where are you at?
miss you!


Anonymous said...

First baby conceived from screened egg is born!

Anonymous said...

A 61-year-old woman gave birth to her own grandchild using an egg donated by her daughter, a clinic in Japan has said.
The surrogate mother is believed to be oldest woman to have given birth in Japan.