Note: This article originally appeared on mom.me on September 9, 2014. Read the original article here.
One of the biggest obstacles I have had while going through an egg donation program in another state was having to choose my donor. I thought it would be fun looking through a database of profiles and pictures of donors. The clinic I go to here in Minnesota chooses the donor for you. I may be provided baby pictures of the donor, but let’s face it: a baby is a baby is a baby. So I thought I would prefer to pick out the donor myself, which is what the clinic in Texas does, where we will be heading for an embryo transfer in October. I thought I would like it better knowing what the donor looked like, that I had a hand in choosing who I wanted my child to resemble.
Sometimes, being privy to the choosing process is not a good thing. For starters, the moment I filtered through the list to narrow the donor pictures down, I took one look at them and burst into tears.
“None of them look like me!” I wailed to my husband, who was initially doing his best on the couch next to me to discreetly look away from the computer screen to give me some privacy. “How am I supposed to chose a donor? None of them look like me!”
He offered to help, to sort through them with me to help me narrow it down.
“Here,” he said, pointing to an attractive blonde in a tank top, “What about her? She has blonde hair, too.”
I snatched the computer away, hissing through gritted teeth, “You just think she’s hot!”
Ten minutes later, after wrenching the laptop back from me and sputtering that that’s not why he liked that donor, we tried to look through the donor profiles together, studying cheekbone structure and eye color. However, it slowly dawned on me that this was going to be something I would have to do on my own. What is it about your husband looking at pictures of the woman whose eggs he’ll be fertilizing in two months that makes you want to sucker-punch him?
It was probably a good idea to go at this alone, and at least narrow it down to a few donors. I saved six or seven of my favorites and then wrote down brief profiles in my own words in a notebook. Things like, “Has my smile” or “Mother has diabetes” or “Has four kids!!! Fer-tile!”
And then two weeks passed. I made a ton of phone calls, discovered my clinic here has a satellite monitoring coordinator who will send my test results to Texas, got a baseline ultrasound and did some blood work (with enough blood given to get a vampire to clap his hands and squeal.)
“Ah,” I sighed, “I got so much done. Things are getting set to go.” Then I remembered I had yet to pick a donor. And not having a donor would cause this whole thing to be moot. So it was back to the database, back to staring at the faces of the women whose eggs I will take over and allow to be joined with my husband’s sperm.
I stared. I took some notes. I checked Facebook. I eliminated one because her smile was too gummy and I don’t show that much upper gum when I smile. I poured some wine. I checked Facebook again. I added a new donor to my list of favorites because I liked her sexy green eyes. (I don’t have green eyes.)
Finally, I gave up and enlisted the help of a close friend, another blogger who had gone through a similar experience. Working over the phone, in screenshots and text messages, this girl helped me do something I didn’t think I could do: We got it narrowed down to three donors.
“OK, donor 1234 looks the most like you, and then 3456 is a close second,” she concluded. There was a pause, “But 6789 has dark brown hair and really dark features, almost Hispanic-looking. Why did you choose her?”
I muttered something about her being pretty and being jealous of her olive skin and quickly hit the “Delete from favorites” button.
It was down to two women and after an email to the donor coordinator, I learned my second favorite only had eggs for a fresh cycle, not for the frozen egg bank, and my favorite one had just donated to the egg bank — her eggs were waiting. I showed my husband and he thought the donor looked pretty similar to me.
And just like that, the request was placed, the $12,210 was put on a credit card, and there are now eight eggs saved for me. My husband and I (and life-saving friend) are the only ones who know what the donor looks like, what her history is. It’s empowering. So much of this process is out of my control, and I feel completely helpless on an almost daily basis. Keeping the donor private helps make this process easier; that even though I am using another women’s eggs, I can be at ease knowing that this future child can’t be judged by anyone. No one will look at this child and think, “Oh that’s right! The donor kind of had that same nose!”
Things seem to be finally coming together and I feel relieved that the hardest part of this process has been done. I’m feeling good about this upcoming cycle. I think this time, we may actually have a shot.