Alright so in true Natalie fashion, we of course need a plan. A "giving away babies" plan. I will be completely honest with you. There is one thing that really worries me about egg donation and surprisingly it has nothing to do with the babies that might be created with my egg(s). It has to do with me and cancer and my risk of contracting said cancer....in my boobs specifically.
Many of you know my mom died of breast cancer and her mother also died of breast cancer. Two very different forms, in two consecutive generations. My mom was a nurse practitioner and to say she was "up" on all the research is an understatement. She knew every theory there was. As always seems to be the case, there isn't one truly identifiable thing that causes breast cancer. It is not like 'oh stop drinking milk and you'll never get it'.
It is the idea of messing with my hormones that has me a little freaked out about egg donation. Studies have shown that taking birth control can actually reduce your risk, but then studies have shown taking hormones to help with menopause increases your risk. It makes my brain all mushy to try and decipher what actually might be a risk to me and what might not.
Since it had been a while since I caught up on my breast cancer research, I started googling around. Whatdaya know? There is this article here saying fertility drugs are A-O-Kay! A study done with more than 54,000 women resulted in only 331 developing breast cancer in an average period of 14 years. Seems pretty low... It is silly to belabor this issue but even when I read only 331 out of 54,000 developed breast cancer....I still think that I will be part of that small group.
For those of you wondering (because people have asked before) you should know my mom was tested for the BRCA-1 gene and the results were negative. I was told this technically reduces my probability from like 100% to slightly higher than an average woman. Basically I just have to be diligient and what not.
BUT!!!! something exciting is happening right now and just maybe when my eggs are ready to be given away freely this might ease some of the worries I have! When we were talking about eggs at Blogorado, one of the girls brought this up (I think it was Amanda....doh old brain). Apparently this study is changing the entire process of egg retrieval. Taking unmature eggs directly out of the ovary for patients who can't do the hormone stimulants.
I would never go so far as to say that harvesting eggs the old fashioned way will for sure cause me more harm then good. But it definitely makes me a little wary. Not wary enough to not donate. But, if instead I could opt to have my eggs harvested unmatured, I would much rather do that. I hope that study leads to good things and that I can give away babies left and right.
Really the biggest consideration for me giving away eggs is time table. I have been doing a little bit of investigation and it seems like most places prefer your eggs before you get too far into your 30s. For women in Colorado CCRM has a pretty comprehensive site that talks about how to donate, what is involved in the process, etc. Their age range goes up to 33, which is actually a lot higher than some places I have heard about. Many won't take donors over the age of 29 and some have even younger limits.
So I have an age deadline, but I also have a self-induced deadline. I want to get number 2 out of the way before I donate. Just to be certain. I know, in theory, they say I should have at least 100,000 eggs left in there, but what do they really know? Better safe than sorry. Wouldn't it be a son-of-a-bitch if I had to go pay to get one of my eggs back so I could make another baby? I just presume I wouldn't be able to donate while nursing the Deuce...unless there is that hormone free extraction. So that is a time table consideration as well. Tick tock tick tock.
I think it is all doable though. Assuming we get number 2 going shortly and I decide to nurse him/her for a year, we might be talking about 2 1/2 years from now. Which puts me at the 31-32 range. Cutting it close? no doubt, but doable.
Obviously this is my "donate to random people" timeline. If we are talking about E or someone close to me, chuck that schedule out the window. Which brings up something Steph asked from my previous post: Would I only want to donate anonymously? Nope, in fact I would much rather be able to know the people I am donating to. They might prefer it another way, which I could totally understand that. But to me I think it would be so cool meeting the person I was helping. A meet and greet would be cool, although continued contact.....I am not sure. I found a few stories from women who used donor eggs (or DE for those of us who like super-insider-acronyms) and I was surprised to find one who requested that the donor allow the child to contact them after they turn 18.
I know this isn't standard practice and until I read her perspective I just assumed most women would want to take the egg and never look back. But I do get that we are basically talking about an adoption. Someone would be adopting my egg and raising it. So when I look at it that way, I can see that someday this egg-turned-person might have the desire to meet me. Obviously I wouldn't want to deny that opportunity. And I wouldn't want to deny my kids the opportunity to know their genetically half-siblings. I think it is actually kind of cool that I will have some substantial thing to say to these future people when they ask why I donated. I will be able to tell them of my short struggle to motherhood, but my connection to others who struggled harder. I can tell them about my desire for every woman who wants to be a mom to be given every chance to get there.
I think my kids would understand. Hopefully I can raise them to see this point of view and accept my choice to give that gift. I am sure I can't fully comprehend every aspect to what is ahead in choosing this road, but I think I have a fairly firm idea of how I would handle it.
So that is about it. The plan is, get numero dos out of the womb and fed and then give away babies. I would think by post #600 we'll be on our way.
-The blogger I just found who just birthed her DE baby
-Perhaps also of interest to some is this article Josey linked me to, which talks about the other side of using a donor.