Intended Parent Blog

Welcome to Egg Donor Solutions Intended Parent Blog. This is a place for you to gain knowledge about Egg Donation and also talk with other intended parents who can directly relate to your experiences. Feel free to ask any questions and post comments. We want this to be a positive resource for you. We also welcome your feedback and how we can tailor the blog to meet your needs.

Recipient Parents Share How They Chose Their Egg Donors: Part 2

This is a continuation of our Q&A with former intended parents regarding how they chose their egg donors. You can find part one here on our Intended Parents Blog.

The Moms

Carrie Collier-Brown
Twins Cooper and Zoe, age 4 (also has a biological daughter Willow, age 10)

Jennifer Dunn
Son Bennett, age 2

Amy Huston
Daughter Hallie, age 1 (also has a biological son, Eli, age 4)

Hillary Redwine
Daughter Corinne, age 5

Did you have any reservations about having a child via egg donation? If so, how did you overcome those?

Amy: I never had great results with my own egg retrieval cycles. I completed three cycles with only one successful pregnancy carried by a surrogate. Egg donation was the only good option for us to have another baby that could still have a biological connection to one of us (my husband). Although already having a biological child did make it easier for us to decide to grow our family this way, there were so many unexpected positives to egg donation that we realized along the way. We ended up having several high-quality, genetically tested embryos of both genders to freeze, which is something I never had with my own cycles. We had the ability to choose the gender of the baby we transferred, and I really love that I was able to have a boy and a girl. Egg donation ended up being such an incredible option for us, and I am so thankful we were able to go down this path.

Carrie: Yes. It took me a long time to get to a point where I was okay with using an egg donor. I had to assure myself that we had done everything we could on our own. I think everyone is different, and for me, I needed that assurance. We wanted our older daughter to have a genetic connection to her siblings, and we knew donor egg IVF was the only way we could do that. Once we made the decision, the process of going through donor egg IVF was not nearly as emotionally wrenching as regular IVF because we knew our chances of success were so much better.

Jennifer: I had no reservations about the egg donation process. I knew I’d have to go this route if I wanted to have a family and carry a child. If this hadn’t worked, we would have fostered or tried to adopt. My biggest fear was that it wasn’t going to work. After years of negativity I never thought it would work. And after my son was born, because he had a traumatic birth and was in the NICU, I was afraid I was going to lose him after everything we’d been through to have him.

Hillary: When the idea of using donor eggs was first presented by my doctor, I was in shock. It felt surreal. I was 31, and my husband and I were trying IVF for the first time. The cycle ended up being canceled because I wasn’t responding to the medication due to having an extremely low ovarian reserve. It took me a long time to decide that using an egg donor was right for me. I had to grieve the loss of the biological child that I couldn’t have. But once I made the decision, I was excited and ready to move forward. I felt like we were on that path for a reason, and it would lead to the child we were meant to have.

How do you feel about your donor now? What would you say to her?

Amy: Our daughter is such a joy. I’m so grateful there are people who are willing to help others have a family. I would tell our donor thank you for helping us complete our family. I would also want to ask her about some of my daughter’s traits to see if she gets them from the donor.

Carrie: I would tell her thank you. Right after the twins were born, I was very emotional about it. I sent our donor a letter through the Donor Sibling Registry thanking her. Now that it’s been several years, the fact that our twins are donor-conceived doesn’t feel so overwhelming. It’s just part of their story.

Jennifer: I love our donor, and I think about her every day. It takes a very special human being to give someone the gift of egg donation. I recently joined the Donor Sibling Registry, and we’ve found each other. I feel like we have a connection already, and I look forward to every message. We just recently shared our personal information. I hope that she becomes a part of our lives in any capacity she is comfortable with. I feel so relieved that we were able to make this connection. It’s important not only for Bennett and myself but for her as well. She will always hold a special place in my heart. I can’t put into words what she means to me.

Hillary: I will always be very grateful to our donor because without her, I wouldn’t have my daughter. And I honestly can’t image having any other child. I recently reconnected with our donor and shared some photos and information about our family. She is open to staying in touch, and I am thankful­ for that as well. My daughter may have questions as she gets older, and I want to make sure she has access to any information she needs or wants in the future.

What are the benefits of working with an agency like Egg Donor Solutions (EDS)?

Carrie: EDS made the process so easy. The communication was wonderful, and we knew what to expect at every single step. EDS had never worked with our IVF clinic before, but the process went very smoothly. They were compassionate, kind and organized. They made sure we were well prepared for every single step of what was going to happen. We had been through IVF before but not with an egg donor, and they helped take the fear out of the unknown by keeping us informed.

Jennifer: They were fantastic to work with. They helped us navigate a difficult process. They were there to answer questions and guide us through every step of the process. Even though my journey with EDS is over, they still help and respond to my questions. I worked primarily with Katy, Kallie and Meg, and all three are absolutely fantastic. I appreciate them for everything they do. They are empathetic and professional, and they go above and beyond to make the process go smoothly. I can’t recommend EDS enough.

Hillary: EDS made what could have been a complicated process very easy for us. They took us through the process step by step, so we always knew what to expect. Calls and emails were always returned promptly. They facilitated an in-person meeting with our donor, which is something not all agencies would be willing to do. EDS is ethical in an industry where ethics isn’t always the priority. They go above and beyond to ensure that both intended parents and donors are treated well and that everyone has a good experience.

What advice do you have for intended parents who are considering egg donation to grow their family?

Amy: It’s hard when you first learn that an egg donor is your best option, but over time, you come to realize what an incredible option it is. It’s a way for you to have a family. My advice is to take it day by day. Any reservations you have about how you will feel or if you will love a donor-conceived child as much as a biological one – you don’t need to worry because you will. You get to be a parent, and it’s incredible.

Carrie: Be sure that egg donation is the right path for you before you embark on it. I think it would have been very difficult for me if I had not resolved my feelings and reservations before we started down the path of donor egg IVF. I also highly recommend using an agency like Egg Donor Solutions versus an in-house donor program through an IVF clinic. I never considered using a donor through an IVF clinic, and I stand by that decision. It might be a little more expensive, but I think you get a better selection of donors with an agency. You also have more options if you want the arrangement to be semi-open like we did.

Jennifer: Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Really think about why you want a family. Is it because you want to see yourself genetically in your child or is it because you feel like your family will not be complete without a child? And always put your child’s best interests first. Egg donation is a wonderful gift, but sometimes your ego has to take a back seat when you have a child this way. It’s important to remember to put your child first.

Hillary: I don’t think using an egg donor is the way anyone initially plans to have a family. Know that it is okay to have doubts or reservations, but make sure you have worked through those before you begin the process. When you are deciding on an egg donor, try to think of it from the perspective that you are choosing someone to help you have a family versus trying to find your twin or someone to replace you. Focus on the child you are creating and know that once that baby is in your arms, it won’t matter how he or she was conceived. You will be that child’s parent, and no one can replace you.

 

A sincere thank you to all of the moms who participated in this interview!

Recipient Parents Share How They Chose Their Egg Donors: Part 1

Egg Donor Solutions is committed to supporting intended parents throughout their journey to parenthood. We often hear from intended parents that the process of choosing an egg donor feels overwhelming. There are hundreds of profiles, and it’s hard to know where to begin. While our coordinators are always just an email or phone call away, we thought it might be helpful for you to hear from others who have had children via egg donation. We asked some of our former intended parents to share how they approached choosing their egg donors and what the experience was like for them.

The Moms

Carrie Collier-Brown
Twins Cooper and Zoe, age 4 (also has a biological daughter Willow, age 10)

Jennifer Dunn
Son Bennett, age 2

Amy Huston
Daughter Hallie, age 1 (also has a biological son, Eli, age 4)

Hillary Redwine
Daughter Corinne, age 5

What was most important to you in choosing an egg donor? Did what was most important change over time?

Amy: Initially, finding a donor with similar physical characteristics was very important to me, but in the end, what mattered most was choosing someone we felt we had a connection to, whose personality was likable and relatable, and who gave us the best chance for success. I had to get over some things that I had a hard time letting go of but that didn’t really matter at the end of the day. I realized I wanted a baby more than I wanted a baby who looked like me. I felt like it was the baby I was intended to have, so it was easy to have peace about that.

Carrie: Everyone in our family has blue eyes, so we wanted a donor with blue eyes. That was the only physical attribute we really cared about. It was important to us to choose someone who would be open to being in contact with our family for medical reasons while our children are minors and also be open to our children reaching out to her once they turn 18 if that’s something they want to do. At the time we went through the process in 2014, that might have limited our options some, but we were okay with that.

Jennifer: For me, it wasn’t based on looks at all. I wanted to feel some sort of connection. When I saw a photo of our donor and saw her smile, it looked like she was also smiling with her eyes. It seemed like her happiness would be contagious. She just looked like a very kind and warm person.

Hillary: Initially, I really wanted to find a donor who had red hair like me. I think the idea of having a redheaded child was ingrained in me after years of people commenting on my hair and saying wouldn’t it be neat if I had redheaded kids. But even with a biological child, there is no guarantee that he or she would have my hair color. Ultimately, the physical characteristics didn’t matter as much. When we narrowed down what was most important, it was family health history, education and answers to the profile questions. I wanted to get a sense that the donor was a good person and someone I could be friends with. I also wanted someone who was willing to meet in person and would be open to meeting any future children.

How did you approach choosing a donor with your spouse?

Amy: We both looked at profiles on our own and came up with lists of the donors we really liked, then compared to see which ones were the same. My husband is very analytical. He created a spreadsheet and organized donors based on physical characteristics, if they were proven donors, their age, etc. It just so happened that we had several donors in common on our lists and were able to move forward from there.

Carrie: We reviewed profiles separately and each made our own lists. Then, we compared our lists and narrowed it down to the donors we had in common. We sent our top choices to Egg Donor Solutions to get more information about the donors and made our decision from there.

Jennifer: I always knew in the back of my mind that we were going to need an egg or sperm donor. After years of trying, once we made it to the IVF stage, I asked my doctor what the best course of action would be – should I keep trying with my own eggs or should we move on to a donor? He advised that I probably would be able to use my eggs, but it might take a few attempts to get a genetically normal embryo. I was tired of the heartache. When I joined my fertility clinic, I grabbed a bunch of pamphlets, and Egg Donor Solutions (EDS) was one of them. I had already picked my donor before even having the discussion with my doctor. I knew subconsciously that we were going to go this route with the donor and with EDS. My husband didn’t care; he just wanted to have a family with me. He wanted me to be happy. He liked the donor for the same reasons I did, but ultimately, I was the one who made the choice. For us, having a family was more than genetics. We didn’t care how it happened. We just wanted to be parents. I feel like we were always meant to be Bennett’s parents, and I will always be thankful to the donor and EDS for making our dreams come true.

Hillary: We looked at profiles separately as well as together. We discussed the ones we really liked and picked our top choices. When it came to making a final decision, my husband let me take the lead. I wanted to meet our donor in person, but that wasn’t something he needed to make a decision. It was important to me to feel a connection and get a sense of who she was as a person. I didn’t feel like I could do that without meeting her.

Why did you choose your donor? Can you describe the connection you felt that made you decide to choose her?

Amy: Our donor’s eyes are similar in color and shape to mine, so it was nice to have that physical characteristic in common. She was at the top of both mine and my husband’s lists because we loved her answers to the essay questions, as well as her family values and interests.  When you read through the donor profiles, you get a sense of if you would like and relate to that person. Our donor seemed like someone I would be friends with, and that connection was so important to me. She also seemed like someone who was loyal and trustworthy. She liked the same books, foods and music that I do. While I was not able to meet my donor or get to know her personally, these things we had in common were what made me choose her. She had so many traits we loved and would love to pass on to our daughter.

Carrie: We liked that she had thoughtful responses on the questionnaire. She mentioned having a friend or family member who had struggled with infertility, and that was part of the reason she wanted to be a donor. We also did a Skype session with our donor, and it went very well. She wasn’t too young and had been a donor before, so we felt like she had a good sense of the commitment involved with being an egg donor. After a negative experience at another agency, that was important to us.

Jennifer: In reading our donor’s bio, I felt like she was doing it for the right reasons. She talked a lot about her family and how much she loved them, so that endeared me to her. As I mentioned, I felt a connection when I saw her photo. It’s hard to explain, but I just knew she was the one.

Hillary: Based on her profile, she seemed like she would be a very fun and interesting person. She mentioned being an artist, playing the saxophone and belonging to a hula-hoop troop. She indicated that she was very close to family, and it seemed like she really wanted to help another family by being an egg donor. I met her for dinner before the egg retrieval and got to know her some. She was very kind and genuine. As we said goodbye, we hugged, and she said that I was going to be a great mom. That has always stuck with me, and I think speaks to the kind of person she is.

It’s important for intended moms to know that an egg donor is not a replacement for themselves. They will play a huge role in the way they nurture their child.

What do you see in your donor-conceived child or children that is a reflection of you and how you are raising them?

Amy: I’m a speech pathologist by trade, and I spend a lot of time working with my daughter on language development. We use little signs and songs to learn new words. She’s very language driven, so she’s picked a lot of that up very quickly. It’s her strength. Another example is how she has embraced our family’s love of the beach. It’s neat to see how some of the things we have purposefully put into Hallie’s life are things she enjoys and are shaping her into the person she will become.

Carrie: They are extremely headstrong children. They don’t get that from my husband; he’s so easygoing. They also love to read like I do. They always want one more book.

Hillary: My daughter is very affectionate and says “I love you” all the time. That’s something I have made a point to do every day since she was a baby. She has an adventurous spirit and loves to visit new places.  She’s also very silly and has a great sense of humor. She gets that from both my husband and I. We’re always laughing and joking around as a family. It makes life fun!

Jennifer: Bennett’s personality is a lot like mine. He’s very hard-headed. When he’s focused on something, nothing will deter him. He will only do something if he wants to do it, not because you ask him to. He’s also funny and has a little bit of a sarcastic sense of humor, which I think he gets from me.

We will continue this Q&A next week in the Intended Parents Blog. Learn more about egg donation today.

Amy’s Story: Loving your children equally but differently

Written By: Hillary Redwine

“How are your miracle children?” That’s the phrase Amy Huston’s mom often uses when inquiring about her children – Eli, age four, and Hallie, age one. “And they really are little miracles,” Amy says.

With a heart condition that prevents her from safely carrying a pregnancy, Amy used gestational carriers (or surrogates) for both of her children. Eli was conceived after three rounds of invitro fertilization and is the biological child of Amy and her husband, Evan, while Hallie was conceived with the help of an egg donor. ­­

“Because of my health condition, we had to take extra precautions during my egg retrievals, like having them done in an operating room instead of a fertility clinic,” Amy explains. “And we never got great results with any of them.”

Amy and Evan started trying for another child when Eli was six months old. They transferred their last remaining frozen embryo with a surrogate, but it didn’t take. “After that, we decided to use an egg donor for our next attempt to have another baby,” Amy says.

Will I love them the same?

For intended parents who already have a biological child or children, it can add another layer of complexity to the process of having a child via egg donation. Questions like “Will I compare him or her to my biological child?” or “Will I love a non-biological child the same?” may come to mind.

“It’s hard when you first learn that an egg donor is your best option, but over time, you come to realize what an incredible option it is,” Amy says. “Any reservations you have about loving a child – you don’t have to worry because you will.  Once that child is here, you get to just be a family. You’re that child’s parent, and it’s wonderful.”

Amy adds that she loves Eli and Hallie “equally but differently” because of who they are as individuals. “They are each their own unique person that we are getting to know,” she says.

The importance of nurture

Some of her children’s traits can be attributed to genetics, like Eli’s resemblance to Amy and Evan and Hallie’s personality, which Amy describes by saying, “She’s a firecracker!” (Noting that it’s not a trait Hallie gets from Amy or her husband, Amy says that she would love to ask her donor if she was as fiery as Hallie as a child.)

There are other characteristics that are a reflection of how Amy nurtures her children and the values she and Evan are instilling in them. For example, as a speech pathologist, Amy has been focused on helping her children develop language skills from an early age – something Hallie has been able to pick up quickly. “She’s very language driven; it’s one of her strengths,” Amy says. “It amazes me what a good communicator she is at just a year old.”

Amy also describes how Hallie has embraced her parent’s love of the beach, which is evident during the family’s trips to the ocean. “She loves it,” Amy says. “It’s neat to see how some of the things we have purposefully put into Hallie’s life are things she enjoys and are shaping her into the person she will become.”

Creating their family

In reflecting on her family, Amy describes a sense of wonder in how it all came together. “It’s amazing that we were able to have both of our children,” she says. “It was with the help of a lot of people, and I’m so grateful that there are people who are willing to help others have a family.”

She adds, “It’s been quite a journey to get to where we are, but when I think about it, it’s really a short amount of time compared to how long our children will be in our lives. Now, we’re just a regular family.”