Anonymous Mom: I’m Too Selfish To Help A Fellow Infertile Couple Have Kids

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empty-cribI’ve used Anonymous Mom before as a vehicle to share my decision to use donor eggs in getting pregnant. I still stand by my choice 100% and I am extremely happy with my twins. Recovering from a C section and raising two babies at the same time took up the bulk of our energy and attention for the past year and a half, but once the dust settled and we found our groove as a new family, I looked at my husband and realized there was an important baby related issue we needed to address – what to do with the remaining 4 embryos.

Our hospital fees included storage for a year, which was good because had you asked me during that time if I wanted to have more kids I would have said both yes and no, depending on my horomones and how well the babie slept the night before. But once the bill for next year’s storage fee showed up in the mailbox we had to make a decision. We talked it over for a few days and, for a variety of reasons, decided we were done having children and would be a four person family (five if you count the cat). I called the clinic and asked them to mail us the embryo disposal paperwork.

When we first got involved in the donor egg process a couple years ago,we were told that we would have three options down the road regarding unused embryos: pay to have them stored, discard them, or donate them to science. My husband has a background in neuroscience, so donating the embryos to research made sense to us and to be honest, I gave myself a mental pat on the back for doing something that could potentially help others. That is, until the paperwork came, and my self appointed halo was smashed to smithereens.

The papers we recieved said now we had FOUR options: freeze the embryos, discard them, donate them to science or donate them to another infertile couple. My husband and I were both raised Christian and while I don’t necessarily believe in all of the teachings of the Church, I do believe in karma and that we get back what we put out into the world. Giving the embryos to a couple who were in the same position as we were not so long ago would be the right thing to do, a generous pay it forward act of selflessness that would allow me to feel fantastic about myself, even if I never drive a hybrid. The universe was giving me this amazing chance to give someone the chance to make a family – and I couldn’t do it.

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  1. jane

    August 18, 2014 at 11:15 am

    While I would make a different decision, I respect yours.

    • Personal

      August 19, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      I have to admit, as a mother to a precious boy who is the result of a generous gift of the remaining embryos from an acquaintance (who had used donor egg as well), some of this smarted a bit. Especially the ‘gifted what we’d paid a hefty sum for’. I personally needed 20 embryos transferred to have my 2 children. 16 were from donor eggs, 5 different donors. (Yes, I paid a few ‘hefty sums’ in my day, too.) and 2 were from the kind gift of my internet acquaintance. And I can’t help but feel that the poster feels she’s winning the pain olympics somehow for having had to pay for an egg donor.
      But, at the end of the day, no one should be pressured to donate. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a donation.

  2. JenH1986

    August 18, 2014 at 11:19 am

    I don’t think it’s selfish of you. I think you made the best decision you could for you. If donating the embryos would leave you wondering/worrying and opting to donate them to science wouldn’t then that’s what you need to do. 1- you ARE still helping others by donating them and 2- they are yours to do with what you wish. There are lots of variables to the options presented, you chose the one that made the most sense for you. Not a crime and not selfish.

    • GPMeg

      August 18, 2014 at 11:21 am

      Agreed — I think that there isn’t a right or wrong decision here, it’s something that is personal and emotional and hard to wrap your head around unless you’re in that very position.

    • JenH1986

      August 18, 2014 at 11:25 am

      I can’t imagine anyone judging for making this decision, but I feel like if we give it time someone will.

    • GPMeg

      August 18, 2014 at 11:35 am

      It’s the internet, after all.

    • whiteroses

      August 18, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Situations like this are why I’m still considering surrogacy but why I could never donate my eggs. The only way I’d be able to be a surrogate would be if the child wasn’t genetically related to me. Personally, I’d hate to think of a genetic sibling to my son wandering around out there and I’d never know them.

    • Spongeworthy

      August 18, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      I agree. Donating them to science is an act that has the potential to do a lot of good for a lot of people–I don’t think that should be downplayed.
      Also, I do think this is a situation where one might think they’d know what they would do, but once it becomes an actual situation and not just a hypothetical, it may change things.

    • JenH1986

      August 18, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      Exactly there is so much that can be learned from the science donation. She isn’t actively taking away another family’s child. There are no guarantees in this game. I just don’t see this as a selfish act.

    • Spongeworthy

      August 18, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      That’s another good point and one I hadn’t considered. She hasn’t promised the eggs to anyone and then changed her mind. She hasn’t “stolen” a child from anyone.

    • JenH1986

      August 18, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      Exactly, she isn’t robbing anyone of a chance anymore than if she opted to freeze them or use them herself.

    • ChelseaBFH

      August 18, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      I was talking to someone else at my gym who had IVF about what we were going to do with leftover embryos (answer: we don’t know) and someone else who I barely knew butted in to give us a lecture on how “there’s no gray area, it’s all black and white.” We simultaneously gave her the meanest looks ever. You really just don’t know until you’ve been there.

    • Spongeworthy

      August 18, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      I would give immediate side-eye to anyone who proclaimed that such a complex emotional issue was “black and white”. Maybe it is for someone with the emotional range of a teaspoon, but for the rest of us? Not so much. I can honestly say I have no idea what I’d do in a similar circumstance.

  3. Fondue

    August 18, 2014 at 11:20 am

    “She didn’t sign up for giving her eggs to me and then having me cast them off to someone else like a pair of second hand jeans.”
    Umm, I can assure you she didn’t just “give” you her eggs. She was compensated for them. I’m sure somewhere in her contract she relinquished all rights for said eggs.

  4. Fondue

    August 18, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I had a friend who was on the receiving end of embryo adoption. Sadly, it wasn’t successful, but it was what gave her and her husband the best possible chance at becoming pregnant and growing their child.

    • js argh

      August 18, 2014 at 11:46 am

      This. I think I’m too biased to give AM a pat on the back for her decision here. My friends were over the moon when the donors chose them.

    • Personal

      August 19, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      I’m sorry it didn’t work for your friends. I know the heartbreak.

  5. Everyday

    August 18, 2014 at 11:24 am

    She donated her eggs to you. Obviously she felt like she was donating them to someone that would handle them responsibly. Even if that meant paying forward.
    As for not wanting someone to have something for free that you had to pay for…well that’s the American way, isn’t it. I don’t agree with your decision, but it is your decision to make.

  6. Everyday

    August 18, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Also, think of how crappy the egg donation process is. Yes, she was compensated, but all of the hormones, shots, bloated ovaries, the risks she took just to donate eggs. I would think she would want all the use out of the eggs that you could possibly get. Even if that meant passing them on to the next couple. The more I think about this, I can’t believe that you aren’t doing this.

    • JenH1986

      August 18, 2014 at 11:34 am

      The donor knew what the options were when she signed up. Giving them to another family wasn’t an option when she donated so she knew her eggs may end up donated to science or discarded. She might also feel like she donated her eggs to ONE family and might not be comfortable having her eggs used by another family. Ultimately it’s not the donors decision, it’s the writer and her husband’s decision since half the embryo was the husband’s DNA.

    • Former Donor

      August 18, 2014 at 11:35 am

      I disagree. As a former donor, I would be incensed if the family I agreed to donate to gave the eggs/embryos to another family I knew nothing about. I agreed to donate to a specific family.

    • Jezebeelzebub

      August 18, 2014 at 11:37 am

      um, are you two people with the same name or… what am I seeing?

    • Former Donor

      August 18, 2014 at 11:40 am

      Me? I’m just one person. Is there another “former donor” on here?

    • Jezebeelzebub

      August 18, 2014 at 11:49 am

      Nope- sorry. Disqus lost it’s goddamned mind for a minute and everyone had the same name- “Everyday”. So it looked like one person was arguing against herself, and it was really weird and I was SO confused but it’s okay now.

    • JenH1986

      August 18, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Disqus is being disqus, you’ll have to refresh.

    • Alex Lee

      August 18, 2014 at 11:53 am

      From the above article, the donation was anonymous, so the donor was fine not knowing which family the egg went to.

      In your case, the donation was open – where both donor and recipient are known. Introducing a third party would then constitute a breach of agreement.

    • brebay

      August 18, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Agreed. It’s a huge burden to wonder whether a biological child of yours is being cared for, and you have an absolute right to determine that to the best of your ability before allowing someone to have that.

    • Sharon Ramage

      August 18, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      But the eggs ARE being put to good use. They may not be going to another couple but they ARE going to be used for science, not just thrown away. The embryos are going to help researchers help others…not exactly wasteful in my eyes.

  7. InConceivAble

    August 18, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Wow! I am so surprised that you chose not to help another infertile couple. My husband I have dealt with infertility for 9 years and if I had the funds to use a donor egg I would and if I had any eggs I decided not to use, I wouldn’t hesitate to help another person struggling with infertility to reach their dream, especially if they couldn’t afford it without the generosity of another person. I am more shocked that the eggs you received were anonymous but felt that you couldn’t pass her eggs along. I am sure it wasn’t her intention to have her remaining eggs destroyed when she gave them out of the kindness of her heart to help others have a child. I am deeply heartbroken, especially since you truly understand the pain, loneliness and depression infertility brings to a woman and the toll it has on her marriage.

    • JenH1986

      August 18, 2014 at 11:45 am

      When she donated her eggs there were only three options, discarding, freezing or donation to science. So she knew those were the options and she still chose to donate. Also those embryos have her husband’s DNA. So it isn’t just the donors decision.

    • Andrea

      August 18, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Wait a minute.
      First of all, you don’t know what the donor’s intentions were/are.
      Second of all, she while I am sure kindness had something to do with it, she was compensated. And from what I understand, she was compensated VERY well. As you well know, in vitro doesn’t come cheap and that is one of the reasons why.
      Lastly, I am very VERY sorry that you are suffering from infertility. I am told it is devastating. But it doesn’t mean that other people don’t the right to make their own decisions.

    • InConceivAble

      August 18, 2014 at 11:47 am

      I didn’t say she didn’t have the right to make their own decisions, I just said I personally was surprised on how she came to that decision. She was honest about her feelings and so I was I.

    • brebay

      August 18, 2014 at 11:52 am

      You’re not making the distinction, She’s not making an active decision not to help, she’s just not volunteering to do something active, which is a decision every one of us makes every single day when we do things like keep our own money, raise our own children, and eat dinner without inviting any homeless people inside to eat with us, only this is muuuuch more personal. It’s going to be a child, a full sibling to your child, and deciding not to have a biological child raised by someone else is not actively refusing to help.

    • whiteroses

      August 18, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      This. Even though the child wouldn’t be considered by AM or her husband to be thier kid’s siblings, genetically they are. That means that, for all intents and purposes, AM and her husband have the right to decide what happens to those embryos.

    • 0katykate0

      August 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      I’m sorry for your pain and I too know the hell of infertility… However, I just don’t agree. The donor gave her eggs to this couple knowing that they could do what they wanted with them… If the donor wanted them passed on for adoption, she would have said so. This issue isn’t as simple for some people as it is or you. Its the couples DNA, and expecting them to just give it away knowing a child of theirs is out there is too much to ask in my opinion. There isn’t a right answer here because its different for everyone.

    • guest

      August 18, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      It’s not the couple’s dna… it’s the donor’s dna.

    • K.

      August 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      She used her husband’s sperm.

    • guest

      August 18, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      well man now I’m confused. Her last line says donate the eggs to research. But I just reread and some places it says donate the embryos. Which is it?

    • JenH1986

      August 18, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      They are fertilized eggs, I think she uses embryo and eggs interchangeably.

    • Sharon Ramage

      August 18, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      ACTUALLY its half donor dna and half the couples dna seeing as the husband used his sperm to fertilize the eggs.

    • 0katykate0

      August 18, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      Technically it IS the donors DNA, but they bought the eggs so the donors DNA becomes theirs.

    • K.

      August 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      I am truly sorry for the pain you are in. I do, however, think that your
      emotions are perhaps narrowing your view on this. Being angry that someone
      didn’t donate their embryos because you are struggling with infertility is to me
      similar to being angry that someone is not signed up for the donor
      registry because you are suffering from diabetes.

      No, it is not fair. Yes, you have the right to be disappointed and
      emotionally affected. I don’t think that you have the right, however, to bestow
      moral judgment upon what another person decides to do with their own biological
      property. I personally don’t see the wisdom of why anyone would reject donating
      their body to science after death but I wouldn’t profess to say my own
      perspective is more moral than anyone else’s. It also appears that I am in the
      minority on that one as most people do not donate their bodies to science after
      death–why should it surprise you that people would be reluctant to donate their
      genetics to someone else in life?

    • InConceivAble

      August 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      I don’t have a narrow view on the subject and in no way indicated I was angry with the person or said they were wrong in the choice they made. I was just surprised and shocked that the main things she based her decision on was the fact that “The super black part of my soul was mad that someone else could just be gifted what we had paid a hefty sum for.” and that she was “mad on behalf of the woman who donated her eggs to me in the first place.” I never called this person selfish, that is what she called herself. I have no problem with the decision she made, she did what was best for her. I just gave my personal feelings on the matter but I never said anything negative about her.

    • K.

      August 18, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      I think the reason I find your perspective narrow is really because of the “why” as in…why would your take on the issue be shock, dismay, and heartbreak–this woman’s reproductive decisions have nothing to do with you. I think yours is an understandable emotional response from someone who is suffering from infertility, but it’s not a reasonable one. In that way, it’s narrow.

  8. Jezebeelzebub

    August 18, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I wouldn’t say you’re being selfish at all. I agree with all the stuff JenH said, and also… ok, I don’t know about you, but there have been times where I had to make a decision about something and I know the choice I *should* make, but for some reason my guts won’t get on board with my brain. Like with you- in your mind, you know it would be awesome to give your eggs to another couple. But your guts are like “No. End of. Moving on.” Your guts won;t tell you why they feel that way. Your mind might try to come up with some ideas about why your guts are being so unreasonable, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. Your guts said NO, and for me… that’s enough. I am a pretty reasonable person, I think. I try to make rational choices and operate from a purely emotional standpoint, and for the most part I think I do a pretty decent job of it. Mostly my guts and my mind are a unified front… or at least my guts are happy to let my head do all the thinking and will go along with whatever my head says we should do. But on the fairly rare occasion that my head is like “This is what we shall do!” and my guts are all “Nope.”, I go with my guts and I don’t need a reason. The guts have spoken. So let it be written, so let it be done. Give yourself a break. Try not to feel bad about going with your guts on this one. If your guts are gonna be all like *that* about it, there’s a reason for it even if the reason never makes it all the way to your head.

    • JenH1986

      August 18, 2014 at 11:36 am

      YES. In all other situations we say “listen to our guts” but suddenly we should talk ourselves out of it? Nope.

    • Jezebeelzebub

      August 18, 2014 at 11:44 am

      I just really feel like if your guts are digging their heels in and won’t listen to reason, you need to defer to them, especially when you have made the concerted effort to make a rational decision. I do dumb shit all the time. Not every choice I make is a good one, but only when I have gone directly against my guts have I truly felt regret. There doesn’t have to be a concrete reason for everything I do. Sometimes the answer is just “no” (or yes) because that’s how it is. End of.

    • Véronique the Attachment Shark

      August 18, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      I like to say that your head tells you what you want intellectually, and your heart (or gut as you put it) tells you what you need emotionally. When both are in sync, or you are able to find a compromise to satisfy both is when you attain peace with a certain decision.

  9. 0katykate0

    August 18, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Yeah I don’t think this is selfish at all, it’s your DNA in one way or another after all… I too battle(d) with infertility and I would never expect you or anyone else to hand over some fertilized eggs.

  10. brebay

    August 18, 2014 at 11:49 am

    I wouldn’t either. I might, in some extraordinary circumstance, consider being an unrelated surrogate (uterine rental only, not my egg) but what you’re talking about is, to me, essentially like placing a child for adoption, which I have no desire to do. (Though I do have a 13-year-old I will lend out until puberty’s over.) But I don’t think it’s selfish not to want a child of yours being raised by someone else, and constantly wondering, worrying, and, quite possibly, regretting and longing to have that child back. There’s nothing selfish about not giving your child to someone else. Kudos to people who do it, and no judgment on them, but just because that act is selfless, doesn’t mean the reverse is selfish; It’s neutral, it’s a non-issue; they’re yours. It’s a nice thing to give a stranger a million dollars too, but it’s not selfish not to.

  11. val97

    August 18, 2014 at 11:50 am

    It’s your choice. But, just for the record: I donated eggs a long time ago. I know I can’t speak for every egg donor, but I would not care if I found out they were re-donated. I was already compensated enough to pay off my student loans. Helping another childless couple would be an added bonus.

  12. jendra_berri

    August 18, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Everyone could say “what they would do” in your boat. But they don’t really know for sure how they’d feel unless they were there.
    So you don’t want biological full siblings to your children born to another family you won’t know, children you won’t raise. That’s not a weird feeling to have.
    Secondly, you have enough understanding of human nature to get that egg donation is complex for a woman (It really is a huge ordeal) and while she may have wanted to donate once, she may not want more than one family getting her eggs. You don’t know her wishes or preferences.
    Fact is women are naturally wired to view procreation very intimately as it’s something that happens inside of them, not an outward experience like it is for men. There are women who can and do bypass that and make other choices, like egg donation and embryo donation. But I don’t blame you for going with your feelings. You’re not obligated to do it, not morally, not in any way.
    I wouldn’t give an infertile couple my embryos, even if they could be painlessly and conveniently extracted from me, and though it still would be a different scenario, I don’t hold you to a higher standard than I hold myself.

  13. Lackadaisical

    August 18, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    No idea what I would choose, I think it is one of those decisions that is different if you are in the situation than from the outside, but I understand your choice and don’t think you are selfish. I can understand that choosing to have an anonymous stranger raise kids that are genetically full siblings of your kids and genetically your husband’s kids could feel wrong to many people. The donor of the eggs enabled a family to have children, what she kindly intended, that does not obligate you to pass on potential genetic siblings of your kids to another family.

  14. NotTakenNotAvailable

    August 18, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    I’ve lived with Type I diabetes for all but two years of my life. As someone who could benefit from the research done using your donated embryos, I would like to speak on behalf of the the millions of people who may benefit from your contribution–trust me, you don’t need to buy a Prius to get a sense of satisfaction in my book!

    Any decision you made would’ve been the right one. But it’s my personal (and admittedly selfish) opinion that the one you made has farther-reaching benefits than donating to one or four couples would have.

    • c

      August 18, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      i’m mostly offended at the “christian’s” incorrect use of “karma”

    • whiteroses

      August 18, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      Christians have “karma” too, except in our case it’s actually the idea that all your sins will find you out.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 18, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      I think this is a stray troll I picked up somewhere and couldn’t shake, which would explain why this comment doesn’t have anything to do with what I said, or with the relationship between Christians and karma, for that matter.

    • whiteroses

      August 18, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      Would it also explain the clusterfuck in the other article about veganism?

      I always seem to attract the loonies.

    • c

      August 18, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      “My husband and I were both raised Christian and while I don’t
      necessarily believe in all of the teachings of the Church, I do believe
      in karma and that we get back what we put out into the world.”

      It’s in the article.

    • whiteroses

      August 18, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      She was raised Christian. She said herself she doesn’t necessarily believe in all the church’s teachings.

    • v

      August 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      Yeah so it’s a potentially offensive, culturally appropriative use of the word “karma,” just like how you used it was too

    • whiteroses

      August 19, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      You really aren’t in any position to talk about offensive behaviors.

    • v

      August 19, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      Neither are you. I’d say we’re both equally qualified.

      Also, you’re the worst at deflecting. Back to the original point: it might be an offensive misuse of the word

    • Old Lady Phillips

      August 18, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      This is a really good point and something that did not occur to me, so thank you!

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 18, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      I’m glad I was able to bring a different perspective! Since I’ve followed many of the “for dummies” stories about the potential available with stem-cell and cloning research, that was the first thing that sprang to my mind.

  15. Alex Lee

    August 18, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    “The super black part of my soul was mad that someone else could just be gifted what we had paid a hefty sum for.”

    Well, that’s because you and your husband wanted his DNA in your child. I’m certain someone else’s surplus embryo could have been made available for you at significantly lower cost.

    • Nica

      August 18, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      And it is FAR from free for the recipient. At best, the recipient will be paying the costs of a frozen embryo transfer (anywhere from $3K-$6K) AND also the legal costs of the embryo donation which vary in cost from $1K-$5K. Sometimes additional FDA testing is required (embryos are considered human tissue), and that can run $500-$1000. And, if the recipient goes through any kind of adoption agency, tack on all the costs of a home study, various fees, etc. That can be another few thousand dollars. Recipients are also often expected to pay some or all of the storage fees paid by the donors… It’s a gift, most certainly, be they’re also paying a hefty sum for it, with absolutely NO guarantees…

    • dzymzlzy

      August 19, 2014 at 1:57 am

      From what I’ve heard, donor eggs and donor embryos are roughly the same amount because they are donations. You can’t sell them.

    • Nica

      August 19, 2014 at 9:33 am

      Generally egg donations are much more expensive due to the compensation to the donor (usually $8k in compensation), the drugs needed to stimulate ovulation (about $6K), an insurance policy for the donor, and then the medical care involved for the donor (testing, ultrasounds, egg retrieval, post care).
      All the “heavy lifting” so to speak is done with existing embryos, so embryo donation is generally the less pricey option.

  16. Dctraveler

    August 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    People seem to think that this is just about giving those embryos or not, but it is a more complicated issue than that. While her husband says now that he won’t considered any future children from those embryos his, doesn’t necessarily mean those future children would have agreed nor her children should they find out some way and it doesn’t mean her husband would have felt the same way in 5 or 10 years. No one knows what will happen, but the possibility of meeting these children has to be one thing people are comfortable with before donating. Plus, donating to science is not selfish, she could be helping a lot of people.

  17. Pam

    August 18, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I don’t know how egg donation works. Does a donor know who her eggs are going to or are the recipients anonymous? I feel like that would sway my decision a lot. If she donated them to ME and she thought I’d be the only one using them I probably wouldn’t give them to someone else. If it was anonymous and she didn’t know who was using them I’d probably donate them to another couple in need. Having never been in this situation though I can’t really say what I’d do.

    • jenstar

      August 18, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      I’m not sure how it works in the US but I can at least answer this question for the UK. My cousin recently donated seven eggs as part of a deal to get cheaper IVF for herself. She doesn’t know who the eggs went to.

    • JenH1986

      August 18, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      It depends. An egg donor can choose a family (i could donate my eggs to my best friend for example) and then her eggs would become the families, in some instances I’m sure there was a contract in place to avoid/prevent what AM is talking about from happening (meaning I decide I only want my eggs available to my bestie, so if she can’t/doesn’t use all of them they must be discarded). In other cases women donate eggs anonymously, never knowing the family. In AM case the donation was anonymous so she can’t check with the donor to see if she would be kosher with it or not. And since the embryos contain her husband’s DNA the embryos are half her families.

  18. CW

    August 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    How do you know that she wouldn’t prefer you to donate the embryos so that someone else could become a parent? Presumably she donated the eggs not just for the financial aspect. Frankly, I don’t think this about anything other that your own feeling annoyed at paying more money than a couple willing to adopt an embryo. It’s like the person who gets mad at someone else paying the sale price after she has paid full retail for the same item.

  19. Véronique the Attachment Shark

    August 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I don’t think you should be so insulting to yourself by calling yourself selfish. Maybe you’re beating yourself up because you probably have LOTS of unresolved feelings about having to resort to egg donation in the first place… Is that correct? Is it possible that you still have a few left over feelings (perhaps guilt, anger at your body for experiencing infertility, anger at the financial tole this could have taken on your family, discomfort at the idea that your children came to you through someone else’s DNA, sadness at not knowing the face or personality or aura of the person that gave you such a gift…) that have come up when the idea of gifting the leftover eggs came up? You can be both happy and in love with your children, and sad that you had to work so hard and spend so much money, and resort to such options to get there, when other people just have sex and voilà! It can be really hard to deal with emotions like these, especially when that option was one you had never had to explore when you first chose to receive donor eggs.

    Please, give yourself the permission to stop beating yourself up for the choice that you made when you had to make it. It can’t have been easy for you to be faced with something so confronting. But be aware of what the root of these feelings really are so that you can continue to work through those feelings.

    I’m very happy for you that, in the end, you ended up with the family that you wanted.

  20. T.F.

    August 18, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    While a lot of issues surrounding IVF are touchy, I think the issue of unused embryos is one of the most difficult to talk about. If you haven’t been in the position of having to make this decision, it’s easy to get judgmental and be absolutely sure what you would do. My husband and I have have to make this decision, too, but do not have the additional complication of having used donor eggs. If possible, we also will go the route of donating for medical research. I think it’s brave of you to talk about this subject and your thought process. Thanks so much for sharing.

  21. Bethany Ramos

    August 18, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    This is such an interesting and awesome story. I feel like no one could ever judge this if they weren’t in your shoes, and it seems like you made a great choice.

  22. rachel

    August 18, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    I would not be able to donate if the child would be genetically mine and my husband’s and would have a hard time even if the child was genetically only my husband’s. I would donate to science.

  23. MynameisNaeMe

    August 18, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    I would personally not want to go through the effort to donate that many eggs and have over half of them wasted. I’ve heard it’s pretty painful. I think if the sperm was anonymous too you wouldn’t have an issue. I get not liking that my husband can just fertilize the world but not me. I might just be bitter though since I’m a part of one of those infertile couples.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 18, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      I’m sorry for what you’re going through, but as I mentioned earlier, AM’s decision is a far cry from wasting the embryos to me. The research conducted using them could spur a cure for any number of conditions, including, perhaps, infertility.

  24. alice

    August 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Of course there’s no real “right” or “wrong” answer.

    But I’m surprised that no one has brought up the fact that AM appears to have rationalized her choice based on tenuous suspicions about the egg donor, while flat out ignoring the clear-cut opinion of her husband the sperm donor: he was “far more open” to giving the embryos to another couple, and he felt it was “the right thing to

    So her husband thought it was the right thing to do, but she thought maybe the egg donor wouldn’t like it, so they didn’t. In the end “I hope we did the right thing” she says.


    You know there’s nothing wrong with just saying “I don’t like that idea.”

    • JenH1986

      August 18, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      There is a difference between being open to an idea and being sold on the idea. I’m open to the idea of having more animals. I’m not sold on the idea. I didn’t get that her husband had the great desire to donate them for another family, only that he was comfortable with the idea. She wasn’t. They had a discussion and ultimately decided against it.

    • alice

      August 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      i agree w/ all of that.

      but this article, to me at least, was a lot about the author’s admitted struggle with this concept of “the right thing
      to do” – and she invites us to weigh in on this.

      appears to me that she’s using the egg
      donor as her justification that the “right thing to do” is to
      NOT pass the embryos along.

      i don’t care if she flushed the embryos down the toilet. these are very personal & unique
      items that she and her husband own. (i personally would probably
      NOT pass them along to another couple!)

      my advice to the author is: free yourself from the idea that there was a right choice to begin with.

  25. Larkin

    August 18, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    I think it’s so easy for people to say, “How dare you? If it were me, I would do X.” But, frankly, the people making that argument in the comments here sound just like the anti-choice folks who say that they would absolutely carry an unwanted child to term and place him/her for adoption. Or the people who get angry at infertile couples who go through extensive fertility treatments instead of adopting. Or the people who guilt-trip couples who are adopting a newborn baby instead of an older child.

    Who are we to judge someone for making the decision that’s right for them? Would you rather she make a decision that would make her uncomfortable for the rest of her life? People shouldn’t be forced to carry babies so they can make them available for adoption. They shouldn’t be forced into adopting if they feel more comfortable going through treatments to have biological children. They shouldn’t be forced to adopt teenagers if they know they only want to parent a baby. And they shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for not wanting to donate leftover embryos if they’re not comfortable with that idea. Simple as that.

  26. Angela

    August 18, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    I don’t think I could do it either. Whether they share my DNA or not I would feel responsible for any children produced by embryos I’d created. I know that there are many potentially wonderful parents out there, but there are also plenty of homes I would not want to send a child to. One example would be the hyper-religious couples who adopt embryos despite having a dozen or so children of their own in order to “save lives” and indoctrinate indoctrinate them via “biblical” child training abuse.

  27. Aimee

    August 18, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    What a difficult decision to make, and there really is no “right” answer – and certainly no easy ones. After having to do some extra work to have our twins (though fortunately for us we didn’t have to go the IVF route) I understand feeling selfish about not wanting anyone else to have “my” kids, or the kids that could have been mine. And as a Science Lady, I think donating the cells to science is a pretty great thing to do, too! All the best to you and your twins. xx

  28. AlexMMR

    August 18, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I could have written this. 2 year old twin girls from IVF, 4 Maybies still on ice, and the storage bill coming due. We finally decided we were done having children (on purpose) and called our clinic to start the process to donate to scientific research. Come to find out, they aren’t currently accepting donations! Our choices are now donate to another couple or destroy. I thought I would be someone who could donate, but then I saw my girls, one with my husbands face, one with my face, and I just can’t imagine someone else with one of those faces in another household. Maybe if they hadn’t looked exactly like us, one of each, maybe then I could do it, but I can’t. Apparently we accidentally double paid for storage last year so we’re paid up until Sept 2015. I’m really hoping they start accepting donations for research again between now and then.

  29. Blueathena623

    August 18, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    There is no need to feel bad about what your family decides to do with the embryos, and donating to science is noble. To echo other commenters, you might want to think about why you are placing so much emphasis on what you feel the donor’s wishes may be instead of just accepting that you just flat out aren’t comfortable with another couple using them.

  30. PAJane

    August 19, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I can’t fault anybody for being possessive or less than generous in this kind of situation. The one and only time I had blood taken — for a test, not even blood donation — I had a very real, very angry reaction: “That’s MINE, give it BACK!” I didn’t say it, but every cell in my body felt it. If it was stressful for me to have just a little bit of blood taken for my own benefit, I can’t imagine how difficult it could be for some people to donate genetic material to someone else for reproductive purposes.

  31. Victoria

    August 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    While slippery slopes are generally a logical fallacy it does make me uncomfortable when people start arguing that someone has an “obligation” to aid other people in having children because it really isn’t that far from saying “by having an abortion you’re denying a woman out there the opportunity to be a mother.” I say this as someone who can never have biological children. The fact that we place the onus on women to always think of how they can help someone else in situations like these and emphasize that they are selfish if they don’t, just goes to further the notion that women’s bodies, especially in a reproductive capacity, are viewed as public property. It’s great if people willingly choose to help people who cannot have children by donating eggs or embryos or giving a child up for adoption, but no one should be obligated to do so.

  32. Awa Adams

    August 19, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Who could judge you for that, knowing you would regret giving them up? This is a deeply personal decision, and it’s good you made a choice the both of you were happy with. Congratulations on your two little ones 🙂

  33. Wholockkie Head

    August 19, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    We will one day have a similar decision to make. We didn’t not use donor eggs but we have four frozen embryos (my eggs, my husband’s sperm). We are currently pregnant and one day we will have to decide to either use the embryos or ourselves or do something else with them.
    So far, we’ve decided to donate them to research because the idea of our bio children “out there somewhere” after 7 years of miscarriages and infertility is weird to us.
    We’ve only decided to donate the embryos to another couple if we both die.

  34. Kite

    September 25, 2014 at 1:26 am

    Did you? Did you think, after everything else you said about gifting others, that this woman who gifted you would think a furthering of that gift was like “casting off a pair of second hand jeans” by being used to give life for others? You know, that stretches my belief.

    I find your other reason quite shocking and visceral, that you would be the sort of people to even entertain that, and I’m more inclined to believe that, frankly.

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