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.
When we sat down to discuss our new option, I was surprised to find out that while the embryos are from the donor's eggs and my husband's sperm, he was far more open to the idea of embryo adoption than I was. He said that he wouldn't think of any children who might be born as his children or our kids' siblings and that helping another couple would be the right thing to do.
His words sounded reasonable, and raised many of the same points egg donors often use when discussing their own reasons for donating, which I've obviously benefitted from. I still wasn't buying it. The super black part of my soul was mad that someone else could just be gifted what we had paid a hefty sum for. My heart couldn't get around the fact that these embryos could have been my babies, and I selfishly didn't want anyone else to have them.
Most of all, I was mad on behalf of the woman who donated her eggs to me in the first place. I know that technically the eggs became property once they were donated, property which she was paid for and which we now owned to do with what we wished. But I've never been completely okay with the fact that our donor was anonymous in the first place. I so badly want to know that she is ok from the procedure, both physically and mentally. I wish I could tell her how grateful I am for what she did for us and how every single second of the rest of my life has been changed for the better because of her. I know that she could decide to donate her eggs again or go on and have children of her own that would be genetically related to my kids and I wouldn't know it. But I signed up for that. 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. I can't thank her in person, but I can respect her as a piece of this decision, and I used my indignation on her behalf as the driving justification for our decision to donate the eggs to research.
I hope we did the right thing.
(photo: hkeita/ Shutterstock)