The ALI community is an incredibly varied one.
I'm happy to say that, in real life at least, my experience of it has been of women banding together and supporting each other regardless of where they are in their journey. Before I came to the stage of looking at donor eggs, I was unaware of the maze I was entering. Sure, I knew that DE was different from DS, and harder to come by. But once we had decided that it was something we could/should do, what a lot of decisions there were! Should we accept the offers of eggs from several friends/family who were, medically speaking, bad bets? Should we approach other friends and family who were younger or had better pregnancy records to ask for their eggs? Should we join a waiting list at our local clinic for an altruistic donor (even though the consultant was very discouraging)? Should we go further afield in the UK for egg-share? Should we go abroad, where the donation would be anonymous but the wait shorter?
In the end, we went to a clinic in our part of the UK - not local, but somewhere we wouldn't have to factor in accommodation for appointments - which was the only one in Scotland doing egg-share and the only one we came across that seemed to have a waiting list you could join for DE (and combined altruistic donation and egg-share - you were offered whatever option came up when you were top of the list). Our donor turned out to be an egg-sharer.
There are some who feel that this form of DE is exploitative of women who might feel this was their only way to do IVF - that did give me pause. On the other hand, our donor had already had a child (a prerequisite for a donor at our clinic) and she'd had him by IVF (male factor, so I'm assuming ICSI), so they'd managed to afford it before and also knew the territory. Plus, there was a part of me that felt pleased that we might help someone fulfil their dream at the same time as trying to achieve ours - she had said pretty much the same thing on her form, apparently.
So I was very pleased to read this blog entry from a co-founder of the UK's Donor Conception Network which seems to echo my feelings on egg-sharing. I'm also wondering - is egg-sharing a peculiarly British thing, or are there other countries that do it to? Anyone out there know?
"Tribe" by Sebastian Junger
2 days ago