Sometimes, when all seems a bit bleak and hard, someone offers you a gift. We've been struggling with the thought of giving up, but the reality is that with only one working ovary, and being nearly 40, our chances of a successful IVF are much diminished. At the highest doses of Gonal F that NZ doctors will give me, I still only made five eggs, and of those only two were really viable for transfer.
There is a saying it takes a village to raise a child - and perhaps in our case it takes a village to MAKE a child. So, when we had dinner with our friends Garry and Nicole a few weeks ago, and Nicole offered to be our egg donor, I knew we had been offered a gift. And one that we couldn't refuse. No matter what happens, we will always be so grateful that they were willing to do this for us. Rupert has known Garry and Nic for 20 years or so, and I've known them for eight, and I immediately felt comfortable with the idea of using Nic's eggs.
Basically, the reasons I felt comfortable were: Nic and Garry have completed their family and have two gorgeous little girls. As I said, we've known them a long time and have a good communication with them so any potential problems can be sorted out early. And, Nic has similar colouring to me so as not to make it immediately obvious that any child I carry is not mine! Also, Nic has followed and supported me through our two previous attempts, so she actually knows what is required and how the drugs and injections can affect you.
Under NZ law, Nicole has to have testing which she is undergoing now, and then both sets of couples have mandatory counselling appointments. Then, all being well, in about three months Nic will have another test run, and again, all being well, the IVF cycle starts. But this time, instead of me injecting myself, Nic will be injecting herself and stimulating her ovaries to produce as many eggs as possible, which will then be retrieved, fertilised in the lab with Rupert's sperm, and then implanted into me. I'll be on some kind of hormone treatment to get me in "sync" with Nic's cycle, and then progrestrone after implantation to assist any pregnancy.
It's not a done deal yet - we have a ways to go as far as testing and approvals go, but I think the most important thing Nic and Garry have given us right now is hope. I was very much struggling with the thought of spending another rather large amount of money on my own ungrateful ovary, and seeing a similar result to last time. At least this way, with Nic's eggs, we have a better chance of getting more eggs, and therefore, more chance of a pregnancy.
So. That's where we are at...and for those folks in our "real life" who are reading this, please, ask us any questions you may want to. You're part of our village and we would rather talk this through with you than have you having reservations or concerns we don't know about. There may be days when your help is needed - particularly when Nicole is undergoing the injections and running around having scans and blood tests. We'd love you all to be part of this if you would like to - the same as you have been part of it when Rupert and I were doing it alone.
For those in my "virtual world" - your support is appreciated. Thanks for all the emails and comments - while things will be a little quiet around here for a few months, I'll be updating as stuff happens (or not)...
To Nicole and Garry - thank you. We appreciate your love and willingness and courage and empathy more than we can say.
Paula and Rupert