Monday, August 31, 2009

The Village

Okay so I have been reflecting back on my experience of using a directed donor and I think that since the worst of the storm has blow over I would like to pass on some nuggets of knowledge that we gleaned from our experience so far.

While I know that everyone will have a journey that is unique to their situation, I just want to share some nuggets that resonated with "us". Some are just a reflection on the experience so far others are more technical. I will be breaking the blogs up so they are easier to digest.

Today I want to focus on "The Village" or more importantly our experience with being open with our family and friends about our journey.

When my husband and I first started our infertility treatment "we/us" meant he and I. At the time "we/us" thought that our infertility would be resolved by "we/us". Meaning hubby and I mostly with the assistance of our doctors.

However when we started investigating the idea of using a directed donor a year ago we realized that terms were going to take on new meanings. For Hubby and I, we really wanted to have the support of our friends and family on this. For those of you who just started following the blog if you read the older post you will see why we wanted to take an "open" approach with using a directed donor. Since we already had the support of our friends and family on our current infertility course, we thought the best approach was to sit down and talk to our family and friends and let them know where we wanted to go with our family building journey. We felt that they needed to know why we were changing course and why we needed their help.

Doing this obviously has it's good parts and bad parts. Sometimes you get feed back from you family and friends that is hard to hear and that maybe you don't want to hear. However sometimes you have to take the things you don't want to hear and factor them in because they are relevant. For the most part there was very little negative feedback on the "new plan" but there were a lot of questions about the IVF process.

The hardest part of all this was that our infertility, which before was pretty much between hubby, myself and the doctors now become a matter that we had to discuss openly with well... everyone! Suddenly our infertility was no longer just "we/us" but now included "him" and "them" as well. Meaning the addition of our donor (which "we" all agree "we" hate referring to him as so "we" prefer to say "baby daddy" when we can't use his name), as well as our donors family and then all of our family and friends.

I stepped back one day and realized that "we" now had behind us a village. A village that was very eager to wage the battle on our infertility. Sometimes the village was more eager then the process would allow. So when I say "we/us" please mentally include "the village" as they are all aware of the play by play on our infertility. Down (or all the way up) to my Grams (Grandma). Yes even my Grams will be happy to tell you that "we" have 7 embryos and she is praying for every single one. :) Don't underestimate the young and elderly, their ability to understand will surprise you.

Needless to say our open approach has been filled with so much love that I would not trade it for the world. I know that not everyone can be as open with their journey because I know that not everyone will have as open of a family. However if you have a chance to take an open approach I can say it can be a blessing. I have been very happy overall with the level of support I get from "the village". It means that hubby and I don't have to carry the burden of our infertility alone. It also means that any children we may have will be born into a village where every member will be happy for their arrival. Suddenly the proverb "It takes a village to raise a child" has some real meaning to me. It also means that when you get a phone call from "Aunt Sally" and she asks how your embryos are doing you don't have to worry about being shocked that someone in your family "blabbed" your business. It also means you are less likely to get the "so are you pregnant yet question"? which for a woman who has been trying to have a baby for 7 years can tell you that that question will never lose it's sting.

Well I think that is enough to absorb for today. I hope you have found this blog helpful in some way.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I have been absent of late. Kind of lurking because my male factor infertility tale has had a few twist and turns that I have not been able to share with anyone because I keep being told that I should be a good girl and keep my mouth shut. What I can say about our journey is that even infertility doctors can be quite hard to reach where male factor infertility is concerned.

It is a hard taste of reality when after treating my husband for 7 years for his "issues" we decide that enough was enough. We decided as a couple to use a directed sperm donor (aka someone we know not from a bank. We were met with opposition from our doctors on our choice. Not that they did not want us to use donor sperm, they had been suggesting it from the beginning, but they frowned on us for using a known donor.

They frowned so hard on our choice that they went so far as to make us believe in and comply to "Laws" that were in fact not laws at all but ended up being "rules" set by the practice made to "protect us".

I am not sure why they were so unnerved by our decision but they were. They even felt that not giving us the ability to make an informed patient decision was "better for us" and so they tried and tried to make us do it their way.

I guess they figured that a father will be less of a father if he has to look at his children on a regular basis, that all men in thier maleness will be so shallow as to think to himself everyday "this is "his" kid not mine". I wonder if Joseph ever thought that way about Jesus because he turned out to be a pretty okay guy or so I am told. I wonder if my Step-Father knows about this rule for men becasue he loves and treats me the same as he does his own "DNA" and has never made me feel unwanted becasue I am not "his DNA"

I guess they figured that after surviving 2 kidney transplants and a host of other complications from those experiences, that my husband still did not posses the ability to know when to listen to his body and his soul and know when it was time to throw in the flag and say enough is enough.

I guess that it was not enough for them that I had battled cancer 2 times and have endured 7 years of waiting and had survived 2 rounds of failed IVF for me to know when to say enough was enough. I guess in the end it was also not enough for them that it was my body and my eggs and that ultimately the choice begins and ends with me as to whose sperm I would allow to fertilize MY eggs and whose child I would be willing to carry in my womb.

Some how they gave the power to the sperm and not the patient who was waiting on the table with her heart and legs spread wide with hope. I was made to feel that I was being given a gift and I could only receive the gift of sperm that they felt had "no stings attached" and so they wanted to strip away the bows and the ribbons before I was given the gift of motherhood that could only come to me from the "right" manhood.

No it was not enough because they tried so hard to shove a square peg into a round a hole. They tried and tried to say that the choice was not mine at all that there were "strict laws governing these things".

It was almost enough. We almost believed them. Well we did to a point and we followed all the rules they wanted us to follow. But In the end we did not listen to them, we chose to listen to our hearts, our souls and our bodies and we chose our own path. We chose a path that says DNA is not what will make our family, love is what will make our family. Funny thing, in the end there were no laws broken by us, not a single one, but I am not so sure that the doctors did not break more then a few in their attempts to stop us.

They seem to not listen to our words or respect our wishes, well I bet that now that our credit card is no longer speaking to them they will understand better. :)

I hope this finds you all well. Hugs and blessing be to you.

Mel if you read this, once again thanks. You helped the tears and anger to be shed that needed to be shed in way that did not hurt anyone and helped me. In the end it is all about me sometimes and this was one of those times.