Selecting an egg donor was initially very overwhelming. I think I looked at all of the profiles and then just put the information away. How do I pick an egg? Should the person physically resemble me as much as possible? Is medical history more important than anything else? Do I care if she is only 22 years old and already has 3 children? Who will my husband think is suitable? The whole notion of selecting an egg donor seemed insane. It was like flipping through a catalog and having to pick the best, but maybe not the "perfect," outfit. Compromises had to be made. But this was the genetic, biological mother of my future child! It was sad and funny all at the same time. This is what it had come to. I remember telling the first reproductive endocrinologist I consulted for infertility that I would never, ever, NEVER, EVER, resort to using a donor egg. Nope. Not me. If we could not be successful with my own eggs, then forget it. I would move on. I would "get over it." And yet, here I was.Trying to decide if DonorXYZ with the blueeyes andIrish ancestrybut a family history ofbreast cancer was better than DonorABC who was the same blood type and had the same college majoras me but was 5'10" tall (my husband and I are shorties). Impossible. Stressful. Crazy to be picking our donor while watching an episode of Scrubs and drinking a glass of wine. My husband came up with nicknames for our top 3 picks. My family growing up was all about humor and sarcasm so this coping strategy worked for us. It lightened the mood. It helped redefine a very difficult and daunting task to a manageable one that we could do and appreciate the absurdity at the same time.
Right or wrong, here is the strategy that we used to select our donor: We decided to limit our choices to a blood type that matched my own. We then looked at physical similarities (hair color, eye color, height, weight, skin color). We then looked at medical history. Before becoming too freaked out about the family medical history (hey, people have to die of something, right?), we sat down and wrote out our own family medical histories. Not pretty. On my side, we tend to live a long time but have heart attacks and strokes, and my mother died of breast cancer. On my husband's side, the big "C" (i.e., cancer) tends to get 'em in their later years. One thing that my very intelligent and educated spouse pointed out to me was that it is much more significant if a younger family member -- say 40's or 50's is diagnosed withheart disease or cancer than if an 80 or 90-year-old person is. And that made sense to me. Again, everybody has to die of something. We then relaxed a little with items listed in the family medical history and only became concerned if it was a very heritable disease that occurred at a younger age. This narrowed it down to about 4-5 donors. We then debated whether we thought it was better to use a donor that had no children of her own vs. a donor who was married (or not) and had children. And if she had donated before, that meant that our child could potentially have half-siblings out there at this very moment. Okay, do not think about that now. Even if we pick a first timer, she may donate again in the future so that is a factor and a result that we cannot control. Down to 2 donors. I let my husband pick. For some reason (maybe it was the wine), I felt that he deserved this for putting up with me for all of the years we tried to make a baby. So he picked her. We had our first, second, and third choice all decided!
This was getting exciting. Unfortunately, further testing with Donor 1 revealed that she was a cystic fibrosis carrier. We decided to move on to Donor 2. Nope. She had not been completely truthful with the psychologist, and it was determined that she was a smoker (yuk). Third time was the charm. Everything progressed without a hitch. Thank you, thank you Donor 3.