Yesterday was our consent consultation. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, especially now that we have the issue of needing to find a donor. As it turns out, it was a meeting of mixed emotions.
The nurse went straight in with lots of questions and then started throwing dates at us in terms of starting the IVF cycle. My husband and I were obviously a bit confused as we didn’t even have a donor so how could we be talking about a date to start when we don’t have sperm! It became apparent that the nurse was assuming we had accepted a donor that had been mentioned to me earlier in the week when I’d called the clinic to confirm we wanted to go ahead. Errr… wrong! How can we accept a donor when we have no idea how close a match it is to my husband?! Things got a bit heated, with my husband understandably getting irate with the nurse. This is, after all, a very emotive situation to be in and having someone make us feel like we’re just doing something regular like ordering a pizza rather than something as major as choosing the genetic material that will contribute to our future children, doesn’t really help!
Anyway, to cut a long story short, it turns out that there are 2 donors that are soon to be available. One of which is no where near what we are looking for and the other a much closer match. After some ‘umming and ahhing’ (and with the realisation that the next available donor could be a minimum of 9 months away) we decided to go with the suggested donor.
So… here’s what we’ll be getting in our DNA order…!
6 years older than my husband (not an issue)
6ft (3in too tall)
Dark brown hair (perfect)
Brown eyes (happy with that – my husband has hazel/brown eyes)
Light / fair skin (perfect)
A university lecturer (hoping that means they’re brainy genes!)
Musical (well, who doesn’t like a bit of music!)
So all in all not a bad bunch of characteristics. The only one that bothered my husband was the height but on reflection decided that this didn’t matter. We accept that we have to be realistic – the chance of us finding a donor who ticks every single box 100% is slim to none. We both want a carbon copy of my husband’s genes but know that there’s only one of him so we just need to find a donor with as many similarities as possible. The key things for me were hair, eye and skin colour. All the rest could be so varied in a child anyway even if we were using my husband’s sperm – the world of genetics is such a complicated business. Hell, there are kids out there that look nothing like either of their biological parents anyway! And as for the career / hobbies bits – that stuff will come from me and my husband anyway in terms of the life experiences and encouragement we give our children. I’m sure our kids will be great mathematicians and have a golf handicap of just 5 by the time they’re 10 years old, thanks to by husband’s influence!
Once the donor part had been decided then the rest of yesterday’s consultation went smoothly. We signed a gazillion forms and then I had the lovely task of having a pelvic scan and practise egg transfer. Lovely! All of this went well though and we’ve been told that we’re good to go. I have to call the clinic when my next period arrives and then my IVF drugs will be sent to me…eek!
I can’t quite believe that’s it and that this is actually going to happen. Especially after all the set backs recently. I feel like maybe, just maybe, it’s time for us to start having some good luck. First, finding a donor who is near-as-damn-it perfect and next…. well who knows. But I hope that it looks something like 2 pink lines on a pregnancy test!
Crohn’s is crap. Fact!
Apologies for the bluntness but sometimes we just have to say it as it is.
As if there isn’t enough going on in our lives at the moment, my husband’s Crohn’s Disease is just relentless. You’d think that in a world where we can send people to the moon, carry out incredible transplant surgery and have the amazing technology that we do, that there would be something that could be done to stop my husband’s body from behaving so badly!
He has tried pretty much every Crohn’s drug going, including the so called wonder drugs ‘Biologics’ – both Remicade (Infliximab) and Humira (Adalimumab). We’re still waiting for Humira to work its magic but so far…. nada! Then there’s the fact that he’s got a split ileostomy. We assumed that having the infected part of his bowel bypassed and the use of a bag would eliminate the terrible ‘urgency’ that comes with Crohn’s but we were wrong there too. This god forsaken open wound that he has seems to have a mind of its own and the ‘urgency’ is still just as unpredictable and stressful for him as it was 8 months ago albeit slightly less frequent (6 times a day rather than 20)!
I just wish his Crohn’s Disease would let up. It is affecting every part of his life – his career, social life, fertility, sanity – the only thing I can promise him it will never ruin is his relationship with me. I might hate my husband’s Crohn’s but I love him with everything I am and no crappy Crohn’s is ever going to take that away!
I can’t deny that it’s been a stressful week with a roller coaster of emotions but I feel like the dark cloud is lifting and things are looking a little brighter.
Ok, so this isn’t how things should have worked out but my darling husband has been amazing. After the initial shock of being told that we had no sperm to work with, he took a few days to himself to reflect on what this meant. At first when I tried to talk to him about our situation he said that he wasn’t sure how he felt but he couldn’t be sure that he could love a child that wasn’t biologically his – through donor sperm or adoption. I can’t deny, this scared the crap out of me! I love my husband, more than anything in the world, but the thought of never having a family is something that would be too devastating for me to cope with I think. As much as this upset me i knew that i had to give my husband the time that he obviously needed to absorb the news of no sperm and make his own decisions about how he wanted to move forward, if at all.
Meanwhile, I did what I do best… I took to my iPad and googled ‘donor sperm’ to the point of exhaustion! I swear to god, there is nothing I do not know about using a sperm donor, in fact infertility in general, thanks to the wonders of the World Wide Web!!
Over the weekend, we started to discuss everything together and consider the prospect of using donor sperm. My husband had been thinking about the possibility of it for a while apparently as he had suspected we might find ourselves in this situation. That’s not to say it wasn’t a very sad shock to have the reality confirmed. After time together we came to the decision to go for it with the donor sperm. My husband says that he wants us to have a family together and at least this way the baby would be genetically ‘half of us’. I am so proud of my husband for being strong enough to accept this, it must be incredibly difficult for him. If possible it has made me love him even more.
We had our counselling session at the clinic this afternoon which I felt went well and was helpful. It was great hearing my husband share his thoughts on it all to a complete stranger (he’s not normally one to open up) although i’m not sure he enjoyed it – he’s not into the ‘airy fairy counselling stuff’! So the next step is a phone call to confirm we want to proceed and then our consent consultation next week. After that, who knows!
I am feeling more hopeful that we may get our dream of a family one day. Fingers crossed.
It has taken me a few days to be able to write this. I think I needed some time before I committed my thoughts to our blog.
The worst happened on Tuesday. My husband had his SSR and they didn’t find any sperm. So that’s it, there’s no way that he will be able to biologically father a child. The only word that can describe our feelings on this is ‘devastated’. I am just so truly sad.
I love my husband so very very much. I have dreamed, since the day I first loved him, about the family we would have together. I wondered what our children would look like, what their personality would be like and the kind of adults they would grow up to be. It breaks my heart to know that we will never have a child with his genes. I feel like I am grieving the loss of the children we could have had together.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the end for our family. We live in a world where we have other options. The doctor, after telling us the bad news on Tuesday, said that we could move onto using donor sperm. Just like that – so simple! Except it isn’t. Both me and my husband need to get our heads around the idea and the implications of this. The rational part of my brain knows that any children that we have will only ever be ours, no matter how they come about. I know that it’s more than a bit of sperm that makes a person a dad but the idea still saddens me and it raises lots of questions. Namely, how will we both feel about a child that has been conceived using donor sperm? Will we be able to see past it? Will my husband be able to love the baby as his own? If we can’t do these things then we can’t go down this route.
Then I think about the journey we will go on. From choosing the donor together, to the fertility treatment, the positive pregnancy test, scans and birth. Going through these experiences will make it all so real that we are in this together. As the child grows, picking up our mannerisms, using us as role models for their own life, it will be clear that we are the parents, no one else – and how could we do anything but love this child that we have nurtured together!
So as sad as our news this week has been, it doesn’t signal the end. We are still at the beginning.