There are only two reproductive endocrinology (RE) clinics in the state we live in. Even with that kind of severe limitation in number, I never thought for one moment that we had limited choices in seeking quality care and treatments. We could have traveled outside the state if we had felt it was necessary, though it wouldn’t have been easy or convenient. Before we decided to go with donor egg, we did consider going to that Mile High Clinic that seems to be so popular, but their success rates didn’t justify the risk in starting over.
Through blogging and research, I didn’t find much difference in our clinic’s protocols when it came to IUIs and IVFs, but their donor program was very different, especially in regards to the egg donor. Based on the numerous donor blogs I’ve read in the past few years, almost all share how they poured over donor profiles and stared at pictures – if available – all in an earnest and well-thought out desire seek a donor of similar temperament, physical characteristics, or both. I can only imagine how exhausting that kind of decision must be. I say imagine because with our RE, the idea of choosing an egg donor was nonexistent.
In short, the patient indicated their desire to try donor eggs. The staff put their name on a waiting list and when that name reached the top of the list, a potential donor was contacted for availability and if they were, cycles were coordinated and that was that. The only “matching” done was by the staff themselves by race and if requested, blood by the patient.
With everything else being completely left to fate (eye color, hair color, build, heritage, intelligence, etc.), any resulting offspring truly was like a box of chocolates. It’s all by sheer luck that Aitch was my favorite kind of chocolate in the whole of the group. Her blond, fine, straight hair leaves my mother, who doesn’t know about the donor egg, bemoaning the fact that she was “cursed” with hair just like mine. Her personality, which facilitates between painfully shy around strangers to bossy chatterbox among her peers and family, also seems to reflect mine (except it’s cute on a toddler; not so much on a rapidly approaching middle-aged woman). The only trait she seems to have that’s unexpected is the blue of her eyes.
I’ve wondered over the past couple of years what would have happened if our clinic was one of those that have their patients review dozens of profiles and make educated choices for their donors. I have to admit that if that had been our situation, I might have felt Aitch was less of me and more of our donor’s. I also admit I worry about how easily it actually would be to completely disregard the donor’s existence the older Aitch gets. What I think will keep me honest is the very trait that makes her exceptional to our family: those blue eyes. I have to believe that she will always look at me with trust, love…unconditionally.