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The Parents Via Egg Donation Organization: June 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I’m a loser baby so why don’t you kill me

Originally I wasn’t going to write about this.  It was too edgy.  To painful. To.to.to – whatever.  No one likes to talk about failure, loss, or “this process not working”.  But the fact is for some egg donation isn’t going to work.  It’s just not.  Some women aren’t going to be able to carry a child for a myriad of reasons, and will need to rely on a gestational carrier.  And there will be some women who can’t afford to contract with a gestational carrier.  There will also be those who can’t afford to adopt, or choose not to adopt.  And there will be those who after all of this will still be without a child.
With all that being said – failure is something we need to talk about.  Regardless of how painful it is, it’s real, it’s here, and it’s in our faces. - Marna Gatlin

There’s no two ways about it – there is a special and unique circle of hell not even listed on Dante’s Circle of hell for those of us who are trying valiantly, earnestly, and desperately to have a child regardless of the path we take to get there. 

Most of us (unless we were given the devastating news at a young age) didn’t anticipate having to struggle, bargain, or fight this hard to have a child.  But here we are perplexed, angry, shocked, and sad that our bodies aren’t doing what millions of other female bodies are doing – conceiving and having a baby.  I remember clearly hearing the sound of denial in my voice when I heard the words:

“Marna, the best chance for  you to have a baby is through egg donation because you have an egg quality problem.”

This was at the tender age of 35, when my belly should have been swollen with child not swollen with the latest round of IVF drugs.

For some we have waited until later in life to begin building a family, no one told us that we needed to jump on the baby making wagon, after all we see all kinds of public figures from all walks of life way up until their mid-forties and some even beyond having children we think with no problem. 
No one whispered to us as we were putting in long hours at the office, directing projects, maybe looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right, going over legal briefs, treating patients as physicians, catching flight after flight for our job, or furthering our career, that we wouldn’t or couldn’t have a baby when we were ready.


So here we are at the crossroads of what the “eff” am I going to do when we discover that there is this amazing way to become a mother – by taking the eggs of a younger woman and creating an embryo and placing that embryo back into our waiting uterus's.  
Should be simple and straightforward, right?

We wade through the emotional and psychological part to “all of this”.  We wrestle with our genetic link loss.  We mourn the loss of our genetics.  We worry that our child(ren)  that we finally have are going to resent us some day.  We worry about what others will think of our choices in regards to the way we have chosen to create our family. We worry about acceptance.

We worry.  We worry. We worry.

We then come to a place where we can wrap our heads around this amazing technology, we have become out of the box thinkers, ready to take on the world and become mothers --And we put our money, our hearts, our soul, our lives, on the line for this.  Many of us have stopped our careers, decided to cash in retirement accounts, borrow money, take 2nd jobs – we have invested our entire beings into this quest to have this baby.

Our baby.

The baby.

The baby, the baby, the baby.

No problem – right?

Well, for some of us it’s no problem.  Things work like they are supposed to with this young embryo, and before we know it, we are mothers with these amazing babies, and we are happy standing around singing Kumbayah, and feeling all mother earthy, and we realize this is what it’s about. 

This is what it’s about.

But for others, many others who think that egg donation is their silver bullet, and they try and for whatever reason the cycle fails, and then they try again, and the cycle fails, or the cycle works and sadly they miscarry, sometimes over and over again.  They then go back to their doctors and their doctor say “It’s a fluke, we don’t know why this didn’t work it should have worked, maybe we need more testing, and we really need to try again”

We leave their offices dejected and uttering “what.the.???” We are frustrated, sad, angry, and more over confused. After all we must be complete and total losers because we can’t even have a baby with a goddamn donor egg. Right?

Wrong.  You are not a loser. What’s happening isn’t your fault.  There is no easy answer for any of this.  And the reality is you might never carry a child to term – but that doesn’t make you a loser or less than, or not as good as.

It just means your body isn’t working the way it’s supposed to.

And I really wish I could fix that.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

A CHILD AFTER 40 Launches Expert Forum

PVED's own Marna Gatlin, is going to be A Child After 40's very first guest expert launching this really cool program.  So go check them out here:  MOTHERHOOD AFTER 40 COMMUNITY!

A CHILD AFTER 40 -- the new online community from Flower Power Mom -- The Truth About Motherhood After 40 (www.flowerpowermom.com) -- is now launching the first forum dedicated to experts and authors on midlife motherhood.

From 14th June 2011, A Child After 40 (ACA40) will feature regular guest experts and authors on subjects from midlife fertility, pregnancy, birth, and adoption, to parenting, menopause and aging to appear in an online Guest Experts and Authors Forum.

Members of the free, private community for the empowerment of women on the journey of motherhood after 40 will be able to regularly participate in an online "post-in" to ask questions and receive expert feedback from a broad and varied range of guests.
According to Angel La Liberte, Founder, the Forum aims to provide a unique opportunity for members to benefit from a live "Q & A" session, much like a university lecture hall or guest speaker format.
"We're pioneering the first online forum to offer an education and entertainment resource to the fast-growing demographic of women having children over 40," she says.
La Liberte adds that, while the forum is not intended for medical diagnosis or any other form of healthcare or business consultancy, its purpose is to broaden the horizons of the membership of over-40 women and mothers, and enhance a sense of community.
The Guest Expert and Author Forum will be supported by a regular news digest from ACA40, which will be distributed to members, media and professional organizations.
This new initiative comes only weeks after the official launch of the ACA40 online community by www.flowerpowermom.com on May 8th, 2011, which was featured live on CNN, on radio and widely in newspapers, including the Washington Times and San Jose Mercury News.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Donors’ Attitudes about their Potential Participation in Egg Donation Programs

By: Hilary Marshak, MSW, LCSW

Over the past fifteen years I have performed hundreds of psychological evaluations of both potential egg donors and potential recipients on behalf of fertility clinics. Working with this population has been a tremendous gift to me. I have been privileged to share in their ideas and attitudes in addition to the facts of their lives. It has often struck me that if the intended parents were privy to the donor assessment meetings, what they would hear would likely be extremely comforting.

Many of the intended parents with whom I have worked, in both my counseling and evaluation roles, feel some anxiety about the possibility that donors will wish to be involved in their children’s lives, or try to contact them at some time in the future. This is a natural fear, arising out of concern for the child and his or her possible confusion as well as out of their own anxiety that the child will somehow not feel that the birth mother is its “real” mother and will therefore be susceptible to abandoning his or her birth family in favor of the egg donor. As a counselor, I have observed that this fear seems to diminish throughout the pregnancy; once bonding has occurred, it becomes a non-issue. This is especially true in the case of an anonymous donor, where an ongoing relationship is not any part of the arrangement..

What I have heard from the vast majority of both anonymous and known potential egg donors I have interviewed indicates the opposite attitude. Here are some quotes from donors I have interviewed, in response to the question, “How do you feel about donating your eggs?”

“It’s like donating an organ. It’s not a baby.”

“I don’t have any attachment to my eggs.”

“It’s just tissue to me.”

“I wouldn’t have any interest in meeting the person who got my kidney – why should I want to know about my eggs?”

“I don’t want kids – at least not now – why shouldn’t someone else use my eggs?”

“My eggs just go to waste every month. I feel better using them for something good.”

To the question, “Why are you donating eggs?”, these, and variations thereof, are typical of donor responses.

“I have an aunt (friend, cousin, sister) who was infertile and I saw how hard it was.”

“If I need it someday, I would want someone to help me.”

“Motherhood is a God-given right.”

“This is a beautiful way to help someone.”

“People who go through all of this to have a baby must really want one. They’ll probably be really good parents.”

My personal favorite was the earnest and guileless young woman who blurted out, after I discussed the issue of compensation with her, “You mean you get money for this?!”

 Author’s note: This essay is based on my notes of conversations with and observation of the populations discussed. I would be glad to know of any articles addressing this subject. Please send comments and references to me at hmarshak@MyDonor.net.

 Hilary Marshak, MSW, LCSW, earned her Masters degree from New York University and is a member of the Mental Health Practice Group of ASRM. In addition to her private psychotherapy practice which specializes in infertility, she is the founder of MyDonor.net, an egg donor matching agency licensed by the NYS Department of Health.

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