Saturday, November 2, 2013

When donor egg doesn't work

I have been sitting on and thinking about this blog post for many months. What does one do when donor egg doesn't work?!

Back in June and then over the summer, I watched the heartache of "when DE doesn't work" in person. And it brought back all the memories from last summer when our DE miracle pregnancy went completely south.

There is a woman here I met through resolve meetings. Let's call her Z. She has become a very good friend outside of infertility stuff and I can't imagine her not being my friend. We have so much in common and see each other - even now as I am 33 weeks pregnant - on a regular basis.

When I met Z, she had just done her fresh DE transfer ... and it had failed. I met her through another resolve member. Z was in a very dark space and, having just come out of a very dark space myself, I wanted to help. We bonded and we both geared up for another transfer: both FETs this time.

My FET worked. Hers did not. That was the last of her embryos and she and her husband were left in a place that felt very much like the beginning of the road (or end of the road): what in the hell next?!

Then, over blogging, I watched Rebecca go through a DE cycle that was also supposed to work. Like Z, she did everything right. She had high quality embryos. And she still got a bfn. She is now bravely gearing up for a transfer with a donor egg embryo and a full-on donor embryo. Please stop over there and wish her luck and support.

And then, through a FB group, I watched another woman who has gone through multiple DE cycles - all of which have failed.

DE is. supposed. to. work. Period. I think it's safe to say that women who go the DE route do not do so lightly. We choose / decide to give up on our own eggs, our own DNA and family legacy and history. We sometimes give up the chance at having our child(ren) look like us. We do so because our drive to experience pregnancy, to share life, to birth a child beats the need to pass on our DNA. Most of us end up saying "I don't want to have a daughter and pass along my infertility problems anyway" when talking about the choice to go DE. We go the DE route knowing that our children will not have our parents' DNA. Our children won't be biologically related to my (the woman's) sister's future children. Even if we get a good medical history on our donor, we will never ever know the full extent of her and her family's medical history so we will never be able to properly and fully answer medical questions at a doctor's office; neither will our donor egg children when they are grown.

DE is supposed to give us what we yearn for, after we choose to give up what comes so naturally and easily to many others. Too often, as I have seen, DE does not work. Is the fall and despair from a failed DE cycle worse than a non-DE cycle? While I have not had a bfn, I did miscarry after a DE cycle and I can tell you that was the worst experience of my IF "career." When we got pregnant and then saw and heard a heartbeat, we thought we had made it out. We would have a baby. Things would finally go our way. To have DE fail was more destructive to me (and my hubby and our marriage) than anything else we experienced.

Most DE transfers happen with perfect, high-quality embryos. Those transfers are supposed to work. It is beyond unfair when they fail once, and even worse when they fail more than once.


  1. Thanks for mentioning me above. J and I have a plan for one last donor cycle if time permits before our move and if this one should fail. Hoping this one works and we don't have to hope for another if moment at the clinic.

  2. Well, as you know my DE fresh cycle failed, then my DE FET failed. And I am finally pregnant with twins from round three! The way I think of it, there can be a couple issues. You still have to have a good lining, which I did not. And you still have to have good embryos. When donors go through stims it turns off their natural egg selection and they all grow. So it seems reasonable that not every resulting embryo is going to be perfect. And unfortunately there may be some donors who don't have healthy eggs for an undiscovered reason. It was so hard for me to not see DE as a guarantee. Especially because the success rates are 66-80%. But now I understand that all circumstances have to be right and when I finally got the right meds and right lining it worked!

  3. This is one of my worst fears--honestly, I keep trucking along through IF knowing that if my eggs don't work that there is the option of donor eggs. I don't mean to be flip about the DE option, I do not think that my eggs are viable. My husband and I are working through the almost certain reality that we will have to use donor spe.rm (we're currently freezing my eggs on the slimmest of chances that we'll find some sper.m next May). The heartbreak of all we're going through seems a little more bearable because there is the donor option. But if the option of last resort doesn't work, I'm just not sure how I will cope.

  4. I thought this was it. I thought DE was my answer. I was prepared for a BFN---that can happen so easily. But a miscarriage? No. I chose DE to take me away from that nightmare, but it led me straight back into it. 5 miscarriages with my own eggs, and now 1 with DE. Now I am left with nothing I can count on. DE is sold as the cure for RPL. Clinicians should prepare patients much better for the possibility of miscarriage in a DE cycle. It is NOT the magic bullet. I feel like a fool sometimes. Even while I will probably go forward with the FET because what if those 2 embryos are our children?

    1. I hear 'ya. I had 4 losses on my own and never thought DE would help "build" that resume. Then I had the worst loss to date - a 9 week miscarriage after a DE transfer - and it about killed me.

      I did a lot of things between DE transfers, including getting my B12 and D vitamin levels checked. Both can cause miscarriages, I read, and mine were both shockingly low. I saw a naturopath who works with RPL for those.

      I wish you the best of luck in your FET.

  5. I was just given your blog by a mutual friend of ours because of the direction our journey's have taken us. I've read this post several times the past few minutes. Just absorbing everything you're saying because it is also my biggest fear.

    Would love to go back and read your old blog of your DE journey if you'd allow it?

    Absolutely thrilled for you that you have 2 precious little girls that will be arriving soon!!


    1. Suzanne - what is your email address? Or shoot me an email at and I'll send you an invite to my old blog (which is password protected).

  6. Wow!!! This is such a wonderful read. I loved what you had to say about the whole process. Best IVF Clinic in India is one of the best option to get pregnant despite of infertility options.