While most of us have ticked off the first three of these boxes by age 30, dreams of “having it all” can come crashing down with a diagnosis of infertility. While most comic book heroes have tragic pasts, infertility doesn’t have to be the end of the story thanks to altruistic egg donors.
Nothing can prepare you for the devastating news that you might not be able to have children. Your initial response might be shock, followed by sadness and fear. And then, you might feel anger—Hulk “raging fire” anger at the injustice of it all.
Remember, though: there isn’t one superhero whose life is picture perfect and adversity-free.
Uncovering Your Superpowers
Dealing with infertility will force you and your partner to uncover your superpowers, and lean on each other for support.
You’re the Robin or Batgirl to each other’s Batman, and you’ve got one heck of a fight ahead. Uncovering your superpowers starts with understanding your fertility options.
A medical professional will explain the best options for your particular situation. This may involve medical treatment to improve ovulation or surgical procedures. You might be one of many couples who need Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
Unfortunately, for many women—especially older women—poor egg quality can significantly decrease your chance of IVF success. However, you shouldn’t despair if your IVF attempts don’t work.
Looking Beyond the Obvious
Wonder Woman was devastated when she failed to defeat Ares, the God of War, with the magically empowered “god killer” sword. It’s not uncommon to pin all your hopes on IVF—for it to be your “god killer” sword—but unfortunately, if it fails, you’re bound to feel like everything is lost.
This doesn’t need to be the case.
Wonder Woman quickly realized her real power came from within—she could still fulfill her destiny, just not as she first expected. If traditional IVF fails, there’s still the possibility for a couple to experience pregnancy and childbirth firsthand through IVF with donor egg. This effective option yields a high success rate, with up to 60% of women using donor egg experiencing pregnancy and about 50% going on to deliver a baby.
The Donor Egg IVF Process
If you’re using a donor egg program, choose one that screens its donors and supplies important information about the donor, including a donor’s family medical history, physical characteristics, and details on education and accomplishments. Additionally, you will want to consider whether you wish to use fresh or frozen donor eggs.
Using a fresh donor egg cycle involves having to synchronize the donor and recipient’s menstrual cycles. In comparison, using frozen donor egg doesn’t require this step—the eggs have already been retrieved and are ready for shipment once selected. Furthermore, the frozen donor egg process can occur at a time that suits the recipient, making it less expensive—around half the cost of using fresh.
The Frozen Donor Egg Process
Once your selected donor egg lot is shipped to your fertility clinic, you will take medications to thicken your uterine lining and prepare it for embryo transfer.
Next, your donor eggs are removed from cold storage and quickly re-hydrated or warmed before being fertilized with your partner’s (or donor’s) sperm.
Over the next 3-5 days, your fertilized eggs become embryos and are monitored by an embryologist. The most viable embryo or embryos are identified, then transferred to the uterus via a simple procedure using ultrasound technology and a thin catheter.
The Waiting Battle
The last part of the process is the most emotionally draining and will require all your superpowers—or, at least, a good dose of willpower and patience.
You will have to wait two weeks following the embryo transfer to find out if you’re pregnant. After the two-week wait, you will take a blood test that measures the level of HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin), also known as the pregnancy hormone.
If all goes well, you will receive a positive result and your pregnancy will proceed like any other. It’s common from this point to have initial misgivings—particularly about a lack of biological connection between you and your child.
However, through IVF you are able to experience the joy of carrying and creating a special bond with your baby. A bond that is strengthened by childbirth, and all the happy experiences of parenthood.
Conquer Infertility With Donor Eggs
Infertility doesn’t need to be your kryptonite. You might still be able to conceive with donor egg IVF and have the family of your dreams. Or, if you’re young and healthy enough—perhaps you can be a superhero for an infertile couple and consider donating your eggs to those struggling to conceive.