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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear all,
I've recently had an ICSI cycle where all of my eggs failed to fertilize. Strange I know, after all they inject the sperm so you'd expect the rest of it to just take off.  :-\

Although Dh has a low count with poor motility and morphology the embryologist told us that she found some "excellent sperm" to use and felt I had top quality eggs. She now thinks we may have a 'compatibility issue'.

We now have the option of donor  ^sperm^, donor eggs or donor embryo.  We think we will try donor sperm as the first step as its less expensive, and if that doesn't work and it does turn out to be my eggs causing the problem then we will move on to donor eggs, holding donor embryos as a last resort when the money runs out.
DH and I are both ok with the 'not being genetically related to the baby' thing (he is sooooooo strong and helpful) but I kind of feel the need to talk to people how have been through these things before.

I have loads of unanswered (unanswerable?) questions, like how do you choose/get a sperm donor? How long would we have to wait for a donor egg? How do you deal with the wider family issues (who do you tell)? And how do the children eventually cope with the information?

Is there anyone out there who has had this problem and got through this successfully, or going through it now andwould like to chat? ???
Thanks
LiziBee
 

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Liz,
I have heard that this website is a fantastic resource for just these sort of questions:
http://www.dcnetwork.org/
Hope this helps.
Hawkeye.
 

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Hi LiziBee

So sorry to hear about your recent ICSI cycle  ^hugme^ 

The Donor Conception Network website is a fantastically useful site and a great place to start gaining information and getting answers to some of your initial worries. 

The lady who founded the DCN (Olivia M) sometimes posts on this site too, and she has grown children conceived via donor sperm. 

To try and answer some of your questions. 

How do you choose/get a sperm donor? 
We didn't get to choose.  Our clinic chose for us, and matched dh's height, eye colour, blood group, build, skin tone, etc. with that of the donor.  To be honest, I'm not sure how this all works nowadays, as this was a couple of years ago and with the change in the law that's about to take place, I think things are a little different now with regards to the choices you currently have.  Probably best leave someone else answer this question for you in more detail. 

How long would you have to wait for a donor egg?  We never investigated this route, so am not really sure, but I imagine it's around a year or more unless you have somone who is willing to donate for you, and then I think you get to go to the top of the list, but can still use anonymously donated eggs.  Again, a question that one of the ladies using donor eggs could answer better for you.

Dealing with the wider family issues, who to tell?  This is a HUGE one, and one you sort of work through as you go.  We only told a very small circle of very close family and friends.  Personally I feel that if you aren't going to tell the children how they were conceived it's best to tell nobody at all - not even your closest family memeber, as 'secrets' have a way of escaping and the less people that know the better.  Even so, if you are planning on telling, I think it's still best to let as few people know as possible, and let your child(ren) decide when they are old enough who they wish to allow this personal informtion to be told to.  We are planning on telling Jack and Ben (and have already started to tell Jack - he's 4 now), but we never expanded the circle of people we initially told.  Not because we're ashamed, or want to keep it a secret, but because we feel it is a personal, family subject and it's up to the boys who they tell.  If they choose to tell the world, then we'll be as happy with that as we would be if they chose to tell nobody. 

How do the children eventually cope with the information?  OMG!  This is one I'm still struggling with now.  I just hope we can raise our boys in a loving, stable, family environment and they will cope just fine in years to come.  It does worry me though. 

It's good your considering these questions though as it shows you're clearly considering the welfare of any child you may have that is conceived via donor gametes, and I feel that is so very important - both to your future wellbeing and that of your child(ren). 

When we started to ttc Jack we didn't plan on telling at all, and so I say the above from personal experience.  We did tell too many people to ever keep it a 'secret', but I needed the support at the time.  This is why I say, if you don't plan to tell, don't tell ANYONE!  By the time Jack was 1, we knew we couldn't keep it a secret from him.  He was no longer just a dream, he was reality and would grow to be an adult one day and we just couldn't not tell him.  This is why I say, that it's so important to consider the child you may have.  I've seen both sides of the fence. 

The donor route is never easy and there is so much to think about, but once you work through all the issues it can be magical. 

I wish you so much luck, and hope your dream is very near.

Love

Jayne x ^fairydust^
 

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Jayne - that is such good advice from someone who has been thru it - hope i am as lucky as you and have the same dilemmas to face. I think that wise about really thinking who you want to tell as you can never untell somebody something if you know what I mean

as foe donor eggs waiting times it varies so much - mine was around a year -now waiting for specific donor but near top of list but for those in a hurry Spain seems the best place as the lists there seem to be months only

    Sarah
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks girls!
Sometimes I find it all a little maddening when people talk about not having a baby that's 'really mine', so what would it be? Virtual?!!
Any ideas on how to respond to that one?? (other than don't tell people? DH is more of a gas bag than I am!!)

Lots of lov
Lizi
 

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Hello!
I haven't managed to get to the stage you are at... we found out in August that DH is infertile. It broke my world. Still haven't picked up the pieces. Dont know how to. We have talked about donor sperm but  DH says it makes him feel sick. How is yours coping? I'm terrified i've got a childless future ahead of me. I just dont know how to get through this, apart from getting through each day as everyone keeps telling me. Any suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Charlie!
If it helps to know I never thought I'd get here. We are, or rather were 'male factor' and at first DH absolutely rejected the notion of donor  ^sperm^ and the only way I could keep myself going was thinking "I am a normal healthy woman, as long as we can find enough individual sperm this will work". While we waited on the NHS waiting list we tried various things to up DH's levels and by the time we made it to the first cycle it had gone from less than 1million and a 'you may never father a child' to over 15 - we were ecstatic! Even if it hadn't improved they have some amazing ways to get  ^sperm^ out of the testis these days.  (Go to the ICSI, Male factor thread)
But I think as we watched each cycle crumble before our eyes, without even getting to ET DH came to realize how much just having any family meant to him and to me. It knocked me out when he then said 'of course' to the donor sperm option I was so relieved. As for me, well as I see it if I give birth to it then its our baby no matter it genes.
In fact DH and I can tell you its a huge relief to have the fall back position of embryo donation, it's taken a lot of the stress and pressure off.
Finally I can say this site has been a god send - it helps sooooooooooooo much to talk things through with people in a similar position.
Talking of which, tell me more about yourself. What was the diagnosis/count, and do you have any TX planned?
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Lizi
 

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Hi!
Thank you so much for the message! It feels good to know you're not struggling alone. Our story isn't great. DH has sertoli-cell only syndrome so probably never has had and certainly never will have any sperm. I know this news has been really tough for him and it has changed his attitude towards having children. I just feel so miserable all of the time because it hasn't changed my attitude at all. I still feel that without kids my life will be incomplete and meaningless. It is very difficult to talk to DH because i'm so scared of making him feel bad cos he must perceive it as him making me unhappy. Ofcourse its not, its our situation but i just know he feels responsible even though i tell him he isnt. When we have talked about it he says he might agree to donor sperm in the future but the emphasis has been on it making me happy and i know this is not a great reason. I love him so much and i am so scared. I try to ration how much i can think about it cos i'd never stop crying! I'm just so shocked by the way my life has turned out... i'd just assumed that if you got devastating news like this you'd just quit your current lifestyle and move abroad and do some amazing adventure that people with kids could never do. But thats not how it is and DH says he likes our lifestyle and wouldn't want to change it. I suppose he was building a home with me whilst i was busy building it for our family. Sorry to have gone on but you probably know how it is, when the gates open it just floods out!
I hope you are doing ok, how are you coping with the whole christmas thing?
Charlie
 

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Hi Charlie
Your post made me fill up. I so understand where you are and how you are feeling. My DH doesn't like the idea of donor and I've stopped taking to him about it. He feels bad already but I don't think sometimes they understand quite how desperate we women feel. That's no criticism it is just that we are different, like you I try not to think about it because I can cry for hours. i feel so sad in my heart. Other people are getting on with their famiy lives and I feel more and more like I don't count because I'm not a mum. We went to some friends the other night both there wth their newborn babies, nice people beautiful babies but I just can't cope going round there again.
I've planned my whole life around my DH and I having a family and I too am left  numb with what has happened to those dreams. I have no answers for you but can only give you the advice that other people have given me: take one day at a time and tackle one hurdle at a time. When you are feeling like this, that is all you can do.
all the best
love Selina
 

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Thanks Selina,
Thankyou for the one-day-at-a-time advice, I've been trying to follow it but some days are more tough than others. I especially find weekends difficult- i wait all week to be able to relax then my head goes crazy with all the hideous thoughts that cloud it all weekend. It was good to hear from you, it's strange how comforting hearing from others in similar situations is! I can't believe you even managed to go into a room with new mums and babies... i feel awful but i'm limiting who i visit now cos i just cant face it anymore- that means not seeing my bro and his pregnant wife but i darent think what would happen to my sanity if i had to see them. Its very difficult explaining that to them, i know they think i'm being really unfair but i've got to protect myself.
Thank you for replying and i hope you get some answers when you visit Bourn Hall, love charlie
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It's so strange isn't it? All these emotions and preconceptions and feeling all the time like no-one else can really understand.
To give you an example I'm staying with my parents this week (pre-Xmas, present exchange) and when the Mastercard ad came on the telly I nearly shouted at them to turn it over (DH and I always switch over at home because its so painful to watch), everyone took it the wrong way, in a "you cant expect some sort of 'politically correct' change just because of your problems" they don't and will never understand that it upsets me because I want to stir that kind of emotion in them. They'd be devastated to know that their reaction hurt me and it's really hard to tell them but I feel if I don't how can I expect them to understand?
Even our own language conspires against us with people using terms like 'real parents' rather than 'donor'. At least my folks are getting trained in that one now! (I think it helps that my Dad's parents fostered and we are still comparatively close to those kids/now adults)
I felt like I had so many 'value judgements' passed on me that I was afraid of upsetting DH's sensibilities by raising the issue. In the end I think the failed cycles and time sorted it out (which I realise isn't a help for you Charlie) However DH did seem to 'get it' much better after a local meet-up with other FFs and their partners.
Sorry, burbling here. One day at a time, place one foot in front of the other and just keep going, one day we wont have to think how to do it and then we will be running free (sorry, wine talking again)
Have a good night, I look forward to talking to you some more.
Lizi
 

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Hi!
Thanks for the advice and general support! Your posting made me feel better about that stupid advert...i really hate Mastercard...i also find it really offensive and hurtful. It was good to hear i'm not alone! I totally sympathise with the crap family response- i'm planning to avoid any family that don't know about our situation over Christmas because i just couldn't stand someone to ask about the 'patter of tiny feet' (cant believe how much those words hurt just to type!). I'm also gonna avoid my bro and his pregnant wife cos there's no way i could bear it. I know my family dont fully understand but thats their problem. I do worry that i'm starting to feel more anger about it all but cant decide if its at an unhealthy level! I've been telling myself its a natural response but i know its not fair on dh. I've just booked a counselling session for dh and i in Jan...hopefully that might move us foward a bit.
How are things with you?
Charlie
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am a firm believe in the power of counseling (provided you get a good one!) I have been in it a number of times for various reasons.  I thought I was there for because of 'external' things (the death of some close friends and a physical assault to name but two) but eventually I came to realise that it was how I dealt with those issues (and how they related to things in my past) that was making me depressed.

Though I never had a diagnosis while in counseling I did spend a lot of time talking through the issue of children.  Ironically it was counseling that made me realise that i really did want a family, I think I was waiting for some sort of 'superior reason' but finally I understood that all my reasons were valid ones and that I was no more or less likely to mentally screw up my children than anyone else!

Its OK to feel angry about the whole thing, as long as in the end you can use that anger to good effect and then let it go - bottling it up inside you wont do you, DH or your 'quest' any good, but counseling should help you deal with that.  Sometimes I wish DH had gone to counseling with me but on many occasions I was glad he didn't, I don't want to hide things from him but sometime I think its best that he doesn't know how past relationships effect my relationship with him (equally I really don't want to hear it from the other direction!!)  Like I said at first he was really anti-donor, but he seems to have thought through those issues - I also suspect his sister may have had a  "you've always believed it was nurture that made a child so what do genes matter" talk to him. But be prepared, its a bit like lancing a big spot - you may have to deal with a lot of unpleasant puss first (mmmm yummy! :p)


I think DH and I have both become quite stoical in that we can usually  accept that this is not the result of something bad that we have done and that although it's not fair nothing in this life is, its not the way it works. However we still have bad days and I am aware that we still have the whole fertility issue between our teeth and wonder just how we will even know when to let go (hopefully never - see what I mean!!)

There are a lot of great books out there on infertility, but so far the best one that I've found that focuses purely on the psychological issues is "The infertility survival guide" by Judith C. Daniluk, Ph.D (ISBN 1-57224-247-7) I got mine from Boarders (£13.99) but I think some of the girls have picked them up on eBay.  It does deal with issues surrounding donation as well as lots of other things including the language people use (and how to educate your family not to use it!)

Sorry, I've blathered on again haven't I?! So, Christmas - on your own with DH? We have decided to stay put for Xmas day and go down to our families in Devon on the 27th. At least part of the reason was so that we didn't have to watch lots of kids opening presents and getting high on chocolate (I love my SIL but I wish she wouldn't use chocolate as a means of entertaining the kids!!), I even took all the presents down last week but despite the advanced warnings no-one has bought our prezzies and now they say they will wait 'til we come down before opening theirs!!!

Oooohhhhh the trials of life!

Lizi
 

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I'm new to this website and was looking on it for some inspiration.  My dp was diagnosed as having zero sperm count 18 months ago, initially he was very keen to go down the route of DI and we even had one unsuccessful attempt 8 months ago.  There then became a problem getting a suitable donor and he had too much time to dwell on it and changed his mind that he didn't want to go ahead with any more treatments for fear of became jealous of me carrying a baby that wasn't biologically his.  As time has gone on he has got more and more depressed and has now left me because all he wants to do is go out and get drunk and being with me reminds him of his problem.  He is refusing counselling and I am at my wits end I thought our relationship was strong enough to get through this but Ive tried everything to reassure him.  Has anybody got any advice
 

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hi waterlily and welcome to ff
i think the main advice is hang in there (easier said than done ).maybe its best leaving him to get this out of his system sounds as though by going to pub all time he feels like hes one of the lads and can forget he has a problem.with me and dh its me with the problem i am 42 and my egg quality is zero so we are having to use doner eggs when we were told this was our only way dh was fine, me had issues with this but as dh said its just a seed that i grow when i asked him what if it was the other way around he said that he wouldn't have a problem with that but i believe deep down that he would have and if I'm truthfull i think most men would .did you have counseling first time round? & if so were these grounds covered, as hard as things are at the moment i think let thing b for a while let him get things sorted out in his own head he might think by leaving you that you can meet someone else that can give you what you want i thought all these things with  me and dh he needs reassurance but you also need the same i really feel for you try and take a step back leave things a couple of months and try to talk then but he also needs to know how much you are hurting in all this take care and if you need to talk get in touch (just like to add my ex husband got depressed and turned to drink and it isn't very nice for us)
Sending you lots of love Debbie
 

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Hi Waterlily,
Just wanted to say how sorry i am for your situation. Life is so horrible and nothing prepares you for it. I have no suggestions but wanted to give you my support and sympathy. I hope things sort themselves out, hang in there, love Charlie xxx
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi waterlilly
Only a short post as its nearly midnight and I'm nearly falling asleep while I type,  but i couldn't go to bed without sending you a  ^Cuddle^
Love and best wishes
Lizi
 

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Thank you all for you support he told me last night that our house is going on the market after xmas and I should get on with my life without him.  Your right in that he is saying that when he is with the lads he can forget about his problem and pretend it doesn't exist.  We did have one session of counselling before our treatment but she didn't cover any of these issues because she was too busy putting false hope into his head by suggesting he pays privately to see a urologist to see if ssr was an option even though none of the consultants we had seen previously had thought this was an option as he had had undiagnosed bilateral undescended testes up to the age of 11 .  After more disappointment from the urologist he said he wouldn't see another counsellor.
Thank you again for all your wishes.
 

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Waterlilly, so sorry about the situation you have found yourself in. When i was told my eggs were poo and that donated eggs were our best option I felt like poo and useless and a totally failed woman. Following counselling i thought, well it is only a cell from and angel lady that i am recieveing so lets go for it. i am not sure how DH would have responded if it were a male factor situation.
I hope time will heal the problems you and your dp are facing at the moment. Hang in there sweetheart.
Take care.
Love
WelshyXXXX
 

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Hi Waterlily
sending you a  ^Cuddle^ babe as you really need it right now.Really sorry about what is happening at the moment.Your counselor really should have talked to you both about these issues me and DH had really intensive counseling about doner eggs, but whats done is done.All i can say is give it time hope you've got some good friends to go out with over Christmas cause thats what you need, try not to get to down if you need to talk I'm here
Love Debbie
 
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