Riding the Emotional Tide: What to Expect When Using an Egg Donor (AD)

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Medical innovation and advanced technology have given women who are unable to conceive with their own eggs the precious gift of a family. Before the development of IVF (in vitro fertilization), there were no options for women with diminished ovarian reserve or POF (premature ovarian failure) who wanted to have a baby of their own.

Women who are 35 and younger usually begin to seek assistance from an infertility specialist if they are unable to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse (if the woman is over 35 years old, she should seek help after 6 months). Now when faced with the diagnosis of reduced fertility, couples may explore egg donation as an alternative to help build their families. However; with this option come many new emotions, and it is important for couples to be aware of what to expect, as the process can be difficult for one’s emotional health, as well as women’s health.

Riding the Emotional Tide: What to Expect When Using an Egg Donor

The Emotional Rollercoaster

Being faced with infertility for the first time has a major psychological impact on individuals. Pessimism, depression, anxiety and bitterness are all psychological symptoms to watch out for at this stage, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. It is essential that you seek counselling for these initial feelings of loss before you begin your chosen fertility treatment. This emotional journey requires you have plenty of positivity in reserve. Find out if telephone counselling is appropriate: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/counseling/is-telephone-counseling-therapy-appropriate/

Dealing with Unsuccessful IVF Procedures

Many couples explore donor egg after a few unsuccessful infertility treatments. At this point, couples may feel extreme disappointment, grief and sadness due to their inability to conceive. They may also feel exhausted and disillusioned with the entire process.  These unbidden emotions tend to flare up once the couple realizes that while donor egg treatment opens up another opportunity to carry and give birth to a child, with it also comes a loss of a genetic connection to one of the parents.

Essential Grieving 

The first step to developing healthy emotions about your diagnosis usually involves grieving. You may mourn the loss of conceiving a child in the traditional way as you had hoped and imagined. Both partners may feel unsettled, but this step is vital before moving forward on the journey to parenthood. Initially, couples may experience anger and shock when a specialist first offers donor egg as a fertility option. At this point, couples must take all the time needed to fully grieve and understand this diagnosis is not indicative of their capability of being great parents.

Making the Best Choice for You

The next challenging part of the process is choosing the donor. Couples may become consumed with finding the “right” person. It’s a lengthy process and couples might often look to find donors who share their physical characteristics, allowing couples to feel more in control of their journey.

Starting the Cycle

After you have selected your donor, you are finally ready to start the cycle, which includes a combination treatment of oral estrogen and progesterone –vaginally, by injection, or via transdermal patches. This hormonal cycle prepares the endometrial lining to accept the embryo and lasts for about three weeks before implantation occurs. The donor egg is then fertilized by your partner (or donor) sperm and cultured for three to five days before being transferred using the IVF procedure. When the endometrial thickness is ideal, the newly-developed embryo is ready for transfer. Hormone therapy will continue until pregnancy is confirmed. This waiting period can be supercharged with expectant emotions and high levels of anxiety. The woman’s emotions may already be heightened from the hormones in her system, so couples must take care to encourage a calm and relaxing environment.

Euphoria and Everything Else In Between

If a successful pregnancy is achieved with donor egg, it is common for the woman to worry if she will be able to bond with the child, which could lead to feelings of inadequacy, sadness and anxiety. Fortunately, as the pregnancy progresses these fears tend to go out the window as the mother-to-be starts to naturally connect with the baby in utero. Occasionally there can be emotional flare ups related to a longing for a genetic connection, but these feelings are completely normal and are not a sign of bad bonding with your unborn child. Some couples may benefit from series of infertility counseling sessions to support healthy relationships.

For the next nine months the couples will experience the usual emotions associated with bringing new life into the world. Sometimes when twins or triplets are conceived in this process, couples may feel overwhelmed and terrified. It could be a big monetary and emotional burden to carry multiple children and due to financial pressures, anxiety levels could rise. In all this, there is beauty in every pregnancy, and there are professionals to help navigate you through the rough spots.

Honesty –The Foundation of a Family

Another area where parents may feel anxiety is how to tell the child about the process of their conception. Some couples are terrified that sharing the information with their children might harm the parent-child bond. Many parents would want to protect their children from any potential discomfort they may feel when learning about how they were conceived.  While sharing the details of their conception in a loving, supportive, affirming way may enhance the love and resilience of a family, a counselor could help you weigh the pros and cons of keeping the information a secret as well. Talking about your options to a professional paves the way for openness and honesty as the bedrock of your home.

Feelings Fit

Before you start on this intense, yet rewarding, journey, be sure to prepare yourself as best you can for this emotional ride. Seek professional guidance, and do your research to make sure you are making the best possible choice for yourself and your future family.

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