Infertility is a very personal and private matter. Unfortunately, there is an unspoken stigma when a couple either by decision, or through no fault of their own is unable to conceive children. As someone who has been on the outside looking in for years, it can be painful to listen to other women gloat about their children, knowing that I have tried, but have not been blessed with my own, and therefore have nothing to add. I try to remain strong and happy for them, but I am human and often times I wait until I am alone to cry and express my frustration with my circumstance. For a long time I felt alone because I did not know anyone else going through my particular infertility struggle.
In the spring, when we seriously considered the egg donor route, I was both hesitant and scared. The largest obstacle for me centered on my discomfort with the idea of using another women’s eggs to conceive a child. In the meantime, Jeff searched for support groups to help alleviate our anxiety. Luckily for both of us a women in my Facebook group, who used an egg donor to conceive a child, agreed to share her story. After a lengthy conversation, my initial fear subsided and I was more willing and open to the process. This women spared no detail, openly sharing her experiences to a complete stranger. I was blown away by her generosity and openness. This one hour conversation steered us forward and gave us to courage to explore more possibilities with egg donation.
In the days following our Skype consultation with the three clinics overseas, tension and stress once again heightened, due largely to the unknown. We knew that there were people and support groups here in New Jersey, but not believe that these type of support groups existed for couples choosing to pursue medical tourism for egg donation. Our fears were soon quelled by the generosity of strangers. Three women who we never met, but were bonded to by the decision to use overseas clinics to conceive a child, became our support network. These amazing and generous women helped us navigate the overseas infertility clinic labyrinth.
The first woman I connected with was a mutual member of the above mentioned Facebook group. I knew it was a long shot, but posted in the hopes that someone may know a couple that opted to go overseas for egg donation. I quickly received a response from a woman living in Norway who was a current patient at Ava Peter in St. Petersburg, Russia. She did not hesitate to answer my questions and both her and her husband spent one Saturday morning for over forty-five minutes sharing their story and experiences with Ava Peter. Their journey and insight was invaluable in our decision making process.
The next woman an American, and former patient of the clinic in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, was referred by the doctor we spoke to at the clinic. Her kindness and openness were invaluable. She spent an hour talking to Jeff, sharing her experience and answering his questions. She never hesitated to answer our texts or emails. Her success story is an inspiration to us both.
The final woman that came into my life, has been my rock through some of my most difficult moments. We connected through Fertile Thoughts, and although we have never met face to face, quickly developed a lasting bond. She currently lives in Crete and recommended the Mediterranean Fertility Center, as she was a current patient when we first connected. Her generosity was outstanding as she offered to help is anyway we need, and even took pictures of the facility. Over the next few weeks, we communicated furiously and realized that we have striking similarities. She is my infertility sister 🙂 Based on her suggestion, we had a Skype consultation with the embryologist on staff. The clinic is attractive and the backdrop of beautiful Crete makes it even more appealing.
For the first time since we started this infertility journey, I felt like I was not alone because there is a sisterhood that is powerful and supportive. In fact, since I started this blog, many friends from different phases in my life have reached out offering their support and sharing their own struggles. No matter what happens going forward, I know that I am blessed by all those courageous women who chose to share their personal stories of both infertility and success.
In my next blog we will reveal the clinic we decided to use for the the egg donation process.