GIVF eNews

February 2011 eNews

A Story of Perseverance: How Donor Eggs & Never Giving Up Worked a Miracle

Note: The names of the patients in this story have been changed to protect their privacy.

“The best part of my day is coming home to find them into whatever they’re into—and at 14 months old, my girls are always into something—they stop whatever they are doing, look up at me with huge, beaming smiles, and immediately teeter over to me. Life has never been better.”

Like many women, Marissa always assumed she would be able to have a baby when the time was right. While she focused on career, traveling, and other interests for many years, she thought that since she was healthy, she would have no problem getting pregnant when the time came.

At age 39 she married Connor, and the couple got pregnant soon after their honeymoon. The happy news was quickly followed by a miscarriage and a year of trying to get pregnant again before they decided to pursue infertility treatment.

Prior to coming to the Genetics & IVF Institute, Marissa and Connor went through two unsuccessful IVF cycles at a different clinic. Feeling disappointed by the level of care and the results at that clinic, they turned to GIVF as a result of a referral from Marissa’s OB/GYN. In describing her first visit to GIVF, Marissa says “I knew right away that GIVF was different. It was a positive, healthy, happy environment. The honesty and transparency of the information everyone provided me was a stark contrast from the previous clinic I had visited.”

In describing her experience with Dr. Sunita Kulshrestha, Marissa says, “I honestly can’t say enough positive things about her, she provided us with all the information we needed to make the decision that was best for us.” Marissa says she realized that the educational component was what was missing at the previous infertility clinic she had visited. She was impressed with the amount of personal and emotional support she received from the physicians and donor egg coordinators at GIVF, and while they were realistic about her chances of achieving pregnancy, they also were very positive. Dr. Kulshrestha was her main physician, but Marissa says she and Connor saw Dr. Steve Lincoln when visiting GIVF one weekend and found him to be "wonderfully calm and reassuring, we trusted him completely."

Marissa was struggling with infertility due to advanced maternal age, but learning about all of her options and being “armed with the knowledge that Dr. Kulshrestha provided,” made a world of difference. After one unsuccessful IVF cycle at GIVF and further discussion with Dr. Kulshrestha, Marissa says it wasn’t very difficult for her and Connor to choose to use donor eggs.

At GIVF, patients can choose between fresh or frozen donor eggs, both of which are readily available to donor egg recipients. Marissa and Connor opted for frozen donor eggs. The day Marissa was at work and received a call from Jennifer Machovina, RN, telling her that she was pregnant, she says, “I almost fell out of my chair.” She could hardly believe that the first donor egg cycle actually worked. After three unsuccessful IVF cycles, she had prepared herself for more disappointing news. But this time was different; this time was a success.

What advice would Marissa give to someone considering third party reproduction such as using donor eggs? “I realize that you might ask yourself, will they really be mine if I use a donor? If they don’t have my DNA, am I still their mother? At the end of the day, being a great parent doesn’t have to be about a genetic connection. It’s about the relationship, the engagement, about being there. I carried my twin girls inside of me and the bond is there, the connection is there. I am their mother whether or not they have my DNA. In some ways, I think that the bond is even stronger because of using donor eggs. It makes them that much more precious.”

Marissa says the essence of her story is simply one of perseverance. She encourages anyone facing infertility to persevere, despite what they might have been through. Even after a miscarriage and four ART cycles, her resolve resulted in the birth of two healthy baby girls who are now over a year old.

Marissa says many people comment that the twins look like her and have her mannerisms. Sometimes, she finds herself looking at them and thinking the same thing. And even though she knows how tough it is to juggle a career and be a mother of twins in a sort of “organized chaos,” as she puts it, she says she’s truly never been happier.

To learn if Donor Egg IVF is right for you, click here to schedule a consultation with a GIVF physician.

Interested in having a baby sooner rather than later?

Since 1988, our Donor Egg IVF program has been among the most comprehensive and successful in the US. At the Genetics & IVF Institute:

  • We offer one of the largest pools of fully screened, immediately available donors in the US. Choose from fresh or frozen donor eggs and begin treatment within the time frame you prefer.
  • Our program offers excellent success rates.
  • Your choice of egg donor is entirely up to you. You will find a large selection of highly screened, immediately available, college educated donors. Our in-depth donor profiles, complete with childhood and adulthood photos, offer you extensive information about each donor.
  • You will be assigned your own donor egg coordinator who will, along with one of our expert physicians, guide you through every step of the treatment process.

Want to learn more? Click here to watch a video about our Donor Egg IVF program or click here to schedule a consultation.

Infertility & Social Media: Cyber-sharing Pregnancy? TMI!
by Phyllis Martin, MEd, LPC

The ways in which we share personal and family news are constantly evolving.  We have gone from letter and phone to picture cards, email, Twitter, Facebook, and many other social media outlets.  We mass mail personal information that was previously reserved for closest friends and family.  There is a tendency to “announce” or “comment” rather than hold a true conversation.

Technology and social media can make infertility patients feel inundated with too much information.  Previously, the only sonogram you would see during your pregnancy was your own, if you were lucky enough to get pregnant.  These days, women are mass emailing, even posting on Facebook, pictures of their recent ultrasounds.

Recently, several of my clients have complained about a barrage of information that they do not want to receive because of all the advances of technology.  Many infertility patients learn to avoid situations such as baby showers when feeling especially vulnerable. But what do you do when you want to enjoy being connected via Facebook, yet each time you log on, another friend has just announced that she is pregnant?  How do you handle the weekly updates, even daily complaints about symptoms that anybody dealing with infertility would gladly experience.   After all, morning sickness trumps morning shots of medication any day!

There are two main ways to deal with the onslaught of unwanted information: avoidance and confrontation.  The thought of either method makes most people uncomfortable, so it is important to truly understand what healthy avoidance is, and how to prepare for a kind confrontation.

Avoidance is not a bad strategy.  It tends to get a bad rap, but it is actually a non-confrontational deflection that, under the right circumstances, keeps the avoider from getting too close to pain.  It is an instinct for many people as part of a "fight or flight" response, and it lies on the "flight" part of the spectrum.  Examples of avoidance could include not checking social email until the end of the day; hiding a "friend" on Facebook from your newsfeed; declining to use certain technology choices you normally enjoy if you feel especially vulnerable.  You can even consider opening a separate email account for friends and check it weekly rather than daily.

If avoiding isn’t possible, a kind confrontation may be an option.  This can be verbal or, these days, in a written format using your choice of medium.  Confrontation does not mean that you approach the information sender with anger, sarcasm, or blame.  Nor does it mean that you should engage in a yelling match.  Rather, all you need is a short, succinct statement about your feelings and your plan to minimize discomfort.

Think of it as an equation:  

A = Aggravating Action: “when I see ____ on my (phone, computer screen, etc)”
B = Feeling: “it makes me feel _______”
C = Action: “so for a while I am going to limit my replies....”
C = Action*: “so if you would leave me off the sonogram emails; keep me off the mass messages, give me some notice before posting...”. 

*If there is something you need your friend/family to do, include this in C.

You do not have to go into great detail about what you are dealing with if the person is not aware of your circumstances. Simply stating that getting pregnant is taking longer than expected, or that you are having difficulties keeps things generalized and informative enough for the person to understand.  If they become defensive, focus on yourself with a validating response such as, “I realize you are excited and I am happy for you, it’s just that right now it is hard for me to share in this on a regular, detailed basis.”

Another helpful coping strategy is to inform and educate your friends or family members by pointing them to resources such as Resolve, The National Infertility Association.  You can even post things related to infertility topics, support groups, or National Infertility Awareness Week (April 24-30). 

Finally, be sure to give yourself a break from all of this.  Get AWAY from the screen, leave your phone behind for a while, or do not check emails all weekend long.  Go for a walk, have a real talk, join a support group, journal your feelings, and spend time in a way that lets some of the dust settle before you jump online again. 

This phase that you are going through will not last forever, nor will it be so intense.  In time, you too may find yourself wanting to post all sorts of good news—but you will know to be sensitive, as your "friends" may be dealing with their own struggles.

Phyllis Martin is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Infertility Specialist who is available to current patients, as well as those considering infertility treatment or who have undergone treatment. Click here to view the support group meeting schedule or here to contact Ms. Martin.

The Genetics & IVF Institute (GIVF) regularly publishes an informative newsletter featuring the latest infertility news and developments. The newsletter is sent electronically via email. To subscribe, click here.