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Modern family: Why adoption, IVF and donor eggs were the right choice for us

I simply cannot imagine a world in which our family did not exist.

Modern family: Why adoption, IVF and donor eggs were the right choice for us

A personal journey

It would probably be a little presumptive of me to tell you how it feels to use donor eggs. After all, not everyone processes their feelings in the same way.


Not every woman aches to be a mother or finds themselves in the position where their own eggs are not viable.

I can only tell you about my story being involved in the egg donor process and the emotions that both my husband and I dealt with throughout.

Our hopes and dreams

We had often talked about starting a family and how many children we wanted to have. Never did we think that having just one child would be such a challenge.

But what we really wanted was to be a loving family; whether we had boys or girls, it did not matter, as long as they were healthy. During all of those conversations we had about children, the fact that it might not be possible never even crossed our minds.

Disappointment and bitterness

As soon as we were ready, we started trying for a family. Yet, with each passing month, my period would arrive—bringing with it a world of disappointment. Soon we found ourselves taking morning temperatures and using ovulation predictor kits. All of the fun was being drained from our marriage as we put our attention to making a baby using every scientific method we could find.

Any woman who has had trouble conceiving knows the overwhelming emptiness that follows the heart-racing, giddy moment when you take a pregnancy test—only to have it come back negative.

Suddenly, it felt like all my friends, family, colleagues and women who “weren’t even trying” were getting pregnant. We were truly disappointed and were growing increasingly bitter.

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IVF treatment

For some reason, our road to fertility was destined to be rockier than most. After some considerable thought, we decided to try IUI’s and then IVF. It is not easy dealing with your emotions, being pumped full of hormones or learning to inject yourself.

It was not exactly pleasant for my husband having to leave sperm samples in a cup at the clinic as well.

After 11 failed rounds of IVF treatment and frozen embryo transfers, I would be lying if I said I did not start to hate the world a little bit.

New hope

At our lowest point in the whole process, we finally decided to abandon infertility treatment and move forward with adoption. We were blessed with the opportunity to adopt our beautiful baby son. It was not the way we envisaged it for ourselves, but we know that the Lord works in mysterious ways.

I have still never seen anything as perfect—or as miraculous—as my son on the day we brought him home, but we did not want to stop there.

After all, we always knew we wanted two children, not just one.

After exploring a domestic adoption and egg donation, we decided to try once more the infertility treatment route. Maybe now that we had our first child, things would be different. Maybe I would not be so anxious. You hear stories all the time of people adopting and then getting pregnant. I was hoping that would happen to us.

Using donor eggs

After we were successful in our adoption we went back to adopt a little girl. During that time period the laws for adoptions changed and we found ourselves in the midst of a political quagmire with our baby hanging the balance. We spent 6 long years in our second adoption and became part of a group of families all trying to bring our children home. I’ll never forget the last time I saw my little girl and how my heart tugged when she rejoined her foster family. A couple years after that we learned our process was over and she would never be coming home with us. There is profound grief having held a baby in your arms believing she was your child.

We went through a long period of coping with our emotions, and almost a kind of mourning for the children that we would never have together; the ones who would share my DNA, have my eyes and my husband’s smile.

After losing our daughter, we knew we still wanted another child. We weighed our options. Should we consider another adoption or turn back to fertility treatments. By this time, I was approaching the age of 40 and I understood my eggs would be subpar. I was told by my physician that I would need the eggs from a donor. While I had already adopted one baby, for some reason the thought of using an egg donor felt overwhelming and created a sense of sadness within me.

We loved our son who was adopted so I knew from that experience that the moment my baby was in my arms, my heart would melt. Nonetheless, I had to make peace with the loss of my genetics which was occurring not by choice as it does in an adoption but rather because of what felt to me like my body’s failure.

Taking our time

All of these feelings are normal, and it is healthy to take your time when thinking about using donor eggs. I do not know if I could have done it without my husband’s continued love, support and openness.

At last we decided to move forward with donor egg treatment. Once we made the decision the process couldn’t move fast enough for us. Thankfully, we were successful on our first try and had twins as a result.

Life does not always work out the way we want it to, but every day I look at my twins (conceived by using donor eggs) and our adopted son, I know that this is the way it was meant to be for us.

I simply cannot imagine a world in which our family did not exist.

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A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Life

Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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News