September 11, 2010

Gene shopping

Thank you for rejoining me on my TTC journey. 2010 has been a long, trying year for us, the worst of our lives, but I truly believe our luck is about to change.

So where was I? Ah yes, I was talking about donor selection.

It was so painful picking a donor last time that I didn’t want to start looking too soon, so I waited until about a week before my second D&C. A history of frozen embryos was my number one criteria, followed closely by a history of recipient pregnancies. In other words, I was excluding all unproven donors and a lot of proven ones, too. My RE’s database doesn’t show these stats by default, so I picked out 5 donors who were available (which is more than I expected to find) and asked for their stats. I found out that a few had maybe 1 or 2 frozens per cycle, and one had a recent BFN. Not good enough. We need frosties not just for siblings, but for insurance in case of failure. Having to pay for a third fresh donor cycle is something we want to avoid at all costs. 

The donor coordinator sent me 2 additional donors who had stellar stats and would be available when I was cycling. She also said that another couple was deciding between these two, so we might not get our first choice if they picked first.

This was an interesting dilemma. We would’ve been thrilled with either donor, not just because of their stats but also because they had great profiles and each had some features that resembled mine. And at the time I thought if the other couple chose first, then we wouldn’t even have to decide—the decision would be made for us. Piece of cake, right?

Put yourself in my shoes: if you looked like me (blonde wavy hair, blue eyes, fair skin, O+ blood), which of these two donors would you choose?

Donor 1: Blonde straight hair, brown eyes, fair skin, A- blood, both parents and brother have brown eyes.
Here are her stats:

  • 1st cycle-25 eggs retrieved; 3 transferred and a gestational carrier and none frozen; recipients delivered healthy twins
  • 2nd cycle-43 eggs retrieved; 1 transferred and 10 frozen; recipients had a negative fresh cycle but did get pregnant from a frozen cycle and delivered healthy twins
  • 3rd cycle-29 eggs retrieved; 1 transferred and 15 frozen; recipients delivered a healthy child
  • 4th cycle-30 eggs retrieved; 1 transferred and 11 frozen; recipients have a viable pregnancy
  • 5th cycle-49 eggs retrieved; 1 transferred and 16 frozen; recipients have a viable pregnancy

Donor 2: Brown wavy hair, blue eyes, olive skin, O+ blood, mom has hazel eyes and dad has blue eyes.
  • 1st cycle: 16 eggs retrieved; 1 transferred and 4 frozen and it resulted in a miscarriage and 2 negative frozen cycles due to poor uterine lining from the recipients and they will most likely need a surrogate.
  • 2nd cycle: 21 eggs retrieved; 1 transferred and 7 frozen and recipients delivered a healthy child
  • 3rd cycle: 26 eggs retrieved; 1 transferred and 12 frozen and recipients delivered a healthy child
  • 4th cycle: 33 eggs retrieved; 1 transferred and 11 frozen and recipients have a viable pregnancy.
  • 5th cycle: 25 eggs retrieved; 1 transferred and 14 frozen and a positive pregnancy. 
At first I was leaning towards Donor 1 because she had blonde hair and fair skin. She’s a bit taller than I am, but I didn’t care. There were a couple things about her that bothered me though: someone in her family has gout (as does Mr. GB), and she has brown eyes. Gout was a gamble, sure, but when I started researching eye color more closely, I realized that with her as our donor, we had a 100% chance of having a brown-eyed baby, which would be a dead giveaway for a donor baby because Mr. GB and I both have blue eyes.

Here is how the genetics would work based on the eye-color calculator at TheTech.Org. All screenshots shown were generated from this tool.

Donor 1 has brown eyes, which by itself doesn’t rule out a blue-eyed baby, but the fact that both her parents have brown eyes means that Donor 1 does not have any blue-eyed genes, like so:

(Screenshot courtesy of

So if you combine her genes with Mr. GB’s, you get brown-eyed babies:

(Screenshot courtesy of

Donor 2, on the other hand, has blue eyes, which she inherited from her dad. Her mom has hazel eyes, like so:

(Screenshot courtesy of

But no matter what color eyes her parents had, she only has blue-eyed genes to share, and thus our babies would at least by plausibly mine:

(Screenshot courtesy of

So I started to fall in love with Donor 2. Luckily for me (finally, some luck!) all of my testing for our first donor cycle was still valid, and we were ready to place our deposit ahead of the other couple. Mr GB paid the deposit while I was having my uterus scraped (again). I was so incredibly happy that day. All of the horrible things that had happened to us were pushed from my mind, and I knew we had a great chance of getting pregnant again this year, with lots of frosties to spare!

Anyway, we get home from the surgery (on a Wednesday) and I have email from my donor coordinator saying she’s contacted the donor and will have a schedule put together as soon as she hears back. Then Thursday rolls by, then Friday, and then I start to worry. I hear back from the coordinator, who says she’s still trying to get in touch with the donor.

Talk about a long weekend.

Fortunately things worked out. She called back the next day in a much better frame of mind and said she would cycle. The coordinator had her meet with their psychologist a week later, just to make sure she was fully on board. So we had about a 2-week delay, which in the scheme of things wasn’t actually a delay because I had to be on the pill for that long anyway. I could have lived without the drama but eventually I did get the blessed donor calendar in my hands, and I have real dates and real drugs and we are READY!!!

I’ll go over the donor process next time.
Til then,
Golden Bud


Worry Bud said...

OMG I can hardly wait to read the rest of your story. I'm so happy you got the donor of your choice!! Sending LOTS of positive thoughts & prayers your way!
<3 WB


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