Happy donor egg parents Mathew and Tammy share their story about a long struggle trying to conceive, and how in the end, along with their wonderful first daughter Emma Jae, they now feel like their family is complete with baby Stella.
“Stella was one of the first names that came up,” said Tammy. “Emma Jae, our first daughter who is now 10 years old, had started calling her Baby Stella, and the name stuck.”
“We had been trying to have a baby for 7 years,” said Mathew. “It had gotten to the point where we were setting timers on a phone. This became a task. It wasn’t romantic.”
“When we started fertility treatments, we did IUI (intrauterine insemination) first. We started with RMA New Jersey in 2018 and we did 6 rounds of IUI,” said Tammy.
For women under age 35, the success rate for IUI is 10-20%. Rates of IUI success decline as a woman ages, so by her forties its closer to 2-3%.
“In 2020, we decided we were going to have to try in vitro fertilization (IVF),” Tammy continued. “Once we decided to move forward, we had a consult over the phone with the reproductive endocrinologist. Right before we started the treatments, we got pregnant naturally. We were so excited. Then, at about 10 weeks we had a miscarriage.”
“After taking some time to recover, we still wanted to move forward with the IVF treatments,” said Mathew. “The first round of IVF with the drugs, they retrieved 4 eggs – only 3 fertilized, none of them grew.”
“We took a step back and worked with a fertility coach,” said Tammy. “I changed my diet and when we were ready, we tried again, but none of the eggs were viable.”
“Our doctor was awesome, and helped us through a really hard decision,” said Mathew. “If we were going to have a baby, our best chance was to use an egg donor.”
Struggling to get pregnant is a challenge faced by 1 in 8 couples, according to RESOLVE: The Infertility Association. That refers to either getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy.
One-third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, one-third attributed to the male partner and one-third is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or, is unexplained. (ASRM) With so many factors, and the increasing need for fertility treatments, insurance companies have struggled to provide consistent or comprehensive coverage for individuals or couples trying to conceive. Most insurance companies require that intrauterine insemination be tried for a set number of treatments before the more successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments can be tried.
“We looked at other egg banks and they just didn’t have the quality of donors,” said Mathew. “Because we had another daughter, we really wanted our next child to fit in. We found several donors on the Fairfax EggBank website that we liked. Since their profiles had so much information about their interests, their education, and their family, it gave us a good sense of how the donor might fit in with our family, which made the process feel more approachable.”
“Our client relations specialist was great!” said Tammy. “She was very responsive and made the process very easy.”
“Dr. M assured us that all of the bases were covered. We ended up choosing one donor we really liked. After we went through all of that, the eggs did not result in an embryo which was really disappointing. But Fairfax EggBank has an embryo development guarantee so we were able to choose another donor to replace that one. The 2nd time around, the choice was much faster, and it turned out to be the best possible result.”
“Stella is beautiful and has been an incredible addition to our family. Her big sister adores her and has become our Baby Whisperer. She holds her and she stops crying. They are smitten with each other.”
“I can’t say how important it is to share your story with people who can be there to support you,” said Tammy. “We needed our support system going through these fertility struggles, and even when it came time to choose a donor, we had feedback from both of our sisters. Having an incredible medical team, and support when choosing the donor meant that even though it was a lot of hard decisions, we never felt lost.”
“Being able to talk about what you are going through keeps you from feeling isolated,” said Mathew. “That is one of the reasons we wanted to share our story. Others who are going through this need to know that there are many other people who have had a long struggle with fertility, but that are wonderful ways to build families, including using donor eggs.”
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