The joy of being a donor egg coordinator

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I was asked one day if I enjoy my job, my instant response was “Definitely!” I get to help create families, which for me has to be the best job ever.

Infertility is the one of the biggest struggles any couple faces today, it can either bring them together or tear them apart.

Couples need fertility for many different reasons. I help women who have been told that on their fertility journey donor eggs are their only option. For a woman to be told she has to use donor eggs, this is a very emotional and unsteady feeling.

Questions arise like:

– If not my eggs, then whose?
– How do I love someone who is not genetically mine?
– How will this child fit in with my family if it is not mine?

All these questions I face every day from my recipient couples. Using donor eggs or donor sperm has to be one of the hardest decisions for any individual to make, and this is where I step in to help.

For me, matching recipients with donors is one of the highlights and greatest parts of my job. The trust that patients put in my hands to search for the right donor is vitally important. Balancing their trust and the reward of making that decision is so rewarding! As I sit at my desk trying to find the right donors for my recipients, I carefully look through my donor pool, reviewing donor characteristics, facial structure, skin tone and personality traits against the recipient’s characteristics profile. Not an easy task to say the least! Recipients want to feel like the options I present to them will allow their future child to fit in with their family, that they will look at this child and know they made the right decision coming to BFC to help create their dreams. I have never had a complaint so far!

My journey with a recipient goes a bit like this. Let’s call this lady ‘Mary’. I email the donor characteristics form to Mary. As I wait for a reply I am anxious for her and for the donor who is so willing and committed to helping this recipient. A few hours pass and I receive an email. She has looked at the profile, she instantly feels a connection with the donor but wants to discuss with her husband when she gets home. She will let me know what they decide.

The next morning I log into my email to see an email from Mary… they loved her profile! Her goals are just like the recipient, they enjoy doing the same things, they have the same likes and dislikes, and they are happy with my recommendation and want to proceed. The excitement I feel, I think sometimes is more than the recipient. It’s an overwhelming feeling of joy that they have put their trust in me to take this journey with them.

A few weeks pass and I am coordinating the counselling sessions that need to be accomplished and the necessary medical tests that also need to be completed by both parties. Once this is all done, it’s time to start the medications. I call ‘Mary’ and go over her meds. She is nervous but I reassure her that the injections are only for a short time and that the bigger picture is to get her pregnant. A few more weeks pass and it’s time for the couple to travel to Barbados in the hope that their long awaited dream of having a family will come true. I meet with them after their scan with the doctor, they are nervous but excited at the same time, I go over the next steps with them and inform them that their donor’s egg collection is only 2 days away.

Fast forward those 48 hours and news is in from the lab. 12 eggs were retrieved from the donor, which led to 10 embryos being created. Fast forward again another 5 days on from egg retrieval from the donor and 2 lovely Blastocyst embryos are transferred to the recipient, with 4 embryos left for freezing. My recipient is so thankful to the donor and the clinic for taking these important steps with them.

The time has come for Mary to return home and wait 2 (very long) weeks before her pregnancy test. As we hug goodbye I reassure that no matter what happens she has done her part and all we can do is remain positive and wait. With fingers and toes crossed we wait patiently.

2 weeks later I arrive at work knowing today is test day. I get my recipients chart and I call her, at first her tone is very melancholy, this make me wonder if it was unsuccessful. So I ask, “How did it go?”

She could not contain herself. She screams down the phone “IT’S POSITIVE, IT’S POSITIVE!”

I have goose bumps all over my body with happiness for her. I have helped create another family! My job is complete for the moment.

I turn to my desk to help the next recipient…………

Dionne Holmes, IVF Donor/Recipient Coordinator

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