I feel like I need to say something…

For many people in the United States and around the world for that matter Friday was a very difficult day. I don’t know about you but I almost felt like the United States took a huge giant step backwards. 

This organization is not a political one, not by a long stretch. We are however and educational organization that educates, supports and empowers intended parents globally – helping them create their families.

So I’m coming to you today just as a person, a mom, a sister, a friend, and I want you to know I understand how upset you may be at the results of our current election. We as a collective have worked so hard to get where we are today. We have worked tirelessly and so very hard to make Egg Donation, embryo donation, or Surrogacy no longer a dirty word, no longer something weird or artificial that causes people to give us sideways looks when they learn how we have created  our family.

Could this new administration cause great problems and possibly destroy all of our work that we’ve done over the many years in regards to third-party reproduction. Maybe – but not if I can help it.  I want us to focus on the fact that we are here to Support. Educate. Advocate. And Love. I don’t want us to become apathetic. I don’t want us to become afraid. I want us to continue with the message that we so proudly carry throughout our organization  which as our own  Carole  LieberWilkins so brilliantly coined – “Love, not genes, makes a family”

We will continue to change the world one baby at a time- because folks that’s what we do.

Keep your head held high, and just stay focused on the prize which is your family.  We are circling the wagons, and as I’ve said so many times it really does take a village to create and raise a family – and now more than ever we need to come together as a community, show solidarity, and just be strong.
The next four years maybe  a  challenge – but we can overcome anything if we do it together.

Infertility Choices – The best tool on the horizon

Hey folks – I need your help- my friends from FertiliyIQ are putting together kind of a yelp site of fertility. It’s actually really cool.

I need your help and they need your voice.

We’re Deborah and Jake and we started FertilityIQ so hopeful parents could read reviews written by verified patients of their fertility doctors, nurses, clinics, billing departments and more. 94% of fertility patients consider reviews on our site be “invaluable” in the decision-making process.

Today, the average fertility patient will go to 2.7 clinics & every single review we gather helps patients pick the right doctor right off the bat. Before our marriages and savings suffer even more.

You’ve been to a fertility clinic. You have unbelievable insight. And we would do anything to gather it and make it available to those who need it.

Please go to https://www.fertilityiq.com/survey-intro to complete your anonymous review of your doctor and clinic.

This month, when you review your doctor and clinic, we will make a donation to PVED so Marna & her team can help us all get one step closer to what really matters.

At the very last question in the review type in PVED so we know where to send our donation.

Many thanks, and hope you’ll be willing to help!

Deborah & Jake

Jake Anderson-Bialis
Co-Founder, FertilityIQ
www.FertilityIQ.com

Help and support for egg donation is just a few clicks away

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Are you an intended parent, already cycling, pregnant, or now parenting a child be a donation? Are you looking for a safe, private, place that you can ask as many questions you don’t feel like you can ask publicly?

You won’t find your doctor, nurse, mental health therapist or your in-laws here.

PVED was created and designed by the parent, for the parent and parent-to-be, who chooses egg donation to grow their family. Here you will find unbiased, timely and accurate information about egg donation and third-party reproduction.

Parents Via Egg Donation, or PVED, was created to provide an informational and supportive environment where parents and parents-to-be can learn and share information about all facets of the egg donation process.
Our mission is to educate, support, and empower families and individuals at any stage of the process who choose to use egg donation to build a family.
Information to help you in your way in becoming a parent:

* All about selecting an infertility clinic
* All about selecting an egg donor agency
* All about selecting an egg donor
* All about the legalities of egg donation
* All about egg donation and gestational surrogacy
* All about disclosure and talking to your kids about DE
* Understanding statistics

Our private one of a kind forum can be found here:PVED PRIVATE FORUM we also offer a secret Facebook group for the social fun stuff.

Come join us today! You won’t regret it!

Where I lose my mind ( once again) over misinformation

Once again the media gets it wrong. Marianne Garvey one of the many writers out in the world who I think are writing about things they have no knowledge about decided to write an article, and make a judgment about Janet Jackson’s pregnancy, while attempting to poorly explain why and how more women are having babies later in life. Here’s how more women are having babies in their mid-40s

    What’s bothers him about this article is that it has so much potential. This really could’ve been a teachable moment, as Oprah says a “learning opportunity”. But no, it turned out to be the same old song and dance.

    So Ms Garvey, I’d like to take a moment and educate you about Egg Donation, and embryo donation, and perhaps this will be your teachable moment.

    First of all, it’s not your business, my business,or the worlds business how Ms.Jackson conceived or decided how to create her family. It’s just not. Just because she’s an entertainer doesn’t mean we have a window into her reproductive life, or her personal life for that matter. Leave it alone. Seriously – it just makes you look like a hack. Secondly, it’s important that you use the correct definitions and terminology.

    In the article you wrote you state:

    “You can definitely adopt an egg. If you can’t get pregnant on your own and you really want to connect and bond with a pregnancy, you can adopt a fertilized egg implant and have a baby. Get all your legal information straight.”

    I’m sorry, but that’s incorrect. You cannot adopt an egg or an embryo for that matter. We might be able to adopt ideas, highways, puppies and kittens, or real live babies, but eggs are embryos not so much.

    Think about it logically – if you were to go ahead and adopt an egg or an embryo and then have that embryo or egg transferred back into your uterus and the pregnancy test was negative what would you be left with? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And when intended parents receive donated embryos or donated eggs and they carry that pregnancy to term there is no legal ceremony, or process that occurs. That intended mother is this baby’s mother – period.

    And because I’m being picky – you don’t implant embryos or eggs. It’s called the transfer – we transfer either eggs into a uterus where they can be fertilized via intrauterine insemination, or more commonly we transfer back embryos that are already fertilized – and we transfer or place back those embryos into awaiting uterus and hope they then implant.

    The one piece you did it right was yes get all your legal information straight. Anytime and intended parent receives embryos are eggs there needs to be a legal contract that is created between both parties clarifying the transfer of property, and the particulars that go hand-in-hand with that specific donation cycle.

    I think it’s important as a writer and journalist that you report responsibly – and this article you missed the mark. Better luck next time.

    Sincerely,

    Marna Gatlin
    Founder and CEO
    Parents via Egg Donation

Tell us about your donor

We are looking for comments about your egg donor selection. It’s going in the book we have been promising to write for a very long time.

Tell us about your donor selection?

How did you go about selecting your donor?

What qualities were you looking for?

Did you select an nonidentified (anonymous) egg donor or identified (known) egg donor?

This is for the book – please list the name or alias you would like to use.

You can list your comments here or write to marna at pved dot org

Thanks!

Your DE Journey: Were you angry, pissed, resentful, or terrified?

Question of the day:

Have any of you when you began the journey of DE angry or resentful? Did you begin the process kicking and screaming?

If you did I want to talk to you.

Leave your comment with contact information. Or Email me? marna (at )pved (dot) org

Thanks 👍

Do I Want an Open Identity Egg Donor?

By Diana Thomas
Founder & CEO, The World Egg Bank

The World Egg Bank consents all of our donors for open identity because of my own experience over 20 years of child rearing.

Donors are very proud of what they’ve done, and wish to be helpful to either the parent or child if they are needed in the future. I believe that parents via egg donation may or may not tell their children for any number of personal reasons, but I believe that if you have an open identity donor, the choice will remain yours for a long time to come. It’s very empowering to know that you don’t have to decide at the time of egg donation, because the choice remains yours in the future. You will never have that choice if you select an anonymous donor.

After 15 years of IVF, when I was told I’d need to find an egg donor if I wanted any chance to conceive, I found myself feeling a sense of relief. There was really hope looking down this path and letting go of all the poor outcomes with my own eggs. I also thought of passing on genes that were better than my own, and I felt some freedom knowing I just had to step in for some minor uterine prep and an embryo transfer.
This new found hopefulness allowed me to think ‘beyond birth’ to my child. As we all know, many of us have this odd notion that if we are too optimistic while in treatment, we fear we ‘jinx’ourselves and lessen our chances of getting pregnant. I also think that we are afraid to feel hopeful, because the disappointment only feels that much bigger if we don’t. But that is another story.

When I used my own eggs, I spent so much time and
energy thinking of ‘getting pregnant’ that I didn’t truly think about what my child would want or need in his/her future. People who chastise us about ‘not thinking about the child’ really don’t understand that we find it hard to do; not because we are selfish, but because it hurts to think about ‘a child’ when you fear you may not have one.

Please don’t feel chastised here. I want to tell you my story and you can take from it what you wish. I knew that I couldn’t mislead my kids. I know this about myself and I would have felt dishonest, which is not part of my nature. I also knew that kids are smart, and they pick up on nuances that we don’t even know we are projecting.So if I examined my own personality, I knew that I’d need to tell them, it was just a matter of when and how.

I had no reason to ‘not tell’ my children that I could logically verbalize. I briefly felt some fear that they may not think of me as their mother, but my instincts said that wouldn’t happen. Would I have thought my own mother was ‘not really my mother’ if she’d told me about some cool science stuff that included someone’s genes? No. In fact, after decades, I have not had a single couple come to me and say they regretted using donor eggs, nor has a child born from egg donation contacted me requesting a meeting with the egg donor that helped their parents.

Donors know they lose nearly a thousand eggs a month, but through egg donation, some 20 of these ill fated eggs are ‘rescued’. After they complete their screening tests, they know more than most 20 something year olds that they ‘have good eggs.’ They just want their own child someday, not the one you raised. I learned this over the years from my own egg donors.

My family was supportive, my friends knew, and I wanted to be open with their pediatrician if issues around their health arose in the future. I decided to make the donation part of their ‘birth story.’ I told them they were very special and it took 3 wonderful people to make them instead of 2. They didn’t understand it until they were about 8 years old. By then, it was a kind of “oh now I get it” reaction rather than a surprise.

Being open with my children has worked out for me in ways I could not have imagined. My oldest son began getting headaches around age 8. While in the pediatrician’s office, the doctor asked me if I had a history of headaches. I quickly and openly answered in front of my son: “yes, but my son was conceived with donor eggs and although her medical history did not show headaches, I’ll call and double check with her.” If I’d said, “can we go outside to talk?” my son would have hounded me about what I told the doctor for hours.

My kids started preparing personal “ethnic history” charts in about 6th grade. They came to me and said, “Mom, since you are mostly Irish, that means I am too, right?” This triggered a more sophisticated approach to explaining egg donation and the role of genes and ethnicity. I said, “No, you are mostly Hungarian and Swedish, and this is why….” The discussion also opened the door to an exploration of ‘who we are’ as individuals and why personality characteristics and behaviors are truly how we define ourselves and others define us. I love these discussions with my sons. I had asked the egg donors, some years after my kids were born, if they could prepare an ethnic family tree for the boys. It was great to have access to them as this sort of issue came up in later years.

In the meantime, my egg donors met my children, and about every 5 – 10 years our paths cross and if the boys are around, they say Hi. The donors are like distant relatives to my children. The donors see the children as mine, and as the individuals they are. The donors are also extremely happy when they see the kids, knowing that they helped give life to a soul.

My children could not imagine anyone being their mother but me. I think I have been able to create conversation with them that helps them better understand how to negotiate life, in large part because I used egg donation as an opportunity to delve into topics most adolescence would avoid, and, because I had access to my egg donors. My biggest ‘take away’ from watching my kids grow and going through varying levels of understanding about genes, who they are, and what makes a family, is that they are proud that they are unique, and they know how very much I wanted and love them.

My oldest son, who is 20 years old, recently told me he is writing an article on his own experience as one of the first 100 babies born with donor eggs in the U.S. I can’t wait to read it!

A Family is Anchored in Relationships, Not Genes

“I love personal stories about how intended parents make that leap to become parents via egg donation. Diana Thomas, Founder & and CEO of The World Egg Bank has opened her heart to us as she shares her journey. It’s never easy to just put it out there, but this is one of the many reasons I adore Diana. She’s honest, vulnerable, and so brave sharing with the world her story. Please read along with me.”
Marna Gatlin, Founder PVED

A Family is Anchored in Relationships, Not Genes
By: Diana Thomas
Founder & CEO, The World Egg Bank

Diana Thomas

I don’t often share my personal experiences about infertility. After 20 years of talking to thousands of women who have or are going through infertility, I know there is no such thing as a typical experience that can be addressed with simple advice or direction. My own story clearly illuminates that!

Every person enters my world of donor eggs at very different emotional stage in the process and each has a unique resolution based on their own financial resources, level of support from family or friends, knowledge of the ‘science’ behind egg donation, personal resilience, determination, physical stamina, strength of their partners (if they have one), and so on. Having said that, I have seen common experiences and believe that in sharing some of my own story, I can help remove some barriers that we encounter and some we create for ourselves. From my own experiences, I have woven a philosophy into The World Egg Bank that speak to the needs of infertile women. It is the relationship that builds a family.

I was 25 years old and unable to conceive. It was in the mid-1980’s when egg donation did not exist as an option. After 15 years of IUI’s, clomid, laparoscopies (5), lab tests, 3 IVFs with my own eggs, and considerable debt, I ended this painful phase of my journey without a baby and with a diagnosis of “unexplained infertility.” I was left with a pretty big ‘empty nest’ to say the least. I was going on 40 years old, had lived in two countries (Canada and the U.S.), was peaking in my 15 year career, traveled extensively, lost my father and a brother to cancer, bought/renovated 3 homes, and all of these experiences only strengthened my desire for a child. Some people are able to find resolve and comfort in their decision to be childless, I was not one of them. I tip my hat to people who can choose to be or remain childless, because I truly believe that is the right choice for them.

My entire 20 year journey has mirrored the growth of IVF in the U.S. I was often among the first to ‘try something new’. Egg donation has become a mainstream menu item for the infertile patient today, but as I had one of the first 100 egg donor babies in the U.S., my world was about Intramuscular injections (all of them and I stopped counting at 500), infertility diagnosis was largely attributed to endometriosis (hence 5 laparoscopies to remove ‘mild endometriosis’), ICSI didn’t exist and ‘fertilizing eggs’ in the lab was a mysterious science balancing quality and quantity of sperm per egg. I had no anesthesia at retrievals, stimulation medications were urinary products I obtained inexpensively from Mexico and information was scare to non-existent for donor eggs. I relied heavily on the only woman-to-woman resource available, which was Mothers Via Egg Donation (MVED), the precursor to present day PVED!

When I was told my most hopeful path to take home a baby, was to ‘find an egg donor,’ I was in disbelief. I swallowed hard and felt like the prior 15 years had been one long experiment. I had to re calibrate my entire way of thinking, let go of the past and reevaluate my financial, physical, and emotional capabilities to start over with yet another uncharted option. My chance to obtain a pregnancy with donor eggs in the 90s was 12%. Could I do this? How did I feel about this? What would my family think? Should I tell my child, IF successful? The deciding question was, am I ready to remain childless or should I try this? I decided to forge forward as my desire for a child out weighed my exhaustion. I had to advertise for and find my own egg donor. Very few clinics in the U.S. had but only several egg donors. I wasn’t allowed to know anything about the donors available at clinics I’d have to travel to, and ‘a nurse’ would pick her for me. That didn’t seem right; I was already a parent who needed to consider how my child would be affected by the genes of another woman.

I learned a few things along the way as I proceeded with egg donation that may apply to women still today and some have been so hashed out in the media, on the web, at conferences, within clinical and psychological arenas, that they may have little relevance today.

• I discovered that I was treated a bit like a freak to carry a baby with another woman’s genes. I felt in many ways that I was giving my children a gift, because my own family medical history was far from stellar. I learned to be very selective about who I would talk to about egg donation.
• I learned to follow my heart and understand that the advice and opinions of others was irrelevant. It was my life, not theirs.
• I had to dig deep and find compassion for people who offered unsolicited advice because they just didn’t understand what it meant to struggle with infertility. “ Relax, go on vacation,” or “goodness my husband just has to look at me and I get pregnant.” You’ve all heard them.
• I decided that I had to be true to myself, and my natural inclination toward openness meant for me, that I was going to tell my child. Children are smart, and I didn’t want them to sense a secret when I felt there wasn’t any reason to keep one anyway.
• I began looking at families and realized that each child was a unique individual, and often did not ‘look like’ either parent or their siblings. What really made a family was anchored by relationships, not genes.

I did tell my children (I actually had my first son at 40 with that only 12% chance I was given with donor eggs, and my twin boys, with another egg donor, 4 years later). Their birth story was how wonderfully lucky they were to have three people create them instead of two!
I have continued to work full time with infertile women and egg donors since finding my own first egg donor in 1995. Each day I can make anyone’s path easier to travel than my own, and I can have this sense of wonder and obligation instilled in every part of our service to women seeking donor eggs. I can sleep peacefully at night knowing it has been a very good day and The World Egg Bank has contributed to another family’s dream.

For these reasons and many more, I have chosen to give back to a great organization such as Parents Via Egg Donation (PVED). Throughout my journey there were many people that “supported” my struggle, but none like the resources provided in MVED and PVED. It was the sense of community, the wealth of information and the hope given in each person’s story that helped to keep me committed during my toughest moments.

Diana Thomas is the Founder and CEO of The World Egg Bank. After successfully becoming pregnant, fertility specialists began approaching Diana asking for her help in finding egg donors for their own patients. She quickly discovered that there was a desperate need for a company that understood empowering recipients with information about egg donors, and the emotional sensitivity to navigate through the process of involving another person in their reproduction life. Through her own personal experience, she created a company that catered to the personal needs of intended parents as well as brought the best quality of care to the egg donors. For over 20 years, Diana’s egg donor agency , that evolved into an egg bank TWEB), has matched thousands of donors and couples nationwide and internationally. In 2004, she was one of three partners to start the first ‘frozen’ egg bank in the world. Since then, The World Egg Bank has increased egg donor options by shipping vitrified (frozen) eggs to recipient’s doctors around the globe, and as such, removed many geographic and emotional barriers for who hope to one day have a child of their own.
For more information on The World Egg Bank, please visit www.theworldeggbank.com

Why you should sign up for a paid membership to the forums

Our already private forums have recently taken a new step to move to a paid subscription base. With a community of 3,200, this was necessary to fund our continued growth and development.

Maybe you’re on the fence about ponying up and spending the $20 to pay for a year of membership. As a PVED mom myself, I’m going to tell you why you should:

· Support the community that’s supported you during your journey. Do it as an homage to that baby or those babies you get to parent. Pay it forward so we can help those future men and women who will struggle with this decision like you did.

· Help fund awareness and acceptance around egg and embryo donation. Tired of being in a secret minority? Longing for YOUR child to be met with acceptance and tolerance? That comes through outreach, education, and awareness building, and that takes funding.

· Make sure that community is around when YOU need it. Getting the baby was the easy part; what about the next 20 years?? How do you broach the disclosure discussion? What do you share with your child’s pediatrician, or teacher? How do you deal with your own feelings and fears around the process of parenting a child who doesn’t share your genetics? Stay connected with people who have experience and guidance around this topic, or who at least can hold your hand and truly understand what you’re going through.

We can all (with very few exceptions) afford to pay the $20. The fact is that there is no resource in the world like this one, no place where you can go and connect with 3,200 people just like you, who don’t think your situation is strange at all. You’re perfectly normal, even average here, and just about anyone you talk with can relate to you and your fears and feelings. Isn’t that alone worth $20? $20 is likely less than you paid for a single co-pay for one of those expensive RE appointments we all had.

I hope you’ll choose to not go it alone. Please join us and continue to help grow and evolve the community of parents via egg donation.

Very best regards,

Diana, Marna, Sue, Carole, Dana, Sharon

And

The PVED Moderator team

Parenting after becoming a parent via egg donation

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My son is almost 15 and a half. He is a classic teenager. Gone are the days of wanting to hang out with mom, or run to the store with mom, or go out for a meal with mom, or any of those fun things we moms did with our kids before they were teenagers.

I’m no longer cool.

My kid would rather hang out with his friends, text for hours with his friends, listen to his kind of music, and lecture me about how I just don’t understand the world, and that my politics are just way off the mark.

I’m also in the stupid bucket. I’ve been there for about a year, and I probably won’t come back out of it until he’s 25.

Sometimes at night after he’s gone to bed I will going to his room and for a few minutes just watch them sleep and reminisce about the time when he was in my belly, newly born and in my arms, a toddler, and a little kid. Naively, I thought for sure that since I had this kid in such a special way, through Egg Donation, and many many years of infertility that my relationship with him would be much different then perhaps the relationship I had with my mom.

Boy was I wrong.

I can remember as a teenager thinking my mom was not with it, stupid, a square, Old fashioned, too strict and such a drag. But I sure needed her, and wanted her when I was sick, scared, wanted her to intervene with dad on my behalf, or needed money.

So interestingly enough life is coming full-circle. I turned out pretty darn good, independent, self-assured, great at my job, and overall a pretty darn good egg.

My kid is turning out the same way – so my husband and I must be doing something right. He’s been accepted into a summer music program in another state where he will live for part of the summer, without us, in a dorm, independently. And he so incredibly excited about the prospect of being away from mom and dad for a period of time over the summer that he can’t stand it. And while I am crazy proud of him, his musical ability, and how well he’s doing in his craft there’s part of me that’s sad and nervous about him going away.

The point to all of this is regardless of how our children come into the world – either the old-fashioned way, straight IVF with our own genetics, Egg Donation, embryo donation, Surrogacy, adoption, or foster care they are still our kids. And as I learned from one of my very good friends Carole ( who btw is an amazing mental health therapist) it’s normal for our teenagers to behave the way that they do because they are doing what’s natural which is separating themselves from us because they are growing up and becoming adults.

And this comes full circle for me, “Love not genes makes a family” – Carole LieberWilkins, MA, MFT. And it’s true- having my kid through Egg Donation did not define me as an egg donor mother or him as an egg donor son. When Nick was brought into the world I became his mom and he became my son period.

All of that messy parenting stuff that we all experience as parents happens just the way it supposed you regardless of the genetic makeup of our kids.

So if you’ll excuse me, while I go into his room one more time and sit at his piano bench and just look around his messy bedroom, his pictures, dirty clothes, unmade bed, empty glasses,and breathe in that teenage boy smell only a bedroom of a teenage boy has- i’m going to drink it all in because one of these days this bedroom will truly be a guestroom, a library, or hopefully someplace that his kids will come back and sleep.

But the reality is they all grow up regardless of how they come into the world, and truly the egg donation aspect doesn’t factor in one iota.