Kay originally started her journal it was hosted on a personal site
and readers were invited to ask her questions. A selection of those
questions and answers are posted below. You are welcome to write to
Kay using the E-mail link above.
I'm thrilled that
we're (we're doing this with you) embarking on another attempt at Egg
Donor Zift. To be honest, I didn't know if you'd have this opportunity,
so it feels like such a gift. Will the procedure be exactly the same
this time? Will Dr. Colver be your doctor again?
We were able to split part of the cost with another recipient
during the last procedure. That is, the same donor had two woman receiving
her eggs. This enabled us to be able to afford to repeat the procedure.
People have asked me if I know anything about the other recipient. She
is completely anonymous to me, as is the donor. I do not know anything
about her, and will not know anything about the success of her cycle.
One of the
problems of infertility work is knowing when to stop. Originally, my
husband and I had discussed the possibility of doing two Egg Donor procedures.
We definitely wanted to do it once. We were not sure if we wanted to
try it a second time. The cost, even shared with another recipient,
so prohibitive. I have to be honest. In the back of my mind I am almost
considering doing it a third time (Surely it would work if we tried
three times!) On the other hand, what is reasonable and sensible? When
do we determine that we have done our best to have a birth child, and
move on to adoption? I discussed this with the Clinic counselor. She
advised me to wait until this cycle is over to decide on our next steps.
So we will cross that bridge if and when we come to it! I am almost
certain this will be it, though.
The procedure will be almost
the same. There is a small change in the medication protocol, which
is insignificant. Dr. Colver will still be my physician. As you may
have gathered from his interview, he is both a very competent and a
very kind physician. I am told that he is one of the very best in this
area. I like him a lot. (He is not the doctor who is moving by the way.
Dr. Colver does not do Obstetrics).
Knowing what is coming
with regard to medications, procedures, the wait, etc... is there anything
you will do differently, or prepare yourself differently for this time?
(My hope is for no headaches, Kay!) Do you find that you are giving
yourself advice, as if you were counseling a new patient? Or does this
feel like a new experience again?
This is a good question! I am not really doing anything different. I
am trying my best to tilt the balances in my favor, by taking excellent
care of myself. I am limiting sugar and caffeine, going for the recommended
"five servings a day" of fruit and vegetables, trying to get
enough rest. Exercise is really difficult because I have a pounding
headache as a side effect of one of the medications, which is worsened
by anything that increases the blood flow to my head. I am trying to
be reasonable about work hours, which can be tricky for me. It appears
that my drug side effects are going to help me out by limiting my work
hours whether I like it or not! I am a firm believer in meditation,
no matter what spiritual tradition one embraces. I am trying to be more
consistent about it for this cycle. There have been studies that indicate
meditation might assist with infertility. Also, whenever my husband
gets into a "fix the spouse" mood, he says "Kay, your
problem is that you just don't know how to sit down and relax!"
He does have a point there. Meditation is my way of doing just that.
Am I giving myself advice? Well, I seem to naturally have an "inner
cheerleader". So yes, I am giving myself all kinds of advice!
The only big difference between
this cycle and the last is that I feel a lot more guarded with this
cycle. I am excited, but not nearly so excited as I was the first time.
I am not telling everyone I meet, as I did with the previous cycle.
I am even forgetting to tell important people about it!
didn't come up last time was the question of multiple birth... Is it
possible that with egg donor Zift, one could have a multiple birth?
Quite an exciting possibility!!
Yes, that is a small possibility. If we transfer three embryos, then
our chances of triplets is extremely small. We do have a chance of twins.
If we transfer four embryos, our pregnancy rate goes up, our chance
for twins goes up, and our chances for triplets or quads go up as well.
The chance for triplets or quads is still quite small, but it is there.
We have been trying hard to
decide what to do about the "three or four embryo" question.
I would really like to have twins. I would prefer not to have triplets
or quads. They are at risk for premature birth, and a variety of problems.
However, in trying to evaluate the risk involved, I am clear that if
we had triplets or quads, we would be physically and emotionally able
to give them a loving and happy home. I think that is the important
thing. It just would not be our preference. Since we have tried for
so long, since this probably will be our last attempt at pregnancy,
since the pregnancy rate increases with four embryos, since we really
do want twins, we are leaning towards four. Again, the chance of trips
or quads is still quite low. I am gathering everyone's
opinion on this.
There is another complicating
factor here. What if we had quads, and, what if we also had enough embryos
to cryopreserve for a later cycle? What would we do with the embryos?
I know that I would not want to destroy them. I would try to donate
them. If that was not possible, would I attempt a frozen embryo procedure?
Well, I will cross that bridge when I come to it! I am not even pregnant
yet! But these are tricky issues. My heart tells me that I would do
my best to find a recipient for them, or, I would attempt another cycle
You've written about your feelings, fears,
worries, letting go, emotions, grief, acceptance, and about learning
to enjoy each moment for what it is. I hope that you will allow yourself
to embrace each step of this procedure again, and feel comfortable sharing
what is on your mind. Let us do some of the worrying for you...
Thanks!! I appreciate the support. I know from experience that a supportive
community helps me walk through the challenges in my life! I am trying
to do "one day at a time". I have also realized that this
is probably the very last time I am going to be able to experience the
feeling of hope for a future pregnancy. So I am trying to experience
that hope, whether or not this procedure works.
You've also talked
about aromatherapy and massage. Are you using either of these to prepare
yourself for the surgery and pregnancy?
Yes, I am using therapeutic massage. It is wonderfully relaxing, and
that state is helpful for any condition or situation! A friend and coworker
of mine took the same massage course that I took. I had a terrible Lupron
headache the other day at work, and she actually came up to my desk
and gave me a shoulder, neck, and scalp massage! We all should be so
I am also using an aromatherapy
blend that I adopted from an infertility "essential oil recipe"
in a book. It is wonderful. It is made of essential oils of Rose, Chamomile,
Geranium, Nutmeg, and Clary Sage, in a sweet almond oil base. I also
add Sandalwood because I love Sandalwood. Oil of Rose is terribly expensive,
but I indulged myself with a tiny bottle during my last egg donor cycle,
as a treat. If any of you enjoy essential oils, I encourage you to save
up your money for a bottle of this! One drop of Rose Oil in a aromatherapy
mix makes an incredible difference. I am enjoying this blend so much.
I have a nasty respiratory infection, and have been using Eucalyptus
oil in a aromatherapy diffuser. It really helps.
interest in aromatherapy oils has been exciting for me because I too,
use and enjoy aromatherapy. As I add this chat to our journal pages,
I've got a synergy blend of Rosemary and Peppermint burning in my diffuser.
This blend is specifically created for energy and it smells wonderful.
We'll be focusing on Aromatherapy sometime soon so watch for an upcoming
article. In the meantime, feel free to visit our favorite aromatherapy
site on the web!
Because Dr. Colver's
practice is quite large and successful, I wonder if you have met any
other local women who are also going through infertility and/or Egg
Interestingly, I met a patient of Dr. Colver's on the
Prodigy Infertility board topic the Prodigy Medical Support bulletin
board! And I also have a coworker who is a success story of Dr. Colver's
practice. I have two good friends who are infertile, who have chosen
a child-free lifestyle. I have another good friend who was infertile,
who was successful in her infertility treatment with another doctor.
I have some casual friends and acquaintances who are infertile, with
whom I compare notes. I really enjoy both the local and national newsletter
of Resolve, which is an excellent support organization for infertility.
It helps so much. But I have always been too busy to attend their support
meetings, which I hear are also excellent.
How much do they
tell you about the egg donor? Will you know some of the health issues,
biological traits, hair color, etc?
This has to be the question I am most often asked. I currently
know the donor's physical characteristics, health history, family
health history, talents, interests, and educational background. It is
all non-identifying information.
She is very healthy and very
bright. I am very pleased, because her interests and talents match mine.
For what it is worth, her physical features match mine also. She sounds
terrific. If I become pregnant, I will receive extensive non-identifying
information about the donor, including a letter the donor has written
to the child!
advice is your doctor giving you, if any yet?
Dr. Colver knows that I am very healthy and have a healthy
lifestyle. The clinic tells me just to keep doing what I have always
been doing. Other than that, I have instructions for the medications.
That is about it. I keep begging for some magic hint that will really
tip the balance in my scales! But there is really no advice to give
You've been on your medication for
almost two weeks now. How are you feeling?
You really don't want to know, do you? Lupron makes me very sick.
I get a migraine-like vascular headache which lasts for weeks. It sometimes
is almost debilitating. Fortunately it stops when I stop Lupron. I have
perpetual nausea, and body aches. I really feel awful. I told you that
you really didn't want to know! However, it is all worth it for
the chance to become pregnant!
Kay, Are the egg donors married women with existing
children or just young healthy women? What is protecting you if
they do not have existing children now and find out later in life that
she, herself, cannot bear a child and wish to put a claim to her egg
donor child? I realize this is a tough question, but I have an
adopted daughter and the laws have changed drastically in the last 25
This is an excellent, insightful question. No, the donors do
not all have children. Three out of my four matched donors have never
had a baby. Is this a legal problem? No, and I will explain in a minute.
Is this a potential emotional problem for the donor? It most definitely
is. My understanding is that my clinic provides mandatory counselling
for the donors. One of the issues the donor explores in counselling
is this very issue. How will she feel if her only progeny are egg donor
children children, which are the legal children of someone else? Donor
egg is such a young technology, that the emotional ramifications of this
have not played out. But my clinic works through the psychosocial
aspects of this possibility with the donors. One can guess that this
could certainly be a painful issue for a woman.
My best understanding is that
it is not a legal issue. People have had children through donor gamete
procedures for several decades, through the use of donor sperm. My understanding
is that there has not been a single case where the legal parenthood
of a donor gamete child has been seriously contested. In my case, the
donor signs carefully worded contracts in which she agrees that she
has no legal right to any child that might result from the procedure.
Interestingly, the donor is not even told if a procedure is successful
or not. All she knows is that she has given a donor or donors the chance
to have a child. So although the possibility of emotional ramifications
is definitely there, it looks as if the legal aspect is pretty sound.
Again, this is a wonderful, insightful question.
are questions often asked of Kay online or in conversation. She has
graciously added them to our page. Thanks, Kay.
I was recently
asked how many times my donor will go through a donor cycle.
She may donate up to four times. Donors typically donate two
or sometimes three times.
Why is your donor doing
Actually, I haven't asked about this specific donor. I will find
this out if the procedure works. Typically, a donor is motivated by
altruism. She commonly has a sister or friend who suffers from infertility,
and wants to do something to help. There is small financial compensation,
but only barely enough to cover time and trouble.
I was asked if I didn't
worry about the possibility that my child might inadvertently marry
a half-sibling. That is, there may be unknown half-siblings to my child
running around out there. My child might marry one of them!
I actually was quite astonished at the question. I may borrow
trouble sometimes, but this type of worrying is really beyond me. However,
it might be prudent for my child to do genetic testing if she marries
another egg-donor child. It is an interesting point, I guess!
I am asked if I will try
to find the donor.
I signed papers promising not to do this, and I plan to keep
my word. However, if my child comes of age and wishes to conduct a search
using the non-identifying information s/he has, I cannot stop them.
That would be their choice.
I am asked how I feel about
the fact that the child is not genetically related to me.
As I mentioned in earlier entries, I deeply grieved the loss of genetic
continuity. Once I worked through that grief, I realized that genetic
continuity is only of small importance to me. I want to raise a child.
I want children in my household. I want a family with children. That
is what matters to me. Genetic continuity is really not important to
I am asked about the risk
of birth defects, if this procedure should work for me.
Studies show that the risk of birth defects is the same in
Egg Donor ZIFT and Egg Donor IVF as in any other type of pregnancy.
It is neither higher or lower.
I am asked about the risks
involved in being pregnant, should this work.
The fact that I am almost forty-two might make this a high
risk pregnancy. Blood pressure and chromosomal abnormalities are often
the risks in an older mother. The fact that the eggs are from a young
donor takes care of the second risk. The first risk does not really
an issue in my case. My blood pressure tends to be low, and it stayed
low during my other pregnancies. A history of infertility, of endometriosis,
and of fibroids does increase risk of miscarriage. That is a chance
I have to take. If I have a multiple gestation, then I will have the
risks involved with that. I am guessing that I will be monitored somewhat
because I have had two pregnancy losses. But basically, I am in pretty
Thanks, Kay. I'm
sure we'll be back with more questions soon. If there are any men or
women reading this who would like to know more about this procedure
and the experiences involved, please feel free to write to Kay Grames.