A PreciousEggs Family Story
Alison remembers when her sister first introduced her to RADfertility. Knowing that her autoimmune condition could cause infertility and that her age was also a factor, Alison booked an appointment hoping the staff at RAD could help overcome any potential fertility challenges to build her family.
“I remember the first appointment with Dr. McGuirk,” Alison said. “She thought I might have endometriosis. I was a little upset, because I knew what it could cause. My sister was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis.”
Ultimately, Dr. McGuirk performed hysteroscopy and laparoscopy surgery and found large fibroids behind Alison’s uterus, but no endometriosis. After recovering from surgery, Dr. McGuirk’s plan included multiple ovulation induction (OI) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycles. “Once Dr. McGuirk said we were clear, we did three IUIs and nothing happened,” she said.
Alison and John wanted to move forward with IVF after the unsuccessful IUI cycles. They transitioned care to Dr. Adrienne Neithardt, who helped them through the IVF process. Unfortunately, Dr. Neithardt retrieved a low number of eggs, and only one egg fertilized to become an embryo. “A lot of it had to do with my autoimmune disease and age at the time,” Alison said. “I was on a very high dose of the hormones, but they couldn’t get a lot of eggs.”
Still, Alison and John wanted to continue with the transfer. “We knew our percentages were really low. It was heartbreaking,” Alison said.
After three unsuccessful IUIs and one unsuccessful IVF cycle, Alison and John decided they needed a break. “We wanted to regroup and I think that is good. After a while, you need to regroup mentally and physically,” she said. “We decided to wait and get through the holidays, and start over again in January.”
Alison and John went forward with another IVF after the New Year, hopeful of their chances. “Again, I didn’t get a lot of eggs. I had only one embryo as well that didn’t take either,” Alison said.
The couple was considering other options after the second unsuccessful IVF cycle when John noticed a page on RAD’s website advertising the PreciousEggs™ Donor Egg Program. “RAD just started doing PreciousEggs™. I have a neighbor who had ovarian cancer, and she did fresh donor egg,” Alison said. “Because of her, we knew the process and the idea behind it.”
Speaking with her neighbor helped cement the couple’s decision to use a donor from the program. “She and her husband have two beautiful boys,” Alison said of her neighbor. “I asked her so many questions. She was open and honest.”
Alison’s husband was equally supportive in the decision to use a donor egg. “He is the one that said, ‘Let’s do this.’ My husband is willing to do whatever it takes,” Alison said. “I am a lucky woman to have a supportive husband.”
Choosing a Donor
The couple met with Dr. Neithardt again to discuss the PreciousEggs™ program. They also met with Amy Miller, RAD’s IVF coordinator for donor selection, to begin the process. “She is awesome!” Alison said. “She was able to really explain the whole process and get us started.”
The first step involved knowing which features and characteristics the couple wanted from a donor. “I said that I wanted similar distinctive features from my side of the family,” Alison said. “We made a list and that is how we chose our donor.”
Alison said she also valued reading each donor’s profile, and considered everything the donor had written when making a decision.
"I read every little detail: their interests, why they chose to do this-everything. I didn't want to miss a thing."
When choosing a donor, Alison and John selected their first and second choices. “I picked one and then they said, ‘Sorry, someone else jumped in,’” Alison said. “We re-evaluated and we said this second choice is actually a better match. My husband said that it worked out how it was supposed to.”
Two embryos came from the six donor eggs. “My first transfer was successful,” Alison said. “I got the phone call and my husband was standing there. I was crying, so he didn’t know whether it was good or bad.”
'His Eye Color is Like Mine'
Alison gave birth to her son, Ethan, in January of 2014. She said one thing she noticed was how her son resembled both her and John due to selecting a donor who had similar physical features to her.
"My son looks just like his father, except for his eye color - his eye color is like mine. He has a yellow starburst just like me. Mine changes from blue to green, and his does the same."
After Ethan’s birth, the couple used the remaining frozen embryo created from their donor’s eggs in an additional pregnancy attempt. That transfer was also successful, and Alison and John welcomed a second child, a baby girl, in 2015.
Alison said she appreciates that donors are willing to help someone like her build their family. “I think that takes a lot of courage for another woman to donate her eggs,” Alison said. “My egg donor will always hold a precious place in my heart.”
The Easiest Decision
The easiest part of the process for Alison and John was choosing PreciousEggs™ once they realized that IVF using Alison’s own eggs wasn’t an option for them. “It was the easiest decision that we made and I think it was the best decision that we made,” Alison said. “My children are my children—that is how I feel. They are mine. These are my babies.”
While Alison and John liked everyone they met at RAD, they connected especially well with Dr. Neithardt. “Everyone was very supportive, but she just has that type of sensitivity that I like and even my husband liked. She always made us feel comfortable,” Alison said.
While egg donors remain anonymous at PreciousEggs, Alison wanted to share these feelings about her donor. “Thank you for my beautiful children. Thank you for allowing me to have that experience of carrying my children and allowing me to become their mother.”
We want to thank this couple for graciously sharing their story about using donor egg to help build their family. We have changed their names in this Seeds of Success story to keep their identities anonymous.