“Not Viable”: How to Overcome Secondary Infertility Issues with Donor Eggs

I want to introduce you to Heidi Hayes of Donor Egg Bank. I recently got acquainted with Heidi and we got to talk a little about secondary infertility. It’s something that has come up a lot with family and friends who are having difficulty getting pregnant the second time around. It’s not easy and there are so many emotions that come with trying to have a baby. I appreciate Heidi for writing this post about another option for those who are struggling with secondary infertility. If you have used or are considering using donor eggs, please let me know about your story! I’d love to hear from you. Without further ado, here is Heidi’s post…

Getting pregnant is widely considered to be one of the most natural, easy, and fun things to do. Many new parents will have no trouble at all conceiving their first child. So when baby-making is seamless the first time around, having trouble conceiving a sibling can leave parents reeling.

Secondary infertility, or the inability to become pregnant after already bearing one or more children, leads many couples to explore fertility treatments. For those who are have tried traditional IVF methods without success, here is advice from Donor Egg Bank, which helps thousands of women each year find the donor eggs that become their wished-for children.

These emotions are big—and real.

If you are facing secondary infertility, the feelings can be something of a double whammy. The aching void of wishing for a baby, while also feeling scrutinized by others for not being ‘satisfied’ with the child you already have. Of course, you are blessed to have a child and love them dearly, but the questions about when a sibling is coming along are like a stab in the heart each time.

On top of that, if other treatments are not working and egg donation is part of your plan, you may need time to grieve that a future child won’t share your genetic makeup. It’s completely normal and encouraged to seek counsel from an expert about any questions you have when it comes to donor egg IVF.

The huge upside to donor eggs.

If you know in your heart that your first pregnancy was not the last time you wanted to experience those little flutters evolving into strange, flipping dances, which then turn into elbows poking the inside of your rib cage, then using donor eggs has the advantage of still allowing you to experience all those milestone moments. Your first-born will also be able to watch in wonder as the new baby grows—and maybe give your belly countless kisses.

Choosing a donor.

Once you have decided to pursue donor egg IVF, it’s time to select your donor. Egg banks handle many of the preliminary steps. Egg bank donors have already gone through the required psychological, medical and genetic screening. Additionally, the donor eggs have already been retrieved and frozen, which eliminates months of waiting time compared to using a fresh egg donor such as a friend or relative. Many couples appreciate that as soon as they have selected a donor who meets their wish list for certain attributes, such as education, ethnicity and interests, the eggs can be shipped immediately to their fertility clinic.

Frozen donor egg best practices.

When using frozen eggs, be sure that the eggs have been frozen using vitrification, or flash-freezing, instead of the older, slow-freeze method. This lessens the chance of damage within the eggs from ice crystals forming in the cells. Also, be sure that your clinic is experienced in thawing vitrified eggs.

Miraculous science at the clinic.

Once the eggs have arrived at your fertility clinic, your doctor will thaw them. Now is dad’s time to shine by adding his DNA to the mix by providing his sperm. Same sex couples and single moms can also choose to use donor sperm. Once the eggs have been fertilized, they are given three to five days to develop into embryos. Now your doctor will select the healthiest looking embryos—usually one or two—to implant into your uterine lining. You will also take medications prior to the implantation procedure to make your womb as hospitable as possible for the embryos to implant. If multiple embryos develop, the remaining ones can be frozen to use for further attempts in the future.

The waiting game.

After implantation comes a phase you’ve already experienced: waiting a few weeks in keen anticipation of seeing what your next pregnancy test will reveal. With luck (and maybe lots of prayer or positive-thinking), from this point forward you will simply be able to enjoy your pregnancy. Will this pregnancy bring morning sickness or heartburn? Will you be expecting a girl, a boy, or even twins? How will you share the good news, in this age of pregnancy reveal one-upmanship?

Completing the family.

Getting the unexpected diagnosis of secondary infertility does not have to mean your family is complete as is. For more and more couples, using donor egg IVF is the key to graduating your first child to Big Brother or Big Sister status.

Heidi Hayes is the Executive Vice President of Donor Egg Bank. She has more than 20 years of healthcare experience and has worked extensively in the field of reproductive endocrinology. Having been unsuccessful at traditional IUI and IVF treatments, Heidi personally understands the struggles of infertility. After many years of trying to conceive, she ultimately built her family through adoption and donor egg treatment. She always believed that if she didn’t give up, her ultimate goal of becoming a parent would someday become a reality.


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