By Maya Grobel Moskin
Not everyone has to make decisions about how they are going to make a baby. But a lot of people do. At least 7.3 million Americans who struggle to conceive have to make some kind of decision about what to do when making a baby the old fashioned way doesn’t work.
My husband and I had to make a lot of decisions throughout our four year “journey to parenthood.” We had to first decided which reproductive endocrinologist to see, what meds I wanted to try, what procedures and surgeries we wanted to do in order to get more information, how many IUIs to try, and when to start IVF. We had to decide what to do after IVF didn’t work. We had to decide what we could afford, financially, physically, and emotionally. We had to decide if using my sister’s donated eggs was a good idea (we tried and that cycle didn’t work), and then we had to decide what to do when we felt like we had run out of options.
What I did was frantically call fertility clinics around the country trying to see if I could get on a list for donated embryos. I didn’t even really know what it all meant, other than I would get the opportunity to carry my baby, a child that wouldn’t be genetically related to myself or my husband. By the time we got to the point of thinking about donated embryos, we had greatly changed our goal post. We no longer needed to “make” a baby, we just wanted to create a family. If in that process I would be able to experience pregnancy and birth, then that was something I’d be forever grateful for.
We found an embryo at a clinic in Seattle that felt like a good fit for us, and suddenly this idea became a reality. As I write this, I feel like I’m making it all sound so simple. In some ways, I guess it actually was. The embryo was there, I just had to do a frozen transfer. And by the time we got to embryo donation we were emotionally prepared as well. We had years of talking about and processing the idea of not having a child with a genetic link to us, and having child who has anonymous relatives and siblings out in the world, so we felt prepared. But the decision to use someone else’s biology is never really an easy one.
On a sweet summer day in July 2014, we flew to Seattle for that frozen transfer. We crossed our fingers and toes for the two week wait and were blown away when we found out it had worked.
Last Saturday we celebrated our baby girl’s first birthday. She’s walking now and is the best thing that has ever happened to us. She was worth the pain and struggle, the tears and shots— all of it. We never think about genetics and we hardly think about our journey to her.
All we think about is that every decision along the way, every failed attempt, every heartbreak led us to her— the best decision we ever made.