Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Egg donation

A few months back, Pooi Lam had idly mentioned to me in passing that one of her friends, who is based in Hong Kong, was very desperate to conceive a child but IVF had failed and they were looking for an egg donor. I, in turn, idly mentioned it in passing to my friend, MH. MH and i briefly talked about how difficult it is to want to have a child and yet can't have one and then moved on to another topic.

A couple of days later, the topic came up again and somehow, MH thought it would be good to help out this couple, so we told PL that MH was thinking of becoming an egg donor and what did she think. PL relayed the message back to her friend and her friend suggested that MH go to the fertility doctor for a check up to make sure all is well. MH agreed and off we went to the clinic.

At the cosy clinic in Damansara Heights, Dr. P, a softly spoken gentleman, asked her a few pointed questions - like did she know that she would have NO rights to the child, and was she intending to have children of her own etc. He was concerned that she knew who the recepient of the eggs were. In his experience, he said, it was always better for the egg donor and recepient to be anonymous. This way would stop prevent complications such as the donor being attached to the child. He even suggested that MH donate her eggs but it be given to another recepient and another donor's eggs be given to PL's friend. However, MH said that if it was anonymous, she wouldn't really be interested in donating - it was specifically because she wanted to help this couple. i've wondered what karma was involved here!

After ascertaining that MH was being a donor for the right reasons, he gave her a check up and blood test which turned up all OK. As time was running short, PL's friend decided to fly to KL to see MH. The meeting was important to both parties to see if they clicked. So the couple and their first child (also conceived by IVF - but subsequent procedures failed, which was why they were told that the only way forward was to get an egg donor)arrived in KL for the following weekend.

The meeting was good - everyone got along well. MH thought the family was nice and vice versa so the deal was on! The procedure was timed for August to coincide with the school holidays so the HK lady come over with her son. She needed to be in KL for around two weeks for the process.

A couple of months passed with reports of MH's monthly periods to all concerned - including PL - as the 'matchmaker'! Finally in July, on the second day of MH's period, PL took her back to the clinic. MH was given a set of daily injections to encourage all the eggs to ovulate.

She was warned that the injections would make her PMS more directly proportional to the number of eggs. Can you imagine if you normally PMS over one egg ovulating per month - this time, she would be PMSing over 7 eggs ovulating. It was certainly a daunting prospect.

I came back from Taiwan after MH had been taking the injections for a couple of days. She seemed ok but tired. I usually faint at the sight of needles but after hearing about how important PL deemed her husband to empathise with her IVF injections, i tried my best to support MH. The week passed quickly. Mrs. HK arrived the following Monday and she and MH had to both go to Dr. P to make sure both their bodies were in synch. Basically, that MH's eggs were growing at the same rate as Mrs. HK's uterus was getting ready to receive the future embryo. They were both on track.

In addition to MH's daily injection, she now had an additional one in the mornings. I must say MH bore all this tremendously well - there was no sign of the dreaded crankiness - instead, i seemed to be the one suffering from PMS (see my previous post)! The only side effect was extreme tiredness. i felt tremendous admiration for MH - to go through all this for the benefit of another. i don't think i could have done it myself.

The procedure was scheduled last Saturday morning. The day before, we were going to have dinner with PL, Mr. & Mrs. HK, but the final injection on the Thursday which was for the eggs to mature, just knocked MH off. She was feeling quite ill and we cancelled dinner.

Early on Saturday, MH went into the hospital for surgery to harvest the eggs, which took about half an hour. Dr. P had seen a polyp in her uterus in the ultrasound scan and had previously told her that it should be removed at sometime or another, so he removed it as well.

Mr. HK had arrived a couple of days before and was at the hospital on Sunday to make his contribution to the process. Mrs. HK and PL were also there to visit MH. The surgery went well, and Mr. HK's semen was mixed with MH's eggs and there was nothing left to do except wait til Tuesday to see which eggs were fertilized.

So yesterday, we all assembled at the hospital again and found that only three eggs were fertilized and those were implanted in Mrs. HK.

Now we have to wait two weeks before we find out whether the embryo developed.

It's been quite an amazing experience to have witnessed this entire process. Let's pray that all goes well and hopefully in nine months, we will have another bundle of joy in the world.

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