The Family Circle

Episode 11: Kate - Mother Through Egg Donation

December 05, 2022 Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation Season 1 Episode 11
The Family Circle
Episode 11: Kate - Mother Through Egg Donation
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This month’s episode of The Family Circle is hosted by Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation Marketing Director, Kristin Marsoli! Kristin hosts Kate, a mother through egg donation, and they discuss everything from IVF, deciding to use an egg donor, building a relationship with a donor, and advice for anyone going through infertility struggles. 

Interested in learning more about becoming a parent through egg donation? Check out the parents page on our website for more info:

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Thank you for listening!

If you'd like to learn more about surrogacy, you can visit our website. If you'd like to chat with one of our team members, please reach out:

We'd love to hear your story and see how we can support you.

Welcome to the Family Circle. This is Kristen, the marketing director at Circle, surrogacy and egg donation. One of the best parts of my job and working at Circle is being able to hear all of the personal stories from our surrogates, our donors and our intended parents. Every journey is unique here at Circle and it is so heartwarming to hear how we've helped people finally achieve their dreams of having a baby. Today, we have one of those stories, I'm going to be chatting with Kate, who was a mom through egg donation here at Circle. Prior to coming on board with circle Kate had experienced infertility and loss and knew that she needed to make a change if she wanted to have the baby that she still wanted. Egg Donation is such a special path to parenthood. And I'm so happy that Kate is here today to share her experience. Hello, Kate.
Hey, Kristen,
how you doing today?
I'm good. Thanks so much for having me on.
I am so excited to have you on. I know a little bit about your story. But I think it is such an amazing story that I would love to share it with more people who might have been in similar situations or sort of struggling with infertility themselves or honestly might be considering egg donation and might not know that much about it.
Absolutely. Where do you want me to start?
Well, our listeners aren't familiar with your story. So maybe you can start at the beginning like a little bit about you. And when you knew you were ready to start a family and what that process was like?
Sure, absolutely. So I currently live in California, but originally from New York City born and raised, however, LA has its benefits and I'm loving it now that it's winter, I met my husband when I was 38. So a little bit older. And we were married two weeks after my 40th birthday. At the time, I was bicoastal. And so my OB was still on the east coast at the time. And when I was in town around my birthday, I met with her just for a regular checkup. And she discussed wanting to sort of check in on my fertility, knowing that I was about to get married and that I was looking to have children. Few days after that discussion, I got the disappointing call, that it might be more of a struggle for me to get pregnant on my own. So she actually recommended that after the wedding, which was only in two weeks for me and my husband to go basically straight to a fertility doctor, rather than spending the six months to a year sort of trying on our own, because it was going to be an uphill battle. So about three or four weeks after we were married, that we met with the fertility doctor,
usually what you do three to four weeks after getting married.
Not all the time. No, but we were focused. Of course we did the trying at home anyway. But because that's the fun part. But yes, we met with the fertility doctor. And I want to say we got started right away. But I think people who have been through IVF know that, quote, unquote, right away can usually take like a couple of months to actually get going. So we started our fertility journey in August of 20 2018. It's long time ago now. And basically over the course of two years, and you also have to remember there's a pandemic in the midst of all of that. Throw that in there, why not? Yeah, right, make things easier. I went through seven rounds of IVF. And each time with diminishing returns, and each time with no success. So at a certain point, I came to the realization and conclusion that I had done enough IVF for one lifetime, and that that was not the way I was going to have a baby and it was time to find another option.
Now what when you went to your OB when you were here on the East Coast, what was it about that checkup that she was like, You know what, you might have some challenges, you should go straight to a fertility doctor, like what came out of that?
Honestly, it was just because I was about to get married, and she knew I wanted a family. And given my age, she was just sort of like, Hey, we should check on this.
That's right, because no one makes you feel older than doctors like when they tell you you have advanced maternal age, which is my favorite term ever. And you're like, but I made the 30
favorite geriatric pregnancy. Ah,
good lord. Okay, so she had advised you to go and talk to a fertility doctor. You might have mentioned this. Was that in California, or were you doing that back on the East Coast?
I did that in LA because at that point, I was spending three quarters of my time out here. Okay.
And when you met with the fertility doctor, their path for you was, let's go right to try IVF from the bat.
Yeah, so that was the original goal. To go to IVF. In the end, my first cycle ended up converting to an IUI, just because there weren't as many eggs as she wanted to retrieve. Now, if we had known what was going to come in the future, we totally would have retrieved it because I think she wanted eight and I had seven. But you know, you can't go back. And it's okay. I'm not I don't think that one extra egg would have been the miracle egg,
right, of your rounds of IVF that you did. Were you able to get pregnant with any of them? Or did they just not work?
So based on my age, we did genetic testing. And so we were able to make embryos that went to blastocyst and could get tested, but all of them came back genetically unbalanced. Okay.
So how now you've said you seven rounds? Is that what you said seven rounds of IVF rounds? Yeah, well, that's a lot of rounds of IVF. So and you have to wait in between, it's not like you're just do want to do when to do when, so how much time has passed now that you've been trying IVF.
So between when I started in August of 2018, and when I finally decided to move to an egg donor was August of 2020.
Okay, so a good amount of good amount of time,
good amount of time, a lot of months where my egg count was too low to even start a cycle, or I had to have a fibroid removed, or you know, so all of these things kind of pop up along your fertility journey that you don't know about in the beginning. And they are definitely a time suck in that sense. So it can be a longer process than you anticipate, and definitely not without its frustrations and bumps in the road.
Right. So now. Okay, so your seven runs in? Is that at this point where you said, we got to put the brakes on this? Or was your IVF doctor like, I don't think this is working?
No, I mean, everybody else was sort of happy to keep going as long as I wanted to keep going, my husband, the doctor, but it was me really at that point. I don't I didn't necessarily just wake up one day and decide, but it kind of felt that way. We're after the seventh round. It was just sort of like, how many more times am I going to put my body through this, I'm not getting the, you know, results that I'm looking for. I really want to have a child and have a family. It just felt like time to go with something with better odds.
Yeah. So did you bring up egg donation to the IVF. Doctor? Or was that something that they suggested? As the next step? When you mentioned you were ready to move on to something new?
Yeah, I think it was probably the conversation right after we found out that the seventh round, didn't yield any positive results. And he started talking about like, oh, things that we could do for the next round. And I just said to him, You know what we're done, there isn't going to be an extra round, I'd like to start looking for a donor. And he said, Okay, that was fine. And he even suggested that while I was looking for a donor, we could try this other thing. And I was so done at that point that I just said, No, I was like, No, we're not going to try any other things on me. And throw yet another Hail Mary, I'd rather just finish this process, start with the next process and move forward.
We talked to intended parents a lot about this, what was that mental and emotional change in making that change from I'm going to have a baby with my own eggs and my own biology to okay, we're going to use an egg donor to create our embryos. What was that? Like? What was sort of going through your mind with that change?
Sure. So for me, it was sort of a gradual shift over time, going into this whole situation, knowing that it was going to be an uphill battle. For me, I certainly knew that there was a good possibility at some point that I'd have to use an egg donor. So I went into the process, knowing that that was on the table, and not my first choice, but a possibility. When I started, I think it's important to be optimistic about the process you're going through, do everything that you can hope for the best. So I sort of kept the donor possibility in the back of my mind. But as round after round of IVF came back with negative results, I think the idea of a donor started to come forward more and more. And it was definitely challenging at certain points. In my process. I lost my mother when I was very young, my father had also passed. And so there was a huge part of me that really felt it important to have my genetics in the mix, almost as a way to carry on the legacy of my parents. But at the same time, I had to realize that my eggs, someone else's egg, it was never the child was never going to be a replacement for my parents. It's my baby. I'm not her baby. And so in some ways, the genetics didn't really matter. All of my personality, all of my funny sayings, all the things I find amusing that comes from my parents and what they taught me and how they were, and I can pass that on to my baby, because she's around me all the time. And she's going to say the same weird sayings that my father said.
And she's going to pick up what you say, because that's just what kids do. Exactly.
So, you know, as you might laugh at the things that my mother laughed at, because of the sort of things that amused me too, so there always will be a part of them in her. It's just not necessarily in her DNA is in the way that she's nurtured.
Alright, so you've made that mental leap to, we're going to use an egg donor. Now, was your husband, was he on board with this from the beginning, like what were sort of his thoughts, I know, this is something that your body was going through, but you are going through this IVF sort of process together.
My husband was, I was very lucky, he was an excellent partner throughout this entire process, and said to me, from the very beginning, you're in the driver's seat, we will do this as many times as you want to do it, we will do it as few times as you want to do it. And if you want to do something different, such as an egg donor, or adoption, he's like, we will do that, too. So I had full control in that sense, which was a big relief, because even though your husband or your partner sees how much you're going through, with all the injections, they can't possibly know what's actually happening to your body. And it was nice that I was totally in control, and the only one deciding if I was able to do it again.
Now you had said always kind of kept egg donor on the table right in the background going through all of this. Now you went immediately to egg donor as your next step after IVF was anything else in your consideration set for family building,
we were open to everything. I think the reason that we decided to go forward with an egg donor versus adoption, is just simply the entire IVF process, the donor goes through the same thing. So there's a there's an understanding, there's a base of knowledge that you have as somebody who's gone through that. I know nothing about the technicalities of adoption. So it was sort of like opening up Pandora's box in some way and having to learn an entirely new language, entirely new process to try to figure out how to navigate while going to a donor was certainly a new process. And there were new things to navigate. It wasn't an entirely different world. And I think I was hesitant in that sense, where it was just sort of like, oh, we we switch all the way to adoption. How much longer might that take? Just because we need to learn the process?
Got it? Yeah. And you might also feel you have a little more control over the process with an egg donor and part of the journey in that sense, too.
Oh, absolutely. I mean, for sure, being able to select my egg donor was a big part of it. And also, you know, I was able to carry a child. And so I wanted to be able to do that too. So I wanted to as much as I could and my body could participate, you know, in the development of our child.
Alright, let's talk about selecting the egg donor. Because I think for for some people, that can be a very intimidating process, especially not knowing a lot about it. Where do I even Where do I even start? What do I look for? How do I even begin to pick out the person who will be half of my baby's DNA? Like that is a huge decision. So how did you guys navigate that? You're like, Okay, we're gonna use an egg donor. And now what?
Yeah, well, I'm glad we're having this conversation. So hopefully other people hear it because I feel like there isn't enough talk about this out there. When we decided to switch to an egg donor. We didn't even know where to begin. To be honest with you. We had no clue. We understood that our fertility doctors had us there's an attachment to the business that they do egg donors and things like that. But we also know that's not their core competency. They are excellent, best in class fertility doctors worldwide, but they're not necessarily the best in class, in terms of egg donors, and that kind of thing. So we felt like we wanted somebody who really had that as their wheelhouse and not as an add on, but we had no idea where to begin. We talked to some friends who had gone through a donor process. I had one friend that I knew from childhood and another friend that was a connection of my husband, and they both went through very different processes in terms of how they met their egg donors. But one of them had mentioned that she knew a donor consultant, which I didn't even know existed, but it does and the idea of the donor consultant is you hire them for basically a month or however long you want your contract to be. You tell them what you're looking for, and and egg donor, they know all of the donor facilities, they know which ones you can trust and which ones are, frankly, kind of shady. And every day, they would send me two or three different options of that they had found that fit my criteria. And then I would provide feedback to them and say, I like this one for this reason, or I saw this and that doesn't feel comfortable for me so that they could have a better and better idea of what I was looking for. Now that I've been through the process. With circles, specifically, I can say a circle is very reputable, it was a really good process for me. And if I had to do it again, and I'd known about sparkle, I think I would have just come to you immediately. In fact, my one of my friends is going through this right now. And the first thing I said is take a look at Sparkle. But not knowing what I didn't know at the time, that consultant was absolutely a great option. And it was good to have somebody else professionally boil the ocean for me, then having to try to do it myself.
I can't even imagine what it must like the anxiety of getting those when you would get those emails that you knew contained donor profiles inside, I would be like I need to open them immediately. Like I need to read them immediately.
Absolutely the first thing every time that came in, it was usually in the morning, the first thing I was doing was looking through, it's not only just exciting to see, but egg donors go really quickly, they there is somewhat of a limited pool out there in the world and the most desired egg donors, everybody wants some their most desired for a reason. And so if they are available, you can't really sleep on it. Waiting even a week can be a problem. That doesn't mean that you have to fully commit to someone that the second you see them. But you have to reach out and express interest and talk about when they're ready for a cycle and all sorts of things. So that the agency knows that there's an there's someone who is interested and that that person, that donor might be put on hold for you too, there are a variety of things that you can do. You don't have to commit day one. But if you see some donor that you really like you have to speak up
now being new to the process. And now having a consultant sending you donor profiles, did you have some either requirements, or I have an idea of what you wanted your egg donor to be like that you gave to them, or that you were specifically looking for when you receive these profiles?
Yeah, so I wasn't looking for somebody who looked exactly like me, because I think that's a pretty unrealistic goal to go in with. But I was looking for somebody who least physically had some of my features, you know, and my coloring, so lighter hair, blue eyes. On the shorter side, I'm five to turns out a lot of donors out there really tall, who knew that might have been one of the hardest requirements, oddly, and I was just looking for someone who had a good nature kind hearted, who valued work and education because my husband and I both think those are very important things. I was not looking for someone who went to Harvard, but I just wanted somebody who had a commitment to growing as a human being and learning our lists of desirable traits was fairly small. I think the one thing for me from a coloring perspective that was important, if I could have anything in the world that I wanted, my ideal donor would have blue eyes, and all of her siblings would have blue eyes, and both parents would have blue eyes and all the grandparents, I have blue eyes, my father had blue eyes, and my husband has beautiful hazel eyes. And I know that all of that genetic background doesn't guarantee anything. But I figured you know, if possible to go in with the strongest case I could make so to speak would be the best way. But it wasn't a deal breaker. However, it did turn out that my donor in fact had an entire family full of blue eyed people. So it did work.
So you're receiving these donor profiles via email. How did you find the one or how did you go about selecting your donor? Was it the first one did you have to go through a few? What was the process like?
I think my donors profile ended up in my inbox. I really think it was maybe day two of the entire process a pretty quick, very quick, but it turned out at the time she was on hold for somebody else. And my consultant said to me look donors like this never come off hold. They just don't. She is a great donor. I can't imagine why these people would not go through with her. So like she donated before
he had donated. Okay, so she was an experienced donor. Yep.
And so she said you know, we'll keep her on the table. I will continue to check in on her status. They they have a note in her file that you know, you're interested in case she comes off hold, but don't don't hang your hopes on that and keep looking so You know, I kept looking, I found other donors that I was interested in too. And we made contact with those agencies and kept going. And then all of a sudden, towards the end of the month, we got a call from circle. And for some miraculous reason our donor was off hold, and was now being put on hold for me. So amazing. Yeah, that was amazing.
So blue eyes aside history and crazy family of blue eyes aside, what about your donor made her big to you or stand out to you?
There's a good amount of information from her on the profile. And a lot of it was just some of her personal things that she said like tacos are her favorite food that are my husband's half Mexican tacos are definitely his favorite food. I mean, I know it sounds trivial. But as I was reading the profile, she felt like somebody that I would know. And like, she definitely came across as kind, which was very important to me. She came across as very passionate about her education and her future, she was very involved with her family and her husband. So it almost felt in some ways, like I was reading a profile, I could have written myself, about me.
Yeah, I'm so glad you said that. Because I think when you are looking through donor profiles, that is such a great lens to put on it. Like, would I be friends with this person? Or like, what I have this person in my life? Yep, out, you know, as a friend, or whatever it might be. It's those little things that the tacos and the way a profile is worded. And I think you bring up such a good point that I'm not sure a lot of people know is when you are looking and I can speak specifically to the circles donor database, there is a tremendous amount of information in there about the potential egg donors that you could match with, I mean, it's more than a photo and name, color of eyes and height. It is likes and dreams and hobbies and what they did as a child and what their family life is like and what their hopes and dreams and goals are. There is so much information that you can get such a good and deep understanding of who somebody is just from reading about them. And I think that's so important, because this is such a big, big decision. You want to know as much as you can about this person. And honestly, this is the first step. I mean, you do go on to eventually talk to them and whatnot. But this is such a great first step. And one of the other things you mentioned is that she was married. And I don't know that a lot of people know that egg donors. They could be married, they could have kids of their own. They're not all young, single women who just graduated college, right? They have careers, they have families, we have all different types of donors available. So the fact that you mentioned that she was married, I don't know that people would know that egg donors are married, could be married, could have kids or whatever it might be. Yeah,
yes, she's married. She got married young, she was in the process of getting her Master's the time that she did the donation for us. She's now pursuing her law degree. And she and her husband seem to have a great relationship. They don't have children yet, but maybe someday. And so yeah, we're very grateful to both of them, honestly.
So you read through this profile, circle calls out of the blue at the end of the month, guess what that donor you liked is available. We're holding her for you. What were the next steps after that? Were you still working with a consultant? And you officially needed to make that transition to circle? What was the process like there? Like what was the next step?
So for us at this juncture, right, we weren't going to take any risks. So the donor had already had her genetics run, when I went into the process. Originally, they, you know, went through and checked me for everything, it turned out, I didn't have any markers. My husband's terrified of needles. So since I didn't have any markers, it didn't matter what markers he heads, we could kind of spare him from having to give the blood. I love that
your husband is afraid of needles, and you did seven rounds of IVF. By the way,
the best part is when we were preparing for transfer, he had to actually give me some of the shots because they were trigger shot. They were in an area I could not reach. So his fear has diminished substantially since then. But anyway, I had one or two markers in her profile. And so we just wanted to make sure that there weren't going to be any problems. So my husband had the blood drawn, ran, it turns out he didn't have any markers. So that was like the first thing that we felt we had to do. Other people feel differently and that's okay. But at this point for us, we were absolutely taking no risks and if it meant a little bit more time, it was going to take a little bit more time so she was on hold for us during that period. The consultant was still involved a little bit it so the consultant helped introduce us formally to circle, she made the original contact and said I have someone who's interested. But once we started talking about testing genetics, and this, that the other, the consultant introduced me to the circle team that I'd be working with, I think she hung on along with us until it was certain that this was my donor, right that we were done here, her job there was done, and that I was comfortably established. With the circle team
got it now intended parents who are going to do egg donation with circle, I can speak to that specifically, there are three different types of egg donation, you can do known egg donation, where the intended parents and the donor they know we exchange details and information, they talk, video, whatever it might be, they develop a relationship. And they talk about communication throughout the journey. And even after the journey, there's semi unknown, which is on a lesser scale of how much information and communication is happening. And then there is anonymous, which usually all of that communication usually will go through the agency. So what path did you guys take? So let me
start by saying that whatever you feel comfortable with is the right path for you. What I decided to do may not be what someone else feels comfortable with. And that's okay, after feel comfortable with the entire process, and you have to follow your gut. So I'll tell you my story. But don't feel like you need to go down this path. I prefer the idea of a known or a semi known donation with a strong preference for known. It wasn't going to be the number one deciding factor in terms of picking a donor. But it was certainly a consideration that was top of mind for me. And part of the reason that was important for me, is because as I mentioned, my mother passed away when I was very young, I was four. And there were questions that I had about my biology throughout my life to this very day that literally nobody can answer for me. And never, they never had any idea. So that was tough. It was tough to grow up with a biological parent, and yet have no sense of how their biology actually impacted me. And I didn't want that for my children. I wanted them to be able to reach out if they had a question about something, or if something changed in terms of the donors health status, something that could be passed along genetically, that she could call us and say, Hey, this is what's going on. It's important for you guys just to know so you can keep an eye on the kid for something, this that the other. So that was very important, also for me, and one of the reasons that I talk about my donation process and the whole thing so freely is because I want to normalize it as much as possible, because there's nothing wrong with using an egg donor. And part of that is, I think secrecy breeds shame, and there's nothing to be ashamed of. So my baby's 10 months, she can say Mum and Dad, and that's about it. But we already talked to her in terms of the child might be able to understand about her donor. And I want that to always be part of her story that she knows I don't want that to be a surprise one day. To me, I think that would be maybe more traumatic. And so if she wants to talk to her egg donor, I don't want her to be this mystery person. I want her to be an actual human being that my child can see and hear and communicate with as desired. Because I think the less mystery around it, though fewer questions around it, the easier is for her to just accept the situation and be proud of it.
Yeah, I think the more education there is around egg donation, and the benefits of doing unknown or a semi unknown, I think more people would lean in that direction. I mean, and you even mentioned, you know, egg donors donate eggs when they are younger in their 20s Right when they're in their 30s. And their parents start to get older. That's sort of when things start showing up medically, sometimes and to be able to talk about a diagnosis that a parent has had or something for you know, you guys to look out for, like that's so important. And as you said, it just keeps the door open for your daughter to know her origin story and her birth story and that's so important for for children to know where they came from. And you know, in the case of egg donation or even surrogacy, we wanted you so badly. Look at this amazing story that you have on how we brought you here like I think it's just it's Oh, it's like, it's still like makes me gives me the chills thinking about it. So you're now you decided no one or semi known with a match with an agency like circle intended parents and egg donors need to be on the same page about the type of match? Yep, we don't want one person wanting a lot more communication than the other, and they're all mutual matches. So while you had fallen in love with your egg donor and thought, God, she's the one, there would have been the opportunity for her to see your profile, not that this would ever happen. But to see your profile and say, it doesn't feel right for me, because there needs to be that mutual match. Because we feel just as important for intended parents to feel like they're finding the right person for an egg donor to feel like she's donating to the right people who feel like the right match for her. Absolutely. So, all right, so you guys are getting ready to officially match and you finally get to meet and buy meat that could be voice for the first time. So what was your first interaction with your donor? Like, what was it? Was it a video?
It was a zoom. We were we were on the West Coast. She lived on the East Coast. And and just
to set the time we are mid pandemic. Now is that where we are
mid pandemic pre vaccine days. Early on, early on, I was still pretty locked down at that point. So we happened to be on COVID vacation meaning we went like two hours from our house and rented an Airbnb.
And Dave inside. Yep, pretty
much we rented a big house with the pool because we couldn't go anywhere. And yeah, we did a zoom with her late afternoon, early evening for her. And we just honestly chatted, we just chatted for well over an hour, honestly, because it was fun. And it wasn't, you know, we went intentionally not meaning for it to be an interrogation, it wasn't telling me everything about you immediate, you know, that kind of thing. Honestly, like, we just wanted to get to know her. And I hate to be so LA when I say this, but we wanted to make sure that we vibe with her that she felt like someone that we could hang out with, because we also know that there are some things about her that will carry forward in our children. And we wanted to be really comfortable with the person that she was, and that she felt comfortable with us to help make all of that feel complete. And also, when we chose her. Yeah, and I was looking for certain things, certain traits, for sure. But as I mentioned, it was really about reading her profile and getting a sense of who she was, it was about selecting an entire human, right, I wasn't selecting eyeballs. I wasn't selecting hair or height per se. But this entire human is going to inform your child. And so we wanted to meet her as a person, not as a donor, you know, not as someone who's gonna give us eggs or anything like that, just who she is. And we wanted her to know us so that she felt comfortable donating and also felt comfortable with the possibility of having what is honestly a lifelong relationship.
And that's what you were hoping for you were hoping that you guys would be in each other's lives throughout the pregnancy and beyond.
I mean, I wasn't sure about the degree of contact. And I think that that can vary based on who you select. Our donor has a super open, friendly kind giving nature. And we are also very, super open people as well, that it just felt natural for us. She wasn't demanding. She certainly never asked, like I want to see pictures or anything of that nature. She let us control the relationship and the level of contact. But once we had gotten to know each other, I mean, it was very easy. We just fell into an easy friendship. So you know, it was all on my terms in terms of what I wanted to share. But I was so grateful to her. I wanted to share everything. You know, every time the doctor and saw that little baby on the screen, I would send her a little video of it just because she was a big part in making that a huge part of making that happen. And I just wanted her to see sort of like the fruit of her effort and her labor and what she was helping us the miracles she is helping bring into the world because this all
started during COVID You guys matched during COVID Which meant your retrieval was there any COVID Now, were you you weren't able were you able to go to the retrieval or no because of restrictions. So
she was able to fly from the East Coast to LA for the retrieval, obviously super masks and all that kind of stuff. But so she came out here for the retrieval. We were not able to be there in person for the retrieval. But because she was in town, and maybe 20 minutes from where we lived. She was right here. We already knew her. So I reached out and just asked if she wanted to come and have dinner with us one night before the retrieval because she was here by herself and she didn't know anybody and she's our donor. We wanted to take care of her we wanted to know her so she came out to Santa Monica where we live and we went to a restaurant that sort of like half a mile down the beach so she and I walked on the beach with the dog I've just kind of hung out and chatted. And then my husband met up with us and we had dinner together and
Jeff tacos. Okay,
we actually shared, we shared cheese boards and a bunch of like appetizers and a glass of wine. It was great.
That sounds amazing right now.
Yeah. It was awesome. And she's she says speeches like, I mean, I won't drink anything if you feel uncomfortable, and I was just like one glass of wine and this entire process, you're 24 It's totally fine.
Oh, God. And it's, I'm glad that you guys got a chance to spend time together. But it's every time I hear stories of how intended parents were like robbed of these moments during their journeys, because of COVID. It's just heartbreaking. But the fact that you guys got to spend some time together is really special. Interesting thing about egg donation versus a surrogacy journey is once the eggs are retrieved. Technically the donors job is done. In even if there is going to be a surrogacy pregnancy, after that the egg donation piece of it happens at the very, very, very beginning. Unlike a surrogate pregnancy, where there's involvement for nine more months of pregnancy, like once that retrieval happens, you sort of go and you get the embryo transfer. And obviously, you've got a lot of wonderful eggs, you guys created embryos, you got pregnant, what was communication, like now that for lack of a better term, her job was over. And I'm using air quotes on that, even though people are listening, because it is so much more than that. How did you keep in touch? Or what was the relationship like during your pregnancy?
So we became such fast friends that honestly at the end of that dinner, we exchanged, I guess we'd already exchanged phone numbers at that point. But I think I texted her after the dinner and said, like, Oh, it's so great to meet you. I mean, this at the other end, she, you know, responded back. And I think the donation, you know, the retrieval was actually happening two days or something. So we sort of stayed just in touch lightly again, like she was in process. So I let her do a little reaching, you know, we were always careful not to overwhelm one another, but at the same time, remained in contact. And she actually texted me right after the retrieval was done while she was in recovery. So it went pretty fluidly from there, where when I found out how many of the embryos tested, and were balanced and good to go, I reached out to her and I said, hey, guess what, like, this is what we've got going on. And like, we're super excited. And when I was going to do the transfer, I had to video it because my husband wasn't able to come in with me. But now I have this great video of my embryo being transferred. It's like amazing that I can show her someday the moment. You know, that's
great story, you have video of this great story moment
where her life kind of started.
Most people don't have that, by the way.
You know, it's only on the screen. So yeah, in a way, I completely agree. But I hear you see, I sent that to the donor. And then from there on basically, every time I went to the doctor and saw her little feet, you know, or putting her hands in her face. So we couldn't see her and all that kind of stuff. I would send video or picture and just like a little update about how we were both doing and she would respond. And also tell me about what was going on with her. She was applying to law school, she and her husband were moving back towards closer towards their home town, etcetera. And so, you know, we talked about baby things, but we'd also you know, talk about some general life stuff. And the next time I saw her was actually at my baby shower.
I'd love that story. Yeah,
it was important for me. I mean, she's a part of my life. And important part of my life. I chose that. And she chose that. And we're both happy with our relationship that way. But I wanted to honor everything that she had done for me. And it was really, you know, my friends are my family. And I've got a lot of them. I'm super lucky. I wanted them to meet her. I wanted them to know her. And I wanted her to know that like I was not ashamed of any of this. But I was like super proud of the process that she and I went through together. And super proud that we have come so far. I was probably six and a half months pregnant at that point and doing super well. And so yeah, so she met all my friends, she met my sister and my niece and everything. And I actually gave a toast to everybody there to thank them obviously for their support throughout a very long process really to thank my donor and tell her how important she was to me. And I told all my friends I said, this is now one of us, like she is part of our world. We love her and she has been past it and hopefully you know you'll see her at parties and things like that. I mean, they don't live super close, but she's forever invited to everything I throw these open invitation. Absolutely. An actual invitations like first birthday is coming up, she'll she'll get an invitation to that. And afterwards she wrote me a nice note and she just said I don't expect To be recognized that way, but until you did it, I didn't realize how important it was for me to, to receive that type of recognition and to really feel like I was a big part of your, your journey, which she absolutely is. So I was really happy and grateful that she was able to be there. And then I was able to express my appreciation in an open forum. So everybody could really understand that like how I felt about her and what she did for us.
That must have been such a special day for both of you. I'm sure she was so honored to be invited and to be part of the celebration.
Yeah. And I was so proud. I was like, Look at this wonderful human who
helped me right is doing an amazing thing. Who didn't? Yeah, that's a wonderful, you had talked about Express throughout our entire conversation, how what your relationship is, with your donor, how proud and grateful you are, did you? Before you got to that point, did you ever have any feelings of jealousy, or maybe feeling like you wouldn't bond with the baby or anything like that before you got to this place of just love and light and gratitude.
I mean, I never felt any type of jealousy towards my donor. I don't feel anything bad towards her at all. She is like my angel on Earth. I am a mom. And when you become a mom, you you all of a sudden learn about mom guilt. I wasn't afraid of not bonding with my baby, because she wasn't genetically matched with me. But as a mom every day are like, am I spending enough time with them, and it never goes away, by the way never goes? Books, my cuddling enough. So in that way, I worry all the time about bonding with my baby. But that has nothing to do with how her life started out. It has to do with being a mom, and you've asked yourself those questions for the rest of your life.
Absolutely. So one last question for you. If you and by the way, thank you so much for being so open and honest about your journey and egg donation. And that whole process, as you mentioned, I don't think a lot of people know a lot about it, or they don't talk a lot about it. It's a beautiful process for everybody involved. And it's changing lives and building beautiful relationship. And I think egg donation is an amazing way to grow your family, there's a ton of different ways to grow your family. I think egg donation is one of the most amazing ones because the bonds that are created, a lot of this conversation that we had was really you sharing your story but but educating people a bit on what the process is like to go through what would you say to somebody who was struggling to get pregnant going through IVF? And just not finding the success that they're looking for? And having egg donation be on the table for them? What would you what would you tell them about it,
I am a realist at heart in a lot of ways. So the first thing I would tell them is, if at the end of the day, your goal is to have a child, not necessarily your genetic child, but a child, you have to be realistic. And start by looking at your finances. I love the idea that you could do endless rounds of IVF. A, it's not that much fun. So you don't want to do endless rounds of IVF be it's super expensive. So I mean, you can't really necessarily afford it. Honestly, seven rounds, in my mind was way too many rounds. The only reason that that happened was because we switched doctors at one point, which my husband felt strongly about. And I didn't, but that's okay. And so we did a couple more rounds because of that, also because of COVID. So you know, there were things that informed our situation. But if you know that donation is potentially on the table, you just have to be realistic about your finances and understand how many times you can afford the IVF process. And at what point you have to abandon that process. So you can financially afford the egg donor process. I hate to be so tactical about it. But I if you really want a child, I really want you to have one. And I don't want you to just go through endless IVF and then not be able to afford to go ahead with a donor.
Yeah, I mean, it's great advice. I think making that just that decision is going to be very, it's very personal. And it's going to be very different for everyone. But I think keeping that in the back of your mind is is important. You know, sometimes you don't want to think about stuff like that. You want to focus on the other on the other parts of of what you're going through in the moment. But looking a little long term. And I mean, you've through the whole time that you've talked today you have been very open about I wanted to baby I was in this I wanted to leave with a baby. So you know that's how you were making your decisions and how that sort of shaped your journey and I think it's important Do for others to think long term like that and figure out what it is they want at the end of the day. And hopefully that will help them get through some of the rough patches.
Yeah. And honestly, throughout the entire process, I think people should go with their gut. But I also think that people should take a real look at the results that they're getting. And if you're not getting results that are going to work for you usable, viable results, I think it's important to start talking about other options, not committing, necessarily, but just starting to have the conversations, have them with your partner, have them with your doctor, you do not have to commit to anything through those conversations. But it's just important to start understanding sooner rather than later what those realities are. And also, at a certain point, you start to become a little bit excited about it, when you start to think about having success, and finding someone who can help you have that success. After two years of being in this cycle of what felt like failure after failure after failure, it was very exciting to look towards something that was going to yield a successful result. Hope there was hope and there was light at the end of the tunnel and crazy after such a long journey. I still look at my baby today. 10 months old and sometimes think, oh my god, like how can you actually be here like you're here. You're human, you're real and your mind. Because for so long, it just felt like an impossible dream. But it's not. It's not an impossible dream. You just have to get through it. And you'll have a baby. Oh, thank
you so much, Kate, for sharing your story today. It's a beautiful story, and hopefully one that will educate listeners about egg donation and what that process is like and how beautiful it can be. So thank you. You shared a lot today. So I really appreciate it.
My pleasure and just best of luck to everybody on their fertility journey.
Thank you for listening today. This is the Family Circle and we'll see you next time.

Hello & Welcome - Kristin Marsoli
Introducing Kate!
Kate's Story
How Did You Decide to Begin IVF?
Of the Rounds of IVF, Were You Able to Get Pregnant?
How Long Did You Pursue IVF?
How Did You Decide to Complete IVF?
Did You Suggest Using an Egg Donor, or Did the Doctor Suggest It?
What Was the Mental and Emotional Change of Shifting from IVF to Using an Egg Donor?
What Your Husband Supportive of Using an Egg Donor?
Was Anything Else Besides Egg Donation on Your Option List for Family Building?
How Do You Even Begin to Choose an Egg Donor?
What Requirements for an Egg Donor Did You Have?
How Did You Go About Selecting Your Donor?
Who Are Egg Donors?
What Are Next Steps Once You Find a Donor You’re Interested In?
How Did You Choose the Type of Egg Donation That Was Right for You?
What Was the First Interaction with Your Donor Like?
Were You Able to Go to the Retrieval and Meet?
What Was Communication Like After the Donor’s Retrieval Was Over?
Kate’s Baby Shower
Did You Ever Have Any Feelings of Jealousy Toward Your Donor or Worry You’d Struggle to Bond With Your Baby
What Would You Say to Someone Struggling to Get Pregnant and Considering Egg Donation?
Thank You!