Nothing Says Valentine’s Day Like A Little Sperm Donation
After being diagnosed with cancer I had so many questions running through my head. My largest concern was how chemotherapy would affect my body. So many cancer patients rush into treatment without even considering the long term affects of how absorbing what is essentially mustard gas will affect them later on in life.
Fertility was one of those issues I figured I should be worried about. I was told by my doctor that chemotherapy could potentially throw me into early menopause, meaning I would go through it before I turned 35. By the time I actually planned on having kids I’d be well into my 30’s which meant my chances of conceiving would already be lower. Throw chemotherapy on top of that and the chances didn’t seem that great to me.
Now, I am not one of those women that says “Aww!” when I see a baby, but I also know that realistically, within the next ten years I will probably turn into one of those women. So off to the fertility clinic I went! The doctor explained to me that if I froze my unfertilized eggs they would only last a few years. The science is fairly new and there is no way to tell how long they will last, probably no longer than five years. If I decided to freeze my eggs as embryos (eggs fertilized with semen) they would most likely last for about 15 years. Since I don’t plan on having kids in five years or less, it seemed to me that I should probably freeze at least some of my eggs as embryos.
I had about five seconds to decide if this was what I definitely wanted to do before I started chemo. As it turns out, being on day three of your period is the absolute perfect time to start harvesting your eggs. The stars had aligned, everything was falling into place perfectly, it must have been a sign from above! Without any hesitation I said “Let’s get this shit rolling!” Ten days of injecting hormones into my thighs, I knew this was going to be a tough road ahead of me.
I immediately decided to ask my best friend, Adam, for his “goods”. I figured it was a win-win situation since he is gay, and if I didn’t wind up having to use the eggs then he could have as many as his heart desired when he was ready to start a family. He said he would think about it and after a few days he finally agreed. I was so happy that I was doing this with someone whom I could trust and have loved deeply for many years instead of a stranger from a sperm bank.
I received a phone call the following day from a nurse at the fertility clinic, Mary-Ann, and my whole world was shattered. I was told I wouldn’t be able to use Adam’s sperm because it needed to be screened first and the process would take six months. This meant that now I had the tedious task of sifting through hundreds of profiles online until I found a suitable donor. I was extremely hesitant to do so at first. The thought of potentially having a baby with a complete stranger repulsed me. After I got off the phone with Mary-Ann I spent several hours trying to warm myself up to the idea of visiting the website they suggested and looking for a donor. I kept reminding myself that my fertility would probably be fine after chemotherapy and that I was doing all of this only as a worse case scenario kind of thing.
So there I sat, staring at my computer screen trying to decide if I wanted a donor with green eyes or brown eyes? Wavy or straight hair? Light or medium complexion? Was his medical history clear? Should I pay extra to download a photo of the donor or just pray to God he wasn’t hideous? After two days of the Great Online Sperm Hunt I kept going back to one profile in particular. He was 6’2″, 203lbs, green eyes, wavy brown hair, and had a fair completion. He was Belarusian (yes, I had to look it up and see if it was a country. Turns out it is! Right next to Russia and Latvia) His medical history was clear and the staff said he was quite attractive. A big factor that played in my decision making process was his answer to who he would have lunch with, alive or dead: George Carlin. An answer I myself might have given. If I did actually wind up having to use the embryos I’d obviously want to turn out the coolest kid possible. The Belarusian was the clear winner for that.The sickest part of the whole shopping for jizz online thing was that there was actually a place to put in a promo code! No lie, www.cryobank.com for any of you that feel like checking it out. 795 bucks later I had Belarusian swimmers on their way.
February 13th is when they scheduled my egg retrieval, which in my eyes seemed totally stupid considering there had been a warning in the beginning of the week about how it was going to snow like crazy that day. My appointment was originally at 1pm, but since I didn’t take my trigger shot (to stimulate the release of my eggs) until almost 4 hours after I was supposed to, they changed it to 4pm. Mom, dad, and I all piled into the truck and headed an hour South to go get the job done. When we got there, it was a pleasant surprise to see someone else in the waiting room and it made me feel like less of an asshole for making the staff come in on a snow day. (Even though it was their own fault for scheduling my retrieval for that day)
After an hour and half of waiting it was my turn to go in. I put on my gown, slipper socks, and hairnet cap and was ready to do this thing! In between jokes about Saran wrap underwear and sleeping with his sister, the anesthesiologist started preparing me for my 20 minute nap.The nurse told me to lay back and then to scoot my butt down towards her. “Keep going. More. A little more.” I felt like my vagina was going to hit this poor woman in the face at any moment. Then she said “I can’t position you right, I think your left buttcheek is bigger than you’re right.” I had to lift my butt up and down to try to get my cheeks to be even and eventually we had great success. Off to Sleepyland I went and before I knew it I was being woken up and asked how I was feeling.
They retrieved a total of twelve eggs. Seven would be frozen as eggs and five as Belarusian fertilized embryos. However, of the five embryos, only two were mature. I didn’t exactly understand what this meant until I got a phone call the following day. Only one egg had been fertilized. The other mature egg didn’t take and the non-mature eggs were unusable. Great! All this work to make sure I didn’t have to have kids within the next few years ruined. They told me I could harvest my eggs again if I wanted to, but the idea of shooting myself with hormones again on top of starting chemo didn’t seem too appealing to me. They scheduled an appointment on the 24th of February for me to talk with the doctor about my options. I can’t wait…
So here I lay, in bed, watching Gilmore Girls on Valentine’s Day (though it’s after midnight so I suppose it’s over), contemplating if I want to go through egg harvesting again or just hope for the best and pray that I won’t even need to use my backup eggs. Man, all this egg talk has me craving an omelet! Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all!