Figuring out Plan Q

My family is amazing. My great grandmother came across the Oregon Trail, and I have her diary. I have a chest my grandmother made in shop class back in the 1930s – my grandmother (a woman!) took shop class in the 1930s! I have a German diary from a great, great, great uncle with a handwritten note inside the cover. Both my husband and my families have such rich history of hardships, of triumph, and adventure. We both love to trace our lineages and learn about our ancestors.

For this reason, the idea of donor DNA (sperm/egg) and adoption are so hard for us. Yes, the children will be our children. We will get the privilege of parenting them and watching them grow into amazing human beings. However, our family history is not their family history. They have no genetic linkage to our past.

I have lived and breathed genetics since I was in 7th grade. I now am paid to think about DNA every day. I very much understand that we all came from a single ancestor but since then our paths have diverged. I married my husband because I wanted to mix our DNA and raise a family together. I’ve imagined what these children would look like – a blend of my husband and myself. I question what sports they’d excel at (I float in water, my husband sinks). I wonder where they would take our lineage (I’d be amazed if they went into music because both of our families are tone deaf though I no doubt that they would amaze us).

If we needed to go with donor sperm, it would be my DNA mixed with a stranger’s. Or if we went with donor eggs, it would by husband’s lineage mixed with an unknown lineage. If we opted for one or the other, the other spouse would loose. To be fair, we decided to go with no donor parts before starting on this journey. Granted this was when we thought IVF was going to result in a baby. Granted, we also said no IVF before we were married, if we couldn’t have kids (which we didn’t think would be a problem), we’d just adopt.

Now we are faced with choices that are far from our first choice. Hell, these are not even our 2nd and 3rd choices. I think we are down to figuring out Plan Q at this point.

As of today, this is what we have determined are our remaining options:

1) Remain childless. Okay, this is not an option we will choose, but it may be chosen for us.

2) More fertility testing to figure out where the problem lies. Then go to donor sperm/egg, maybe.

2a) If it is a sperm issue, my husband and mother-in-law have suggested asking my brother-in-law to use his sperm. This way, the child still has both of our family histories and DNA. My husband and I are both not 100% comfortable with this idea but prefer it over stranger’s DNA. We are not comfortable or have been comfortable with any of the options – we didn’t even want to do IVF. We’d like just to have sex and make a baby. Apparently, we don’t have a say in any of this.

2b) If we want to go way out there, we could mix my husband’s sister’s eggs with my brother’s sperm. I don’t have a sister to ask for some eggs from so this came up as a joke option. Who knows now??? Maybe??

2c) Donor egg and donor sperm. At this point, why not just do option 3? The benefit of this option is it would be less heartache and waiting than option 3, most likely cheaper than option 3, I’d get to carry the child, and I’d get the experience of giving birth.

3) Adopt. Take someone’s child that has no other option to give up her child. No other option for that women. This breaks my heart. I couldn’t imagine having to hand my child over to strangers. It breaks my heart to ask someone I don’t know to give me their child, but we may have to do just that.




6 thoughts on “Figuring out Plan Q

  1. We are doing donor egg IVF and it was quite a leap to get through until we started reading about epigenetics, which shows how much the mother pregnant with a child still gives to the growing baby. We also considered it “adopting an egg” which really helps change the perspective and a year since doing it I don’t even think about are frozen embryos coming from eggs contributed by a donor. Every time we wanted to stop we just thought to ourselves of what the alternative would be like without children… and thus far it’s kept us going. Not telling you what you need to do just sharing our journey for some perspective…


    1. Thank you for sharing! Epigenetics is amazing! Also environmental influences have a huge role in shaping us. My mother-in-law’s twin has MS while she doesn’t. Genetically identical yet very different individuals.

      It is not an easy choice to figure out what next but is nice to know we are not the only ones faced with these hard choices. We think our first step is to determine what donor parts we need – we are not sure why when we do IVF that the embryos do not develop correctly (is it the sperm? is it the egg? both?). We figure it wouldn’t hurt to meet with a local adoption counselor to explore that option. We figure we will continue to take it one step of the time and learn to expand our views on how a family is made in the process.


        1. No and I kick myself now for not doing it. We thought though our only problem was low sperm count which ICSI would fix. We are going to have our charts sent to two other clinics (TBT) to get a few different opionions on what would be a good next move. Our doctor in Portland is very nice but he does not understand the genetics very well. He was not aware of aneuploidy or sperm DNA fragmentation.


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