Having made the decision to donate our frozen embryos to an infertile couple, we contacted our clinic to determine the next steps in the process. I assumed that we would be working together with our clinic to place the embryos with a deserving couple. I was wrong. My clinic informed me that once our decision had been made, the only measure they took was to agree to hold the embryos until we decided where they should be placed. The responsibility of finding a recipient couple was in our hands alone.
I must admit I was initially taken aback by this, not to mention incredibly intimidated. How would I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we were making the right choice? And more importantly~who was I to play God and decide which couple was most deserving of this opportunity? I felt like having been through IVF, I'd been given just the tiniest glimpse through the infertility peephole. Having seen firsthand the hope, the heartache, the relentless emotional rollercoaster that existed in this sacred world, did I dare venture back into it, knowing I might be able to give just one person what could potentially be the answer to their prayers?
I decided that I needed to know more, needed to have a better understanding of what some of these women had experienced. I spent countless hours on the internet reading websites, blogs, anything I could get my hands on about living with infertility. I shed countless tears, my heart aching for these women I didn't even know. Weeping tears for the children that would never be theirs, or in some cases, the children they lost too soon. It was on one of these sites that I first saw her. The woman who would forever become a part of my life. I read her tale of heartache, how after her struggle for years with infertility she finally conceived through their one and only round of IVF in the hopes of having a genetic child. The joy they experienced upon learning she was expecting, only to have their world come crashing in about 6 months later when their beautiful daughter was born severely prematurely, and taken back to heaven a short time later. I felt an instantaneous bond with this woman that words cannot explain. The pain I felt for her was the pain you feel for a dear friend, someone with whom you share an inexplicable connection.
The memory of this woman stayed with me as I searched the websites provided by my clinic which handled the still evolving process of embryo donation. I searched page after page, profile after profile, and nothing seemed right. Nothing seemed to fit. In the course of all of my research, I'd located another website not provided by my clinic called Miracles Waiting. Upon registering on their site, I started reading profiles and was literally breathless. The same woman I'd found on one of the blogs~the woman with whom I'd felt an immediate connection~had placed an ad on this site. Sitting at my desk at work, tears started streaming down my face. It was her. I've never felt more certain of anything in my life. This was the woman I'd been looking for.
I immediately emailed her to introduce myself, to find out if this could truly be the answer to my prayers. After several exchanges, I learned that she & her husband had all but given up hope on the possibility of embryo adoption. In fact, they had begun to take the steps toward domestic adoption. I felt my spirits deflate. While extremely grateful and forthcoming, she requested some time to reflect so that she & her husband could be sure they were making the right decision. She asked to have the weekend to consider, with the promise to respond by Monday. Naturally, I could not deny her this request. I sincerely appreciated her honesty. But while I still hoped for the best, I felt as though I also needed to prepare myself for the worst.
Over that weekend, I started reading several other profiles in the event this woman felt as though she wasn't able to proceed. I came across another profile that caught my eye, and after several exchanges began to feel a connection with this woman as well. My emotional investment was now at an all-time high. I had two women with whom I felt a bond, but I would only be able to potentially help one of them. That Sunday evening, I received a response from the woman I'd initially contacted telling me (much to my delighted surprise) that they would very much like to accept our offer! I was elated. And just as quickly I was hit with what felt like a blow to the gut. I now needed to tell the 2nd woman I'd been in contact with that our initial couple had accepted. I had never given the other woman any type of definitive commitment and she was very much aware that I'd previously been in contact with someone else. But it did not make the delivery of this news any easier. She handled it with the utmost respect and gratitude.
Now that the connection had been established and we had been undeniably led to one another, it was time to officially start the process that would forever change both of our lives. And it is there I will continue tomorrow.