This strange feeling of detachment persisted. We knew what day the donor would be donating because B had to go to the clinic to wank into a cup (it is what it is, so let’s not dress it up as anything else) so her eggs could be fertilised. And while I wanted to know how many eggs they’d got from her, how many had been fertilised, how many had got to day 2, day 5, how many blastocysts, I didn’t have that same desperate-for-the-phone-to-ring anxiety.
Maybe it was that I still felt quite detached from it, but I think a lot of it was also because I feel more sanguine about the whole process. More aware that there’s nothing I can do that will change the outcome so whether I know at 10am that day how many embryos looked healthy, or whether I don’t find that information out until seven hours later makes no odds.
I don’t feel like you need to know the details of those days. I feel like we’ve been there before. That bit where you have to confirm your date of birth before they tell you anything. The way it seems as if they’re speaking at a quarter of the usual speed until they finally tell you the numbers you’re waiting to hear…
And those numbers. I’ve always been honest about my numbers on here. How many eggs, how many fertilised, how many got to day 3, 5, blastocyst, whatever. But maybe it was easy because I never thought my numbers were in any way enviable. I got 14 eggs from THREE rounds of egg freezing when I was 36, 37. And I was hearing of friends who got 40 from a single round. When, aged 40, I did three rounds of IVF, the highest number of eggs I managed to get from a single round was TWO. But now I’ve got numbers to share that I worry will make other people feel shit about theirs. But I’m going to share them because – and I say this with absolutely no self-pity whatsoever – nothing has made me feel quite so vindicated in our decision to use a donor as these numbers. Nothing has brought home to me quite as clearly the uphill struggle that was trying to get pregnant with my own eggs as these numbers. Nothing has made me realise that even if I’d started trying to conceive in my early 30s, it would have been difficult — perhaps even impossible — like these numbers did.
Because in a single cycle, our amazing, altruistic, fertile donor produced more eggs, and consequently more blastocysts than I produced in all of the seven egg collection cycles I’ve done in the last eight years. 31 eggs, of which 24 were mature, of which 15 fertilised normally, from which we have 10 frozen blastocysts. TEN. It’s a number that’s inconceivable (no pun intended) to me. Of course we still have a long way to go. Nothing is guaranteed, but it’s a step in the right direction.