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  • Tara Brandner

A Journey With Egg Donation

At the age of 17, I started on birth control after being in a serious relationship for quite some time. I had hopes and dreams for myself so felt this was a necessary step to further safeguard this. My high school sweetheart and I dated for many years and finally got married in August 2004. I was a recent graduate and felt completely confident in my career path. It was at that time that my husband and I decided to start pursue a family. With no success and having symptoms of menopause, we decided to meet with a fertility specialist. I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure on 7/6/06, just shy of my 24th Birthday. My husband and I had multiple discussions with this medical team. At that time, I wasn’t ready to pursue a family just yet as instead I just wanted answers….why?? I’m one of 4 biological siblings with no history of any fertility issues on either side. What went wrong and why me?? I still don’t have any confirmed answers but do believe the longevity of my birth control played a role.

Knowing my fate, my husband and I chose to take some time for ourselves and had a blast living life to our fullest throughout the next 8 years. We also spent this time slowly saving for our reality soon to come. It wasn’t until August 2012 that we started down the path of fertility treatments. I, myself, knew I couldn’t biologically have my own child but we had the knowledge that there were alternatives to give us the family we wanted. For various reason, we chose egg donation. We started working with my younger sister for the next year and after a failed IVF attempt, but knowing we were so close, we decided to go through an anonymous donor bank. The process was overwhelming. It’s honestly like picking out a new car. Hair color, height, education level, genetics, etc all played in to our final decision. We could only see baby pictures and it wasn’t until you paid for the embryos that you got to see an adult picture. Of course, my husband had his responsibilities as well to make this work but we were so determined and financially invested that there was no stopping us now. I believe we are one of the first in ND to try through egg donation.

On February 16, 2015, two embryos were implanted and on February 25th we were told the awesome news that one stuck! My pregnancy was fairly quiet compared to all we faced prior. Cale Matthew Hill (named after my husband) was born on November 6, 2015, same day as his daddy which was the best gift ever!

We froze our last embryo and attempted again in 2017. Lane Francis Hill (named after my grandfather) was born on March 9, 2018.

We’ve endured emotional stress and financially broke us but we now have our two greatest gifts and couldn’t be prouder. We worked very hard to get where we are today and had the best support system around to accomplish this feat. Couldn’t have done it without them!

Although we never plan to keep this information from our two miracle boys and in fact have baby books already started illustrating our journey, I do have concerns about current/future technology and having our boys getting linked to our anonymous egg donor/family members from DNA testing. We have no regrets for the decision we made but these donors chose to go anonymous for a reason which DNA testing will exploit.

We are happy to share our journey in hopes of providing hope for other during those dark days!

Jennifer Hill

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