My sister is having cold feet. After speaking with the doctor and doing some research, she is afraid not so much of the known risks of egg donation; hyperstimulating, rare complications from the procedure, feeling bloated etc., but of the somewhat unknown risks to her own potential fertility. My sister is younger and does not yet have kids. There are no long term studies of egg donors and while the doctor assures us that her fertility shouldn't be at risk, there is still a lot that is unknown. And that's scary.
It is my understanding that when a donor gives eggs, she is essentially giving the cohort of eggs that are currently in her ovaries on a given month. Medication is given to grow as many follicles at one time, and then they are removed. This should not affect the ovarian reserve of the donor. But who really knows the effect of the medications long term, or the result of stretching out the ovary or poking it with a needle to extract the eggs. It would be a really hard thing to study, I suppose. A woman can be infertile after donating eggs because she is simply older, or she could have problems with her fallopian tubes, which is unrelated to the ovaries. It would be hard to know what caused what, unless there was a clear correlation between donors and infertility. The best we can offer is to freeze some of Hana's eggs for herself as back up, just in case.
Since we began this journey, my family has been joking about me harvesting Hana for her eggs, but now that this is not only a reality but one of our only viable options, no one is laughing anymore. And it's become a stressful issue to my entire family. My dad struggles with knowing how to be involved, and understandably is overwhelmed with the thought that what could help one of his daughters have a baby and move on with her life could potentially put his other daughter at risk. My sister is stressed out. She wants to help us so badly, and I know that in her heart, but she doesn't want something bad to happen to her. She doesn't want to not be able to have her own kids one day, and she doesn't want to feel worried about it for the years until she starts trying to have her own kids. I'm stressed out that I've put my family in this situation. I've spent much of my life as the older sister protecting Hana from bad things, and here I am asking something of her that is causing her anguish and anxiety.
But what choices do we have? Noah and I are often in a position of making the best worst choice. We have to constantly weigh the risk and benefits and costs of a given option, make a choice, and move forward. Our choices thus far have led us no closer to having a family, yet I don't regret what we've tried. This experience has taught me to make a decision and stick with it. I am angry when it doesn't work out, but not regretful.
My sister has to either get to that point, where she is fully on board with no regrets, or she has to tell us she doesn't want to do it and we will respect that decision. We aren't asking to borrow a DVD, we're asking for a big part of her, and we very much know that.
So we wait. As we have done now in various ways for years. I will continue to look into other options and we will see how all this pans out.