Donor Conception

The Expectant Grandfather, Part Four: The Coda

Eloise Edington  |  26 Jan 2020


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The finale in our four-part series of the feelings of infertility from a grandfather’s perspective. To catch up, read back part one here, part two here and part three here.

Infertility from a grandfather’s perspective

Standing on a busy street corner, a phone call confirmed that twelve of my daughter-in-law’s eggs had fertilized.  It was a difficult message for my son to hear – wonderful news, but set against the backdrop of disappointment.

My daughter-in-law continued with fertility acupuncture after a Day 3 embryo transfer of two embryos. She was disappointed they weren’t Day 5 blastocysts. The benefits of fertility acupuncture as a supporting fertility treatment, including the stimulation of increased uterine blood flow and fertility hormones, seem to be more and more supported.

I sat on the plane feeling very privileged to have been so close to the centre of something momentous in the couple’s lives. I loved the time I spent with them on their trying to conceive journey and felt honoured that I could play a small supporting role in a process which enabled me to be with them each day as they dealt with the ups and downs of the IVF journey.

At Heathrow, we found a wheelchair for my recovering son, and took them home. In the afternoon, a text message came through – my daughter-in-law had heard from New York: “Two good embryos are being frozen for the future.” Great news!

Related Article – 2WW – 7 Must Do’s to Survive Your Two Week Wait During IVF

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BFN (Big Fat Negative)

The future looked rosy, but the inevitable ‘down’ came very soon. I saw my daughter-in-law over Easter, looking distraught with my red-eyed son beside her. A pregnancy test had proved negative. I was very, very upset thinking of how much the two of them had already gone through for their desperately wanted child. My daughter-in-law questioned her own ability to bear children and reached a very low place, emotionally.

I became acutely aware of the distress so many others must go through when trying to conceive, as it had been so relatively easy for my family so far. We needed answers, which meant more questions for the New York fertility specialist: was there an explanation for why this IVF cycle with ‘perfect’ donor sperm might have failed? Could it have anything to do with the quality of the eggs, or the donor sperm?

The result of the call was a decision for the couple to return to New York to do a frozen embryo transfer with the remaining two blastocysts.

Related Article – Infertility Counselling – 10 Ways an Infertility Counsellor Can Help Through Infertility Trauma

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Months later, in London, we sat down to a delicious breakfast of toasted bagels with smoked salmon and doughnuts – and in front of me on the table, there was a present. I opened it – a Ladybird book called ‘The Dad‘‘, and inside the front cover was an inscription from my son:

“Dear Dad, Happy Father’s Day, I will be in your shoes this time next year.”

I welled with emotion at the wonderful news and gave them both a teary hug.

The arrival date approached. It wasn’t a quick exit (poor Mum) –  but eventually my mobile phone made an unfamiliar sound – it was a FaceTime call, and there was an image of a tired looking Dad, and in his arms a little girl looking strong, healthy and beautiful. I wrote a letter:

You are going through something momentous to bring another family member into my and all our lives and all I can say is that I am delighted and very grateful that my new grandchild is so close to entering the world.

My granddaughter is very lucky to have landed you two as her parents – you will surround her with love, ensure she studies and learns well, knows right from wrong, has good family values, and she will grow up with all your friends, as well as family, to support her as she grows into adulthood.

And she will know how to replicate a caring and loving relationship in her own life. But I know this is getting ahead of things.

Well done to Mum and Dad – huge congratulations to you both and I can’t wait to get my mitts on this little person – we need to start talking about boats, tennis and all the other interests I hope we will share together.

With all my love, Grandpa

 I think of all those other couples who go through the traumatic trying to conceive struggle to make babies, and my heart goes out to every single one of them.

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