Here’s somewhere I never pictured myself: sitting with my MacBook propped up on my lap, dissecting dozens of women’s smiles through pictures on the Internet. Does that crinkle on her forehead connote kindness? Do I detect a hint of silliness? Or is that dread and desperation seeping through my screen?
Choosing an egg donor is a kind of weird and twisted way of being my husband’s wing-woman. “Come on, this one is super pretty,” I say to Tzvi, as he shifts uncomfortably in his seat. “Don’t you want to combine your genes with hers?” He stays committed to his oft-stated position that this is my call. All of this is my call. Because this woman, whoever we choose, could be my biological proxy in creating our child.
But none of this makes sense. None of this is how it was “supposed” to be. I mean, sure, I came to terms long ago that the “usual” way of getting pregnant isn’t in the cards for us; that baby-making ship has sailed so far away, it’s not even a blip on the horizon. Needing an egg donor for fertility treatment, though? This feels impossible.
A little over four years ago, we found out definitively that we had a serious problem with the sperm side of things—in that, Tzvi wasn’t making any. I’m no fertility specialist, but even I know that’s kind of an important piece of the puzzle.
Without getting into the gory details, a fertility doctor was able to extract sperm—miraculously and surgically—from Tzvi (yes, that’s probably as uncomfortable as it sounds), which left us feeling sure this was just an unfortunate hiccup on our road to parenthood. I was young (only 30 when we started this fertility journey), with an abundance of eggs, so we presumed we’d have a round of IVF and we’d be done.
It wasn’t so simple.