Archive for January, 2009
Thursday, January 29th, 2009
Congratulations to the fabulous BHED (Beverly Hills Egg Donation) donor recruitment team for not only reaching, but exceeding their goal for new active donors in the month of January. Our egg donor database features young women from 23 states and Canada, and our team is updating the site on a daily basis. Some recent stand-outs include Nicole #4891 who has traveled the world and speaks four (!) languages, Tina #4841–a PhD student at USC, and volleyball phenom, Andrea #4840. We meet and interview all of our applicants personally to ensure that we continue to maintain a group of egg donors that features the best of the best.
Keep up the good work, ladies!!
Tuesday, January 27th, 2009
One of the questions Intended Parents ask often is “Can you recommend a good doctor?”. Other variations of that question are “Should I stay with my current doctor?”, “Should I move to a doctor closer to where the egg donor lives?”, and sometimes “I’m not sure if I should move doctors or not – what do you think?”.
Here are the answers to those questions, in my opinion…
1) “Can you recommend a good doctor?” Yes, we can provide recommendations to you.
We have been fortunate enough to work with many of the top Reproductive Endocrinologists (“fertility doctors”) in the country, and from those experiences (and client feedback) we have a good sense of who most of the better doctors are. We base our recommendations on a number of factors, including:
- General reputation and feedback from past patients
- Quality and professionalism of the office staff (front office, nursing, etc.)
- General compliance with current “industry standards”, including information such as number of embryos typically implanted, compliance with common testing, administration of medication, etc. (Note that since we are not physicians, we cannot comment, and would not deign to comment, on any particular doctor’s medical protocol. However, when we see a lower success rate and highly unusual protocol used, we get concerned…)
- General office “vibe” (for example, many clinics with in-house programs are very negative towards working with egg donor agencies.)
- Specific success rates (sometimes per SART, sometimes per our own information or in-house statistics.)
Note that we do not limit our work to any particular group or clinic, but as we gather first-hand information, we will use it to help our clients make the best choice for them.
2) “Should I stay with my current doctor?” “Should I move to a doctor closer to where the donor lives?” That all depends…
I believe that the most important criteria in choosing or keeping your physician include:
- Your comfort level with and trust in your doctor. If you love your doctor and totally trust him or her, as long as they are supportive of using an egg donor from an agency, definitely keep that doctor. I think that if you are calm during the process, and are willing to do what your doctor says because you trust in that doctor, you are more likely to have a successful cycle. This is only said from anecdotal evidence and other’s opinions, but being in a good place psychologically as you’re on buckets of hormones (and going through a somewhat surreal process) can’t help but benefit you. Does statistical research confirm that? I don’t know – but it sure seems logical.
- If finances are an issue (as they generally are) and you choose an egg donor from another city, you might want to consider moving to a doctor in that city. However, if you love your current doctor, the difference in dollars is probably irrelevant – certainly in the long term. If you do choose to use or keep a doctor in a city far from where the donor lives, make sure that you’re aware of the outside monitoring costs as early in the process as possible. (The finance person at the doctor’s office, along with our cycle coordinator, can help you with that.) The less surprises that happen in this process, the better.
All of BHED’s clients are assigned a Cycle Coordinator – a senior member of our staff who follows your case through from the time you choose your doctor until retrieval (and often, beyond.) The Cycle Coordinator will be in regular contact with your doctor’s office from the time you sign your contract with us, and she will alert you if we have any unexpected challenges with the doctor’s office. Most of the time things work out just fine.
Note that we stay with you until you become pregnant or you decide to discontinue trying. Your choice of doctor is certainly an important part of this process, and is one of the keys to the success of your pursuit to begin or build your family.
We look forward to helping you realize your dream through egg donation!
-Lisa Greer, BHED Managing Partner
Tuesday, January 20th, 2009
It takes a village.
There are a lot of people involved in making a successful egg donation cycle happen. There are doctors, nurses, schedulers, attorneys, paralegals, lab techs – not to mention donors and recipients. Perfect cycles are easy – donors go to their appointments, test results are ideal, contracts are signed quickly, no one has a vacation or a sick day and we’re in and out before we know it. That doesn’t happen very often. It is far more likely that an unexpected bump in the road will present itself and it will require everyone to rise to the occasion. On those days the true professionals literally shine.
I am lucky to work with a number of doctor’s offices and attorneys who understand what it takes to get the job done. They are patient, fast acting, flexible and magically easy to reach. Nurse coordinators, especially, are the heart of the egg donation cycle machine. Their willingness to be a team player, to be communicative, to stay calm in the face of any surprise is invaluable. Nurses are often the unsung heroes in the shadow of the incredible work of the doctors and embryologists but their role will impact the cycle profoundly. Unfortunately there aren’t SART statistics about the positive outlook of the nurse coordinator at a particular office or “number of phone calls returned per week” but there should be. If you’re in the process of choosing a fertility clinic for your cycle – spend some time with the IVF nurses before you make your decision. Ask them what would happen if the donor needed to adjust the calendar by one day for a family event and how often that happens. Their answer will tell you a lot about how they would approach an unexpected issue – big or small.
-Ellie Klein, BHED Cycle Coordinator
Friday, January 16th, 2009
I have gained a new appreciation for my life as a homebody. I have always been one—I prefer to be in sweats over jeans, flats over heels, on my couch versus a bar stool. All the way back as far as I can remember. But over the past year, it’s gotten to be a much more appealing way of life. When I’m going through a cycle (about to begin my third), I don’t consider my body mine for the time being. A couple picked me out of a pretty amazing lot to be the one to—hopefully—give them a child. I don’t take that lightly. I am humbled to even be considered, and it’s an honor to be chosen. For the month-ish long timeframe that I go through a cycle, my homebody routine goes into an extreme mode. And I look forward to it every single time.
I go to work. I tend to the 80 employees and all their hopes and dreams all day long and I leave promptly (and happily) at 5:00. By 5:30, I am in the park for my run. Around Day 6 of injections, I turn the run into a power walk because things start to jostle. By 7:00, I am at the market getting dinner, usually a salad from Gelson’s. If it’s a Friday, I’ll get cornbread, too, because it’s a Friday, and well, it’s cornbread…. I’m home by 7:15, I’m showered and seated on the couch just in time to watch the news (and by “the news” I, of course, mean Access Hollywood). I eat, I watch a little Law & Order and I’m in bed by 11.
Because of the routine of nightly injections, I can’t very well go out, I don’t go to friends’ houses, I put myself under house arrest and I cannot tell you how amazing that time is. It’s time for me to focus on keeping myself in the perfect, uninterrupted state to ensure that everything that my body goes through is a benefit as opposed to a detriment. I look forward to having this time. I look forward to getting back to some semblance of a routine after the craziness of the holidays—and even when it’s not post-Holiday season, it’s amazing how great having a routine feels. It’s like a vacation. But at the end of the vacation, you aren’t tan, you don’t have pictures; instead, you have an amazing sense of accomplishment and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for your couple’s having chosen you, for being able to experience something so incredible and participate in something so great.
I’m gonna have a t-shirt made: HOMEBODIES ARE MY HEROES. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.
-Kate, Egg Donor
Friday, January 16th, 2009
We went through egg donor after egg donor with this particular agency, and they kept flaking out on us. If they didn’t change their minds immediately, they would string us along and then quit on us. Or, they would take 2 months to return the contract and say it must have gotten lost in the mail. Just what you need to inspire confidence after you go out on a limb to use an anonymous stranger’s DNA to start a family. And if the egg donors from this agency weren’t being difficult, the agency was. Their follow up was abysmal and their attitudes even worse. It was very discouraging. Then, late one Friday night I noticed a donor of interest posted on the BHED (Beverly Hills Egg Donation) website. She was the first donor that had caught my attention before we were strongly encouraged by our clinic to work with this FL agency. She had been unavailable at the time, some months earlier, and I just happened to notice that she was posted again. So I sent an email and Lisa called me shortly after. This donor had become available almost mid-cycle due to some strange circumstances and it became possible for us to jump right in, so we did.
While that cycle didn’t pan out for us, it brought us to a wonderful clinic in VA and to BHED . We have found BHED’s donors to be educated, responsible, and pretty much all-around wonderful girls. Their staff is supportive and extremely diligent and they go above and beyond to make this experience as smooth as possible. They know a lot about their egg donors and they spend a great deal of time selecting them and teaching them about the process so they are ready, willing and able to see it through to the end, no small feat. For those of you who have not been through a cycle yourselves, it is not for the faint of heart. And to go through it to help an anonymous couple start a family is pretty remarkable.
Now, onto the remarkable part of our story. After a year of trying to cycle with various egg donors and then finally finding BHED, we were matched and the donor was cleared and we were ready start. Well, almost ready to start. The donor had gotten her period and was on the pill waiting for me. I returned from a business trip expecting to start my period early the next week and for some reason, I decided to take a pregnancy test. Not sure why, I don’t normally take them. Well, imagine our shock to find out that a little stick was telling me that I was already pregnant. I think we were in denial at first and since I had gotten pregnant once before and it didn’t take, we knew it was still a long shot. So, we made the decision to go through with the donor cycle as well and to freeze the embryos. It had been such a long, hard journey to get to this point we just couldn’t risk having to start all over again. Our donor did wonderfully, with 19 eggs retrieved, 11 fertilized and ultimately 4 blastocysts frozen for future use. We are very grateful to BHED for their support and really cannot say enough wonderful things about their organization and its dedication. I hope our story provides you with some encouragement to press on when things look bleak and some hope, because despite a diminished ovarian reserve, a blocked fallopian tube and sperm that doesn’t survive 24 hours, anything can happen. I wish you all the best of luck.
Friday, January 16th, 2009
If you’re thinking about or trying to use an egg donor, you’ve probably already been through a lot. I am 34 years old and I was told about a year and a half ago that I suffer from a diminished ovarian reserve and it was very unlikely that I would be able to give birth to my own child.
While I knew there was something wrong very early on, I never expected to hear that it was very unlikely and that it probably wouldn’t happen. My FSH was only borderline in the beginning so we decided to hurry up and try an IVF cycle first. We got 6 eggs (a miracle we thought), 5 fertilized, 4 survived the first 2 days and 3 were viable for implantation. They weren’t a very high grade and they didn’t have the best cell count but all 3 were implanted anyway, there’s always a chance. Well, I couldn’t help but be elated to find out on the first attempt that I was pregnant according to the first blood test. Within a week though, my levels dropped, instead of doubling every day, and I was told that I had a chemical pregnancy but it wasn’t viable. My eggs just weren’t strong enough, healthy enough. Encouraged by the fact that I thought they were wrong and I DID have eggs, I wanted to try again. We tried a different protocol the second cycle and I ended up getting canceled this time before retrieval. We finally gave in and decided to go the donor route. We’d like to have more than one child and recognizing this could take a long time, felt we should get moving on to the egg donor process.
We’ve now worked with two egg clinics in two different states, 3 different agencies and I’ve lost track of how many donors, probably a dozen. I’m sure there are recipient couples who’ve matched quickly and had a successful transfer on the first attempt, however, that was just not our luck. We, unfortunately, suffered a very miserable experience with a terrible agency in FL that really highlighted the importance of a good agency. At first, I didn’t care which agency we selected because I was so picky about which donors were an option for us. It will save you a lot of time if you are selective about both.
Editor’s Note: L’s story will be continued in part two of this installment. If you’d like to share your story on our blog, please contact Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, January 16th, 2009
I am a donor with BHED (Beverly Hills Egg Donation) and anytime I catch the words ‘egg donor’ between diaper changes and operating my business on the TV I turn to look.
Women are flocking to egg donor agencies (per CNN HLN) because of the economic crisis for the need of money and the high level earnings made from cycles.
So I called in and got to speak for about a minute!
I advised that prospective donors should not just get involved with the egg donation process because of desperation in a failing economy but because they truly would like to help out the families that are in need healthy eggs. Infertility is a disease! I worry that a woman in a desperate circumstance may not be able to handle the commitment it takes to be a donor. I added that money is disposable where as helping to create life is not.
I am so happy to be an egg donor – the families I have helped are able to have what they wanted so dearly, a family of their own. This Christmas I know there is a couple I helped that will be sitting around the tree with their little one (as I will be) and that is something more rewarding than any dollar amount.
Thursday, January 8th, 2009
Hello, and welcome to Beverly Hills Egg Donation!
BHED is a nationwide egg donor program that helps to guide prospective parents and qualified donors through the egg donation process with care, professionalism, and respect. We strive to maintain a donor database of exceptional young women, and our experience in the industry drives us to provide the best possible experience for our clients.
This blog will be a place for you to connect with us on a more personal level. We’ll answer your questions, as well as post pictures, success stories, and news from the fertility community.
We look forward to getting your feedback and hope this blog will serve as another great resource in your journey to have a child.