Daphne: “My boyfriend and I often tell Yuki how he came to be. That mom doesn’t have eggs and that’s why Aunt Michelle helped. I work as a pedagogue, I know how important it is to be open with children. Of course we adapt the story to his level. It is my mission to lift the taboo about not being able to get pregnant on my own. Isn’t it wonderful that there are options?
Early in the menopause
My last period was when I was 26. I had been exercising at a high level for years, my cycle was irregular. So nothing to worry about, the doctor thought. But I didn’t get my period at all. When I was 29, I was referred to a specialist who did an internal examination and had my blood levels checked. The result: I was in early menopause and had no more usable eggs. My body could still carry a pregnancy, the doctor said, but I was dependent on egg donation.
The message came as a huge blow. Sjoerd and I had just met, we hadn’t talked about children yet. Crying on the sidewalk in front of the hospital, I called my sister Michelle. “Come to me,” she whispered. Drenched from the rain, I rang her doorbell, it looked like a movie scene. “Don’t worry, by the time you want a child I’ll help you,” she said immediately after hearing what it would take.
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With some help
In practice, she was not allowed to do that at all. In order to donate eggs, you must first have a completed wish to have children in the Netherlands. Egg donation carries risks, in the worst case infertility. Yet her words gave me peace. Only, now I still had to tell Sjoerd. “Okay, before you freak out, I’m not saying I want a child from you,” I said when I called him. “And I understand you’re not looking forward to this at all.” Then I told my story. I was terrified that he would call it quits right away, now that he knew I wouldn’t be able to have children. But he responded very kindly. ‘Calm down Daph,’ he said, ‘this will be fine.’
“I was terrified that Sjoerd would immediately put an end to it, now that he knew that I would not be able to have children.”
It took time to process that I would never have a child of my own. But being able to have a child at least genetically related to me with the help of my sister was a good alternative. In the years following the news of my early menopause, Michelle had two children. Immediately afterwards she said: ‘Okay Daph, are you and Sjoerd ready yet?’ Her youngest was eight months old when we started the process. It hit in one go.
Donate an egg
Donating an egg is not just something – both emotionally and physically. It means injecting hormones and harvesting the cells is painful, especially right after giving birth. In addition, Michelle had developed type 1 diabetes during her second pregnancy. My sister is a tough one, but in hindsight this was tough even for her. “I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” she said nonetheless—something we’d really like to do soon.
We have no more embryos, so that means that my sister has to go through the IVF process again and I have to take hormones again to prepare my endometrium for implantation and to give my body the dose of hormones that I no longer have. production. In the laboratory, her egg is fertilized again with Sjoerd’s sperm by means of IVF, and the doctor places that embryo in my womb.
“He immediately felt like the son of Sjoerd and me.”
That Yuki is genetically Michelle’s child has played a role in none of the four of us. He immediately felt like the son of Sjoerd and me. We had therefore discussed it extensively with each other in advance, under the guidance of social workers. “Listen, I’m not giving up a child,” my sister still says. ‘Just an egg. And I have a lot of that. The embryo arises separately from me, you are pregnant with your baby.’ I am forever grateful to her for that.”
Would you like to know more about how Daphne and her family are doing in her IVF process for egg donation? @fitforivf
Learn more about this subject? Then listen to the Kek Mama podcast ‘Child with a detour’ with Jorinde Benner and comedian Sjamke de Voogd on kekmama.nl.
In addition, Kek Mama’s Jorinde Benner wrote ‘We also want a child’, together with SBS6 presenter Mirella from Markus, the ultimate handbook for intended parents who cannot just have a child. € 24.99, Fontaine Publishers
This article appears in Kek Mama 14-2021.
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