Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

The road to Babyville




My husband and I thought a whole lot about the problems we would have should we decide to start a family.  I am a carrier for a serious genetic disorder and I was told that there would be a 50/50 chance that my offspring would either carry or be afflicted with the disease.  I was terrified.

I don’t have any really serious medical issues, but my husband had been told that he had a low sperm count.  And, here I am with genetic garbage that I am carrying around.  Our dreams of having children to share our life with seemed grim.  We didn’t know what to do.

One day, a friend told me about a medical facility in our city (a place known for being medically advanced) that specialized in unusual or unique fertility issues.  We decided that it couldn’t hurt to have a consultation.

I had things done to my body that I don’t really care to remember.  It was all pretty invasive.  The testing process relating to fertility issues really makes you lose all sense of shame.  At one point, I remember I sat naked from the waist down, spread-eagle on a table with my feet in stirrups and at least 9 people were in the room either inspecting my nether region or looking with furrowed brows at charts, graphs and other stacks of papers.  At this point it was no longer humiliating.  I was hoping it would be helpful.

A doctor who seemed to be young enough to be my child himself ended up meeting with my husband and me just before the New Year a few years back.  It was cold in our town that day.  I remember it being so icy that we almost crashed our car on the way to the appointment.  We laughed later at the irony of nearly losing two lives on the day we were trying to create at least one new one.

The doctor suggested “harvesting” my husband’s sperm and using donor eggs to completely rule out the possibility that I would pass on my genetic disorder.  I was crushed by the idea of carrying a child that wouldn’t be “mine.”

We thought, though, for a very long time about what makes a child one’s own.  And to make a very, very long story short, we decided to go for it.

The process from the day we decided to start a family until our first son came in to the world was 8 years.  It seemed like an eternity.

But, he is beautiful.  And, with the frozen embryos we created, we were even able to have a second son, born just a few months ago.  They are exact genetic brothers and both are biologically my husband’s children.  I have no blood ties to these amazing boys, but I did carry them in my own womb and I don’t know how I could make them any more “mine.”

This was the perfect decision for us, though I understand that it might seem unusual or unthinkable for some others.  We are happy with our results, though, and our children are very healthy and happy little boys.

These issues are so important for us to talk about and it is great that Off Duty Mom is helping to bring more awareness.  I am a follower of this blog, but am not usually a blogger myself.  I hope more people will consider following to learn and laugh along with the writing produced here in the future.

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