This week, I visited Fertility Friend for the first time in four years. I opened up a chart and plotted some details about my cycle, and then I closed it up quickly because I felt a little bit guilty and a little bit scared.
You see, J and I had planned to start trying again once BG was healthy. We had, in fact, been thinking in this direction before BG got sick too, but we obviously had to table it. We didn’t want anything to distract us from the important task of caring for our son through his disease.
Now that we are where we are–grieving mothers without a child–we find ourselves knowing with a great deal of certainty that we need to have another child. Neither of us can imagine living our lives without a little one to look after. We miss reading stories, singing songs, even worrying about what our little guy might be getting into. Our lives are far too quiet. It’s too easy to go places. Our schedules are far too bare. Our clothes are much too free of grimy hand prints and bits of kid food. The back seats of our cars may as well be caverns.
But in our minds, these things are supposed to be, and before long, when we’re ready, we’ll be working on creating the next love of our lives.
This community will understand our unusual predicament as we explore this possibility. We had one donor, and he’s still available. Between my genes and his, we had a really beautiful child. But we also had a child with a very rare disease, and while there is no known hereditary link, there is still this question about whether we ought to use our old donor or go with a new one.
On one side, there is the sentimental pull to have a child who will resemble our BG, who will maybe sound like him or have some similar mannerisms. On the other is this idea that maybe we shouldn’t go there again. Maybe there is some weird thing that happened between my DNA and the donor’s.
We have talked to our son’s oncologist about this. She is, after all, one of the leading experts on the disease he had. However, she found the question just as difficult as we do. She sees these cases of this disease, and it’s so very, very rare that she just doesn’t see them in the same family. She also studies it endlessly in the lab, and there are no inherited traits. It’s a genetic anomaly. It’s a case of really bad luck. We have asked other professionals in this field too, and their general hunch is that, no, we shouldn’t. One doctor asked, “Why would you?”
The thing is, no one would ask a straight couple whether they were going to seek a sperm or egg donor for any subsequent children. If they were going to have more children, they would simply have more children because that’s what people do. And they have reminders in their new children of the child who died.
I don’t know what the right answer is. I know I awoke from a nap today to find my wife perusing the listings at our sperm bank, and I just found myself rejecting the donor she had pulled up because I couldn’t imagine anything else.
We’ve got time to figure it out. I’m not ready yet to be pregnant, but I think in a few months’ time, I will be ready, and we are going to have to figure it out.
So tell me, friends, what would you do?