Posted by: katedaphne | January 30, 2008

Another Point of View

Monday was a momentous day in the epic journey our desire to reproduce has become. It didn’t involve needles or meds or doctors. No pee sticks. I didn’t ovulate, and we didn’t <ahem>. We’re not even cycling. After years of charting, a couple of losses, five doctors, five IVFs in two states, we did … wait for it … something new.

I’ve been studied, examined, medicated, injected, catheterized and wanded and poked and prodded and put to sleep and opened up .. and still we found a new way to be invasive. In a way, it was even more personal than making love, because that is generally given freely. And this I had to ask for.

I asked my little sister if I could have some of her DNA.

And you don’t get any more personal than that.

It was really tough for me to do. In our family, I am (or perhaps I flatter myself in thinking I am) the “giver.” I’m the oldest, and I’ve been lucky enough several times to be in a position to help out each of my siblings and even my parents. I am blessed with a good job, a nice home and a wonderful, loving husband, and have enjoyed sharing what I have with my family. Now, I don’t mean to imply that any of them ever needed me or was destitute or in a bad situation or anything, just that I have had blessings and had opportunities to share. And since my parents helped put me through school and then get settled in my first (couple of) jobs, I’ve been independent.

And now here I am, hat in hand, sister can you spare an egg?

It’s not really the same as asking someone to drop you off so you can pick up your car at the shop. Or to feed your cat while you’re on vacation.

Well, now I know how truly blessed I am, because my sister was absolutely lovely about it. I really didn’t know how she would react, although I know she is a sweet, loving person who is always the type to help out a friend. But still. It is a lot to ask a young newlywed, who hasn’t any children yet but wants them.

We went out to dinner. We met, drove there together, got seated, changed to a more private table. As we’re studying the menus, she asks how I’m doing, what I’m up to. She has no idea what’s on my mind. “Uhhh, I’m good. Same old same old, you know…” Can’t the waiter get here so we can order so I can get this over with?

At last, the time to speak is now, I tell her, “Actually, there’s something I want to tell you, and something I want to ask you–” and burst into tears.

Not exactly how I’d rehearsed.

My sis knows our story in general. and she knows some of the details. But she doesn’t know all, or even a lot, and most of what she does know has come from our mom, not me, just because we haven’t had the opportunity to see each other often and who wants to talk about this crap on Christmas and Thanksgiving? So though we’re close, we aren’t exactly confidantes.

Once I was able to speak again, I told her a lot more about our experiences, especially of the last year and this last cycle, and what we want to do next.

And then I asked her.

She was so open. She said yes before I could even show her the ring.

She laughed a little, because she had thought I was going to ask something like that, but she thought I was going to ask her to be a gestational surrogate (not that she knows that term, but you kwim). So giving just some eggs seemed way easier than being pregnant for someone else when you’ve never even had a baby before.

Actually, she agreed so fast it worried me. I had to slow her down, explain that there are a hundred reasons to say no and only one to say yes. “But that one is the biggest one,” she told me.

And she reminded me that didn’t it feel good when I helped her out and helped our brother and parents out? Yes. Well then, why couldn’t I let HER feel good about having something to give for once?

Well. Can’t argue with that one.

We talked all through the salad, filet, and creme brulet, and it was sister bonding like we’ve never had. She’s seven years younger than I (her eggs are a youthful 29, compared to my shriveled 36-year-old ones).  As children we squabbled a lot (ok, we beat the crap out of each other), and then I left home for college right about the time she was growing up and getting interesting.

It’s been hard for us to develop an adult relationship first because of distance, then when she moved closer, because of schedules and just age. Though we love each other, we’re pretty different and sometimes get on each other’s nerves even without trying. And then there is the irrepressible sibling urge to try.

Lately though, our lives have gotten more in sync. Our work schedules have aligned so we can see each other easier, we have more in common now that she is married and is becoming more family-focused, etc. etc. But really, I feel our adult sister relationship is just beginning.

And here I am asking for the hugest thing a person can ask for. It’s funny, because I was so self-conscious about it, and she? She was flattered to be asked. I never thought about it from her perspective before, at least not from that angle. I was thinking only of the difficulties it would cause her.

And she was thinking how flattering it is that someone wants HER genes.



  1. Wow, you have the rockinest sister ever!

  2. What an awesome gift–and so special to have bonded this way with your sister!

  3. What a wonderful sister! As you know, my sister knew all about what we were going through, was 29 and said “no.” I don’t know that I will ever forgive her for that.

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