The Kingmaker’s Daughter Has Secondary Infertility

The Kingmaker’s Daughter Photo

In The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory the main character, Anne Neville, has secondary infertility.  This being the 15th century, she doesn’t have the option of IVF.  Instead she tries to get pregnant by drinking nasty potions and wearing smelly herbs around her neck.  She also contemplates calling on a wise woman with dark, magical powers to create a baby for her. A boy baby would be preferable to doubly insure her husband’s male line in case their three year old son dies.  My husband also wanted a male heir to continue his eight generation, unbroken male line from a famous Jewish scholar called the Vilna Gaon.  I didn’t know any witches to call on to cast the appropriate spell, but I did choose to use a donor egg inserted with my husband’s sperm in order to continue his illustrious gene pool and to provide me with a much desired infant.



In the movie The Back -Up Plan  Jennifer Lopez uses a sperm donor.  She has given up on finding Mr. Right, and her biological clock is ticking. Her anonymous donor impregnates her with twins. The same day as the insemination, she meets the love of her life.  Since this is the movies,  he ultimately accepts the twins, stays with Jennifer Lopez and then impregnates her with his own child. In my case my biological clock had already stopped, and my eggs were too old when I tried IVF five times with my own eggs.  My back-up plan was to use an egg donor.


A new study discovered that women in their 50’s are physically fit for pregnancy.  Other than possibly a bit higher  blood pressure, there were no physical differences between 101 pregnant women in their 50’s versus younger women.  When I decided to use a donor egg in my 40’s, I had to obtain physical clearance.  The doctor had to find my body physically fit, and my EKG had to show that there was no risk of heart attack while enduring the rigors of labor.  I passed with flying colors.  Of course my 40- something-year-old eggs weren’t up to the task, but according to this new study at least I had the body of a 20 year old.



What if I delivered a donor egg monster baby? I had to journey toward acceptance of using a donor egg.  I rented a DVD called Blessed.  It featured an infertile couple who went to have an IVF cycle at a sterile, sinister looking facility.  Unbeknownst to them, the doctor switched the husband’s sperm for the seed of Satan himself.  The woman gave birth to two beautiful, angelic-appearing daughters who later made the face rot off of a bratty boy.  I too could have the next Rosemary’s baby. Once I became involved in choosing my egg donor, it alleviated my anxiety.  I felt that she would represent my side of the family, and I no longer felt that using a donor egg would be alien to me.

Pregnant by 50 or Bust


50 was my pregnancy cut-off. Afterwards I would be going against nature and my own body. Hospitals had IVF and donor egg recipient age restrictions for additional reasons. My doctor told me that they wanted the mothers to stay alive long enough to raise their children. The egg donor counselor warned me that I would be called “Grandma” when I appeared in public with my baby. My husband and I were prepared to take our child with us to the retirement home. Of course I didn’t want to look as old as the pregnant woman on the cover of New York Magazine. Apparently women in their 50’s are lining up in droves for their egg donor babies. Even though 60 is the new 40, I couldn’t risk having two of us on wheels-me in the wheelchair and my donor egg child in the stroller.



Both high-end egg donor auctions and  freebee sperm giveaways are banned.  There was a spectacular, red carpet auction of models’ eggs.  A fashion photographer was asking up to $150,000 for the donors’ eggs.  There was an outcry against the selling of exorbitantly priced women’s flesh on the auction block, and this 1999 auction was shut down.  eBay also took a stand and outlawed the selling of donor eggs on its site.



I was expelled from the fertility sorority.  I had proven everyone wrong when I first became a member.  The receptionist at the hospital was skeptical that my follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen levels would be low enough for me to do IVF with my own eggs.  At age forty-four, she told me that I could be perimenopausal.  But my levels were phenomenal, -6 and 28. I was a middle-aged woman in the body of a twenty year old!  In nine months I expected my baby to pop out.