CMV Negative

Oh good grief! I never thought being negative for a virus could be a bad thing.

Yesterday I got an email from my nurse at CCRM asking me to make sure I selected a CMV negative donor. Well, I didn't. I pushed back and asked why, since my RE in NJ indicated it wasn't necessary - that the risk of that donor having had "active" infection while donating sperm, given all of the testing that's done for active infection vs. antibody response suffices but that if I felt more comfortable, sure, choose CMV negative.

But this time it wasn't an option for me. Never mind the $1,500 I've spent on the current batch sitting at the cryobank waiting for me to have it shipped out. I LOVE this donor. I couldn't have picked a more perfect genetic specimen if I'd met him and fallen in love. On paper, intellectually speaking, this guy's "it." The rest is nurture and that's up to me.

So I said, "no, my donor is CMV positive" and then went on in the email about how I couldn't even imagine this being an issue. After all, I'm sure there are hundreds of CMV negative women undergoing IVF with their CMV positive husbands. So what does CCRM do, insist they use sperm donors so as to eliminate the negligible risk in the pregnant woman developing CMV infection during pregnancy? I mean, the risk in married couples is actually greater - as they're having intercourse and are living in close quarters throughout the woman's pregnancy. So if the husband were to develop active infection during that time, yes, the fetus would be at very high risk of VERY serious disabilities.

But when you're using a sperm donor from a cryobank, that sperm is pretty locked up in terms of risk factor. For example, my donor was tested for every infectious disease we know of, THEN he donated for 6 months and THEN he was tested for all of the same infectious diseases again. ONLY after the second set of tests returned negative did they release his sperm, guaranteeing that the batch taken from when he donated was outside any viral conversion window. You can't have the same guarantee in a spouse. He could be tested and 4 months later develop CMV or HIV or whatever a week before the fresh donation he'd give on IVF (retrieval) day and he could theoretically pass on that virus at that point - or over the subsequent weeks/months.

Considering those testing differences, using donor sperm is infinitely more "safe" than using the sperm of a spouse.

I was sweating it though. I thought, great, they're going to say that it's unavoidable to eliminate the potential risk of a spouse transmitting active CMV (which is far greater a risk than an anonymous sperm donor) because wives will always want to use their husband's sperm but that in my situation ( a single woman), I can avoid the risk to zero at transfer by using CMV negative sperm. My answer would be, "So what, I still can't eliminate it to zero in pregnancy and I am as committed to using this donor as any wife is to using her spouse's sperm - besides which, this is MY decision."

I was so upset and was just winding myself up, more and more. And what was happening to me is EXACTLY what I wrote about here. Rather than remaining calm and knowing it would work out, I was wound so tightly that when the call came at almost 5 PM ET (CCRM is on Mountain time - two hours earlier), I had to force myself to wait for her response before I jumped down the throat of my very kind, responsive and understanding nurse who has been nothing but good to me.

I had a bunch of ammo in my belt and I'd already mentally drafted the note I would send to the doctor and copy the rest of them. This was a deal-breaker for me and I would detach myself from CCRM and ask them to reimburse me what I'd spent with them so far for not disclosing this before my visit out there.

"Sky, I just wanted to get back to you and tell you it's fine to use CMV positive sperm if you'll just sign a waiver for us." I smiled, my chest loosened and everything was right with the world. I was suddenly cheerful.

Another catastrophe averted!

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