CMV: Another thing I have to Google
Recap: We met with Dr. Young to discuss our next options and we chose to go ahead and get my FDA-required blood work done. These labs will show us if I am a carrier of any sort of diseases so if we do go the donor sperm route, we will be able to better narrow down our donor selection.
On October 7, I went to the clinic yet again to turn over some more of my blood. It always amazes me how many people I see in the waiting room or coming in and out of the door. If you're ever curious if the "one in eight" stat stands true, go sit in the parking lot of a fertility clinic for 10 minutes and you'll get your answer.
The lab tech told me these results would take a bit longer to come back and advised me to call in three weeks.
Great, more waiting. 🙄
I called for my results exactly three weeks later, on October 28. The nurse said,
"Everything came back fine with your labs. The only thing that showed up is that you are CMV negative, so when you choose a donor, he must also be CMV negative."
I was feverishly taking notes and didn't even have time for my brain to catch up so I could ask questions. So I said thank you and ended the call.
Fun fact about me: When I'm in a conversation about something I don't know about, I have to take a moment to absorb before I respond. I'm like a sponge––let me take some time to absorb everything you just told me, and I'll come back with a list of questions and a solution.
My mind was spiraling out of control with questions: What is CMV? Is it good or bad that I'm negative? Why does the donor have to be negative too? Doesn't it make more sense for him to be positive so we can cancel each other out? How will I even know if a donor is CMV negative? Why have I never even heard of this?
Time for a Biology Lesson
I whipped out my old friend, Google, (who has been a lifesaver during this journey) and started my research (all the credit goes to the American Red Cross for the following info):
What is it? Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a flu-like virus that most people are exposed to at some point in their lives. You may have already been exposed to CMV without knowing it, because most people infected with CMV have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. However, CMV can be quite serious for babies and people with weakened immune systems.
OK. Still don't know how to pronounce it, but at least I don't have it.
What does it mean that I'm negative and how common is this? Once you have had CMV, your body will produce antibodies needed to fight the infection. Thus, if you ever had CMV, it’s likely you are “positive” for the antibodies; if you never had CMV, you are considered “CMV negative”. CMV is so common that up to 85% of us will be “CMV positive” by age 40. This means that as few as 15% of adults are CMV negative.
Another "uncommon" thing for the Morgans. We sure are special!!!
What does this have to do with babies? CMV is generally harmless to healthy kids and adults, but it can be fatal to newborns.
Keep that $#!@ away from my future baby!
I took two main points away from this:
At least I am not a carrier of a serious disease.
How much harder will it be to find a donor who is CMV negative (see above: only 15% of adults are negative!)
I hopped onto a sperm bank website for approximately 37 seconds before I closed my computer feeling sad, scared, and overwhelmed. What are we going to do?