7 Fears Patients Have About Donor Egg

September 22nd, 2014
Fears Using Donor Egg

When couples are considering using donor eggs, it is typically not their first option or the choice they had hoped for. Many couples have charged through infertility with determination only to be stopped dead in their tracks with an option they did not expect. They suddenly feel fear, indecision, confusion, and at times, isolation. When you have given everything you can to have the family of your dreams, arriving at this place can be very difficult to accept.

I have counseled thousands of couples over the past 22 years, and I can assure you that every single one of your feelings and fears are normal. You are not unusual in feeling the way you do, and while the infertility community can be private, you are certainly not alone.

In working with couples confronted with this decision, I have heard seven common fears repeated over the years.

1. I won’t bond with my baby.

Wrapping your head around using another woman’s eggs to have your baby is not simple. It’s no wonder that this thought crosses your mind – and you are not alone. This does not happen, and if it does, it is exceedingly rare. The experiences of thousands of mothers with children conceived through donor egg suggest that women lovingly embrace their baby, from the beginning, as theirs. Which it is, of course. And it’s also the baby of the father, and he didn’t even carry this adorable infant.

2. I will always feel sad that I am not my child’s biological mother.

You most certainly will be the biological mother. Pregnancy, birth, and lactation (if that is your choice) are all biological. Yes, another woman does have a biological connection to your child, but she is the egg donor. She is not the mother. Donors do not regard themselves as the mothers of any child conceived through their donation.

3. My child will reject me later and say, “You aren’t my real mother.”

Children regard parents as the people who care for them, spend time with them, love them, and guide them. This sentiment is extremely unlikely, and even if it is said, it is “teen code” that translates to “I hate how you are ruling my life, how can I wound you?” Your child may never say this—it’s mostly in your mind.

4. My family will not accept my child.

While this is also very unlikely, it is a valid concern in some situations. If your family is very traditional and places emphasis on genetics as the essential family bond, egg donation may seem like a big stretch. If that’s so, then you don’t have to tell them. You can consider sharing this information later, or not at all. Choosing the time to tell family and close contacts is important. Don’t be afraid to get help in making this decision by speaking with a counselor.

5. Telling my child will just confuse them.

There is a wealth of easily accessible information on this topic that is very reassuring. When children grow up with the knowledge that their parent(s) had help so they could be born, and it is never approached as a taboo subject, children are not confused – they see it as part of their story. They may have questions (children are known for their inquisitive nature), especially as they grow up, but these questions stem from a desire to know more about themselves, not a place of confusion.

6. This is a selfish choice.

In a word, nonsense. Give yourself credit for how much you want to parent a child, and care for your child prenatally. You have been through a lot to have your child, and it was all in the interest of caring and loving another. You have considered your options and this is the best one for you.

7. Donors are just doing this for money and may be lying about their family health history.

This is the most common question — why would anyone donate? I have interviewed over a thousand donors and as a group, they are typically thoughtful, well informed, and have good support from family and friends. Would they do this if not financially compensated? No. It’s just too hard. Is compensation the only reason they donate? Sometimes, but even so, they know they are helping someone. Most donors have a strong motivation to help a family that enhances their experience as donors. They do not see their donation as “giving up a child.” They are giving eggs, a building block of making a baby. Typically, they try to make a good faith effort about family history. In my experience, they are a very candid group and are never desperate for money.

It is very important to discuss and internally work through each question and fear you have, and give yourself time to make your decision. Once you have processed everything and feel ready, you will know the decision that is best for you.

About The Author

Dr. Marie Davidson

Dr. Marie Davidson is a licensed clinical psychologist and patient educator with Fertility Centers of Illinois. She specializes in counseling individuals and couples who are coping with infertility, and has provided counseling services to patients, donors and surrogates since 1992. She facilitates patient education seminars, leads women’s and couples support groups, and is widely published in the fertility field.

Comments

I am going for a donation cycle and very confused whether I should accept a frozen egg or stick to a fresh egg donor?
I read a lot and consulted doctors all refer to the chances being better with a fresh egg donor I am 45 and would like to know your opinion
Thanks

Submitted by Egadiri 3 years, 4 months ago

Making the decision to do a fresh or frozen program for egg donation treatment is very individual and many factors may come into play to help you make your decision. Using frozen donor eggs is very convenient and has a similar success rate to a fresh program. It affords you one good try at a baby, unless you do the Assured Refund program which gives up to 6 attempts. In a fresh donation you may receive all of the eggs of a donor which could give you more than one try should you not be successful. Nonetheless there are no guarantees in a fresh cycle and there is increased uncertainty as to how the donor will respond or how many eggs she will produce. At DEB USA we believe in frozen donor eggs as a great option to building a family.

Submitted by Donor Egg Bank USA 3 years, 1 month ago

" They do not see their donation as “giving up a child.” Which is interesting because the most critical elements of their agreements, and your clients would agree, have to do with their agreeing to give up their offspring when born. With the exception of Medical Researchers in areas unrelated to reproduction, nobody would want their egg if they did not expressly state their intent to allow other women to be pregnant with their children and agree to abandon their parental responsibilities if and when their kids are born. In fact they have to agree to abandon their kids at birth first thing before anyone will even entertain the idea of reimbursing them for their time to donate an egg let alone undertaking the cost associated with harvesting eggs from them. Right? For them to say they don't see themselves as giving up their children would mean they did not read their agreement before signing it and were not aware of what they were doing. You want them to understand they are giving up their children right? You don't want them changing their minds down the road because their parental rights and obligations were not terminated in court they could actually surface at any time identifying themselves as their child's biological mother wishing to share custody with the father. That could never be bad for a child to have two biological parents interested in and invested in their growth and development. There is really no argument to be made against them surfacing and wanting to be involved in their child's life as an accountable biological parent only good could come of it. So anyone wishing to exclude the biological mother should I'd think want them to be clear that they are wanting to give up their children once born and understand completely that they were not only promising and egg but the child made from the egg as well even if they were not paid for that promise and it's simply her intention at the moment.

Submitted by m 2 years, 5 months ago

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