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.
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
Submitted by Egadiri 4 years, 3 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 4 years 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 3 years, 4 months ago
I understand that that answer may be meant to comfort mothers with donated eggs and I’m afraid of never being a mother as well, but it’s not the perfect answer nor entirely honest nor comforting to these children when they grown up and find their close dna matches on Ancestry.com or GEDmatch. I would hope that the donor has a better answer for them instead of denying they are any type of mother at all. Yes, the birth mother is still a mother but today on Mother’s Day my friend just announced she’s wandering how the children are doing from the eggs she’s donated. She’s donated three times. I hope that if found online someday that these parents through dna are warm and receiving and honest and not putting anyone in denial that would mess up their natural reasoning, it’d be like gas lighting them in a way and that’s gas lighting isn’t good for anyone.
Submitted by Cher 5 months, 1 week ago
I have a 2 year old son and after a fourth miscarriage we aren’t falling pregnant at all so looking at IVF. My son resembles my husband so much, there is only a few things about him that look like me, or from my side if the family. My husband is so proud if him.
But if I did decide to go with a donor if IVF doesn’t work, then that child won’t look like me at all.. that would be two of my children that I wouldn’t resemble me.
Not that, that’s a reason why I want to have another child, but it would always be at the back of your mind...wouldn’t it?
Submitted by Renae 3 months, 4 weeks ago
I believe some people place too much importance on genetics. All humans share 99.9% of their genes. Loving and supportive parents is what a child needs. Openness and honesty surrounding their origin and knowing how special and wanted they are matters.
Many can be a genetic parent but not everyone can be a loving parent with all the love, time, sacrifice, worry, etc etc etc that entails.
The egg donors I’ve meet don’t consider themselves as mothers to the resulting babies born with the help of their donation. These women have their own children and fully understand all that’s involved in being a mother. They don’t discard they’re genetically related to these children but don’t consider themselves as their mothers.
I guess what really irks me about some of the above comments is how a few vocal minority’s can really do a disservice to children by generalising that their origins will have a negative impact on them. They will if ignorant, self centred people try to impose their views on others.
I grew up knowing 5 people who were adopted. Each were told from a young age they were adopted and grew up in loving households. None had animosity towards their birth parents for giving them up at birth. Only one searched for her birth parents, found them and had questions answered but chose not to maintain a relationship with them. One other, my closest friend, had a call out of the blue by an organisation who “reunited” birth parents with children they adopted out. My friend hadn’t signed up to this agency but these “well meaning” people thought she needed to be reunited with her birth mother. Long story short, she felt pressured into speaking with her birth mother who dumped her emotional baggage on her, learnt she had three other genetic siblings, one with mental health issues. Had one of these siblings on her doorstep unannounced while pressured to look after another. In the end she broke off all contact and wished she had been left alone.
I know I’ve waffled on here and this probably won’t be read. I just wish people would just look outside their little bubble and stop assuming things. As simple as it sounds - love, honesty and respect is all that matters.
Submitted by Santana 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Not all women get paid for donating their eggs i had five sons and donated my eggs 13 in all because i wanted to be sterelised if i waited to have it done on NHS i would of had to wait two years my consultant also ran a private clinic and he asked if i would donate in exchange to be sterilized and the thought of helping someone to have a child made me happy too
Submitted by Pauline 3 months ago