It takes a village to raise a child… and sometimes even more.
Each year thousands of American women and men rely on donor tissue banks to help begin their families. Like an increasing number of single women, Julie DiBiase used a sperm donor from California Cryobank to conceive her children.
“With my first daughter, I got pregnant right away at 40. So when I tried for number two, I entered the process assuming it would be easy." Three years of trying and three emotionally painful miscarriages changed her mind. “I knew I couldn’t go through another loss, so, with some trepidation, I made the decision to use a donor egg.”
In a recent survey by Donor Egg Bank USA, 90% of participants reported initial hesitation over using a donor egg. Prospective donor egg parents often wonder: Will it really feel like my baby? Will my family treat the child differently? Will I be judged for making this choice?
Nonetheless, the number of women using donor eggs has continued to increase. Thankfully, more women like Julie are choosing to share their stories.
“If there is just one thing I could say to any woman who is wrestling with the decision to use a donor egg,” says DiBiase, “it would be this: just get over yourself and do it. None of these things matter once you have your beautiful baby in your arms. I wish I had let go of the idea of using my own eggs much earlier. I wish I had those years back. I might have even considered a third child.”
According to The National Center for Health Statistics, the number of women over 40 having babies has more than doubled since between 1990. While advances in egg freezing as a fertility preservation option have been widely reported, there has been less coverage about the mainstreaming of frozen donor egg technology. Meanwhile, Donor Egg Bank USA has seen double digit increases in frozen donor egg transfers every year since its inception in 2012.
Co-founder Heidi Hayes is a donor egg mom herself and marvels at how much changed in the years since she had her children. “When we first started helping women get pregnant, we couldn’t get anyone to speak up and tell their story to inspire our future moms and dads. Now it’s a completely different world. I’ve had families come to me asking if they could contribute their story to Donor Egg Bank USA. It’s still a process, but the stigma is clearly fading.”
And so the village grows.