Egg donation can be a powerful and life changing gift. However, as we're discussing this month, there are some fears and concerns that go along with it too. That's what we're discussing this month: Dragging fears, misconceptions and worries out of the closet and shining a light on them. That way, you can see them plain as day and decide if it's something that's right for you.
On the surface, you may think there are just "two sides" to egg donation: The donor and the intended parent. Each side tends to have a similar fear pertaining to privacy and/or anonymity. In the case of the intended parents, some worry the donor may try to find them years later or they feel strongly about not telling their family and friends that the child was conceived through the use of donor eggs.
For the donor, they have similar concerns in that some fear that the children conceived with the eggs they donated may try to find them down the road. They also may not feel comfortable sharing with others that they donated their eggs.
This is where I want to point out the important third side of egg donation. Yup, there's a third very important component: The child conceived. Instead of making this process just about "me the donor" or "me the intended parent", I suggest everyone take a moment and think about what would be in the best interest for the child conceived through the egg donor process.
If I can share my own experience for a moment; I did six rounds of egg donation and some of those eggs led to a successful pregnancy and live birth. I do not have a relationship with any of the children. However, I DO have a relationship with the parents. This has been extremely beneficial to them so that they can always be aware of what's going on with me, ask periodic questions about my family history or, as they years go by, I can update them on any medical conditions I may not have been aware of when I initially donated. This is valuable information to have for their children and maintaining this relationship, at least to the parents I speak with, appreciate the open communication.
While there are donors who genuinely have no interest in any contact or relationship with the parents, there are some who may want to know if their egg donation "worked". They wonder, "Was all that I went through to donate my eggs worth it? Did it help others? Did any of the eggs result in a healthy child?" While it's natural to have these questions, the ideal donor is ever mindful that ultimately, they donated their genetics. Not their child. That's the significant difference in a donor who may be interested in the outcome of their donation. They fully understand this and are comfortable with it.
Personally, I'm all for semi-anonymous donation. It would entail some form of communication, which I think is a positive. This means both parties agreeing that if the child ever wants to know their origin, that it would be ok and the child would understand, "I am your parent who loves and raised you but this is the donor that provided the DNA."
There has been endless research done on children who have been adopted. When the parents are transparent that they were adopted, share and discuss their origin and in some cases, if it's an international adoption, their culture, the child has less issues and flourishes. There are ways to do that initially without having a relationship with the donor or, if you choose, you can keep in touch with your donor, as I have with my intended parents.
Please know though that I'm not at all suggesting everyone must have a relationship with their egg donor or the intended parents. Everyone 100% needs to do what they feel comfortable with but my suggestion is to remember that the child that may be conceived should also be part of everyone's equation while they figure it out.
Protecting privacy and respecting everyone's roles is extremely important. Instead of being afraid of the what if's, why not address it all from the get go. It's up to each person to be up front about what they would prefer, what their intention is and discuss it all in the open to make certain that everyone is on the same page. That way, people can be matched with those who feel similarly and proceed accordingly.
When it comes to any fears, worries, concerns or unknowns, more often than not, the way to solve for any of these is communication. Ask questions (both to others and to yourself), learn more and do your research to be able to figure out what works best for everyone involved.
And as always, you can contact Family Inceptions to learn more.