Where I lose my mind ( once again) over misinformation

Once again the media gets it wrong. Marianne Garvey one of the many writers out in the world who I think are writing about things they have no knowledge about decided to write an article, and make a judgment about Janet Jackson’s pregnancy, while attempting to poorly explain why and how more women are having babies later in life. Here’s how more women are having babies in their mid-40s

    What’s bothers him about this article is that it has so much potential. This really could’ve been a teachable moment, as Oprah says a “learning opportunity”. But no, it turned out to be the same old song and dance.

    So Ms Garvey, I’d like to take a moment and educate you about Egg Donation, and embryo donation, and perhaps this will be your teachable moment.

    First of all, it’s not your business, my business,or the worlds business how Ms.Jackson conceived or decided how to create her family. It’s just not. Just because she’s an entertainer doesn’t mean we have a window into her reproductive life, or her personal life for that matter. Leave it alone. Seriously – it just makes you look like a hack. Secondly, it’s important that you use the correct definitions and terminology.

    In the article you wrote you state:

    “You can definitely adopt an egg. If you can’t get pregnant on your own and you really want to connect and bond with a pregnancy, you can adopt a fertilized egg implant and have a baby. Get all your legal information straight.”

    I’m sorry, but that’s incorrect. You cannot adopt an egg or an embryo for that matter. We might be able to adopt ideas, highways, puppies and kittens, or real live babies, but eggs are embryos not so much.

    Think about it logically – if you were to go ahead and adopt an egg or an embryo and then have that embryo or egg transferred back into your uterus and the pregnancy test was negative what would you be left with? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And when intended parents receive donated embryos or donated eggs and they carry that pregnancy to term there is no legal ceremony, or process that occurs. That intended mother is this baby’s mother – period.

    And because I’m being picky – you don’t implant embryos or eggs. It’s called the transfer – we transfer either eggs into a uterus where they can be fertilized via intrauterine insemination, or more commonly we transfer back embryos that are already fertilized – and we transfer or place back those embryos into awaiting uterus and hope they then implant.

    The one piece you did it right was yes get all your legal information straight. Anytime and intended parent receives embryos are eggs there needs to be a legal contract that is created between both parties clarifying the transfer of property, and the particulars that go hand-in-hand with that specific donation cycle.

    I think it’s important as a writer and journalist that you report responsibly – and this article you missed the mark. Better luck next time.

    Sincerely,

    Marna Gatlin
    Founder and CEO
    Parents via Egg Donation

Tell us about your donor

We are looking for comments about your egg donor selection. It’s going in the book we have been promising to write for a very long time.

Tell us about your donor selection?

How did you go about selecting your donor?

What qualities were you looking for?

Did you select an nonidentified (anonymous) egg donor or identified (known) egg donor?

This is for the book – please list the name or alias you would like to use.

You can list your comments here or write to marna at pved dot org

Thanks!

Your DE Journey: Were you angry, pissed, resentful, or terrified?

Question of the day:

Have any of you when you began the journey of DE angry or resentful? Did you begin the process kicking and screaming?

If you did I want to talk to you.

Leave your comment with contact information. Or Email me? marna (at )pved (dot) org

Thanks 👍

Do I Want an Open Identity Egg Donor?

By Diana Thomas
Founder & CEO, The World Egg Bank

The World Egg Bank consents all of our donors for open identity because of my own experience over 20 years of child rearing.

Donors are very proud of what they’ve done, and wish to be helpful to either the parent or child if they are needed in the future. I believe that parents via egg donation may or may not tell their children for any number of personal reasons, but I believe that if you have an open identity donor, the choice will remain yours for a long time to come. It’s very empowering to know that you don’t have to decide at the time of egg donation, because the choice remains yours in the future. You will never have that choice if you select an anonymous donor.

After 15 years of IVF, when I was told I’d need to find an egg donor if I wanted any chance to conceive, I found myself feeling a sense of relief. There was really hope looking down this path and letting go of all the poor outcomes with my own eggs. I also thought of passing on genes that were better than my own, and I felt some freedom knowing I just had to step in for some minor uterine prep and an embryo transfer.
This new found hopefulness allowed me to think ‘beyond birth’ to my child. As we all know, many of us have this odd notion that if we are too optimistic while in treatment, we fear we ‘jinx’ourselves and lessen our chances of getting pregnant. I also think that we are afraid to feel hopeful, because the disappointment only feels that much bigger if we don’t. But that is another story.

When I used my own eggs, I spent so much time and
energy thinking of ‘getting pregnant’ that I didn’t truly think about what my child would want or need in his/her future. People who chastise us about ‘not thinking about the child’ really don’t understand that we find it hard to do; not because we are selfish, but because it hurts to think about ‘a child’ when you fear you may not have one.

Please don’t feel chastised here. I want to tell you my story and you can take from it what you wish. I knew that I couldn’t mislead my kids. I know this about myself and I would have felt dishonest, which is not part of my nature. I also knew that kids are smart, and they pick up on nuances that we don’t even know we are projecting.So if I examined my own personality, I knew that I’d need to tell them, it was just a matter of when and how.

I had no reason to ‘not tell’ my children that I could logically verbalize. I briefly felt some fear that they may not think of me as their mother, but my instincts said that wouldn’t happen. Would I have thought my own mother was ‘not really my mother’ if she’d told me about some cool science stuff that included someone’s genes? No. In fact, after decades, I have not had a single couple come to me and say they regretted using donor eggs, nor has a child born from egg donation contacted me requesting a meeting with the egg donor that helped their parents.

Donors know they lose nearly a thousand eggs a month, but through egg donation, some 20 of these ill fated eggs are ‘rescued’. After they complete their screening tests, they know more than most 20 something year olds that they ‘have good eggs.’ They just want their own child someday, not the one you raised. I learned this over the years from my own egg donors.

My family was supportive, my friends knew, and I wanted to be open with their pediatrician if issues around their health arose in the future. I decided to make the donation part of their ‘birth story.’ I told them they were very special and it took 3 wonderful people to make them instead of 2. They didn’t understand it until they were about 8 years old. By then, it was a kind of “oh now I get it” reaction rather than a surprise.

Being open with my children has worked out for me in ways I could not have imagined. My oldest son began getting headaches around age 8. While in the pediatrician’s office, the doctor asked me if I had a history of headaches. I quickly and openly answered in front of my son: “yes, but my son was conceived with donor eggs and although her medical history did not show headaches, I’ll call and double check with her.” If I’d said, “can we go outside to talk?” my son would have hounded me about what I told the doctor for hours.

My kids started preparing personal “ethnic history” charts in about 6th grade. They came to me and said, “Mom, since you are mostly Irish, that means I am too, right?” This triggered a more sophisticated approach to explaining egg donation and the role of genes and ethnicity. I said, “No, you are mostly Hungarian and Swedish, and this is why….” The discussion also opened the door to an exploration of ‘who we are’ as individuals and why personality characteristics and behaviors are truly how we define ourselves and others define us. I love these discussions with my sons. I had asked the egg donors, some years after my kids were born, if they could prepare an ethnic family tree for the boys. It was great to have access to them as this sort of issue came up in later years.

In the meantime, my egg donors met my children, and about every 5 – 10 years our paths cross and if the boys are around, they say Hi. The donors are like distant relatives to my children. The donors see the children as mine, and as the individuals they are. The donors are also extremely happy when they see the kids, knowing that they helped give life to a soul.

My children could not imagine anyone being their mother but me. I think I have been able to create conversation with them that helps them better understand how to negotiate life, in large part because I used egg donation as an opportunity to delve into topics most adolescence would avoid, and, because I had access to my egg donors. My biggest ‘take away’ from watching my kids grow and going through varying levels of understanding about genes, who they are, and what makes a family, is that they are proud that they are unique, and they know how very much I wanted and love them.

My oldest son, who is 20 years old, recently told me he is writing an article on his own experience as one of the first 100 babies born with donor eggs in the U.S. I can’t wait to read it!

A Family is Anchored in Relationships, Not Genes

“I love personal stories about how intended parents make that leap to become parents via egg donation. Diana Thomas, Founder & and CEO of The World Egg Bank has opened her heart to us as she shares her journey. It’s never easy to just put it out there, but this is one of the many reasons I adore Diana. She’s honest, vulnerable, and so brave sharing with the world her story. Please read along with me.”
Marna Gatlin, Founder PVED

A Family is Anchored in Relationships, Not Genes
By: Diana Thomas
Founder & CEO, The World Egg Bank

Diana Thomas

I don’t often share my personal experiences about infertility. After 20 years of talking to thousands of women who have or are going through infertility, I know there is no such thing as a typical experience that can be addressed with simple advice or direction. My own story clearly illuminates that!

Every person enters my world of donor eggs at very different emotional stage in the process and each has a unique resolution based on their own financial resources, level of support from family or friends, knowledge of the ‘science’ behind egg donation, personal resilience, determination, physical stamina, strength of their partners (if they have one), and so on. Having said that, I have seen common experiences and believe that in sharing some of my own story, I can help remove some barriers that we encounter and some we create for ourselves. From my own experiences, I have woven a philosophy into The World Egg Bank that speak to the needs of infertile women. It is the relationship that builds a family.

I was 25 years old and unable to conceive. It was in the mid-1980’s when egg donation did not exist as an option. After 15 years of IUI’s, clomid, laparoscopies (5), lab tests, 3 IVFs with my own eggs, and considerable debt, I ended this painful phase of my journey without a baby and with a diagnosis of “unexplained infertility.” I was left with a pretty big ‘empty nest’ to say the least. I was going on 40 years old, had lived in two countries (Canada and the U.S.), was peaking in my 15 year career, traveled extensively, lost my father and a brother to cancer, bought/renovated 3 homes, and all of these experiences only strengthened my desire for a child. Some people are able to find resolve and comfort in their decision to be childless, I was not one of them. I tip my hat to people who can choose to be or remain childless, because I truly believe that is the right choice for them.

My entire 20 year journey has mirrored the growth of IVF in the U.S. I was often among the first to ‘try something new’. Egg donation has become a mainstream menu item for the infertile patient today, but as I had one of the first 100 egg donor babies in the U.S., my world was about Intramuscular injections (all of them and I stopped counting at 500), infertility diagnosis was largely attributed to endometriosis (hence 5 laparoscopies to remove ‘mild endometriosis’), ICSI didn’t exist and ‘fertilizing eggs’ in the lab was a mysterious science balancing quality and quantity of sperm per egg. I had no anesthesia at retrievals, stimulation medications were urinary products I obtained inexpensively from Mexico and information was scare to non-existent for donor eggs. I relied heavily on the only woman-to-woman resource available, which was Mothers Via Egg Donation (MVED), the precursor to present day PVED!

When I was told my most hopeful path to take home a baby, was to ‘find an egg donor,’ I was in disbelief. I swallowed hard and felt like the prior 15 years had been one long experiment. I had to re calibrate my entire way of thinking, let go of the past and reevaluate my financial, physical, and emotional capabilities to start over with yet another uncharted option. My chance to obtain a pregnancy with donor eggs in the 90s was 12%. Could I do this? How did I feel about this? What would my family think? Should I tell my child, IF successful? The deciding question was, am I ready to remain childless or should I try this? I decided to forge forward as my desire for a child out weighed my exhaustion. I had to advertise for and find my own egg donor. Very few clinics in the U.S. had but only several egg donors. I wasn’t allowed to know anything about the donors available at clinics I’d have to travel to, and ‘a nurse’ would pick her for me. That didn’t seem right; I was already a parent who needed to consider how my child would be affected by the genes of another woman.

I learned a few things along the way as I proceeded with egg donation that may apply to women still today and some have been so hashed out in the media, on the web, at conferences, within clinical and psychological arenas, that they may have little relevance today.

• I discovered that I was treated a bit like a freak to carry a baby with another woman’s genes. I felt in many ways that I was giving my children a gift, because my own family medical history was far from stellar. I learned to be very selective about who I would talk to about egg donation.
• I learned to follow my heart and understand that the advice and opinions of others was irrelevant. It was my life, not theirs.
• I had to dig deep and find compassion for people who offered unsolicited advice because they just didn’t understand what it meant to struggle with infertility. “ Relax, go on vacation,” or “goodness my husband just has to look at me and I get pregnant.” You’ve all heard them.
• I decided that I had to be true to myself, and my natural inclination toward openness meant for me, that I was going to tell my child. Children are smart, and I didn’t want them to sense a secret when I felt there wasn’t any reason to keep one anyway.
• I began looking at families and realized that each child was a unique individual, and often did not ‘look like’ either parent or their siblings. What really made a family was anchored by relationships, not genes.

I did tell my children (I actually had my first son at 40 with that only 12% chance I was given with donor eggs, and my twin boys, with another egg donor, 4 years later). Their birth story was how wonderfully lucky they were to have three people create them instead of two!
I have continued to work full time with infertile women and egg donors since finding my own first egg donor in 1995. Each day I can make anyone’s path easier to travel than my own, and I can have this sense of wonder and obligation instilled in every part of our service to women seeking donor eggs. I can sleep peacefully at night knowing it has been a very good day and The World Egg Bank has contributed to another family’s dream.

For these reasons and many more, I have chosen to give back to a great organization such as Parents Via Egg Donation (PVED). Throughout my journey there were many people that “supported” my struggle, but none like the resources provided in MVED and PVED. It was the sense of community, the wealth of information and the hope given in each person’s story that helped to keep me committed during my toughest moments.

Diana Thomas is the Founder and CEO of The World Egg Bank. After successfully becoming pregnant, fertility specialists began approaching Diana asking for her help in finding egg donors for their own patients. She quickly discovered that there was a desperate need for a company that understood empowering recipients with information about egg donors, and the emotional sensitivity to navigate through the process of involving another person in their reproduction life. Through her own personal experience, she created a company that catered to the personal needs of intended parents as well as brought the best quality of care to the egg donors. For over 20 years, Diana’s egg donor agency , that evolved into an egg bank TWEB), has matched thousands of donors and couples nationwide and internationally. In 2004, she was one of three partners to start the first ‘frozen’ egg bank in the world. Since then, The World Egg Bank has increased egg donor options by shipping vitrified (frozen) eggs to recipient’s doctors around the globe, and as such, removed many geographic and emotional barriers for who hope to one day have a child of their own.
For more information on The World Egg Bank, please visit www.theworldeggbank.com

Why you should sign up for a paid membership to the forums

Our already private forums have recently taken a new step to move to a paid subscription base. With a community of 3,200, this was necessary to fund our continued growth and development.

Maybe you’re on the fence about ponying up and spending the $20 to pay for a year of membership. As a PVED mom myself, I’m going to tell you why you should:

· Support the community that’s supported you during your journey. Do it as an homage to that baby or those babies you get to parent. Pay it forward so we can help those future men and women who will struggle with this decision like you did.

· Help fund awareness and acceptance around egg and embryo donation. Tired of being in a secret minority? Longing for YOUR child to be met with acceptance and tolerance? That comes through outreach, education, and awareness building, and that takes funding.

· Make sure that community is around when YOU need it. Getting the baby was the easy part; what about the next 20 years?? How do you broach the disclosure discussion? What do you share with your child’s pediatrician, or teacher? How do you deal with your own feelings and fears around the process of parenting a child who doesn’t share your genetics? Stay connected with people who have experience and guidance around this topic, or who at least can hold your hand and truly understand what you’re going through.

We can all (with very few exceptions) afford to pay the $20. The fact is that there is no resource in the world like this one, no place where you can go and connect with 3,200 people just like you, who don’t think your situation is strange at all. You’re perfectly normal, even average here, and just about anyone you talk with can relate to you and your fears and feelings. Isn’t that alone worth $20? $20 is likely less than you paid for a single co-pay for one of those expensive RE appointments we all had.

I hope you’ll choose to not go it alone. Please join us and continue to help grow and evolve the community of parents via egg donation.

Very best regards,

Diana, Marna, Sue, Carole, Dana, Sharon

And

The PVED Moderator team

Parenting after becoming a parent via egg donation

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My son is almost 15 and a half. He is a classic teenager. Gone are the days of wanting to hang out with mom, or run to the store with mom, or go out for a meal with mom, or any of those fun things we moms did with our kids before they were teenagers.

I’m no longer cool.

My kid would rather hang out with his friends, text for hours with his friends, listen to his kind of music, and lecture me about how I just don’t understand the world, and that my politics are just way off the mark.

I’m also in the stupid bucket. I’ve been there for about a year, and I probably won’t come back out of it until he’s 25.

Sometimes at night after he’s gone to bed I will going to his room and for a few minutes just watch them sleep and reminisce about the time when he was in my belly, newly born and in my arms, a toddler, and a little kid. Naively, I thought for sure that since I had this kid in such a special way, through Egg Donation, and many many years of infertility that my relationship with him would be much different then perhaps the relationship I had with my mom.

Boy was I wrong.

I can remember as a teenager thinking my mom was not with it, stupid, a square, Old fashioned, too strict and such a drag. But I sure needed her, and wanted her when I was sick, scared, wanted her to intervene with dad on my behalf, or needed money.

So interestingly enough life is coming full-circle. I turned out pretty darn good, independent, self-assured, great at my job, and overall a pretty darn good egg.

My kid is turning out the same way – so my husband and I must be doing something right. He’s been accepted into a summer music program in another state where he will live for part of the summer, without us, in a dorm, independently. And he so incredibly excited about the prospect of being away from mom and dad for a period of time over the summer that he can’t stand it. And while I am crazy proud of him, his musical ability, and how well he’s doing in his craft there’s part of me that’s sad and nervous about him going away.

The point to all of this is regardless of how our children come into the world – either the old-fashioned way, straight IVF with our own genetics, Egg Donation, embryo donation, Surrogacy, adoption, or foster care they are still our kids. And as I learned from one of my very good friends Carole ( who btw is an amazing mental health therapist) it’s normal for our teenagers to behave the way that they do because they are doing what’s natural which is separating themselves from us because they are growing up and becoming adults.

And this comes full circle for me, “Love not genes makes a family” – Carole LieberWilkins, MA, MFT. And it’s true- having my kid through Egg Donation did not define me as an egg donor mother or him as an egg donor son. When Nick was brought into the world I became his mom and he became my son period.

All of that messy parenting stuff that we all experience as parents happens just the way it supposed you regardless of the genetic makeup of our kids.

So if you’ll excuse me, while I go into his room one more time and sit at his piano bench and just look around his messy bedroom, his pictures, dirty clothes, unmade bed, empty glasses,and breathe in that teenage boy smell only a bedroom of a teenage boy has- i’m going to drink it all in because one of these days this bedroom will truly be a guestroom, a library, or hopefully someplace that his kids will come back and sleep.

But the reality is they all grow up regardless of how they come into the world, and truly the egg donation aspect doesn’t factor in one iota.

What is it like to be a parent of a donor egg child? Taking the fear out of the experience.

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I was recently asked to write an article about what it means to be a parent via donor eggs and to specifically address the fear that can and does often occur during the experience. I found this request relatable as I will admit, I did experience fear. But, what I have learned is that my “fear” was only of the unknown and with all “unknowns” in my life, my desires always overcame.
At first, it is the inability to know what people will do, think and say. Then, it is more about what the child will think, feel and say. Finally, it is how you the parent will feel when impacted by all of these unknowns. While these are certainly valid “fears” or thoughts, what I have learned is that it was my first real experiences of being a mother. And honestly, these are only the beginning. Once you feel that baby kick – the fears quadruple as does the excitement. But most importantly – the “fear” of what will my child think is long past.
What this all boils down to in the end is our own insecurities. Let us think about the logic behind it. At first, we as women are devastated that we have been told we have bad/old eggs. As a young girl, it is just a given that most of us want to grow up to be a mother one day. This in itself is a lot to process. So we learn that we can in fact carry a child and all that we need to do is accept the fact that we will need to use a donor egg.
Listen ladies, this is an absolute gift that we have this opportunity. Do you realize what all must happened for us to even get pregnant with donor eggs? Our bodies must be in the perfect condition with our fluffy uterine lining and healthy hormones. Arguably, we play the biggest role in the whole event! We are the mothers to these babies from the very first heartbeat and I have learned that I must not think too much into the details other than the genetic makeup is not my own. But the personal, the memories, the milestones, the disciplines, the staying up all night worrying about their grades….that’s all mine.
Trust me, you are the only mother that exists for these little ones. I am always being asked the question “should I tell my child that I used a donor egg?” Answer: This is ultimately your decision but in this day and age, if you do not tell, be prepared to lie to them because the questions about genetics and heritage will without a doubt come up and earlier than you think. Be confident in your approach about it to your children. My advice is to introduce very small pieces to the puzzle at age appropriate times. As a mother of donor twins, my main concern was that it was not a “big deal” to them. If I wait until they are teenagers and then spill the beans, this could turn into a very big deal to them. Instead, at a very early age, I would allow them to hear my conversations with others about having a very hard time getting pregnant. Then a few years later, I talked in more detail about IVF in general. Then finally at around nine, I mentioned the eggs and needing to find a donor egg because mine would not work. I have always kept the conversation very matter of fact and with without a lot of emotions. I almost laughed to myself as I was being asked to draft this, only because I really love my story with my boys and it is almost hard to remember the fear. Now, my only fear is NOT having them.
So it starts like everyone in this position of needing donor eggs but ends a little unique. After 8 IUI’s, 1 ZIFT, and 2 IVF’s with my own eggs, I finally achieved pregnancy with my first try at donor eggs. We transferred 2 embryos and they both took resulting in my perfect little twin boys. I could not be happier or more content with my life. With the exception of not really getting much sleep, things were pretty perfect for this new mommy of two. When the twins were just five months old, I turned up pregnant with my third little boy all on my own (well I suppose my husband had a little something to do with it). Who would have thought? At first, I simply did not know how I was going to do it. Three babies in fourteen months, somebody thought it was pretty entertaining I am certain. We never quite know how everything will turn out for us but I do know that my third little boy just completed my family. I tease with my family, and friends that I bought TWO and got ONE free!
So back to the question at hand, “What is it like to be the parent of a donor egg child?” The honest answer from someone who really understands is “Exactly the same as being a parent of a biological child, there is simply no difference.” Be confident in your decision with your friends, family, and most importantly, your child.
These experiences are a huge part of who I am and I take joy in sharing my story with others. This is one of the best parts to my role at The World Egg Bank (www.theworldeggbank.com) as the Recipient Coordinator. It allows me to help families in ways that others may not be able to. I can understand from a firsthand perspective and I can articulate the rewards.

I hope this sharing of my experience can help even one person. The gift of life is absolutely amazing and I am thankful every day for the gift. And, at the end of the day – I really wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Tonya

Why don’t you just adopt?

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Why don’t you just adopt?

Contributed by PVED mom, Diana C.

Anyone who’s ever read the comments section of any given op ed piece on ART has seen the sanctimonious lambast the infertile for their “selfishness” in going to great lengths to have a genetic (or in our case, biological) child, admonishing them for wasting money that could be better spent on a litany of other causes or applications. “Why don’t you just adopt?” they sneer. “There are so many unwanted children in the world…why not take one of them?”

Thirty years ago, Robin Williams had a scathing bit about issuing crack babies to right-to-lifers, and I’ve always held that up as the gold standard for appropriate responses to unsolicited moral opining. But aside from the obvious arrogance of advising anyone to do something so life-changing , why are we willing to go to such great lengths to create our families?

Adoption is not as easy as you might think. With the plethora of pregnancy prevention tools available in the modern age and the extinction of the stigma of unmarried parenthood, there are simply fewer babies available for adoption (http://baby shortage) . And with countries like China, Russia, and Guatemala drastically restricting international adoptions, global alternatives are quickly evaporating. The result is that the lack of available infants, coupled with the heartbreak of failed matches and sometimes years of waiting has led many of us to try to make a child of our own. I wouldn’t begin to know what the national figures were, but anecdotally, there are several PVED moms who chose this path because it was the only way to start a family with a reasonable timeline and chance of success.

And to those critics who would say “why not take an older child, or one with disabilities?” I would respond, “why don’t you join the Peace Corp? Doesn’t Jimmy Carter need you building affordable housing? How IS your work down at the soup kitchen going?” Doing the highest good for the universe is something we all want someone else to be doing. Adopting a child rather than a baby is a dramatically different experience, and comes with a different set of challenges. It’s not a casual decision. Those who are not up to the task aren’t bad people; it’s just not for everyone.

So, that leaves those of us who can’t have children through traditional methods with a dilemma: live childfree or consider donor eggs or embryos. I reject entirely the idea that it’s “not supposed to be,” or any “God’s will” nonsense; if I get cancer or diabetes, I’m not going to resign myself that it’s “meant to be” and instead I’m going to fight like hell for a different outcome and employ any medical means available, without apology. I don’t believe that God gives anyone infertility for a reason any more than I believe that he gives them cancer; I think some things just happen, the luck of the draw, and I’m going to change my life for the better with every opportunity.

And circling back to the adoption question, the short answer is that we don’t adopt because we can’t, or we don’t want to. We don’t have it in us to wait any more to start a family, that the passage of time is crushing our spirits. Or, we’re willing to get past the loss of our genetics, but we still want to feel a baby stir under our ribcage, and experience birth, and nursing, and the whole ride like everyone else. Sometimes it’s because if we can’t have a baby that looks like our family, we want one who at least looks like our partner. Or, with so much of the list heartbreakingly beyond our control, we want to exercise what little control we do have over the genetics and [gestation] of the child we’re going to raise.

We’re not bad people; we just want the same things that most people have. And if you don’t like it, you can complain about it the next time you’re volunteering at homeless shelter.

Let’s get it right – Once and for all WE are our children’s mothers, not our egg donor.

Shhh mommy is bloggingThis is an open letter to all of the amazing and terrific medical personnel that we depend on daily to help keep ourselves and our families healthy.

We love you, we really do. And we thank you for all you do.

We have called you in the middle of the night to wake you out of a sound sleep because of a fever, rash, colic, or any number of ailments our children may have that seriously freak us out.

We can’t tell you how many times we are going to thank you for stitching up an eyebrow, or a forehead, casting an arm or a leg, removing a bean or a bead from our toddlers nose, or diagnosing us with a case of chicken pox, along with an assortment of other childhood illnesses.

When our children have been diagnosed with something of a more concerning nature like Autism, ADHD, Anxiety, or seriously ill with those diseases that we find even too horrific to utter we turn to you for guidance, treatment, and support.

Because I am a mom via egg donation I can attest that it truly takes a village to create and raise our families. That’s why I am reaching out today for your help. It’s important that we all use the correct language regarding egg donation, embryo donation, and surrogacy with egg donation or embryo donation.

What is very helpful to we parents via egg donation is for the medical community to listen to us as we explain the often complex way our child came to be. If you think its wild hearing it for the first time, try being a mom who finds herself answering the dreaded “maternal side” of the family health questions.

“Our son was conceived via egg donation. Genetically, I am not related to my son. But this is what we know about his egg donor, and this is her medical history.”

That really is all you have to hear, unless you are truly interested in egg donation, and what that journey is like.

What is not helpful are answers like:

“So, genetically, he is really not yours.”
“Please tell me more about the donor mother.”
“So let me get this straight, his real mom was his egg donor, but you carried him?”
“Why isn’t his genetic mother here at this appointment today?”

And my all-time favorite: “Wow, that is really kind of crazy, how does your husband feels about him having a baby with another woman?”

The egg donor is referred to as the egg donor unless the intended parents have chosen to refer to her by name, or Aunt Sally, or a nickname, or whatever they choose to refer her as. Please don’t refer to her as the “Donor Mom” because she is not my child’s mother.

I am the one who is up nights feeding, nurturing, loving, changing diapers, and carrying for this child.
I am the one who loses sleep over sickness, crying, fevers, and my child’s welfare.
I am the one who practices in her head the story I am going to be telling my child on how he was wanted, celebrated, and prepared for – and how we worked so hard despite many failures to bring him into the world with the help of a very nice lady who donated her eggs to us.
I am the one who is going to balance work and mothering, who will cry with happiness as I watch my child say his first words, or take his first steps.
I am the one who is going to sob the first time I leave him at school of any kind, watch him get his heart broken, leave for college, partner, marry, and maybe one day have his own family.

I am the one. Not our egg donor. She is going to be too busy living her own life with her own children.

So please remember when we are sitting in your exam room with our children and we have to answer the dreaded health history — when you see or hear us begin to relay to you that our children were conceived via egg donation just listen, and if you have any questions about our donors health history which is part of our child’s health history you ask about the donors health history, not the donor mom, or the genetic mom, or the real mom’s health history. Because frankly, she’s not any of those things.

We are our child’s mothers and no one else.