Is the egg donor family my son’s family?
Several years ago we learned who our egg donor was. We learned her name, we met her, and we established a relationship with her. In fact, we adore and love her – LOTS. The relationship she and my son have is actually quite lovely. Really, we couldn’t ask for a nicer person to receive genetics from to complete our family, and I often give thanks for her, and what she helped us with.
Over the years she’s attended recitals, birthday parties, she’s even had Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner with us. To the outside world that might seem sort of odd or peculiar but to us it’s just normal. It’s how life is in our family, and how we roll, and for us it works.
Luckily she lives not to terribly far away, about a 45 minute drive. We can jump in the car and meet her for a meal, or just to hang out (which we have done!) We don’t live in each others back pockets. She leads a very full and independent life like we do, and so we don’t see her every single day, or every single week – sometimes its several months. But we all keep in contact through email, cell, or texting when we don’t see each other, like other families.
Not too terribly long ago our donor and my son were texting back and forth like they do sometimes – and she asked my son if he’d like to meet her sister and her sister’s husband. When my son shared that with me I was left with “Huh, I wonder what precipitated that?” And since that time I have been mulling this over in my head thinking about what that would mean for our family.
My son is a teenager now, it’s not like he’s five. I don’t pick and choose his friends any more than he picks and chooses my friends. I may not like all of his friends but that’s just the way life is. Your kids don’t socialize and hang out with who you want them to – part of raising children is to prepare them for the world, and help them gain independence. So when this information came my way I reached out to folks in my inner circle to ask them what they thought and what they would do.
Their answers were varying. Some wanted to know if this the sisters desire to meet my son or if this was the donors desire to have them meet. I wanted to know that as well for a myriad of reasons. However, what we have all agreed upon is the premise this this needs to be my son’s decision. If it’s something he wants, not something he feels obligated to do, and I agree with that 100%.
It goes back to what I have always said which is “It is child led, every bit of it.”
This can all be very complex with many layers, as well as beautiful at the same time.
But I am still left with the same question — Is the egg donor family my son’s family? When my son and I discuss our egg donors other three or four egg donor cycles (She’s a repeat egg donor) we talk about the kids from those cycles. I have asked my son if he views those children as his half siblings and would he want me to attempt to reach out and contact them. His answer has always been “No not really, I don’t look at them as my siblings, they are just people, I don’t know them.” And so when we talked about his donor and her family he doesn’t view them as his family either. They are just people. In fact, he said that when he expressed an interest in meeting his donor and having continuing contact that didn’t mean her entire family.
I recognize each family is different in how they view what the term family means to them and what that may look like to them.
Interesting, complicated, beautiful, complex, yes?