I’m The Mom, I’m The Mom, I’m The Mom!
In the realm of infertility we know what the definition of “infertility” is — Infertility is defined as the state of being unable to produce offspring; in a woman it is an inability to conceive; in a man it is an inability to impregnate.
Even in the world of adoption the words and language are very clear — the birth mother is the woman who gives birth to a baby that she places for adoption. An adoptive mother is the woman who adopts a child from a woman who gives birth to a baby she places for adoption.
So why is it in the realm of Donor Egg and Third Party Reproductions the words, language, definitions, and verbiage aren’t always incredibly clear as they could or should be?
At first glance the words appear to be crystal clear — the egg donor is the egg donor — period. There’s no mother attached, there’s no parent attached. But, should there be?
The word “mother” is defined as :
moth·er 1 n.
1. A woman who conceives, gives birth to, or raises and nurtures a child.
2. A female parent of an animal.
3. A female ancestor.
4. A woman who holds a position of authority or responsibility similar to that of a mother: a den mother.
5. Roman Catholic Church
a. A mother superior.
b. Used as a form of address for such a woman.
6. A woman who creates, originates, or founds something: “the discovery of radium, which made Marie Curie mother to the Atomic Age” Alden Whitman.
7. A creative source; an origin: Philosophy is the mother of the sciences.
8. Used as a title for a woman respected for her wisdom and age.
9. Maternal love and tenderness: brought out the mother in her.
10. The biggest or most significant example of its kind: the mother of all battles.
11. Vulgar Slang Something considered extraordinary, as in disagreeableness, size, or intensity.
1. Relating to or being mother.
2. Characteristic of a mother: mother love.
3. Being the source or origin: the mother church.
4. Derived from or as if from one’s mother; native: one’s mother language.
tr.v. moth·ered, moth·er·ing, moth·ers
1. To give birth to; create and produce.
2. To watch over, nourish, and protect maternally.
Now we know that an egg donor who applies to be an egg donor is not applying to be an egg donor to parent a child or become a mother. An egg donor often agrees to become an egg donor to help another couple who can’t have children with their own eggs, and to make money. (Let’s face it 5-10k per cycle is nothing to sneeze at.)
An egg donor typically donates anonymously unless arrangements have been made otherwise to complete a known donation — and even then most egg donors move on with their life just as recipient parents do. An egg donor will often finish her education, date, marry, and go on to have children of her own. We “mom’s” raise those children we had through egg donation.
As I sit here thinking about my egg donor, I think about all of things I have said, or thought — “It’s only a cell” “Without me my son wouldn’t have been born” “I’m his mother not her” “I am my son’s parent not the egg donor” As I get older and have become more secure and firm in role as my son’s mother I now find myself saying — “Yes, it was an egg and a cell, but what an incredible egg and cell, half of what my son is, is a result of her, and really without her my son wouldn’t be who he is today.”
So what does this make my egg donor — aside from a loving, giving, human being? Regardless of what I want to say my son is her offspring. We never really know what to say about those kids that egg donors help bring into the world. Why? Because there is no clear cut language. We don’t want to refer to those kids from egg donors as “The Egg Donors Children” because that wouldn’t be correct. Is the egg donor my son’s parent? Well no, a parent is One who begets, gives birth to, or nurtures and raises a child; a father or mother. But then again a parent is also An organism that produces or generates offspring.
And here we are back to square one.
I know there are recipient parents that are going to be really angry at the very idea that I would write about something so controversial. That I would shake the very foundation that they base their beliefs upon.
But the reality is — yes, those of us who had our children through egg donation are our children’s parents. We are there mothers through and through. No one can take that from me, or you. We are the mom’s the mothers, the mommies — we are the caregivers, we are the nurturers, we provide the love, support, guidance, and we are our children’s parents.
However, I simply can’t dismiss my egg donor just as a one celled organism. I simply cannot. And neither can my son who is interested in his English and Norwegian heritage. He refers to his egg donor as one of his Ancestors and he’s right. When he was very little he referred to as his angel lady, and then proceeded to refer to her as his fairy egg mother, which I found to be hysterical.
My son’s not interested in his egg donor to replace me — he will tell you clearly he has one mother, and that’s me. But he does tell me that she’s more to him than just an egg donor. That she has meaning and purpose. And if it hadn’t been for her, he wouldn’t be here.
And you know what? He’s right.