Anonymous Egg Donation, Semi Known Egg Donation, Known Egg Donation
I have been reading with great interest about those of who are meeting their egg donors. And I applaud them for that because that’s the best choice for them and their family. After much thought and reflection my feelings about all of this are pretty simple – (and please realize this is just coming from the perspective of a mother who already has child via this process and who is clearly deeply established and rooted as a mother. I am not a therapist, psychologist, or a psychiatrist, nor do I pretend to ever be one – this is from a lay perspective.) Clearly when we embark upon egg donation as a way to create or grow our families, it’s not something we just decided upon on the spur of the moment. We as women have either known for a very long time that we will never have children without help, or a diagnosis was thrust upon us as we were trying to have a child – regardless of how we learned that egg donation was the path that we needed to take to become parents it took some time to sink and become a reality. The feelings that we feel are individual. I felt initially shame like I did something to cause it. Was it my lifestyle as a 20 something ( I partied a lot ), was it my secret vendetta against my ex-boyfriends mother who I hated, had I pissed God off, exposed myself to chemicals unknowingly, the list goes on and on. When I learned about egg donation I really thought it was something science fiction like out of star trek – I thought it was weird and wonderful and scary. However, along with all of this came grief.
The grief that each of us experiences is incredibly individual. Some women grieve long and hard, while others don’t seem to grieve much at all. Grief comes in spurts at the weirdest time for some, and sadly for others even after their children are born “it’s constantly in the forefront as a reminder of how their body failed them” (direct quote from a mom).
My point is that this process is individual for each and every family. There are lots of dynamics involved, lots of feelings involved, and lots of stuff involved. There’s no right way or wrong way to feel about any of it. If someone had said to me back in 1999 you will meet your egg donor first, have a meal with her, and you two will get to know one another — I would have said “Oh Hell No”. I was scared, and insecure. I was angry. Angry my body didn’t work like it was supposed to, scared of the process, scared that I was spending 25k back then and it wouldn’t work, scared that I wouldn’t be a good mother, insecure that my husband would like the egg donor more than me (let’s face it her genetics were helping create a baby, and I didn’t understand back then how much my contribution would be), and I didn’t want the egg donors face to take up my head space. And so when my clinic said we do anonymous egg donation I didn’t question it. And any communication I had with my egg donor through my cycle was monitored by the clinic.
When you embark upon an egg donation cycle regardless of whether it’s anonymous donation, or semi anonymous donation, or known egg donation those choices have to be based on what is good for you and your family. I don’t want anyone to feel like they have harmed their children, or wrecked their children because they chose anonymous egg donation. We clearly know that’s not the case. Those women who have had children via egg donation 15-20 years ago who didn’t have a choice and had to go through an anonymous egg donation cycle have perfectly fine, healthy, well adjusted and amazing kids who are now perfectly fine, healthy, well adjusted adults who are amazing members of society. It all goes back to the parenting – not how your kid got here.
For some women like me we didn’t have a choice when we went through our egg donation cycle. We saw a baby picture that I had to beg for, I had to trust what I read on the egg donor profile and I picked my RE’s brain incessantly about what she was like as I trusted him and his choices for me. In the end I had this incredible little boy that was meant to come to me. Would I change things now if I had the opportunity? Yes, but really only selfishly for me. (I petitioned my clinic for contact and they denied me and I understand why) Anyhow, I would like to wrap my arms around her and hug the stuffing out of her and thank her from the bottom of my heart. Meeting her or not meeting her doesn’t change my mothering capabilities or how I interact with my son. I am my child’s mother through and through not our egg donor. Our egg donor will always have a very special place in my heart and who I have a boatload of gratitude for but her job ended the day of retrieval. She didn’t sign on to have a relationship with Nick or be an extended member of our family. And my kid knows his story. He’s not walking around pining for his egg donor, nor does he feel ripped off because he doesn’t know who she is.
Other families choose anonymous egg donation purposely and that’s okay they shouldn’t be judged because it was the right thing for them to do for their family. And there are those who choose semi known egg donation, or known donation where you meet your egg donor – and that’s fantastic if that’s clearly what you are comfortable with and what’s good for you and your family.
Regardless of where you are in regards to anonymous, semi known or known egg donation you have to be with a clinic or an agency that honors your wishes. You can’t be going to a clinic or agency that doesn’t offer or support open egg donation if that’s really what you want. And at the end of the day after your child is born PVED states that there is no question of whether or not the children will be “yours”. It is strongly encouraged to give your child(ren ) what all children deserve–knowledge of who they are and where they came from, from a genetic perspective. It’s their right to know their origins. As one of the many DE mom’s on our list who is also a damn fine therapist said – “Your conversations with your children will be informed by your openness and willingness to embrace your child’s curiosity, as well as your availability to assist them in finding whatever information they may want if they want it.”