anonymous egg donation conversations about disclosure egg donors feelings identity release known donors

When We Change Our Minds Regarding Anonymous Egg Donation

By on September 29, 2010

Back in 1999 when my spouse and I decided together to find an egg donor and have a child through egg donation the only way we could do that was through anonymous egg donation. I remember being terrified of actually knowing our egg donor.

The insecurities I had were huge and many. “Would my child love her more?” “Would my husband love her more?” “Would she want any child I had” “Would my child want to seek her out and know her?” “Would she want to become a member of our family?” “Would my in-laws love her more and regard her more of my son’s mother than myself?” The list went on and on and on. My anxiety dreams were just way over the top. It was crazy.

In late February of 2000 we were cycling, the first week of April we had the retrieval and transfer. By the middle of April I knew I was pregnant.

An odd thing occurred during my cycle – the donor and I exchanged letters and cards. Of course they went through the clinic kind of like mail that’s exchanged in prison. Everyone reads it and censors what they feel isn’t appropriate. But the letters and cards continued to exchange until I gave birth in December of 2000.

As a new mother I was so busy with caring for a newborn. Between those early round the clock feedings, teething, potty training, and diaper changed the thoughts of our egg donor became a faded memory. I wasn’t preoccupied with her anymore; I was preoccupied with being a mom, and the part of using an egg donor to have my child wasn’t forefront, it was raising my child.

My child like most children asked lots of questions. There were hard questions, easy questions, funny questions, and thoughtful questions. But when he began to ask questions about his egg donor sadly I couldn’t give him many answers. The only information I could give him was the profile I received from my clinic. Now at the time I thought the information provided was richly detailed, thorough, and complete. However, as I began to answer my child’s question I realized just how lacking her profile was.

As I began to address his questions my child was no longer satisfied with knowing her just as donor #153. He gave her a name. A made up one, but a name nonetheless. He was and still is intrigued by the fact that her family is from Norway and England. He wonders if he inherited her artistic abilities, his incredible intellect, and his height. He wonders if he looks like her at all. All very reasonable questions coming from a child who is interested in his roots.

Taking all this into account I contacted my clinic and shared with them my son’s desire to know more about his donor. An adult photo. A name. Something. I also had a desire to know who she was, to perhaps even meet her. I wanted the opportunity to hug her, and say “thank you” for the most wonderful gift in the world that she gave to me – my son.

In a perfect world everything would have worked the way I wanted it to. They would have contacted the egg donor, she would have contacted me, we would have met, and she might have met my son. However, that’s not what happened. Our clinic was nice enough when they told me no, but it was still a huge disappointment. I understood their reasons. All parties entered into an agreement of anonymity. We had to respect her privacy just as she respected out. For us to barge into her life now would be inappropriate and possibly damaging to her. And at the end of the day I certainly didn’t want that.

And so here I am almost 10 years later the founder of an organization that provides support and education for parents and parents to be who are growing their families through egg donation. I find myself needing support and feeling like I am missing the mark as a parent because I can’t provide answers for my child.

Had I known ten years ago I would be feeling the way I do today about anonymous egg donation I think I would have waded through the uncertainty and faced my insecurities head on and selected a known egg donor.

It’s safe to say I have come full circle.

  1. Reply


    September 30, 2010

    This is the reason I picked a donor who is willing to talk or meet.

  2. Reply


    September 30, 2010

    Having just cycled via DE IVF and awaiting my first FET, I now wish that I did know our donor. At the beginning it was too much to bear to know “the other woman”…anxieties trumped rational thinking – and perhaps still does. But for the various reasons we chose annonymous DE, we can only hope that a DE registry will be created much like the adoption registry was created. I can only provide support and guidance for our future child and I just hope that I will not feel guilty. We made decisions at the time with the best intentions for all parties involved including the child. I wish you good luck in your search, if you continue, and peace in your heart that you have done all you can do and realize that the last thing you are is a bad mother. And a huge thank you for being the founder of such a wealth of support.

  3. Reply

    brenda gamez

    January 14, 2012

    After combing the web for years, still know very little about happened to my donate embryos. In 1991 at OHSU in OR I had a very successful IVF. implanting four embryos and freezing two sets of three. I was pregnant with a single male and carried full term. at 18 months it became obvious he was autisic and such a handful time flew. when he had just turn 3 his father, my husband died. I was so deep in greif and up to my eyeballs in getting program fast i allowed my payments to cryogentic lap and still do not know whether my son has siblings. no that im over 50 and he will be alone when i die, I find my self angry at the only 3 opptions presented by ohsu..distroy, anonomously donate or research. I did check donate when we began the process. I think it is very important to the loving memory of such a wonderful man that his son has full knowlegde of siblings if any exist. or that reserch would have been so needed on his disease. they had me over the barrel and i just caved and handed them over. i regret it. apparently most states allowed people to have some sort of say and left information should the other children ever want to know
    who the most generous gift of life came from. but thats just me… lol i wouldnt want to rave on or anything lol thanks..mother of maybe six instead of one would be so cool.



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September 2010
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