When We Change Our Minds Regarding Anonymous Egg Donation
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.