For Intended Parents Regarding Your Egg Donor Contracts: Before you sign on the dotted line…
I’ll be honest in March of 2000 when I embarked upon my donor egg cycle I made a mistake. I was afraid, intimidated, and overwhelmed by the whole process. The idea of accepting someone else’s genetics to create my family seemed so “out there” – Star Trekish I guess? So when the agreement between myself and the clinic was presented to me stating my cycle would be completely anonymous I didn’t question it. The notion of knowing my egg donor, seeing her face, or oh my god having a “relationship” with her was just so over the top – no way.
I felt so strongly about this I found myself saying “I don’t want her face taking up my head space” “I am the only mother my child will need” “All I did was receive a cell from her, that’s all everything else is all on me”
And while the above is true my insecurities are making decisions for my child’s right to know his origins, it’s not right. It took me a while to become confident and secure in who I was as my child’s mother. Once I was there the whole not genetically related component quietly faded into the woodwork. What was left – doing the right thing by my son, led by his direction regarding information and what kind of connection if any he might want with his egg donor.
I used to think when I’d read the writings of those kids born from donor sperm say they felt that half of their identity was missing that they were being overly dramatic or experiencing classic teenage angst. But the reality is even though it’s just a strand of DNA – it really is “their” DNA, it’s their strand, it makes up genetically half of who they are. For them to want to know that piece is really okay. And it should be.
It’s not up to me to deny him that.
Over the years the conversations with my son about his origins have been many. Mostly funny, always poignant and meaningful – I marvel at how much I learn from my child each and every time we talk about the donor aspect of his life.
For those that know me, allowing someone else to lead the way or direct a path that needs to be followed is so foreign to me for I have always been the take charge; lead the way kind of a person. This has been truly a humbling experience because for once it’s not all about me.
It’s about my child and his needs.
In the beginning when he first began to comprehend his story he was fascinated with coming from a magic egg and having an “Angel Lady” help his mamma have a baby. As he got older he began to as more questions about his egg donor. He wanted to know what she was like, and I couldn’t tell him. The only information I had was what was on a profile that was given to me when we selected her. My son also wanted to know what she looked like. “Do I look like her mom?” “I wonder if we look alike.” He now wonders if she is a nice person. He wonders what her parents are like or what her siblings are like. Really, all very normal questions for a kid his age to have. He wonders about his English and Norwegian heritage. All things I can’t really tell him about because I don’t have the information.
Not knowing this information I don’t think is going to make or break him as a little boy, or damage him as he grows into adulthood but looking back on “all of this” I wish if I could change one thing it would be that I didn’t make my choices out of fear. I wish that I had met her, or at least had the ability to contact her at a later date. As it stands now that might never happen and we are at the mercy of our clinic – and it’s our hope they just approach our donor, ask her if she’d like contact on some level, and most importantly allow her to make that decision, not the clinic make that decision for her.
So what’s my point to all of this? Make sure you have made up your mind in regard to donor contact and make a plan. If you aren’t sure what you want, at least give yourself options. Sign up with the Donor Sibling Registry. Have your donor sign up with the donor sibling registry. That way you both can have contact on your time table, and at your comfort level. You won’t have a clinic or agency making those choices for you. And you won’t find yourself “shoulda” “woulda” or “coulda-ing” yourself to death.
You owe it to yourself and your child – make a plan.