By on February 20, 2012

Elizabeth Marquardt – I am calling you out. This is from one mother to another:

I read your latest article “Do Mothers Matter” and I am left with a sort of “What the heck” head scratching reaction to not only this article but to you Elizabeth.
You seem to think that if you have a child any way other than “the old fashioned way” (heterosexual sexual relations) that your children are going to reject you, or in some way they are going to suffer. So that means all of us who have had children via egg donation or sperm donation we are in some way harming our children.

You go on to imply that in some way if women use an egg donor to create their family, or if they happen to need the services of a gestational carrier that their child is going to grow up missing his or her “real mother”.

Really, all I could think was what planet are you from Elizabeth?

What I know about you: You are the Vice President for Family Studies and Director of the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values (IAV) co-authored a report-study titled “My Daddy’s Name Is Donor” You wrote a study based on those children conceived through sperm donation. You make the argument that those kids created through sperm donation struggle with a parental loss when they don’t know their biological father. You also go on to say that this can lead to depression, delinquency, or addiction and you assume the same with donor eggs, or gestational carriers.

The problem with this report is that you have no credibility in my opinion because you published non-peer reviewed research under the guide of the IAV. Those who are indeed established academics in the field of donor conception have misgivings that are quite serious about your methods of research because your ability to come to any sort of rational conclusion are not supported by your findings.

But really our kids who are conceived via egg donation are going to miss their real mothers, and they are going to become depressed, become juvenile delinquents, and become addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, food, etc… I mean really?

Here’s a clue Elizabeth – guess what else leads to depression, addiction, and delinquency? Parents who are unavailable emotionally, bad parents, divorce, abusive parents, unwanted pregnancy, as well as those kids who undergo trauma of some sort, those children who are from disadvantaged socio-economic circumstances, situations where kids undergo incredible stress, genetics and the list goes on.

I for the life of me cannot fathom that those kids who are intentionally and mindfully brought into this world by non-traditional methods are going to suffer or have some sort of negative impact upon their mental health. I just can’t wrap my head around that.

In reading your article I think of my child who I just love so much. The kid we brought into this world mindfully.  The one we waited for, for many many years. The child we invested so much time, money, emotion, love, and work.

The baby that told us at age two “Momma I chose you, I waited in line for a long time”. 
Is this kid missing his “genetic parent” or to take it a step further – “Is this kid missing his genetic mother?” I don’t think so. I am right here. Live, in the flesh, caring for him, cheering him on at school, helping him with his homework, taking care of him when he’s sick, comforting him if he’s scared, tending to his scrapped knees, happy, or sad – I am the one who is his go to when he needs something.

Not his egg donor.

What I don’t understand Elizabeth is how can you even think for two seconds that somehow my son’s egg donor – genetic parent – genetic mother, whatever you want to call her is even remotely more important than myself? I mean come on, you are a mother yourself think about all you do for your child. Well guess what? I do the same. I care for my child, raise him in a loving and stable home, prepare him for the world, provide him a spiritual education, provide food, clothes, a roof, and offer him unconditional love.

Are kids conceived via egg donation going to have questions? Of course they will. It’s human nature. Some are going to care about this more than others. My kid is curious. He wants to know if his egg donor is nice. Does he look like her? Does she like coffee and chocolate like he does? Do they share the same allergies? He is also going to tell you that he doesn’t spend his every waking moment wondering what she’s doing. It’s because he has a mother and his life is full living his life. The way it should be. Does he want to meet her one day? Yes and why is that? He wants to say “thank you”. He says he wants to complete the circle and thank her for helping us have him. It’s certainly not because he misses her. He doesn’t even know her, she contributed a single cell, a blue print if you will, she helped give him his start.

I answer every question he asks me about his origins. There are no secrets in our home. He has access to his egg donor’s profile, and we happen to have a great relationship with our Reproductive Endocrinologist Dr. John Hesla who he can ask questions about her any time he chooses. But does my kid feel like he’s walking around half of a person or the shell of a person because he doesn’t interact or know his egg donor? No not at all. Does that sound like a child who is missing his genetic parent? I don’t think so.

Personally, I feel strongly that how a child is conceived has nothing to do with how they are going to “turn out” or grow up as adults. It’s what happens after they are born.
So let me ask you Elizabeth, after reading all of this, and being a mother yourself, do you really think kids conceived via egg donation or embryo donation are going to miss their egg donor or to take it a step further their genetic parent?

  1. Reply

    Kelley Wendel

    February 21, 2012

    Big standing ovation!!!! I hate it when pseudo-scientists extrapolate and neglect true scientific method to arrive at statistics that advance their personal opinion rather than fact. And mainsteam media is notorious for reporting these findings without any regard for accuracy or valididty. As the author of this blog mentioned, there are entirely too many variables to pinpoint any given cause for any of the myriad of negative outcomes that Elizabeth asserts we have subjected our children to.

    My daughter is a redhead, a proportionately smaller section of the population. Let’s say I have a biased desire to convince the world that redheads are better people than everyone else. I can very easily do a thorough qualitative research study, including all sorts of documented & quasi-valid findings to easily prove my point. Naturally, there will be a very small percentage of delinquent redheads in comparison to the population as a whole—that number would be true. But would it prove that lack of red hair leads to delinquency–in other words, does my finding have any validity, proven causation, or even correlation to my biased, opinionated conclusion?! No. And do I have a moral & ethical obligation to avoid reporting skewed & biased data that can have a negative impact &/or incite backlash. Yes. (Imagine what kind of negative impact my redhead study could have on blondes & brunettes—not to mention race relations.)

    Seems to me that the biggest risk to my children’s emotional well-being & esteem is bullies like Elizabeth. She & her ilk are the only ones telling my kids they are lesser than. What kind of hateful person targets small children & the families who endured tremendous pain & sacrifice for the chance to love them? Is she trying to elicit a self-fulfilling prophecy by making me & my kids feel bad about ourselves (my guess is yes, since it would help validate her illegitimate research findings)? I guess we all have to be good at something—-Elizabeth, you have very successfully achieved status of bully while hiding behind the guise of “family advocate”.

  2. Reply


    February 22, 2012

    BRAVO!!!! *Clap, Clap, Clap* Thanks PVED for setting the record straight on DE children. I hope you sent this to this lady…

  3. Reply


    March 27, 2012

    Amazing blog layout! I have shared your site in my social networks,Your site provided us with valuable information.

  4. Reply

    Egg Donor

    April 9, 2012

    What a great info, thank you for sharing. this will help me so much in my learning.

  5. Reply


    April 12, 2012

    I Really enjoyed your blog. I just bookmarked it. I am a regular visitor of your website I will share It with my friends

  6. Reply


    April 27, 2012

    I don’t think that the child your raising will have a problem with how he was conceived because that happened prior to his life here in earth. Nor do I think he’ll take issue with her having donated eggs. Its entirely possible to donate eggs or sperm to be studied without consenting to allow them to be fertilized and certainly without having agreed to abandon her offspring once they were born.

    I think the tough pill to swallow is that referring to her as an egg donor describes something she did before she was his biological mother back when he did not exist. What she agreed to do after he was born is the thing he’ll have a right to take issue with. That has nothing to do with whether or not you do a decent job of raising him. The issue is not even that she opted to relinquish her parental obligations but that she would do it without him having the benefit of a court approved step parent adoption or adoption the way other people have before they are claimed as the child of someone who they did not originate from. It is black market adoption. The genetic parent does not have their identity recorded, the person that wants to raise the child is recorded on the certificate as if there was no parent relinquishing his or her parental rights. None of this happens in court. Additionally in many cases the abandoning mother is paid to abandon. She is not paid for her egg. Would they have paid for the eggs if she had not agreed to abandon? Well then its not the eggs that they are paying for its her baby and her agreement to stay away for 18 years.

  7. Reply

    Anonymous Egg Donor

    August 15, 2012

    When I try to explain to people why I donate, most individuals ask all sorts of questions like, “Won’t that child miss you?”, “Don’t you feel like that child is yours?” They could not be more wrong- at least in my opinion. I feel like I have something that I that could help another female peer, so I helped. Other than genetics, I don’t feel any sort of “maternal” connection to the children I help other IPs have. I will not be there when they need help with their homework, teach them how to drive a car, or take pictures of them on their graduation day. I do NOT think children that I help conceive via egg donation are going to miss me. Why would they? All I did was give the parents the seed. I did not water it or care for it. Other than some mild curiosity about me, I don’t see how a child could miss what he never had.

  8. Reply


    June 11, 2015

    I’m agree with Anonymous Egg Donor…finally they aren’t your children…one person becomes a mom or a dad when loves, looks after, sees growing these children and not who has the same DNA….and for me is the same for the children.



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