I am donor conceived, and it’s OK.
I’ve known I was donor-conceived for as long as I can remember. I think I was told when I was born, and my parents gave me more details as I got older — whenever I could understand what the word “donor” meant. I can’t remember the exact age I was told, and that’s kind of the point.
I know of so many stories where donor-conceived kids have vivid memories of when their parents told them. Sometimes, their parents didn’t even tell them at all, and they had to find out through a DNA test, or from another family member letting it slip.
I’ve never had that problem. Being donor-conceived has been such a non-issue in my life that it doesn’t even factor into how I think about myself. It’s not a large part of my identity. I understand that some people might be more attached to their genetic lineage, or might have some deeper connection to their donor. I never have. I’ve known my donor for almost a decade, and we’re basically just friends. There’s nothing weird about it, and we never talk about egg donation.
Some people have asked me, “What do you think about being donor-conceived?” I don’t think about it. It’s never been that big of a deal for me, because I’ve known about it my whole life. My parents are my parents, and my donor is my donor. I’ve lived with my parents my whole life, and they raised and loved me. Wouldn’t it be strange if I felt any maternal feelings toward my donor? She feels more like a sibling to me than anything.
I do remember that I wanted to know what my donor was like when I was younger. I wanted to know if she was nice, what her name was, and how tall she was. I had a vague feeling that she was important, but I was mostly curious because I just didn’t know. The fact that I knew I was donor conceived but didn’t know who my donor was made me a little uncomfortable. I met my donor when I was 11, and now we hang out semi-regularly. Now that I know who she is, it’s not a big deal to me anymore.
Honestly, this is the most I’ve even thought about egg donation in a while. I can’t emphasize enough how much of a non-issue it is in my life. I wouldn’t say it’s shaped me or changed how I think about myself in any way. It’s just a different circumstance that led to my birth. Getting upset about being donor-conceived makes as much sense to me as being concerned about exactly what shirt my mother wore when she gave birth to me. It doesn’t matter. I’m alive all the same.
I can only imagine what it would have been like had my parents not told me early. If I had to find out when I was 18, or if I learned it from someone else in the family, I would probably feel differently about it. Just like adoption, the worst thing you could do to a child is to keep their origins a secret. It doesn’t matter to me because I’ve known my whole life, and I have better things to worry about. I can completely understand, though, how a child might feel betrayed or deceived if their origins were kept a secret.
To all parents who are worried about telling their kids: don’t be. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. If you tell your kids early and often, they most likely will not care by the time they grow up. There are so many other things that are so much more important to them that they probably won’t even care. The worst thing you could do is keep it a secret. Every child deserves to know where they came from.