Thinking about using an egg or sperm donor
Using donated sperm or eggs was probably never in your plan. It’s likely this is a path you’re investigating after many months or years of heartbreak, treatment and dead ends.
People come to egg and sperm donation after loss and as your reality changes, so does your perspective on the paths in front of you. Whereas initially, you may have never considered donation an option, you might now be looking into it through a different lens.
Here are 3 perspectives you might not have considered about using donor eggs/sperm:
1. You are in complete control of your family’s story
You may have reached this place feeling like you’re running out of options, but the important thing to know is that ‘you are in complete control of your family’s story’ right now. “Unlike adoptive parents who build on a story that is already underway, parents via egg and sperm donation make decisions from the start, that design the story.” Glazer and Sterling 2013. Use this time to not only research your next steps but also talk through how you want to build your family and the story you want to tell your children and others about it.
2. The meaning of donor conception changes over time
Right now, your focus is on the genetics and mechanics of using donated sperm or eggs. There is a whole spectrum of emotions when considering your genetic links to your children and each emotion is valid, even if you differ to your partner on it. It’s not to say that these feeling will ever be completely resolved (although hopefully, they might), however, it is highly likely that as time passes and your focus is on toddler tantrums, starting school and being a soccer mum that some factors diminish in importance to you. Dr Maggie Kirkman, an Australian psychologist and researcher says one of the most notable findings from her research is the way in which the meaning of donor-assisted conception changes over time and according to what is happening in the family (Kirkman, 2003)
3.Carrying and delivering a baby forges strong bonds
Pregnancy and birth is an incredibly important part of becoming a parent for some people, more so than the genetic connection. It creates a special bond within the family that is completely separate to any genetic link. Now, new scientific research into epigenetics and microchimerism are showing that the mother is actually more than just carrying the baby, that some genetic material and cells move across the placenta and mechanisms are at work within your baby’s genetics that are more than just the underlying DNA sequence.
It can be really beneficial to seek support to help work through all your emotions and perspectives on donor-assisted conception, even in addition to any mandatory counselling offered by your clinic. You can also join the supportive community through the Your Fertility Toolbox to connect with women all over the world who are going through the same things as you.
Fertility Coach, Founder of Your Fertility Hub
Karenna Wood is an international fertility coach, founder of Your Fertility Hub and passionate advocate for more emotional support and information for women trying to get pregnant. She’s an expert in mind-body tools and when not blogging, podcasting, coaching or speaking is...fast asleep!