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Mother or Egg Donor?
a blog by Donor Diva, June 8, 2011
A female who has given birth to offspring.
A female or thing that creates, nurtures, protects, etc., something.
In adoption, the woman who gives birth to the baby is called the “birth mother,” and the women adopting the child is called the “adoptive mother.” But is “mother” the right word in egg donation?
The biggest difference between egg donation and adoption is, unless you use a surrogate, you are the one carrying your child. In the donor egg community, there has been much discussion about epigenetics (the genetic switches that can be turned on or off during pregnancy.) Scientists have discovered that choices made during pregnancy can drastically affect these epigenomes. This information confirms that I had an important role in creating our son. Even though I didn’t provide the egg, I provided EVERYTHING else.
But egg donation isn’t as mainstream as say, adoption, and can be confusing when it comes to the language used for the egg donor. Many people confuse the donor with the mother (or don’t even know what to call her!) While visiting my parents back in November, I mentioned to my mother that I was worried that Ant might have high cholesterol like my husband. My mother said, “Does the ‘biological mother’ have a history of high cholesterol?”
It is moments like this that I wish more people understood egg donation. I just sucked it up and let the comment pass. Later I confronted my mother about the comment and said I would prefer if she referred to our egg donor as the “donor.” It is our job to educate the people around us and guide them through this uncharted territory.
For me, it’s simple: we call our egg donor “our donor.” She gave us a wonderful gift to get our family started and we took it from there. She helped create our son, and I am eternally grateful, but to me that shouldn’t earn her the title of “mother.”
Genetic mom, egg donor or some other name? How do you or would you refer to your egg donor?