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Donor Egg Love
by Dena Fischer
When my husband and I were contemplating using an egg donor, one of the heart-wrenching fears that kept me up at night was that no one would ever say, “He looks just like you.” And if they did offer something like “She has your eyes,” I’d know it couldn’t be true and that innocent comment would rip off the scab that covers the wounds of infertility.
This, and many other questions such as, “Will my husband feel more connected to our baby than I will?; Will I bond with her?; Will my son one day shout, as an angry teen, ‘You’re not my real mother’?” kept me tossing and turning for months. But I swallowed my fears and together we forged ahead to build a family. Now, thanks to the miracles of science and the profound generosity of a gestational carrier and an egg donor, we have vibrant, eternally energetic twin boys.
For our donor, we chose a young, healthy woman whose reasons for donating felt right for us and who shared some of my physical characteristics. And now, five years later, not a week goes by that someone doesn’t say, “One looks like Dad and one looks like Mom.” Well, one boy is an exact miniature of my husband and the other, by comparison, resembles me.
My reaction to these comments couldn’t be farther from those late night fears I had back before our boys arrived. The truth is, when I hear one, I have a private giggle and think what a good choice we made in our donor. And, more importantly, I am reminded that it doesn’t matter whether either of them really look like me or not, whether they share my DNA or not. They are my sons. Completely. I love the one who looks like me and the one who doesn’t – both with a ferocity I didn’t know I had and certainly no less than their father does, despite his genetic connection.
I have a friend who, after several miscarriages and failed IVFs, gave birth a few months ago with the help of a donor. She admitted to me that before she met our family, she never would have contemplated using another woman’s eggs. And yet, even knowing us, she had those same nagging fears I had throughout her pregnancy. But once her beautiful boy arrived, through her tears she told me that, just like me, all those questions vanished the moment she held him in her arms.
There are many routes to parenthood and, though the rollercoaster ride of infertility can seem endless, it’s merely just a blink in the lifetime of being a parent that follows.
The instant you hold that baby … or those babies ... those middle-of-the-night uncertainties disappear. You are a mother.
Dena Fischer is a literary agent with Manus & Associates Literary Agency, Inc. and a freelance writer. In addition to working and raising her children, she is actively involved in education in her community and is a founding member of The Potrero Residents Education Fund (www.prefund.org) whose mission is to improve public education in her San Francisco neighborhood of Potrero Hill. She lives with her husband of 15 years, Brad Rothenberg, and their twin boys Henry & Sam.