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Donor Egg Love: A modern love story

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by Joyce McFadden, April 6, 2009

To be of help through this column, I want to write about the things a woman might want to know if she’s contemplating using donor egg. The best I can offer in that regard is to remember the questions I had before I met my daughter (who was conceived with donor egg), and to compare those questions to the answers found in the reality of living with her. So, these are the things I wish I could have known when I was deciding if I could handle being a donor egg mother, and the reality today.

Would I love my baby as my own?

I felt attached to my daughter through love from the moment I knew she was inside me, and when she was born I felt I’d known her my whole life. I thought I’d never be able to have a baby, and the fact that a donor made her possible makes me realize how close I came to never knowing her. Because of that, I feel like I love her not only as my own, but as a gift from another woman who, along with my daughter, represents to me what is good and generous in the world. My love for her is the purest love I’ve ever known.

Would being a donor egg child feel weird to my daughter?

Because it never feels weird to us as parents, it never feels weird to her. There is a metaphor, “a fish rots from the head down,” and that applies here. If we were uncomfortable with it, or had tried to hide it from our daughter, our discomfort would have pervaded her sense of herself. Instead, she knows she came into the world in a special way, and she has grounded herself there in a sense of the special. And she has repeatedly chosen to tell her friends because she sees it simply as a part of who she is. It’s part of her story.

Would there be tension between my husband, daughter, and myself because she’s genetically my husband’s and not mine?

None of us have experienced anything like that. For my husband and me, our gratitude subsumes any space tension could have been in. And for my daughter, her love for us feels natural and even.

What if she has none of me in her, not just genetically, but in any way? How will I react?

As is true with all children, she is very much her own person quite separate from me and my husband. But she has elements of both of us in her. She has her father’s eyes and she has my sense of humor, for example. But you know what the most wonderful thing about her is? What I find I love the most? Her her-ness.

Joyce McFadden is a certified psychoanalyst with an MSW from Columbia University and five years of postgraduate training. She’s a faculty member, training analyst and clinical supervisor at the Training and Research Institute for Self Psychology, and author of the ongoing anonymous web-based Women’s Realities Study. A featured writer for the Huffington Post, and faculty member of the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, she writes and speaks on issues affecting women and girls. She’s been practicing for over 20 years and has offices in Manhattan and East Hampton, NY.

All women are welcome to participate in her Women’s Realities Study which collects narratives of the realities of women’s lives, kept in their own words. To participate visit

Can I Handle Being a Donor Egg Mom?

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