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Donor Egg Recipient: Are My Questions, Concerns, and Emotions Justified?
April 4, 2014
Whether you just had the egg donor talk with your fertility doctor, or you happened to catch Jay Palumbo’s Biological Clock PSA in the Huffington Post, you may find yourself stunned by the harsh reality of age and the decline of female fertility. You probably have a lot of questions about becoming a donor egg recipient, not to mention the roller coaster of emotions.
Though your donor egg IVF experience will be unique, emotions you are experiencing are not only a normal part of the process, but also common amongst other donor egg recipients. We've compiled a list of some of the most commonly cited emotional experiences and completely normal questions that donor egg recipients often ask.
What Emotions Should I Expect as a Donor Egg Recipient?
Grief. Ok, so you just found out your baskets (ovaries) are not as full as you once thought. Your eggs are no longer viable and you start to morn the idea of your future children bearing your eyes, dimples, and fair complexion. You might even wonder if you could ever love a child conceived of donor eggs as much as you would love your own biological child. These thoughts and feelings are completely normal, and you should communicate your concerns to your partner and an infertility counselor. Make a checklist of physical traits you hope to share with your future child and find a donor who closely resembles that. Be realistic, but it is ok to set some criteria.
Excitement. Despite this news, you will still get the chance to carry a pregnancy, experience cravings, movement and kicks, and give birth. You have control over these things in a situation where you likely feel you’ve lost control or input.
Resentment. You may even feel slight resentment toward your partner knowing that this child will still have a biological connection to them. You may choose to see a counselor or therapist to come to terms with these feelings, or pursue donor embryos which involve egg and sperm not biologically linked to you or your partner.
Are My Concerns About Donor Egg Normal?
Now that you feel reassured your feelings are completely justified, what about concerns for the future? What should you expect as the mother of a child conceived with donor eggs? Below are some common questions “donor egg” moms ask themselves regarding their child’s future.
What information will you disclose to the child? If you plan to keep your child’s donor egg origin confidential, be sure that you and your partner are on the same page. If you choose not to disclose this information, you must not share with anyone. You wouldn’t want the donor egg story to get back to your child and leave them wondering why they heard it from someone other than their parents.
Will my donor have custody rights or the ability to contact my child in the future? With the help of a Reproductive and Family Law Attorney, you will draft a contract that clearly outlines the role (if any) your donor will play in the child’s life. In most cases, you will receive a full demographic and medical record file on your egg donor, but the donor will receive little to no information about you. Your donor relinquishes all parental/custodial rights to the child born of their donated eggs.
What about genetic diseases or future illness? Despite the fact that egg donors are thoroughly screened prior to being accepted into an egg donor program, there is still a chance that health concerns will arise in the future. Donors may opt to allow the family to contact them in this instance. Make sure you mention your concerns about medical history and future illness to the Reproductive Attorney so they can be clearly listed in the donor agreement. You will also want to understand the policy of your clinic or agency regarding donor and egg recipient contact in the event of medical issues.
For more information on donor egg IVF and to share your concerns with other donor egg recipients, check out the following forums on FertileThoughts.com: