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A New Perspective For Those Using Donor Eggs
A blog by Amira Posner, Healing Infertility, July 9, 2015
In my work, I have seen many couples struggling with the decision to use donor eggs when this is one of the last options available.
Some couples are able to embrace the idea and move more quickly through the process, while others are not quite ready to entertain the thought, feeling more resistance. In my role as a fertility counsellor, I help these couples to recognize and focus on their ultimate overall goal: to have a child. It is often the journey of moving through different, unsuccessful treatments that leads to the donor egg option. Understanding the implications associated with donor conception is imperative. Getting connected to others who have gone through it themselves can also be helpful.
Through the process, most couples eventually move to acceptance. The desire for a child supersedes any biological issues, and couples, over time, begin to welcome the idea. Some couples feel relieved to move forward with a plan that means the likelihood of having a baby.
The questions and the unknowns change before and through pregnancy. Worrying about whether they will feel connected to the child if the child doesn’t resemble them is a common fear. We must remember that becoming a parent is a new adventure, no matter what path you take to get there.
I often hear people’s concern about the lack of a genetic connection and how this may impact the child's life. In other words: Who is this child? Will he or she have anything from me? How am I going to feel towards them?
I always spend a few minutes during a session and explain the power of “epigenetics.” This is a mouthful I know, and I am not a scientist. It was actually a client who initially told me about the concept.
Epigenetics refers to the mechanism by which non-genetic factors influence gene expression and thereby, inheritance. This framework is powerful, suggesting that the woman who carries the fetus plays a pivotal role in what genes of the offspring will be expressed. The diet, lifestyle, mood and stress level of the gestational carrier all influence who the baby will become. This can be of great comfort to prospective parents using donor eggs.
Borrowing from Mehmet Oz, while genetics may “load the gun,” it is a person’s lifestyle, attitude, and environment that ultimately “pull the trigger.” A client who used donor eggs after years of trepidation once told me, “The awakening moment was when I realized there was nothing particularly special about my genetics.” While many people think of genes as immutable, the only thing that’s truly unalterable is the notion of unconditional love. Is this not the love that a parent has for a child, whether biological, adopted or otherwise?