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Conversation with an Infertility Counselor

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I'm Ellen Glazer and I'm a clinical social worker and writer who has combined my personal and professional experiences to co-author several books on the various issues surrounding fertility struggles.

I graduated from social work school in the early 1970's, encountered infertility in the late 1970's, became a mom in the early 80's (through adoption and birth) and then focussed my practice on infertility, pregnancy loss, adoption, gamete donation, surrogacy and parenting after infertility.

I meet with individuals, couples and groups and do phone consultations and counseling for people who live at a distance. I have also done a good deal of writing and public speaking in the field of infertility. In addition to articles and essays, I have authored or co-authored seven books, most recent being Having Your Baby Through Egg Donation (co-authored with Dr. Evelina Sterling). The second edition of Having Your Baby Through Egg Donation, also co-authored with Dr. Evelina Sterling, is set for release in June 2013 through Jessica Kingsley Publishers in England.

You can find out more about me here.


a blog by Ellen Glazer, July 1, 2013

This is a question I hear often from people thinking about egg donation. They wonder if a child that is not connected to them genetically will truly feel like their baby. Here I’ll try to put this question in context.

Let’s begin by reminding ourselves that all parents have ideas of what their children will be like. Most base these expectations on their own appearance, interests and abilities. Tall parents expect tall children, engineers expect little engineers, women with curls expect babies with curls, and neatness is expected to beget neatness. Rarely, if ever, do parents get the children about whom they fantasize. Almost always, parents come to accept and often celebrate the ways their real children differ from their fantasy children.

a blog by Ellen Glazer, June 24, 2013

I spoke with a woman today who has a ten year old son conceived through egg donation (ED). She has told him about his origins but the conversations have been infrequent and brief. She said to me, “Most of the time, I just forget..”

“Forgetting” is something that happens with egg donation and I don’t see it as a “bad” thing. Here are some examples of “forgetting.”

a blog by Ellen Glazer, June 20, 2013

I am a big believer in family story telling and feel strongly about it’s role in donor conception. I see all donor parents as architects of their family story and encourage people to build a story they feel good about and about which they can speak with pride to their future child or children. Unlike adoption, in which adoptive parents continue a story that is already underway, with donor conception parents get to “conceive and gestate ” the story from the start. I was therefore excited to hear author, Bruce Feiler speak of the importance of family narratives in a recent NPR interview and to follow it with an article in the March 17, 2013 NY Times titled, “The Stories that Bind Us Help Children Face Challenges.”

a blog by Ellen Glazer, June 11, 2013

I am having more opportunities these days to “help” people find a donor that feels right for them. I put “help” in quotes because I know that it is always the client who finds her/his/their donor. My role is only as a sounding board, someone who can help confirm what you already know or are feeling.

I love it when someone asks me to look at donor profiles with them. It is a fascinating experience especially since I am usually working with a woman who was very ambivalent about egg donation when we first met. In most instances, this is someone who begins her donor search feeling sad, angry and pretty convinced there won’t be anyone she feels good about. Initial looks at donor websites often confirm her fears. She can’t help but see some photos that look like “call girls” rather than women hoping to help bring new life into the world. Fortunately things begin to change as a woman continues her search, clicking on more websites and more profiles and seeing that there are some very appealing, delightful women offering their eggs.

family livingroom photo

a blog by Ellen Glazer, June 8, 2013

“I’m afraid to adopt because I don’t like the idea of open adoption.” “Adoption scares me because it seems like it will feel like we are co-parenting with the birthparents.” “I don’t want to meet or know the child’s birthparents.”

These are all comments that I hear when people are beginning to think about adoption. They’ve heard the term “open adoption” and fear that it means they will be sharing Thanksgiving dinners and the Senior Prom with their child’s birthparents. I want to use this blog entry to clear up some common mis-understandings about openness in adoption.