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Bonding with a Child via Egg Donation

bonding egg donation.jpg

a blog by Donor Diva, June 23, 2011

After having a child via egg donation, I was concerned my family wouldn’t treat him the same way they treat my other nieces and nephews. For example, up until recently I was afraid my parents loved all their other grandchildren more than Ant.

Then I had a conversation with my mom the other day, and I was so happy to hear her say, “I was surprised how bonded I feel to Ant.“

I asked her why she thought they wouldn’t bond. She said the blood relationship was a little bit of a concern: They are my parents, but technically aren’t genetically related to Ant. Another factor was the distance: We live on opposite coasts. and, as a result, only see each other once or twice a year. She continued, “I almost feel more bonded with Ant then my other grandchildren. It’s not all about genetics. It’s about him ... his personality. Ant just brings you in.”

I was beaming!

It’s not like my fears were unfounded. I have to admit, after Ant was born, I was afraid I would never bond with him. At first our bond was strained due to complications after delivery for him and me. There was a time I would look down at him and wonder why I didn’t feel that instant love so many mothers claimed to have. It was a slow process, but now it seems Ant and I are inseparable. All those fears are a distant memory.

These fears drive our decisions on who to tell and how to tell. Many parents decide to tell their family after the bonding has already occurred — they figure their family can’t reject a child they already love. Other parents tell their child first and let them decide when to tell their extended family. Each family is different. Make sure to carefully decide which one is best in your family situation.

Many parents via egg donation are worried they won’t bond with their children or that their families won’t. We are in a society that is stuck on this idea of genetics, with the thought that anything else is less superior. It all comes down to you: Are you open enough to bond with your child? For me, it wasn’t an instant bond. But our bond grows stronger every day.

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Comments (10)

My husband I just recently found out I went into Permature Ovarian Failure, and no longer produce eggs. I'm devastated. When I think about egg adoption, I feel nothing. No connection at all which is even more devastating. I can't get over the fact that I'll never have my own biological child. People tell me once I carry the baby and go through the motions of being pregnant, that I'll bond with the baby and become a mother. I don't know if this true, or if I'll always feel distant. It's really sad that I feel jealous of other women who are able to get pregnant without trying. What if I go throgh with this procedure and never bond with the baby? I'm a very loving person. I love other peoples babies, and I have dogs I absoluely adore. How can I not love this baby? What is wrong with me?

Stacey, your feelings are normal! Not everyone is physically and mentally prepared to pursue donor egg. If you've had a second opinion and you know for sure this is your only option, you might try counseling or a support group to help you decide which options for parenthood are right for you. If you are interested in a second opinion with one of the many reputable fertility clinics we work with across the US, give us a call at 855-955-BABY (2229).


I come from a background of multiple miscarriages with no explanation. So when this technology was presented to me I was ecstatic, excited, scared, overwhelmed and above all hopeful that this would be the path for me to become a mother.

We chose to share this information wit h our family beforehand because frankly I wanted to support in case it didn’t work. I didn’t trust my body at all. And so when we cycled and I conceived our family was over the moon. After he was born I was worried they'd come tell me that they'd made a mistake -- how crazy is that?

Personally, I never worried that I wouldn’t bond with my child. And our families were so so excited about the fact that were really going to be parents after this 16+ year struggle that if I’d brought a baby home from a cabbage patch they would have been thrilled – ha ha! It was through that experience I learned that genetics don’t make a family.

Did I have a hard time bonding with my child. Yes I did. I took care of my baby, loved my baby, there wasn’t a baby that was cared for better than mine, but I had a hard time giving my entire being, heart, body, and soul to this amazing child. It took my child becoming ill at 16 months old for me to realize that as much as I think I was in control of the world, my surroundings, and what could or couldn’t happen to my child I really wasn’t, and I was wasting precious time holding back.

It was during that time that I realized that I couldn’t hold back and that I needed to love with all of me, and if God forbid something happened to my child is was going to hurt in ways that I couldn’t imagine possible, but that’s life and it’s what life is all about – taking chances, being vulnerable, being present, and loving your child with every fiber of your being.

You are an amazing mother and I applaud you for being so open and honest with your feelings, your son is one lucky little boy!

Thank you for the sweet comment, you brought tears to my eyes as I read it. I am so glad to hear after 16+ years you were able to become a mother via egg donation. I used to feel lots of guilt about not bonding with Ant early on. It is always great to hear I am not the only one who had bonding issues (not related to DE). Thank you for sharing!

We shared our "issues" with our parents before the DE process/cycle. Once I was pregnant with our DE twin girls we shared with my siblings and my good friend and her husband. I don't know why we haven't shared with husband's siblings (I think because some would not understand or agree based on religious reasoning). Technically I'm not sure his parents understand what went into it completely beyond IVF. Anyway our reasoning is to have close family know and understand so that when they start understanding and talking about it that it won't be a surprise/shock or dealt with incorrectly because of a relative that is misinformed...while somewhat hoping to allow our children to understand and decide who to tell when they are older. So kind of like a little emotional safety net for them. So this may expand a little more as they grow.

As to being treated differently by family...I've never noticed or felt any difference. Sometimes I think they are loved just a little bit more because of the struggle to get them here. I worried too while I was pregnant about the connection for me based on lack of genetics but I have never felt that way since they were born. I agree it wasn't overwhelming love right off the bat but I don't think I would love my own genetic child anymore than I do these two little girls.

The best piece of advice someone gave me when telling people about DE was, "You can't untell someone. So choose wisely who you tell." Thank you for the comment.

One reason I was so open to DE is having been adopted myself. As such, I know family is a lot more than DNA. It didn't faze my parents at all, either ... they have no leads of a genetic bond to this child than they have with my older daughter, ie none ;) But I definitely understand the worry, and I'm glad it was much ado about nothing for you!!

We took a different approach...we told our immediate families and extended families (grandparents/aunts/uncles) and close friends before we even did the DE transfer. We felt that it would give our families and close friends time to wrap their heads around the concept that we would be raising a DE child. I guess we were lucky as their support was overwhelming and were incredibly thankful that DE treatment existed as we were looking down a road very bleak prognosis. We felt it would give my family time they needed to "grieve" the genetic connection loss as well. And now that we are 36w2d pregnant via DE, now all anyone is excited about is that we are having a baby. I guess we are also somewhat "blessed" that this baby is the first great-grandchild and grandchild on my side so he's incredibly wanted and all have waited a very long long time for a grandchild. I do not fret their once in a while questions as I look at it as them just trying to figure out how the genetics now plays into our family (for example...Grandma asking if "mother" has fair skin and blonde hair like me...I simply reply "oh you mean The Donor" hoping this corrects her thinking that the donor is not called the mother...just simply the donor). So for this very very early stage we feel that complete disclosure to those that know and love us works. Our son will be told of his birth story at a very young age and in age appropriate stages. And the bright side mom says "I hardly even think about DE anymore...I just can't wait to meet him she says".

That is great that your family is so supportive. We did take that same approach of telling everyone before we even cycled. All the fears of them not bonding were mine, for the most part. Thank you for your comment :)

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