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Egg Donation: Grafting a New Branch on Your Family Tree

baby tree.jpg

a blog by Ellen S. Glazer, LICSW, May 13, 2010

I met with a couple this week who said to me, “We think we will do egg donation — we just need to figure out a way to wrap our minds around it.” I responded to them by acknowledging that it had taken me some time to “wrap my mind” around egg donation, but that this had happened for me when I met with a couple and their donor about eight years ago. It was during this meeting that I had what was, for me, an “ah-ha” moment: I saw egg donation as the process of grafting a new branch onto the family tree.

Prior to my meeting with the “arborist” couple and their donor, I had some unsettled feelings about egg donation. All too often people approach egg donation with a sense of shame referring to “disclosure” as though there was a secret at hand. People seemed to keep their donor at arms length (or further), afraid to meet her, to “have a picture of her in my mind,” or to see her as someone with whom they were collaborating in the most important endeavor of their lives.

It was only when I sat with this couple and their donor -- and watched as the donor told stories about her family -- that I realized the couple was listening and preparing to graft a new branch onto their family tree.

It was a branch that would look and feel different from the other branches -- there were ethnic, religious and cultural differences between their families and hers. But the new branch would not detract from the tree.

In fact, it would, from my vantage point, enhance and strengthen the tree, whose roots would grow stronger and whose blossoms, more beautiful.

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Comments (2)

afraid to [...] see her as someone with whom they were collaborating in the most important endeavor of their lives.

Can I shout from the rooftops, exclaiming, "Yes, yes, YES!!!"?

I often see people in the donor egg community who seem deathly afraid of exactly this, and it makes me sad.

We were fortunate enough to meet our egg donor. We spent a couple of hours in a cafe with her and her partner, discussing hobbies, music, books, travel, school, and all manner of things. We were eager to get to know her as a whole person, and a partner in this process. Though we may never see her again, I'm glad we'll have the opportunity to tell our daughter about that meeting.

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