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Don't Judge Me for Using an Egg Donor
To read more of Marna Gatlin's Egg Donation 101 blogs, CLICK HERE.
I am a little huffy right now. I admit it. I probably shouldn’t even be writing because I am so darn irritated.
This whole infertility “thing” is just so incredibly unfair.
And unfair really isn’t the word I am looking for. The word I am looking for is not printable today.
First of all we discover that our body doesn’t work the way it was intended or created to work. Some of us walk that painful path for years before we receive an answer or a diagnosis, and some of us never get a straight answer. We either don’t get pregnant, or we do only to miscarry over and over again.
When we are finally at that place where we recognize in our head and in our hearts that for us to become mothers, (something many of have dreamed about for years) it will never be a walk in the park. There are medical tests, then there are lots of fertility drugs to take and the egg donor — we have to select an egg donor.
You can’t have a baby without an egg donor, you know. That piece is kind of important.
The Search for the Right Egg Donor
So we begin our search and are often overwhelmed. There are so many choices. As we read profile after profile they all seem to run together.
We wring our hands with worry about the selection process. Do I want a tall egg donor? Do I want a short egg donor? Oh my God, are there actually egg donors that are from my same cultural background? My entire family graduated from the same West Coast University — would it be possible to find an egg donor who could fit into our family, someone I could connect with on some level AND come from the same West Coast University all my family attended, you know from my Alma Mater? Is that too much to ask?
We talk to egg donor agency after agency sharing our story, being vulnerable, sharing our criteria, and if this isn’t hard enough, we hear words like “designer baby” “elitist” or “not committed.” Those words are shaming, and they have no place in this process or in my process or my journey.
We're Not 'Designer' Parents
When I was going through my own personal infertility journey, I looked at egg donation as an opportunity to have a healthy, happy and robust child. Because my own genetics weren’t going to work, I had the chance to trade in my genetics for someone else’s. And because that opportunity presented itself to me, I decided to choose an egg donor based on what I wanted. For instance, I am short. I was referred to as a “shrimp” my whole life. Being short was hard, and I hated it. So I selected an egg donor who was tall, as was her family. Because cardiac issues and diabetes is rampant in my family, I selected an egg donor who had no family history of that or, for that matter, alcoholism. I felt it important to connect with someone who could make me laugh and articulate well, even if it were through an egg donor profile. And finally I found an egg donor with dimples, really curly hair (the kind I used to pay lots of money for every three months at the salon), and big blue eyes. Does that qualify me as a “designer mother” because I wanted specific characteristics from my egg donor?
What is the difference when intended parents state they want an egg donor who is athletic like them, or musically inclined like them, or intelligent like them, or artistic like them, or from a specific school, or whose parents have the same kind of family background as them?
Is it bad to want an egg donor who is pretty?
Is it bad to want an egg donor who is driven, goal oriented, and the head of her class?
Would we knowingly select an egg donor who wasn’t what we wanted?
This isn’t about buying a car, or a house, or a boat. This is about creating your family. This is about a decision that is a permanent decision that will be with your child for the rest of his or her life. When we embark upon creating our family it’s about giving our child the best start that we can.
So please, those of you who stand before us and judge us for our choices, and refer to us as designer parents, wanting designer babies, or as elitist, l want you to look at your children that you probably have — that you probably had without any medical assistance— and tell us to our faces that our choices are wrong.
I have news for you. They are not wrong. They are ours.