Common Fears about Egg Donation

Common Fears about Egg Donation

For many people, egg donation is not likely to be their first choice to create a family, but for some, it is probably their only choice.  Once the realization sets in that egg donation may be your only option in creating your family, you may experience fear, indecision, confusion, frustration, and be at a loss as to where to start in the process.  All these feelings are normal and with a little time and research, your thoughts and concerns will reestablish themselves to a feeling of confidence and decision. Fear is typically due to a lack of knowledge or information, and that is where we can help make your path easier.


Will I bond with my baby?

Yes, you will bond with your baby.  Although you are not genetically connected to this child, you did create this baby!  If it were not for your efforts in researching, reading, discovering, and choosing all the components that go into creating this child, they would simply not exist.  You, this child’s parent, created this precious life – never forget that! These particular genes would not come into existence if it were not for you.  Yes, your donor could create another child for another parent, or your doctor has helped create thousands of children, but only YOU could create this child.  It is this simple fact of life that makes you the parent of this child – there is no other parent of this child in existence.  You will nurture this pregnancy, either by carrying this baby yourself or by looking after your surrogate for 9 months. It is your name that will appear on your child’s birth certificate.  You have created this child and you will hold your baby to your skin after birth and you will fall in love!


Will I grieve that I am not my child’s biological parent?

Yes, most likely you will. This is a healthy reaction.  A consultation with a mental health professional can guide you through these feelings.  There may well be the lingering feeling that the child you imagined is unreachable.  It is perfectly normal to want to be biologically related to your child – we have spent most of our lives believing that someday we will be biologically related to our children.  No one prepared us for something different.  Learning to let go of the concept of a biological child you thought you would have, is a process.  Changing those feelings may take time. So, allow yourself the opportunity to process these feelings of loss, perhaps even feelings of anger.  Egg donation may not be the right solution for every person but is a solution for some.  We highly recommend a few sessions with a mental health professional to talk through these feelings and to perhaps permit yourself the option of considering egg donation.


“You are not my real mom”

It is extremely unlikely that you will hear this from your child because your child will only see you as their parent who has loved them like no other.  But there are times in a child’s life when they may immaturely slip into that ugly world where they just want to lash out.  This will not be because you are not biologically related to them, (assuming they even knew), but because they are angry or embarrassed and want to hurt you.  They don’t always have the emotional maturity to handle their feelings and a lot of parents go through these torments. This is regardless of being biologically related to their child or not.  In fact, biology is not relevant during such an event.  Generally, this will happen during the teenage years when the child is battling between fighting for independence but does not, as yet, have the maturity necessary for that independence.  This is a moment of “don’t tell me what to do or not to do, I don’t want to be controlled and I want to hurt you.”  Each parent handles these situations differently.  For me, I would say “sometimes I get angry and frustrated at you as well.  Your words have hurt me deeply.  No matter what, I will love you but for now I need some space from you.” However, your best bet can be the mental health professionals once again. There are counselors that specialize in these teen years and they have amazing advice to get you through yet another parenting hurdle.  Some hurdles are easy and some are not – welcome to parenthood!


Should I tell my child about the egg donor?

This is a private decision for each parent.  Years ago, the consensus was not to tell the children.  But for at least the last 15 years, the consensus is that children have a right to know their unique beginnings and should be told sooner rather than later.   In addition, scientific advances in DNA tracking has enabled people all over the world to trace their distant relatives.  The internet is filled with stories of children born via egg/sperm donation tracing their donor, or their donor’s children or relatives through these sites.  Many countries have enacted laws that permits children born via egg and sperm donation to discover the identity of their donor once that child reaches the age of maturity.  The decision to tell or not to tell lies with each parent, and there is no right or wrong.  However, the right of a child to know is a separate issue that each parent must come to terms with.

Will telling my child overwhelm him/her?

Every child is unique and so there is no absolute guarantee on the answer to this.  However, experience has shown us that when the story is told early and explained clearly without any regret or hesitation on the part of the parent, the child accepts that this is their story.  Children have been interviewed on this subject and responses such as “I don’t know when I knew, I just always knew” and “My parents told me the truth because they are incredibly honest and have refused to lie to me … they won’t lie about anything”, or “my parents told me because they thought I deserved to know”.

How do I know my donor is not lying in her application?

Yes, a donor may not be truthful on her application or more likely, forgot some family genetic issues.  The applications that donors must complete are lengthy and often overwhelming.  Have you tried to complete one of for yourself?  However, blatant lying on an application will most likely be discovered via the layers of screening that the donor goes through.  From the mental health evaluation and testing, her tendency to be truthful will become apparent.  The intake interviews that the mental health professional conducts will address many questions on the application and give the counselor the opportunity to evaluate and compare the responses, that is what they do.  Your IVF clinic will also review her application and undertaken their own medical evaluation.

Another option available to you is that you communicate with your donor. This can be done without revealing your identity: emails exchanged through the IVF staff or your mental health professional, or a phone call.  Or you can elect to meet your donor in person.


How will my family react to my donor conceived child?

Infertility is still misunderstood by so many people, and for some, infertility is an embarrassing subject to talk about.  Your family’s reaction is a legitimate concerns, and you may also be burdened with cultural concerns.  More traditional cultures may be less accepting of egg donation and parents of a certain age may be less accepting than a younger generation.  The answer does not lie in trying to keep the egg donation a secret.  Secrets are hard to keep within families and can be destructive when a family member finds out they were lied to.  Talk to your mental health professional about how to tell your extended family, or, if they think you should tell them.  You have a right to privacy – the right to keep personal information private from your extended family.  Your decision on your right of privacy is a separate issue from your decision of whether you will tell your child and your child’s right to know.  Sometimes a person is surprised when an elderly relative is open to new ideas and trends.  Do not prejudge your family, but slowly poke at the subject of infertility and judge the responses.  You may be surprised to learn that your great Aunt had trouble conceiving or that your mom had several miscarriages.  This is not necessarily a subject that has to be discussed at a family gathering.  You may want to explore the option of more intimate communications with family members.  You absolutely have the right not to reveal your child’s genetic history if you believe your child will be treated differently to other family members.  This is a process not a one-time event.  Your mental health professional has years of experience with different cultures and family dynamics to share with you.

Thank You!