Do "Real" Moms Use Donor Eggs? by Angel La Liberte
CNN’s latest on the Kelly Preston story (see links below) was to interview fertility specialists (who appeared to be dancing on eggshells) on the delicate subject of how and if mature women can get pregnant.
We all know what it’s like to be ensconced in one of those ‘politically correct’ social situations where you’re just dying to state what everyone’s really thinking, but can’t.
Mention the terms “egg donation” and “women over 40” in the same breath and you can almost hear the angry murmur of the lowest incarnations on the enlightenment chain thinking: “How unnatural—an old lady getting pregnant with somebody else’s eggs! How can she be a real mother?”
Like taking a simple, ‘snapshot’ view of any real human story, knee-jerk reactions rarely expose the inner truth of the matter.
Marianne Nozell from Texas was 40 years old with two grown-up children when she married a second time, to a man who wanted to have a family.
Now 46, the Registered Nurse Manager of an ICU, had tried four times to get pregnant using her own eggs over a three year period and failed.
“The hardest thing to hear every time you went in and got a pregnancy test was that it was always negative, and then I had to go home and tell my husband”, she recalls.
She was finally told that her eggs were too old and that her only avenue still open to motherhood was using an egg donor.
It was when she went online seeking help and information that Nozell found Parents Via Egg Donation, an online non-profit organization offering support to older women (amongst other women with fertility challenges) hoping to become parents.
“They were always there for me,” says Marianne Nozell, “all the way through my pregnancy”.
After three years of trying, she conceived with the help of a 29-year-old egg donor who was “a good match”, healthy, with living parents and grandparents with few health issues.
“I wasn’t looking for a Phd or anyone like that”, says Nozell, who adds that her husband’s genes played a significant role in the process.
She was 43 when they learned she was pregnant with twins and she admits to being “scared and crying at the same time”.
Marianne Nozell is adamant that getting pregnant by egg donation is not ‘unnatural’ because she says “they were growing inside of me.”
While some people thought she was “crazy”, others tried to help as they understood the circumstances.
“The hard part and the part not sure is what do I tell them [the twins] when they are old enough to understand that they are not really mine when they are,” she says.
“They have step-brothers that love them and will always be there for them.”
Of having doubts about her pregnancy, Nozell admits: “Only once, when breast feeding the twins, I thought of all the expense and asked myself ‘what did you do?’—then I looked at them and felt they are just great to have.”
Now that the children are 2-years-old, Marianne—whose 6th wedding anniversary is today—says: “They are keeping us young and we have a long road ahead!”
Marna Gatlin from Portland OR, founder of Parents Via Egg Donation —who is currently working on her Masters in Education—was 38 when she conceived with the help of an egg donor.
“For as long as I could remember I was always going to have two girls and two boys and be married to the love of my life,” she says. “That was my dream.”
But after many miscarriages, a fertility specialist finally told her what she “needed to hear, which was the truth” in that her eggs were not up to par.
Now the mother of a 9-year-old through egg donation, it had become Gatlin’s mission to aid would-be parents who could not conceive with their own eggs—for whatever reason—and felt isolated and needing to “receive support, get educated, become empowered or have a voice.”
Gatlin says that 75% of PVED’s membership consists of women over 40 who often arrive “overwhelmed, panicked, puzzled and really upset that their physician has just dropped the bomb on them that they either have poor egg quality or diminished ovarian reserve.
“The over-40 club is bittersweet for many,” she says.
While they are up against “social resistance,” she insists that “having a child over 40 has so many pluses—we are settled, stable and our careers are established.”
“We are more patient, and most importantly we want this so badly we are ready to consciously make those sacrifices in order to have children,” she continues.
Yet, their concerns about pregnancy through an egg donor are whether they will be able to bond with a baby not genetically related to them, or if the baby will love them in return.
They ask, “Am I a real mother?”
“My answer is always ‘Absolutely, positively, absolutely!” says Marna Gatlin, who is clearly in a position to know.
Notes for this blog:
Flower Power Mom, main website: flowerpowermom.com
Contact Flower Power Mom: email
To contact Parents Via Egg Donation: