Egg Donation: Raw Material
I’m a regular follower of Dawn Davenport’s Creating a Family blog. I feel that Dawn and I are kindred spirits; we both try to help intended parents find support and a little peace of mind as they struggle through their journey toward family. In Dawn’s recent blog The Blessing Of Infertility?!? she refers to infertility as ‘a journey through hell.’ I was struck by a few lines from a comment by woman who was on the other side of her fertility journey, having adopted a child 18 years ago. “Infertility pruned me hard and I didn’t think I would ever recover from the pain. But I did and though it sounds trite to say - I count infertility a blessing …infertility taught me that I can’t do everything I set my heart to do. Some things are out of my control. Only God can make a baby.”
I start every consultation with intended parents by asking them to share with me their fertility journey. It gives me perspective as to where they are emotionally and psychologically and it helps me to understand what they have been through. No one grows up dreaming about someday choosing his or her egg donor. It is a slowly evolving process which cannot be forced any more than you can force a bud to bloom before its time. And, unlike my analogy of the flower, using an egg donor is not anticipated with joy, at least not at first. That is why so many women, when first given the news that their chances of having a baby using their own eggs is low, have a hard time accepting the news that an egg donor may be a good option for them. Instead they often seek out a second, third, and sometimes a tenth opinion hoping that one of the fertility specialists will give them an answer that they can accept, the answer they want to hear. By this time they have been through a long list of treatments and procedures that have all ended in disappointment.
Intended parents come to Donor Concierge for a variety of reasons. They all want to find someone that they can relate to, who feels ‘familiar’. Who do you choose when you need an egg donor? Who, from the limited information you can gather from a donor profile, will feel like they can fit into your family? One reminder that I offer to intended parents is that an egg donor is only contributing the raw material, not the finished product. Just as we are not duplicates of our own parents and we are different from our siblings, the blend of genetics that goes into creating a child is complicated and there is no way to control for the outcome. When we are having babies the old fashioned way, we don’t stress over this fact nearly as much as we do when we are adding a stranger to the mix. That said, you often know much more about your donor’s family history than you did about your partner before you, fell in love and chose to share your life with them.
Thinking of a donor’s genetics as part of the raw material of a future child, you still want to find someone who looks like they could fit into your family, who is reasonably intelligent, and who is coming from a family without any hereditary physical or mental health issues. You and your partner will be the parents who mold and shape this child who will adopt your values and, in most cases, will be genetically related to your partner. Never underestimate the value of nurture on your child’s development and remember children are all their own unique beings with their own opinions, likes and dislikes regardless of their genetic makeup.
Beyond the basics of physical and mental health and a family resemblance, many other traits are simply icing on the cake to help you to feel that you like the individual you have chosen to be your egg donor, because that does help to give one peace of mind. Your child is your child for the rest of your life and, once they are born, you love them beyond reason regardless of how they came into your life. But, at the donor choosing stage, you are still worried because this is still an Orwellian process with only a little more than 20 years of history and not a lot of people share their experience about how they formed their family via egg donation. So each intended parent who walks this route usually feels they are walking it alone.
Donor Concierge was formed to walk alongside intended parents, to be a sounding board, and help them to find the best possible options, have realistic expectations and, most of all, to feel that they are not alone in this journey. We at Donor Concierge are so much more than human search engines. We are your support and your friend for a time when you may not feel that you can rely your friends and family because they may not be able to relate to the decisions you are making. That is why we do what we do. We have no vested interest in who you choose, only that we are presenting the best possible options of who is actually available to help you to build your family and to help you to feel you have done your due diligence and found someone that you can finally feel ready to move forward with having a baby with the help of the best egg donor for you.