Egg Donors and Surrogacy: A New Philosophy on Family Building
Having been intimately involved in third party fertility since 1998, I find I am teaching intended parents a new philosophy on how to think about building their families. Once intended parents learn they cannot build their families in the traditional way, it can be quite devastating. Even after the shock has subsided, intended parents must come to a difficult realization: building their family is no longer a straightforward biological process and they must now develop an entirely new way of looking at how their children will be created.
Reproductive Endocrinologists (RE's) are the experts who orchestrate this process for intended parents. The RE’s role is fairly simple: they will gather the needed gametes required to create the embryos, which will then be transferred to a healthy uterus. But for the intended parents, it is a far more complex decision and an intense emotional process.
In helping intended parents work through this process, I find that I am teaching them a new philosophy, which helps them to loosen their grasp on traditional methods of family building so they can embrace a different method of family building. No one grows up dreaming of choosing their egg donor or surrogate, though many of us grow up dreaming about our future families. Getting to a point where intended parents can embrace third party fertility as their chosen method of family building takes more than gathering the right gametes and a healthy uterus. These are not widgets on an assembly line; donating and accepting eggs requires a great deal of forethought and soul searching because unlike donating blood or any other type of tissue, gametes produce children. These children will one day become a part of a family and will have genetic relatives beyond the traditional family tree.
Each time I work with intended parents, I learn nuances in how their thinking evolves regarding coming to terms with becoming parents via egg donation and surrogacy. Each case is different yet there are always going to be similarities as well.
There are a number of adages that I have found to apply to building a family via third party fertility. Here are just a few that I will be expanding on in future blogs:
- Egg donation is not a cure for infertility; it can be a cure for childlessness.
- Your child is more than the sum of his or her genetics.
- We are not in control.
- Eye color cannot be controlled.
- You have to trust your surrogate.