While society acknowledges that using fresh or frozen egg donor treatment may be the only way someone can become pregnant, there’s still a lingering stigma surrounding donor eggs that needs to be overcome.
Understanding the stigma behind donor egg IVF
Although IVF using donor eggs is becoming increasingly more prevalent, most individuals who have conceived with donor eggs often don’t admit to using them.
There are a plethora of celebrities delivering babies in their forties who seem to be more fertile than the rest of us – but the reality is, their ovaries probably aren’t any more viable than the next person’s. This reticence to share the manner and method of their child’s conception further serves to shroud the process with mystery. Perhaps one day, egg donation will be seen in a more positive light, as a deeply generous and much appreciated act that allows infertile people to become pregnant against all odds.
Worrying what others will think or say
Much of this hesitation likely stems from a reluctance to admit a possible physical shortcoming. It seems that some people are concerned about what others may think about their choice, and for many there is a certain sadness that comes along with the thought that one might never pass along their genes. Using frozen donor eggs is unlikely to be “Plan A”. However, for someone who dearly wants to conceive and carry a child to term, it has the potential to make dreams come true when all else has failed.
How to tell a child they were donor-conceived
Another prevalent issue for potential parents is how to tell the child. As with adoptions, the earlier the child knows the truth about their conception, the better.
The more time goes by, the more likely it becomes that questions will arise, and it might be better to err on the side of transparency. Donors may be open to a non-anonymous relationship, in which case there’s a possibility that a child may want to reach out after they turn eighteen.
With all the psychological and emotional concerns that might arise around this, it should always be one’s goal to provide a safe, honest and loving environment for their child. Putting thought into how one will broach the subject is best done well in advance. Considering the growing number of people opting to use frozen donor eggs, there are many excellent children’s books available that might help parents with this delicate task.
Will a donor-conceived baby look like the parent?
One of the main concerns among those who are considering the donor egg IVF process continues to be the lack of genetic relationship to one’s donor-conceived child, and how to handle the situation of giving birth to a child that doesn’t carry one’s own genes.
Questions like “will we ever bond?” and “will he or she feel like they’re my baby?” may understandably arise.
Fortunately, the answers to both of these common questions is a resounding yes.
Furthermore, if one has decided to complete an IVF cycle using frozen donor eggs, they will have access to a great deal of specific donor information. There’s a flourishing database of egg donors from Donor Egg Bank USA available, which includes details such as hair and eye color, level of education, professional status, medical history and even blood type. Additionally, one will have access to photographs of their donor from childhood through various stages of life. Making one’s donor less of a mystery and choosing a donor who’s physically similar can put many of these anxieties to rest.
Science vs nature
There’s a widespread misconception that getting pregnant from a donor egg is “unnatural”. While it isn’t the most common method for having a child, for some people it’s the only viable option aside from adoption.
There are various reasons why a woman might be unable to get pregnant, but being able to carry a child that shares at least one intended parent’s DNA is a goal that can be achieved using donor eggs. Adoption, on the other hand, represents no genetic connection whatsoever to either parents, and yet it tends to be more socially acceptable.
The adoption process was once shrouded in secrecy and stigma. Its acceptance, however, seems to be undergoing a sort of evolution that is making it a more mainstream alternative to infertility. It is conceivable – no pun intended – that frozen egg donation may also one day manage to overcome these stigmas.
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