Should I Use an Egg Donor?
Deciding whether or not to turn to an egg donor program to help you become pregnant can be a very difficult task. We encourage you to take time to consider the many facets of choosing an egg donor program. While you don't need to feel 100% resolved on all related issues, you should feel at peace with your decision to turn to egg donation as a means to start your family. We also encourage you to talk to a counselor who understands the complexity of this delicate issue.
Below are a few questions designed to help you and your partner make the decision of whether or not to use an egg donor program. Please use these questions as a springboard for additional personal reflection. We recommend that you find a time and space conducive to discussion.
Developing a Joint Vision
- Have you and your spouse thoroughly discussed your feelings about turning to an egg donation program?
- Are you in agreement that the egg donor path is what both of you want to pursue rather than other alternative treatments, such as adoption or childfree living?
- How do you both feel about one of you being a genetic parent and the other not?
- What marital and communication issues have surfaced in this process?
- Do you feel that your marriage is strong and stable enough to support this path to parenthood?
The questions that follow specifically regard the child. As you answer these questions, we recommend that you each make lists of your priorities and then discuss why you feel the items on your list are important. Then create one collaborative list. It would also be helpful to discuss any medical issues and choices with your physician.
- Once you have decided that an egg donation program is the best option for you, discuss in detail with your spouse what factors are most important. Be honest about what really matters to you (e.g., similar ethnic background, physical appearance, intelligence or personality).
- What and when will you tell your child about his/her origin?
Choosing a Donor
Selecting an egg donor may seem overwhelming, and each couple finds the process that works best for them. The most important thing to remember is that there is no rush. It takes time to find the right egg donor for you. If you consider a family donor, there are important relationship issues to be considered. Counseling and continuing communication among all those involved will help work through the relationship issues.
- What is the nature of your relationship with the prospective family donor?
- Is she married or in a serious relationship? How would her partner feel?
- What are the communication and relationship patterns in your extended family?
- Who will be told and what will be the reactions of other family members?
While a family donor has the benefit of shared genetics, the interpersonal dynamics may be extremely complex. If you choose a family member as an egg donor, she should be screened by a mental health professional who specializes in egg donation.
Telling your Family, Friends, and the World
Telling people that you have decided to use egg donation to start your family can be difficult. Obviously the first people you want to tell are those you think will be supportive. While you may want to move cautiously or even wait to tell certain people, being open with them sends the message that you have nothing to hide. Expect that some people will have negative reactions because of their own fears, beliefs, or lack of knowledge. If you anticipate a negative reaction from somebody close to you, consider involving them in some aspect of the process so that they can better understand your decision and support you. Though it is realistic to expect mixed reactions from people about bringing a child into the world through egg donation, you can also expect that there will be increasing acceptance as time goes on and more and more children are born through this and other assisted reproductive techniques.