I wanted to start this thread to hear from any ladies who have experienced the incredible gift of a donor egg to create their family. I am very interested in the decision making process of choosing a known donor so that the child can trace their heritage in the future if they choose to - versus - completely anonymous donation with no chance of tracing the biological mother in the future.
I imagine that anyone who has walked this path has considered the pros and cons of both options and weighed that up against the practicalities of receiving a donor egg here in Australia - in comparison to the ease of overseas anonymous options. Costs also factor in, and whether you would like no contact, minimal contact or lots of contact if you chose to head the known donor path.
This is not a thread to determine whether one path is better than the other, but I wanted to open a safe space where donor recipients could share their thought processes that led them to heading one direction or another. I would love to know what helped to make that decision? Did you discuss it with friends, family or a counselor? If it is an anonymous donation are you keeping that a secret from your child and never telling them the truth, or are you letting them know very early on that they are a donor egg baby but never have a chance of tracing their egg donor mumma? Did you think through the potential repercussions of the different options and if you chose anon, do you have strategies in place to support a child who is desperate to find out their identity but can't?
The reason I am posting this thread is that I always believed that a known donor was a priority for me, as I wanted to try and preempt any issues for my child in the future and make things as easy as possible for them if they wanted to trace their egg donor mother. As it is turning out though, the best option for us at the moment is a very strictly anonymous donation overseas, and my DH and I have to decide if we can live with our child never being able to find out about their heritage. We wouldn't keep it a secret, so we would need a clear plan of how to handle that situation.
My counselor shared that from her professional experience, no child ever believes that their parents did a fantastic job of raising them ( no matter how good they were!) and that you cannot preempt if this will be an issue for the child. She said there is usually something that a child will find wrong about their upbringing and you can never know quite what that will be. So her advise was to make our choices, and then be honest and loving and what will be, will be.
I know there is a vast range of emotions in children that have been conceived through donation - from the identity crisis ruining their life, to others not caring a bit and saying that their Mum and Dad are their Mum and Dad and that's it. I know epigenetics plays a big role too, and that the child is genuinely a "three-way baby" with some influence from the recipient Mum, so it's not like the child is completely without connection to their Mum.
I might be over-thinking it too much but I would love to hear from others about how they made their decision, the way they have made peace with it, what was important to them in the process, and the conclusions they've come to about it all.
My DH said last night to stop worrying - that in twenty years time they'll be doing such radical things with "designer babies" that what we do now will be a big nothing by then and likely not even cause a blip on the radar of the child. Which is possibly true too!
This is not a judgement thread, but a space to share your thoughts and feelings about being the Mum of a donor egg baby and how you dealt with it and plan to deal with it in the future with your child. Thanks in advance for your comments, thoughts and experiences.
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08-10-2016 08:02 #1
Egg Donation: Anon versus Known - how did you decide?
Last edited by Summer; 08-10-2016 at 08:06.
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08-10-2016 08:48 #2
In the "no tell" camp here, have oe children and didn't want my last 3 to be treated any differently from my others and they would have been and I also didn't want these 3 to feel any differently to my others, for me using anonymous was also easier, plus these are my children, and egg/cell doesn't make a child yours it's just the first brick in making the house, or the egg you borrowed from the neighbour to make your cake, everything else has come from you to make the finished product, as soon as those eggs left my donor they became mine and I was fiercely protective of them even at the fertilisation stage. So for us this is what's right for our family Also just edited to add that I have a large brood of oe children so not just one or two and I also live in a tiny town and if I was in the tell camp I'd have to be prepared for my kids to be known around town as the de kids and I was not prepared to have a label like that put on them for life, like I have said this is the best option for our family, and also family members would not have understood as we already have a large oe family and I already get enough grief from people on the amount of children I have without them hassling me about using an egg donor to add to our family
Last edited by stacey10; 08-10-2016 at 14:30.
08-10-2016 08:58 #3
For us the biggest issue was to enable the child to be able to trace their biological history if they wished to do so. We felt its super important over anything else. I also liked the idea of finding a person that would help us - having a human connection to it all I guess. However, the long road that leads people to going down the DE route is torturous, its long, it strains relationships and mentally is just so hard on people so I do completely understand why people choose to go O/S and not have to go through the process of finding a local donor. Finding a local donor can be hard, you are competing in a sense with a lot of others in the same boat and then you have to manage personal stuff along the way with them, go through counselling and also feel like they are not putting unjust demands on you - that they are giving you a gift essentially and that you don't feel like you've been forced to make them a "special aunty" IYKWIM if thats not what you want or for them to have a say over things like termination of a disabled child etc (our counsellor mentioned she has seen this).
Funnily enough though, when we started out looking for someone, we didn't really want a friendship with them, but when we found our donor, we realised that she is someone we really like and would be friends with if we had met randomly in life so the idea of letting a friendship develop organically is what we have chosen to do. Its actually been the biggest surprise in all of this for us. In saying that, we have not placed any pressure to make it work, if it does it does, and if it doesn't then the child will always know who helped make them and can have a relationship with her if they choose to. Also there is a significant physical distance between us which we both see as a good thing, so whatever ends up happening, we arent living next door so to speak. You cant predict the future, and you may have your differences but trusting in someone fundamentally (and them in you) is the most important thing. I will add that I think we have been incredibly lucky with finding our donor, we went through EDA and not everybody there finds someone or some take a lot longer.
If we had not have had such good luck with it, we might very well have ended up going O/S. Never say never. I think at every hurdle your goalposts move and you can very well end up doing something that you would have at first, not imagined.
I think you are right in that being open, loving and supportive of your donor conceived child is the most important thing. If you are open with them from the very beginning (I've read under 3) studies show they are much more likely to accept things and be ok with it.
Also FWIW many people are put off going local because of the cost - its been under 10k so far for us, but we do not have things like an egg number guarantee or number of cycles guarantee that some of the O/S clinics give. It might seem cheaper to do one trip abroad but then if you have to keep going back for FETs it could very well end up costing substantially more. I guess you just don't know.
Hope that helps and good luck!!!
08-10-2016 09:33 #4Junior Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2015
For us it came down to what was going to be quicker and give us the best chance of success, so we chose anonymous donation in Cape Town. The process from choosing a donor to embryo transfer was 3 months. When we started looking at egg donation I was almost 46 so we didn't have the time to spend in trying to build a relationship with local donors and hope that somebody chose us to donate too, to be honest that to me felt like a bit of a cattle sale going along to meetings and trying to convince donors that you were better than other recipients there.
It was also important to me that I was able to use a donor that share my physical features such as hair and eye colour and blood group. This is not possible in local donation.
I also liked the chance to use a younger donor as in Australia the majority of donors are over 30 whereas in SA we were able to chose a 24 year old donor who gifted us with 13 eggs resulting in our gorgeous twins and 5 frozen embryos.
The anonymous aspect doesn't worry us so much and hope it doesn't become an issue for our children later on. We will be completely open with our children about the way they were conceived and intend for it to be a part of their lives. All our families know and it hasn't been an issue. I think being honest is important as secrecy tends to make it look like there is some wrong with what we did. I had 2 cousins who were adopted, one on my dad's side who knew she was adopted from the time she could understand it and one on my mum's side who only found out when she was 18. The One who found out at 18 went completely off the rails when she found out, cut off all ties with the family as she said she had been lied to her whole life, she started doing drugs and her life spiralled out of control. It took her about 10 years to reconcile with the family but she is 50 years old now and has said she still cannot forgive her parents for lying to her. My other cousin who knew she was adopted didn't have any problems, she grew up knowing that she was special and wanted as her parents had chosen her, her parents then were able to have a child naturally when she was 3 but it in no changed how much her family loved her. I know that children will all react differently but hope that being honest with them will help them as they grow up.
08-10-2016 10:12 #5
Thanks so much for the replies so far lovely ladies - this is exactly what I'm after - your thoughts and feelings and reasons and what it all means to you. It really helps having the different perspectives and what works for your family. So much appreciated and I hope the stories keep coming - they are awesome! Thank you!
08-10-2016 11:20 #6Senior Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2015
For us its so many things. I have an adult son from previous relationship and met my dh when my ds was 5. My ds has always known who his bio father is but has nothing to do with him. Its his choice believe me dh and i have tried to hire PI to find ds bio father etc etc but my ds has said no. We have always had open discussions with him about x2 times a year till he was 16 when he asked us to stop. He stated my dad is who raised me loved me yelled at me. Picked me up when i was down etc not some his 16yo quote sperm donor that ive seen apparently 10 times til i was 5 then nothing. Soooo i guess my point is that he has a choice and doesnt pursue it. He had his bio fathers last name and as soon as he turned 18 he changed it to my dh name. I know every child is different but for us we think as long as we are honest about our earth angel and her generosity from the start it should be ok. Nurture vs nature. So many tell us how much my ds looks like my dh. My ds and dh are similar in personality too. Total opposite of me. I believe children thrive in a loving open family orientated home. What you teach your children that family is is up to you but for me family is everything and you definitely dont have to be biologically related. I hope i havent upset anyone this is just my opinion
08-10-2016 13:33 #7
I was keen on overseas donation but the idea of an anonymous donor didn't sit right with me and once I'd spoken to a counselor I knew we had to try to find a known donor..... although it seemed like a much harder route at the time. We have told friends and family. I'd like to be even more open about it as I know a fair few friends and cousins who can't have children (and I'd like to let them know there are options) but my partner is a bit more reticent so no facebook posts liking egg donation sites from me, though I would like to.
I never ruled out overseas ED though. It was a possibility if we couldn't find a local donor. I know someone who wrote a letter to their unborn baby explaining why they had to go the anonymous route. I thought that was a lovely idea.
I have one OE child and now a DE child. I figure as long as we're honest he will never feel the odd one out. If he does we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. As Summer says, people will always find something wrong with their childhood, I can't control that so we'll do our best and deal with it when/if it ever comes up.
I can honestly say I love both boys equally. I do feel a twinge of sadness at times that I am not responsible for his genetics as he is so adorabubble But I just let myself feel like that and in time hopefully it won't bother me anymore. Its a small price to pay for having another little gorgeous soul in our house.
08-10-2016 14:30 #8Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2014
- Gordonvale (Cairns)
Egg Donation: Anon versus Known - how did you decide?
The whole notion of donor eggs was completely out of the question for dp a year ago. Following a completely disasterous OE ivf experience at Easter, we were both pretty down and devastated and dp asked what we could do to bring home our family, and I repeated Wazza's advice - donor eggs. Once I started looking into it all, the whole idea of known donors just put me off - having to source a donor, the hoops you need to jump through, the delays, the begging for help from strangers who might then want a relationship with us or our child - it felt wrong to me.
So, I started looking into OS DE, found a clinic we both liked the sound of, contacted them and now I sit here, 13 weeks pregnant with triplets. My cycle had minimal medication (so no injections), we told them when we wanted to be there, the donor was selected based on my physical characteristics and we had a wonderful, relaxing holiday.
The overall out of pocket cost for the cycle was no more than the initial outlay would be here in Australia, so no Medicare rebate, but when you consider the timeframe of first contact to cycle it was worth it for us.
Last edited by AngelD; 08-10-2016 at 14:40.
08-10-2016 15:00 #9
08-10-2016 15:12 #10Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2014
We initially looked at finding a donor in Aus having not done much research on overseas. We did everything advised and found the whole process very uncomfortable. Felt like you were constantly competing. We did not want a donor becoming part of our lives and becoming friends. I also have a mental illness, which is very controlled and my psychiatrist has supported me. The counsellor at fertility clinic told us we need to tell potential donors of this and I understand a donor choosing someone else over me if concerned about mental illness.
So I started research on overseas and liked the idea of an anonymous donor. I come from a divorced and remarried family and to me my step Dad is my dad. He was the one always there for me. My biological father is just that. I did not have a strong relationship with him. So for me the genetic side of things was not as important as the life and love you give the child. I also spoke to someone who was adopted and she also felt the same.
We are in the tell the child starting young camp. I would always fear that something may go wrong health wise and need a genetic match only to find out at an already stressful time, there is no match.
All a personal choice and we make the decisions also based on our own life experiences. Good luck with your decision.
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