Will the whole experience be as wonderful as it would have been if I had been able to conceive the baby without egg donation?
This was one of the questions I asked myself in a previous blog post while I was pregnant. I asked myself this because I ran across a site that listed common concerns of people who used egg donors to achieve pregnancy (along with several other questions). Now that the kid’s been on the outside for almost 7 months, what has the egg donor conception aspect really been like?
Is it as wonderful as it would have been?
As far as I can tell. It’s pretty wonderful. I haven’t experienced the alternative, and I’m certain it’s different, but less wonderful? I doubt it.
Did the baby end up looking like your husband? The donor? Someone else? You??
Yes to all. I stare at him and ponder this a lot!
- I think he resembles my husband. He has the same mouth, smile, and eyelashes.
- I think he resembles the donor. His hair color is similar (so far), face shape, forehead, skin tone, and eye shape.
- I think he resembles someone else – my father, somehow. In fact, a lot of people say this. It’s odd, but cute!
- I don’t really think he resembles me, but a lot of people say he does. They could be right, though sometimes I wonder if they’re just “being nice.” One person clarified that he makes some similar facial expressions. That makes sense to me, because he probably watches and imitates my expressions.
- And he looks like “himself”/ambiguous in some ways – so far, I can’t tell if his nose resembles anyone’s in particular, and his eyes are still very very dark (but are clearly going to be brown). I don’t know if they’ll lighten up enough to match my husbands. He has the biggest head ever! Someone said he’s shaped like a lollipop 🙂 And his chin dimple – the first thing my husband and I both noticed when he was born – no clue where that came from
Do you think about the donor?
Not every day. But most days, I do. I look at her photos/profile a few times a month, too. I do wish I knew who she was! But it’s ok that I don’t.
How do you think your kid will feel about being donor-conceived, by an anonymous donor?
I expect it’s likely he will be fine with it. As a little kid, I’m sure he will be confused, but I hope to present it as just one of many ways of making a baby. If he’s anything like me, though, he’ll be very curious. He can have certain answers, of course. I’ll show him her profile and photos, if he wants to see them. I’ve considered doing some genetic testing for him and my husband to see where there are differences and just so he can know a little more about how genetics work, once he’s old enough to have any semblance of understanding such things. Maybe do some tests for me, too – I bet there’ll be a few similarities, just by chance, and that might be interesting for him to know, along with the differences and just simple knowledge about his mom’s origins. I am his mom, after all!
What about the other genetic relatives floating around out there? How will you explain that?
I consider this often, too. This seems a lot more complex to explain than simple donor conception. The donor has a family. There’s at least one genetic half-sibling out there he’ll never know, maybe more. The donor might have children of her own. If all goes well, he’ll have a couple of genetic full-siblings that he will know (on some level), who will be the children of two other families. Though not “floating around out there,” at some point we’ll explain that his sister and brothers are half-siblings, and his dad used to be married to their mom.
That’s a lot of different types of genetic relatives. It’s incredibly confusing. I don’t know how we’ll explain that while he’s too young to really fully grasp the whole deal.
What if there are questions about the donor’s medical history?
Funny you should ask that (….ok, I asked that). I already did ask a follow-up question! Since we’re starting to feed the baby solid food, I was wondering if the donor had any family members with food allergies. I knew that she didn’t, personally, but what about others? I wanted to be able to more carefully introduce foods to which he might be at greater risk of being allergic. We are mostly doing baby-led weaning, so he doesn’t get single-ingredient foods a lot of the time. I contacted the clinic, they contacted the donor, she called them back, they got back to me… the process was a bit involved, sure, but it worked out fine (and no family history of food allergies! Whew). Also, I was glad to find out that she was diligent about returning the clinic’s call to answer my question. She seemed diligent, in general, but cycle-adherence doesn’t necessarily translate into follow-up over a year later.
Do you resent your husband for getting to have a genetic connection to your child?
No, I don’t. And, this might be unusual, but I’m glad in some ways that I don’t have a genetic connection to the kid. I wouldn’t have been able to, anyway, so after I found that out, the idea didn’t really cross my mind anymore. But, beyond that, I have to say I’m less worried about the kiddo’s health, because he isn’t at substantial risk for my particular health problems. Also, I really really love my husband, and I feel like the baby being related to him, in some ways, makes me want to take extra special good care of the little guy!
How would you feel if your child wanted to meet the donor someday?
I would feel fine with the idea of it, and I’d understand his desire to do it. I would love to meet her, as well! However, I would not actively encourage him to try to find her, simply because, by accepting an anonymous donation, I see that as a tacit agreement that we wouldn’t actively seek her out. Whatever they were, she had her reasons that she chose to donate anonymously (though it’s also possible that was just because our particular clinic only accepts anonymous donors, and she personally had nothing against meeting a kid resulting from her donation). I will say, though, I also wouldn’t be very active in trying to stop him if I found out he were looking. He didn’t agree to any of this, I’d understand his motivation, and it’s not like I could stop a kid who’s internet-savvy, anyway.
I would help and encourage him if he wanted to see if any half-siblings are listed on the Donor Sibling Network, though. I already check it here and there. Once in a while, previously-anonymous donors also list themselves on it, so hey, if he found her on there, then all bets are off with her anonymity, anyway.