Egg Donation: The Psycho-Emotional Impact
Egg donation is an amazing option for intended parents who are facing infertility and other issues to have a baby. Donor eggs come from younger and healthier women which greatly increases the odds of conceiving a pregnancy and safely carrying it to term.
While egg donation has become a popular way to become a parent, there is always the emotional overwhelm of resorting to third-party reproduction.
Many hopeful mothers feel the stress of having to give up some level of control and accept that the baby will not retain its own genetic material.
This can be a lot for a mother who has already gone through much hassle on her fertility journey. So we spoke to one of the mothers who has been through the egg donation process and agreed to share her own experience.
We have changed the names and made some edits to the original to keep her identity anonymous.
Egg Donation: the Psychological, and Emotional Side of the Process
I’ve always wanted to share my experience of using egg donation for a while. Because I know that there are many other hopeful others out there who are considering the same path I have taken.
When I was going for my donor treatment, I realized that the one thing I wanted to know was the emotional side of egg donor treatment. While I found some excellent medical advice, I still searched for firsthand experiences from those who had a successful donor treatment and became mothers.
It all began when I found out that I can fall pregnant easily but miscarried each of the three pregnancies. After the third miscarriage, I realized that I couldn’t go through this again and that is when the idea of using a donor came to my mind. Both I and my spouse thought that egg donation could give us the success we were longing for. Although our consultant wanted us to try again with PGD/IVF using my own eggs, the success rates didn’t give me much assurance. After my husband said yes, our journey began.
At the time of my first donor egg IVF when I was pregnant, I felt a strange panic and thought perhaps I’ll miscarry again in 6 weeks. Because my mind had already started to consider this a norm. You can understand what a trauma it was for me.
After the first donor egg cycle, I have to confess to feeling strange. I had never had IVF and it occurred to me that I had used another woman’s eggs etc. I remember thinking to myself, if this doesn’t work, that’s it! We’ve tried our best.
Unfortunately, Our first DE (donor egg) result was negative. This experience of negative was different from a miscarriage. A miscarriage was painful and left me in a pain that I had never experienced before and still found it hard to share with someone. Yet a negative pregnancy test had its own unique pain – emptiness and loss, and in a way it is harder to explain to anyone and therefore even more isolating.
I remember that our negative result came during my husband’s 40th. I had hoped that our dream would come true and we would celebrate his birthday along with the joy of pregnancy. Instead, the two of us sat in a bar, both so sad, drinking champagne and not having a word as we both were trying to digest a loss that was hard to describe.
After the negative, my thoughts of trying one attempt only went out the window. I suddenly felt, why am I putting a boundary on the times? Why do I have to succeed at first? And the thought of being childless, without trying, haunted me. I knew we would be okay with being childless, but not trying seemed harder to bear.
So we came up with a plan and went for a second cycle 6 months later. In between this I continued with acupuncture and another sort of holistic treatments, lived normally, ate what I liked, and found this liberating to not be in treatment mode, not being alive just to get pregnant. I also went to therapy to help me unlock the pain of miscarriage. Figured out, that I believed I was holding on to the fear of miscarriage and that I needed to release it before I could carry a child. It was obviously a difficult experience – bringing up a lot of emotion for me, but I did feel that I had unblocked them from a cell memory, my experience of miscarriage.
The second round resulted in two perfect embryos. This time my husband couldn’t be there, and I had to go in by myself. I made a promise to myself that if a child chose us as their parents, I would do my best to give them the happiest, most joyful time.
Well, we were lucky! Who knows why!
Now when I look at our daughter, I think perhaps we just had to wait for her.
(This is just my personal experience) I suddenly felt that I was pregnant with a “donor” child, and the thought stuck with me every day of my pregnancy. I seemed to think about how a child would feel knowing they were a donor-conceived. But as my belly grew, so did my intimate relationship with my child.
I felt her kicks and hiccups in my heart and who knows when she became a part of me and I knew that I had to resolve those feelings as a child was on its way.
My husband and I have always said we will tell the child and were not too worried about our donor’s characteristics. Strangely enough and luckily, our daughter looks like an exact mix of the two of us, with big blue eyes.
I guess I should say here, that the one thing about having a donor egg baby is that people are always concerned about how the baby would look like.
The next emotion that I wasn’t ready to face was when my daughter was born. We were home from the hospital and I looked at her. She was just perfect and the most beautiful thing I had ever looked at. I just burst out crying, saddened that my genes had nothing to do with her perfection. My husband said to me this is our wonderful baby and we will help our gorgeous daughter, we are all together, we are all one.
Now that my beautiful daughter is turning 11 months, she is a delight. As if a magical child who is more than I ever imagined. Now that I think, if I had to choose a child of my own genes or her, I would always choose her. She is my child – she is of my heart, of my mind, and of my spirit. I want nothing more.
So if you are still on this same road, I understand how hard it is. But if you can hold out, it is worth it. It is worth just trying to know that you did what you could and no one can ever take that away from any of us. We have all gone above and beyond ourselves to bring our dreams to fruition.
We hope that the above account helps you on your journey to become parents through egg donation and deal with the feelings you have to face.
All the best to your parenthood journey.