Jodi offered her story for the Choice Mom E-Guide: All About Eggs. — our new 47-page guide that covers everything from debating egg freezing and embryo donation to questions to ask yourself and a bank before selecting an egg donor option. Jodi offered to let me share her story in more detail for the many women who come to ChoiceMoms.org looking for profiles of women who have used egg donation. See Other Resources below for other links.
Prior to knowing anything about donor egg (DE), I thought I would choose the adoption route, if/when I could not have a genetically related child. I did a lot of homework by attending conferences and workshops on both donor and adoption. I read a lot online as well. I made a list of pros and cons for both choices. I was surprised that my pros for DE outnumbered my pros for adoption, and my cons for adoption outnumbered my cons for DE. There, in black and white, and a lot of therapy, led me to the decision to move forward with Donor Egg/Donor Sperm (DE/DS).
On Grief: I have grieved… A LOT… over the loss of a genetic connection to my child. When I made the decision to use DE, I told myself that I would grieve later. That I had to move forward now. I had spent about three years already trying to conceive. I had grieved all the disappointments along the way. It was time to be a Mom! I didn’t want to wait any longer.
On Connection: I have always felt very connected to my son, even in utero. I could feel and discriminate every movement he made and I gave them names, like the poke, the roll, etc. When my son was a newborn, I would have moments of sadness thinking about the genetic loss. I loved him so much, but wondered if I would love him more if he was genetically related. Of course, intellectually I knew the answer was no, but the hormonal, sleep-deprived monster creeped into my brain at times. He is now 20 months old and I don’t think about it too much. Once in a while, the thought slips into my mind, but we are so busy living a busy and fulfilled life, that it doesn’t take too much time.
On Egg-freezing: I started the fertility journey by freezing my eggs. It was my intention to use them when I met the right guy and got married… ha! The doctor told me that I didn’t have time to waste. My numbers and my response were not good. I moved forward trying to get pregnant over the next several years. My last try with my own eggs were those original frozen ones. Prior to that last try, I learned a lot about adoption and donor options. I wanted to arm myself with knowledge so I could make the next step… if necessary, right away.
On contracts: It is standard practice at fertility centers to have a legal contract with the donor. You pay for the donor’s attorney as well. I followed all the typical contractual advie suggested by my attorney. The one additional piece was that I wanted a “willing to be known” donor. So I paid for the donor to have a lifetime membership on the Donor Sibling Registry. I had/have no intention of communicating with the egg donor. But I was doing some care-taking for my future child. It would be arranged if he wanted to communicate. Also, updated medical information was important to me.
On Agencies: I did not want to use an egg donor agency. I only looked at clinics that had “willing to be known” donors in-house. I choose this for several reasons. First, I wanted to avoid additional cost. Second, I didn’t want to waste time with a donor that had not been approved by the clinic. Third, I did not want an anonymous donor.
On picking a donor: I used a similar process for selecting an egg donor as I did for a sperm donor. I wanted to tell my future child that I tried the best that I could at offering qualities that I believed were important, such as health, intelligence, attractiveness and kindness. I had to like the donors. I listened to every interview. The fertility numbers do matter so that was part of the process, but the other qualities were equally important. Nobody is you… you just have to trust your gut.
On Disclosure: I plan to be open with my child about using both donor egg and donor sperm. When I was pregnant, I wrote him a story about how much he was wanted and that I didn’t give up on my dream of having him. My niece was the illustrator. During my thinking/trying and pregnancy stages I thought about this a lot. I read the articles, books, posts and listened to all the podcasts on issues of DE and disclosure. After my son was born, I just lived life. It is not in the forefront anymore. He is still too young to understand. But once in a while I use the word donor just practice saying it aloud to my child.