In-fertility has received ton of lime light recently that talking about it feels seemingly easy; kudos to new generation fertility physicians and dedicated fertility advocates raising awareness and promoting easy conversations. Celebrities opening up about their fertility stories make it all seem normal and possible even at advanced age with the help of advances in reproductive technology.
Reality is somewhat in alignment but not so rosy though.
On one hand there are more social media posts on every update regarding fertility journey to receive support in such trying times and not suffer in isolation alone, and on other hand this may also mean those many more heartaches with negative pregnancy tests and pregnancy loss among community who is preparing for pregnancy.
I had firsthand experience in my support group meeting on a similar line. Couple of members expressed their agony after failed embryo transfers, while others were looking for helpful tips before getting into the IVF cycle. Clearly, it was not a best situation for someone who is new to the world of IVF to face the frustrations of failed cycles.
All adding up to vulnerability to fertility associated panic, anxiety and depression.
In such times, what becomes more critical is support from medical community and fertility advocates (be it in-person support group meetings or online fertility communities for Resolve, Facebook, Reddit, Fruitful, Shine, etc.) to provide accurate information and right resources to cope with fertility challenges.
One of the concerns I recently heard in my support group meeting was how can I overcome the loss of genetic ties with my child when I consider adoption or donor eggs.
The concern is REAL. The disappointment of not being able to use your own eggs or carry a pregnancy is not easy.
I have personally been in that situation before where I started wondering what if I could not get pregnant with my own eggs. How many IVF cycles with my own eggs will we do before considering other routes? My biggest hurdle before considering donor eggs was originating from empathy, how can I have someone else go through these unpleasant rather harsh medical treatments involving daily shots and a surgical procedure for my personal interest? My husband had a different response, he could not get over the hump of having external DNA in our family.
My doctor’s comments were you will know when you will be ready for donor eggs and then you will approach me. Surprisingly, we were able to conceive via IVF with my own eggs in a miraculous way. If you got curious about my journey, read more here.
Dr. Marie Davidson is a licensed clinical psychologist and patient educator with Fertility Centers of Illinois published this article for most FAQ’s common fears about using donor eggs. She answered the loss of genetic ties as “Although another woman (as the egg donor) has a biological connection, she is not the mother. Donors never regard themselves as the mothers of any child conceived through their donation. You most certainly will be the biological mother. Pregnancy, birth, and lactation (if that is your choice) are all biological.”
Gail Sexton Anderson, the founder of Donor Concierge, CA wrote about fascinating world of fertility and coming to terms with donor eggs as “Be prepared to cry, be angry, be frustrated, mistrust and feel unfair to land in this situation. But know that Motherhood is not tested via DNA – families are built with love. Coming to that place can be a slow evolution. Give yourself time. It is possible that your desire to be a parent will overcome your reservations.”
On a similar tone, Heidi Hayes, the CEO of Donor Egg Bank, USA described her personal experience of using donor eggs as “the deep desire to be a parent and our willingness to persevere to make our dreams come true.” Read more here.
Know that you will not be doing this alone. Once you decide this route, you will be consulting a psychologist specializing in third party reproduction who will walk you through the process, prepare you overcome your fears and approve you for this path to family building. You can always approach them sooner to address your concerns.
Studies have shown that parents of donor-conceived children are always upbeat, and no one ever feels like their child is not biologically theirs. They all go through five stages of grief of in-fertility but once they accept the choice, they experience nothing but pure love and joys of parenthood.