Any woman facing infertility or secondary infertility can become overwhelmed with questions and concerns after receiving her diagnosis. These apprehensions can skyrocket when donor eggs become the next step in your infertility journey.
How are we going to bond as a family? Will I feel a maternal connection to my child? Do I tell – and how do I tell – my child about their heritage in the future?
In this article, we’ll answer these questions and cover the donor selection process through programs like California Cryobank’s Frozen Egg Donor Bank, as well as the emotions you and your family may experience during the donor egg process.
Will I Bond with My Baby?
A common concern for prospective donor egg IVF patients is whether or not they’ll bond with their baby after using another woman’s eggs.
This is completely understandable.
After years of trying to conceive using your own eggs, you’re now having to rely on someone else’s genes to give birth to your beautiful baby.
Accepting this fact isn’t easy. While you may feel elated at the thought of carrying a child for the first or second time, these feelings can often become shrouded in concern over whether you’ll experience the same maternal instincts without a genetic connection.
However, if you end up having these thoughts, it important to realize that using donor eggs allows you to have an overwhelming impact on the genetics of your baby.
First and foremost, you get to have control over the donor you choose. If you’re selecting a donor from a reputable egg bank, you’re able to choose from a diverse database where you can pick your donor based on a number of important criterion, from the color of her hair to the career she’s chosen.
Additionally, once you are pregnant with your baby you can still influence your baby’s genes while they’re in your womb. Studies indicate mothers using donor eggs may influence some of their baby’s genetics and how their genes are expressed (MicroRNAs) while carrying them.
These points, along with the nurturing and love you give your baby during your pregnancy plays a huge role in developing an unbreakable bond between you and your child.
Will My First Child Bond with Our Baby?
In addition to worrying about bonding with your baby, you may worry about the bonds between your newborn and your other children if you already have been blessed to have them.
Will your first children and your newborn establish the same connection if they’re only genetically related through their father, or if they are not genetically related at all (if donor sperm is used)?
Rest assured, maternal and sibling bonds go beyond genetics. They’re reliant on the relationship developed while you’re carrying your baby and after your baby is born.
Involving your other children in the excitement of your baby’s arrival, along with their role as big brother or sister, will eradicate any misgivings you may have. Nothing is more joyous to a child than taking on the responsibility of being the elder sibling, nurturing and loving their new brother or sister.
Should I Tell My Child How They Were Conceived?
This is entirely up to you and it isn’t necessary to decide immediately.
When you use egg donation, the legal processes in place ensure the donor has no rights to your baby after she’s donated her eggs. The worry as to whether she’ll be involved in your child’s future only tends to arise if you’ve chosen a donor you personally know, like a family member or friend.
Regardless of whether your donor is known to you or anonymous, it’s important to get the right legal documents in place from the start.
Some parents using a friend or family member decide they’d like the donor to be a part of their child’s future, while others want to raise their child as their own.
There’s no right or wrong decision here.
You’ll need to discuss this in detail with your partner – and perhaps a counselor – before moving forward. This allows you to take the right steps to ensure your donor’s and your baby’s anonymity.
If you decide you don’t want to tell your child about their heritage, this often means you’ll need to keep it from your friends and family as well, so there’s no risk of someone telling your child in the future.
Family Bonds Are Unbreakable
Ultimately, while all of these emotions and thoughts are entirely normal during the egg donation process, they don’t detract from the fact that you bring your baby into the world.
You’re the one who feels your baby growing in your womb, you’re the one who hears their first cry when they’re born, and you’re the one who feels the all-consuming love when you hold your baby for the first time.
You’re your baby’s mom – and there’s no bond stronger than that.
California Cryobank’s Donor Egg Bank strives to be a beacon of hope for anyone who’s experienced heartbreak in the family building process. Thankfully, with the advancements in assisted reproductive technologies, there are now more options available to help men and women build their family. Donor Egg Bank has helped hundreds of couples realize their dream of having a baby, and we invite you to speak with one of our dedicated team members to get started today.
Heidi Hayes is the Executive Vice President of California Cryobank’s Donor Egg Bank. She has more than 20 years of healthcare experience and has worked extensively in the field of reproductive endocrinology. Having been unsuccessful at traditional IUI and IVF treatments, Heidi personally understands the struggles of infertility. After many years of trying to conceive, she ultimately built her family through adoption and donor egg treatment. She always believed that if she didn’t give up, her ultimate goal of becoming a parent would someday become a reality.