The Realities of Parenthood Via Egg Donation: Will the Baby Feel Like Mine?

Many women are capable of getting pregnant and sustaining a healthy pregnancy, but they lack the availability of a viable egg to have a baby on their own. That’s why some of these intended parents turn to Growing Generations: to find a viable egg. Other individuals and couples seek help with the entire process of growing or building a family through intention – from egg donation to surrogacy services. Either way, using an egg donor can cause a lot of new emotions.

 

For intended mothers needing an egg, an embryo is created from the donated ovum and the sperm of her partner or a donor and implanted into her uterus, allowing her to carry the child – although not genetically linked – herself. If two men are the intended parents, each can donate his sperm for potential use, but neither may have a personal connection to the egg donor.

 

Using a donor egg can lead to some deep questions about the genetic link between intended parents and children and how much it really matters when it comes to forming lasting bonds. Other common concerns are how to talk to your children about their nontraditional birth story and the fears of how they may respond to that story. You may also wonder about the relationship between the egg donor and child.

 

We understand that the desire to see yourself and your significant other in your child is deeply rooted, and realizing a child may not share the physical and behavioral traits of you and your significant other can take time to accept. For intended mothers, it’s OK to be sad about this and take some time to come to terms with the fact that your family building plans may not have materialized the way you had always envisioned them. However, the absence of a full genetic bond does not mean the absence of a bond.

 

Love is the most important thing a child needs to thrive. The love that you will provide your child, whether born of donated genetics or not, is what will help your child prosper. In many cases, the love for a child born of nontraditional routes may be even stronger than traditional routes given that the road to get that child was longer. Children born of any form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) are never the result of an unplanned or accidental pregnancy and are always born out of deep desire and intention. In these cases, you form a deep connection to your child long before he or she is even conceived.

 

If you’re a woman accepting an egg, the most important thing to remember is that undue stress around the time of your embryo transfer may impact the likelihood of a positive result. Take your time and consider your feelings and emotions about donated genetics in their entirety before you start your in vitro fertilization cycle.

 

If you have additional questions, concerns or worries about the potential bond you will form with your child, you can schedule some time to talk to Dr. Kim Bergman, a licensed psychologist and senior partner at Growing Generations, by sending an email to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: An Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Red Wheel Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.