Things You Shouldn’t Say to an Egg Donor

Many egg donors have a difficult time confiding with even close friends and family. If you are lucky enough to gain the confidence of an egg donor, there are certain things you may want to avoid saying.

That’s weird.

Most egg donors understand that they’re doing something a bit unconventional, and that you probably have not met another egg donor previously. We find that most egg donors are happy to help you understand the reason for their choice when asked in a caring and genuine way. While most donors respect your initial reaction, they’re choosing to share a personal part of their life with you, and responding with a negative or abrasive reply can be hurtful.

Doesn’t it give you cancer or make it hard for you to have your own kids?

There have been no definitive links between egg donation and cancer or future infertility. Women who have chosen to donate their eggs have likely already done quite a bit of research into any possible adverse health effects that may exist. It’s okay to be concerned about potential health risks, but make sure you share these concerns in a way that expresses your concern as opposed to jumping to only the scariest possible conclusions.

How can you give your kids away?

Most egg donors tell us they don’t think of their eggs as their “children”, but rather as seeds or simply a few cells that they were not going to turn into children anyway. Donors recognize that while they have no emotional connection with these cells, families struggling with infertility would cherish them. The reality is that children resulting from the use of donor eggs are desperately wanted, deeply loved, and never the result of an accidental pregnancy. Egg donors know this, and understand that these children will likely never feel abandoned. These questions can seem accusatory or insensitive.

Wow, you must be desperate for money.

Assuming egg donors are only in it for the compensation can be deeply offensive. While the money can be life changing for many egg donors, many women donate for a combination of altruistic reasons as well as financial ones. Assuming that the money is her first and only consideration can be hurtful.

The best way to talk with the donor in your life is to embrace her for her decision; it’s probably one she is very proud of making. Remember that her choice has little to do with you, her parents, or any future boyfriends or husbands she may have. It’s about her. Asking open-ended questions will allow the donor to talk about her choices in her own words without having to feel defensive.

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: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari 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.