Parenting a Child Conceived Through Donated Genetics

As you prepare to embark upon your egg donation or surrogacy journey, it is incredibly common to question how your family will function once your new baby arrives. Pondering the potential connection with a child that does not share your genetics is an emotional hurdle many intended parents must face before they move forward.

Understand that a family is created from the same four components no matter what the family structure is. These components include:

  • Sperm
  • An egg
  • A uterus
  • A home

While, in the case of assisted reproduction pregnancies, you may not be able to provide each of these components, you will be providing the most important one of all: a home.

The intent to have a family and the preparation and love that goes into creating a family through egg donation or surrogacy puts you in a unique position to bond with your unborn child months, sometimes years, before that child ever exists. You are paving a way to this life to exist and preparing a home for him or her long before many other would-be parents have to. This preparation will help you lay a foundation of trust and love for your future child.

As for what happens after the pregnancy, most of our intended parents tell us any fears or concerns they had about the lack of a genetic connection melt away fairly quickly, usually within moments of birth. From the moment that child enters the world, they are your own. Genetic code doesn’t matter much once the child is in your arms and under your care. You will bond with the child through the normal course of parenthood.

Perhaps the largest hurdle you will have to navigate is choosing if and when you’ll share your child’s unique creation story with them. This choice is personal, and merits some amount of thought even in your planning stages. While the choice is ultimately yours to make, we do encourage you to share your child’s story with them with honesty and openness. Introducing the story in small, age appropriate doses from a young age can help establish trust and pride in their creation. It allows you to show that, while they may not share your genes, they do have your heart. It shows the child that they were born of deep desire and were always wanted.

If you have additional questions on what it’s like to raise a child that does not share your genes, please feel free to reach out to your Case Specialist or 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 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 book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019) as well as the children's book You Began as a Wish (Independent Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. She has two adult daughters.