For many people trying to have a baby in their late 30’s and early 40’s, the journey can involve a few unexpected twists and turns. The journey might involve multiple IUI and IVF cycles and eventually result in exploration of using an egg or sperm donor or surrogate.
There are many questions and feelings to address while navigating this process.
For example, if you or someone you know is choosing donor conception, here are just a few of the questions one might need to think about before moving forward with the process:
How comfortable did we feel using donor eggs or donor sperm?
When all other options were off the table, how did we feel about moving to a double-donor embryo (donor eggs and sperm), knowing that our child would not have a genetic connection to either one or both of us?
Would we bond with a baby who is not genetically related to one or both of us?
How would our future child feel about the decisions we’re making?
How open should we be with others about how our child was conceived?
Should we limit the people who know or should we be more public in an attempt to normalize donor conception?
There is no right or wrong answer- for each individual and couple the answers will be unique.
Another big question is, “Do you tell a child that they were conceived via egg or sperm donor?” and again, this is a personal decision. There is no societal template to follow for these situations. One couple wanted to be 100% transparent and honest with their child from the beginning, so they wrote their daughter a personalized children’s book that explains her unique story.
With my own experience of conceiving via an egg donor, I chose to be very transparent and public and to honor my pregnancy with a beautiful pregnancy photoshoot that included my egg donor. I have always been very transparent about my fertility journey, and when my children are old enough to understand, someday I will explain it to them. The relationship between intended parents and an egg donor is an intimate one, and there is no ready-made rule about what that relationship should look like.
If the best option is to choose a surrogate, then this can create additional questions that need to be addressed. In fact, you might even wonder why someone would choose to be a surrogate in the first place. Some women genuinely enjoy being pregnant, in addition to the joy of being able to help another family in need to expand.
Watch this video to learn more about egg donor and surrogacy!
There is no right or wrong answer to navigating these waters. It is personal and can be as private or public as you feel comfortable with.
Here are a few resources from the Babies After 35 blog to help you if you are on this journey: