“I was told to look into donor eggs, but I just can’t do it…”
“I’m curious about egg donation but don’t know where to begin…”
“I want to start the egg donation process and have a child, but I feel so overwhelmed…”
We get a lot of questions about when to use an egg donor. Many, many hopeful parents are curious about egg donation but don’t feel quite ready to begin the process. They just aren’t prepared to let go of their genetics and the chance of a genetically related child. But still they wonder: “When should I use donor eggs? How do I know if I’m ready for egg donation?” There’s no one size fits all answer here, but we’re sharing our steps to prepare to take the leap.
Whether you’ve been struggling with infertility or are coming straight to egg donation to build your family, you should take time before starting to emotionally prepare. Sit with your partner and talk about your feelings. It can be immensely helpful to see a specialized fertility therapist during this time. They can help walk you through your feelings and prepare you to process the emotion that comes with pursuing this next step.
Grieve your genetics
Most of us don’t grow up thinking about how we will choose an egg donor to have a child. It often comes as a shock or a confusing, foreign concept. Before you pursue egg donation, take the time to process this loss and grieve the genetic connection. It is time to let go of the idea of the child you “would have had,” the child you were fighting to have with traditional fertility treatments. You need to let go of that child so that you can make room in your heart for the child you will have through egg donation. It may be hard to wrap your head around this idea – you don’t have a child yet, so what is the difference? – but it is important to put aside the comparison to your own genetics.
Think about the child you will raise
No matter how you build your family – through traditional pregnancy, donor gametes, adoption, or more – you will not be able to control the traits they inherit. Your child will be beautifully unique, whether they are genetically related to you or not. That is the gift of any form of parenthood: raising a child and helping them become the person they are meant to be. With egg donation, there will be questions you need to address, and it helps to think about them now.
How will you speak to your child about egg donation? Are there any obstacles to you doing so? How will you approach conversations with them about their donor when they are young? What about when they’re older? These questions may feel overwhelming, but there are tons of resources available to help you explain your child’s conception. A specialized fertility therapist will also be able to guide you through any stumbling points.
Decide on your priorities
Alright – the tough part is over. If you’ve emotionally prepared yourself for egg donation and feel ready for this journey, there is only one step left before you begin. And that is to decide: what are you looking for in an egg donor?
The most important thing is that your donor is healthy and happy to donate. Beyond that, you will need to decide on the top priorities for your family, like location, cost, or other factors. We urge hopeful parents to consider each egg donor holistically, and choose the best overall fit for your family. Knowing your priorities will help you to make a decision, but try not to be so specific that you miss great potential candidates.
We hope this helps you if you’re wondering about starting the egg donation process. It is absolutely natural to feel unsure or overwhelmed when considering egg donation, because it is such unknown territory for most of us. Egg donation is a leap of faith, but it is also an amazing option for parents who are struggling to build their families, and more and more hopeful parents use donor eggs every year. If you are struggling to take the leap, don’t beat yourself up. Working through your emotions and taking the time to prepare will help you have as smooth a journey as possible.