By Camille Guaty
Since opening up about my fertility and egg donation journey, I’ve received hundreds of DMs and messages from parents looking for advice. I’m no doctor, but after a five-year fertility journey and welcoming my son in 2019, I definitely have more perspective than I did a few years ago! Connecting with others about fertility and parenthood is a passion of mine, but I can’t answer every message and comment. So I wanted to share some of my most-asked questions and advice, all in one place.
Does egg donation affect your bond with your child?
I remember lamenting over the question “Will I bond with my child?” I put off donor conception for months because I couldn’t understand this piece. I had too many fears. Would my husband have a stronger bond with him than me? The truth was simple: no. My husband would not have a stronger bond just because he was genetically connected and I wasn’t. I have a beautiful relationship with my child, and I see myself and my parenting in him every day. He was mine from the moment of conception.
The journey we took to get here was such a struggle that when I was finally pregnant, I absorbed every moment of it. After so much loss, pregnancy was a piece of our story that I got to have, and I wasn’t going to waste it with fear and doubt. Did I have my moments? Yes absolutely! But those insecurities were tied into my grief. Those doubtful moments were not the truth, they were just my triggers.
Which brings me to the next piece of advice…therapy. With good therapy you can overcome all the doubts and difficult moments faster.
Should we consider therapy during our fertility journey?
A lot of people ask if they should consider therapy. Yes! Absolutely! Therapy created such a mindset shift for me. It also helped my husband and I become a stronger unit. I found that the most important part for me was to have his support. I needed to feel like we were in this together. I think many women feel responsible for their infertility struggles and feel like it’s their burden alone to carry. Therapy helped me realize this wasn’t just happening to me – it was happening to us. It helped us process the grief and allowed us to move forward on the decision to use a donor with peace and a joyful heart.
Therapy helped me to shift my perspective and view donor conception as a gift rather than a last resort. I realize therapy isn’t for everyone, but it worked for us and our journey.
How will I talk to my child about donor conception?
Will I talk to my child about where he came from? How do you have that conversation? Before we decided to speak out publicly, my husband and I had to make this decision. For me it was never a question. I always wanted him to know. His story was my story, and my story was our story. To not divulge the truth felt like putting shame on what happened. There is no shame in infertility. It was something that was completely out of my control, and I wanted to honor the struggle that we went through rather than keep it a secret. We climbed Mt. Everest and made it to the top. I’m proud of that.
To tell my son where he came from is also part of his identity. It took work: I had to shift the lens and realize that genes don’t matter… that love is what makes me a mother. My son on the other hand may feel differently. In my opinion, it’s his right to know his genetic identity and that’s all it is. I’m confident in my identity as his mom, and I feel he has a right to know that a woman gave us a part of her and that’s part of his genetic background.
I also think the earlier you speak about egg donation, the easier it is. Normalizing the story of how your family is created is so important and takes away the stigma. There are tons of books and resources out there that help with this part of the process. Again, I know this isn’t for everyone. It’s a deeply personal conversation and truly depends on each family’s situation. But I’m proud of what we went through and want my son to know!