donor eggs vs adoption

(53 Posts)
Kerrigan90 Mon 12-Nov-12 00:06:31

Help, my husband and I are faced with infertility. We have two options to pursue our own little family. IVF using donor eggs or adoption. At the moment I'm confused as to the "best" route to take as my children from either route would not be biologically mine. (that sounds awful and don't look to offend, please excuse my 'still getting used to being infertile head and poor wording!!). Does anyone out there have experience of this choice. Pro's and cons?? Not really sure what I'm looking for or asking just putting it out there for some opinions/advice/support?! xx

Charlotte I am so sorry for the horrible things that happened in your childhood and for the way your mother dealt with the awful situation.

KateSpade Wed 14-Nov-12 22:31:38

I do understand it from both sides, i know how totally different it is now, as i was under the impression getting a baby in an adoption now isn't normally the case, there are a lot more 1/2 year olds than babies.

I just wish more people would adopt, but then i can understand everyone wanting the pregnancy experience.

Kewcumber Wed 14-Nov-12 20:34:14

"I've found in the past that those pursuing donor conception don't want to hear the viewpoints of DC adults because it doesn't fit with the path they've chosen" I can imagine that - having children is such a selfish process however you do it, sometimes it can be hard to hear the downsides of something you have chosen when you probably realise in the back of your mind you 're probably going to do it anyway.

I know it was something I felt very strongly about even at the time as I thought about how I would feel in your position (donor conception) and knew it would have left me feeling really like something was missing. For that reason (In the days when donors were anonymous in the UK) I imported (legally through a fertility clinic) known donor sperm from the US.

Sadly horrible people want children too (though sometimes you have to ask why?) and though its rarer, even with all the safeguards in adoption children sometimes end up with parents who are good deal less than perfect.

In my experience how children deal with adoption and or donor conception is down to a few simple things - the personality of the child (some people just naturally feel a stronger need to connect to their DNA if that makes sense), how open and supportive parents have been in helping them explore their start in life and probably how stable and secure their upbringing has been. How can you expect your child to act as if their as a real and valued part of your family if you don;t treat them like a real and valued part of the family?

I'm sure its no consolation Charlotte but your parents sound like the kind of parents whose children should have been adopted judgy pants firmly on.

CharlotteWasBoth Wed 14-Nov-12 20:29:56

Thanks Kerrigan, that's very kind.

My brother and sister are wonderful and I have a happy family of my own now.

Kerrigan90 Wed 14-Nov-12 20:22:20

Charlotte you've been so badly let down by the people who so badly wanted you. What a bastard angry shame they didn't throw away the key! I will look at these sites and seriously consider what affect it would have on my kids if it's successful. It is something I have given thought to because with adoption it's so open but where would you even begin to put it into terms for a kid to understand. I'm so sorry your family experience has been so shit and only hope ur future is better with your own family unit be it friends, family or your own children. thanks

CharlotteWasBoth Wed 14-Nov-12 20:08:23

Thanks all for your openness. I've found in the past that those pursuing donor conception don't want to hear the viewpoints of DC adults because it doesn't fit with the path they've chosen -- and for that reason, I'd take any advice from the donor conception network with a very large pinch of salt.

In my own birth family, my social father sexually abused all of us, my brother most severely, and ended up in prison. My mother was neglectful all along -- it's a wonder we weren't taken into care, but given the stories I hear I'm glad we weren't. After my 'father' was released she stuck by him, dividing her time between him and us. We kept the dysfunctional relationship with our mother going for many years, but now neither my brother, sister nor I have a real relationship with our mother -- we exchange Christmas cards, that's it.

My situation is clearly extreme, but I do gather that abuse and family breakdown are much more common in DC families sad

Kerrigan90 Wed 14-Nov-12 19:44:25

Yes ladies so so much to think about and consider. I'm worrying about how DE or adoption will affect my children in the future and not even began the journey on either path!! It's difficult when everything is so raw and heartbroken. Thanx so much for sharing your stories. This is definitely been the most painstakingly toughest decision of my life. (sorry for the dramatics but it is!) At the moment I'm swinging towards IVF but not ruling out adoption just yet. Will be embarking on plenty more research and some counselling. xx

Kew it is very moving to read about your journey. Thank you for sharing. hard to say anything meaningful without sounding crass! But your determination is admirable (please don't feel patronised! wink

Charlotte I am so sorry that you feel this pain about not knowing. I know that not knowing who donated eggs or sperm can be very hard for some people. I understand in America there seems to be a lot more opportunity for people to trace those who donated to help create them, a kind of voluntary way of people registering, I believe. I am sure such things do exist here and if they do not yet they will in time, for all those conceived before the laws changed here in 2005. I am sure the donor conception network know about these things.

We chose to have treatment in the UK because we wanted the child (if there had been one) to have the chance to know who provided the eggs, I knew that might be important for them.

I know for those who do not have fertility issues donor eggs or sperm seem like a rather unusual solution and before I found myself in this boat I would have felt it was somewhere I did not want to go. I so much remember being told that a donor had been found and going out and buying a gift for a woman that I might never meet. Because our treatment never resulted in a pregnancy I will never meet the two women who donated eggs for me, or the other women who was set to be our donor but was not able to. I will always be grateful to all three of them for giving me that opportunity. It is funny now remembering it. It is a very unusual thing, but even though it was not successful I am grateful.

It's interesting the fact that most people who are seeking a family and are challenged in the fertility stakes then go on to have treatment first and then explore adoption. Ironically, for me, I have wanted to adopt for the past 20 years but I always assumed I would have birth children too, and because age is a factor for women (and at that stage I did not know we would try with donor eggs - and even had we been successful a pregnancy for older women is more of a concern for the woman - I think), so anyway, we tried the treatment first.

Now that is all over and finished I do feel genuinely very excited about adoption and so much that it is the right thing, but it took a long while to get here. Not because fertility treatment is better than adoption but because I did want to do both it did have to be in that order (for me).

Kewcumber Wed 14-Nov-12 12:43:15

akuabadoll - * I'm annoyed when people assume that my adopted son is with us following failed IVF etc.* I know its a bit irrelevant because what irritates you just does and can't be explained away but I'm sure you know that people assume this because in the UK it is more common to do IVF then adoption becasue of the sheer ease (if you have the money) with which you can embark upon IVF vs adoption.

My IVF - "I'd like to have IVF" OK please see our counsellor Then a couple of weeks later I'd started and had done 3 IVF attempts within 6 months.

My adoption - "I'd like to adopt" OK well we'll come and visit you then we'd like you to go on a consultation course then we'll visit you again then you need to do a prep course then you'll wait some time for a home study to start then you'll spend 6 months talking to a social worker who will also interview friends, family and ex-partner then we'd like a financial statement and a letter from your employer, a CRB check and a medical. Then we'd like you to appear in front of 12 strangers who will ask you questions and decide whether its possible, then in your case because you have chosen another country you will need to do most of that again then you will wait in limbo whilst you are waiting to be matched and your fingernails may never be the same again then you will be expected to love a total stranger devotedly. Then 3 years later I brought a child home.

In my case I adopted internationally about the same time as Madonna and Angelina Jolie - what fresh hell that was! People made the assumption that I did it to guarantee a cute little baby, particularly as thats what I got. But I was approved for a child up to two and didn't "choose" DS and small and cute meant in reality a massively delayed, high risk 26 week premmie. Still, you just smile and nod don't you!

Kewcumber Wed 14-Nov-12 12:29:28

oops that a bit of an essay blush

Kewcumber Wed 14-Nov-12 12:29:07

"it's a very weird thing not to know your own parent" - charlotte this isn't necessarily different to adoption (though I accept that in many cases it is). I have no information about either birth parent and there is no possibility of tracing either one of them and even in the UK it really isn't uncommon to have no information at all about the birth father. If it bothers DS as he gets older, I'm not sure he will take any consolation in the idea that his lack of information wasn't my "fault" but someone else's additionally those I know who have children by DI or DE have significantly more information about the genetic parent that I do about DS and moreover the possibility of contact at some point in the future.

You have the added complication with adoption that children are often removed for a reason and sometimes those reasons are traumatic - sexual or physical abuse which the child can remember. Is it easier to deal with the absence of a genetic parent or the knowledge that one of your genetic parents stubbed out cigarettes on you? I don't know I suspect its different for each child. i know that our job as parents is to help our children process their start in life whether by donor or adoption both of which bring an added dimension to parenting above the norm.

In some ways being an adoptive parent is simpler because you can hold up your hands and say "well it wasn't my fault, I rescued you. Blame your birth parents" which of course you can't do with DI or DE! But I don't know one adoptive parent who has done/said this because (apart from the fact we don't actually feel this way) it doesn't actually change anything for your child. Not being able to "blame" me for his situation doesn't help DS work through how he feels about a total lack of a link with his birth family and culture. In fact I am part of the problem, I chose to adopt him into a single parent family, into a different country - he could so easily have had better parents, more traditional, better off etc.

I don't dispute your right to feel how you do about being a child of DI however I'd be surprised if on average children who were adopted feel any less conflicted about their birth/DNA.

akuabadoll Wed 14-Nov-12 10:15:16

Here's my 10 cents Kerrigan ....

I think there are many people who 'have done both' in the sense of tried assisted conception before 'moving on' to adoption. I know that adoption is viewed has a 'last resort' in many people's planning though I, personally, find it an uncomfortable idea. I'm not adopted but was interested to read your comments katespade I'm annoyed when people assume that my adopted son is with us following failed IVF etc. It's silly really, I don't mean to disrespect anyone who followed that route.

I have never been pregnant and choose to adopt without exploring assisted conception at all, I didn't even know about donor eggs until very recently. I love my son's lack of biological connection to me, I find it interesting and exciting, how I would feel in the case of donor eggs I just can't say.

My son is 3 now (adopted as an infant) and my current circumstance preclude a second adoption. I'm doing IVF now (own eggs) and large part of what makes my chance of success low is that I'm doing it later on. But it's just the way things worked out for me and I'm ok with that. I wish you the very best at finding the path that's right for you.

FadBook Wed 14-Nov-12 09:42:31

CharlotteWasBoth interesting reading some of those blogs and the longing to find their 'biological' dad. One that I read does concern me - she has been searching for years and has this desire to know and understand who her father is. Obviously, I'm not in that situation but she has 2 parents who brought her up and are her 'mother' and 'father'. I wonder what the parents must feel, knowing that their daughter is unhappy coming in to the world this way?

Fortunately, my DD will not have this issue as a close relative was my egg donor, however it has worried me in the past (during my pregnancy) that she may have a closer bond with that person over me. But once she arrived, that went out of the window - she is my world and I am hers, the love is unconditional. We plan to be very open about where she came from and what we went through to conceive her. Having a known donor over unknown donor has its advantages, so just another thing to think about I suppose Kerrigan? sad

Kerrigan90 Wed 14-Nov-12 08:33:47

charlottewasboth, hi thanks. Yeah it is something I've thought about and worry about. My cousin has never known who her dad is or had a father figure and that has raised it own worries at special times like the birth of her DD and wedding day. Can I ask did you have a dad although not genetically linked? Although I'd be using a DE I'd like to think my baby would still think of me as mum. I'll definitely have a look at the website you suggested, thanx.

CharlotteWasBoth Wed 14-Nov-12 00:11:47

OP, I'm sorry that you're in this situation.

Just a quick note to urge you to think about the feelings of the potential baby if pursuing donor conception.

I'm donor conceived (sperm donor) and I find it extremely hard to be denied any knowledge of my genetic background. It's a bit different now that donors are traceable but even so it's a very weird thing not to know your own parent. Adoption is different IMO because the child already exists and hasn't been created with the knowledge that he /she won't know his/her parent.

There are lots of other donor conceived adults who feel the same -- google donor conceived blog and you'll find them. The fertility industry don't like it, but it's true.

A friend of mine recently told me that she thought adoption was just like having a baby except without the pregnancy! I think a few years ago I probably have felt the same! The more I look into it the more I see how complex it is! I do feel so much more ready for it now but as I say I am at the end of a very long journey and the OP is at the start of hers.

I think with fertility treatment it is different, it is hard at the start but once the baby is conceived you are in the same boat as other pregnant women! Our DD was IUI conceived. I did have a friend who said something like IVF seemed so difficult, the idea of having to do all the tests etc really put her off. For me it was a real drive to do it, and although it was difficult it kind of prepared me to the birth, which was very difficult! I guess sometimes 'getting the child' however you do it, is a kind of preparation for parenting! I mean it can be hard but then parenting can be hard!

Kerrigan90 it's really good you are talking about all this though. Working out what you would like to do and how you feel. I would also really encourage you if you can afford it to get a second opinion, because fertility treatment with donor eggs is more expensive than normal IVF. I know it is not all about money but IVF is expensive and you want to put your money into the best thing for you if you are going to go down that route.

There is a lot of information out there, don't want to send you down a blind alley but have you explored low ovarian reserve on line? Just one example Kerrigan90.

forums.fertilitycommunity.com/vitro-fertilization-ivf/2020177155-low-ovarian-reserve.html

Devora Tue 13-Nov-12 20:49:11

amazingmum, it didn't read to me that you had narked off kew. What I heard her pointing out was how interesting it was the discrepancy in viewpoint between adopters and non-adopters, even though the adoptive parents on here have generally found adoption a blessing.

I would definitely have thought adoption was a better option 10 years ago. Now I would advise trying IVF first, even though I never wanted to do IVF myself (and it took me many years to get pg) and I have had an unusually easy adoption experience so far. That's worth thinking about, isn't it? And no, it doesn't make your contribution invalid, but it's still worth exploring.

Kewcumber Tue 13-Nov-12 19:40:14

No you didn't irritate me amazing - and I didn't say that everyone wasn't entitled to an opinion. Believe me, when you adopt the world and his wife feel entitled to an opinion about it and don't hesitate to express it to you so you do get quite accustomed to it.

My comment was that anyone who thinks IVF is horrid and adoption lovely (paraphrasing) clearly hasn't been through both not that they weren't entitled to an opinion. Many many people think adoption is a lovely idea and they think they would prefer to adopt than have IVF because their view of adoption is largely informed by adoptions pre 1980's which tended on the whole to be a very different kettle of fish.

Yes social workers advise of worst case scenarios because they happen far more often than you would anticipate with a birth child and you need to be as prepared as possible for what you are taking on.

I took a child who was a 26 week premmie with significant delays and a high risk of cerebral palsy. It would have been irresponsible of me not to be aware of the potential problems but as it turns out (so far, touch wood!) DS's issues have been very manageable.

Kerrigan90 Tue 13-Nov-12 09:47:25

Some positive adoption stories. I think SW must avise of extreme worst case scenarios.

Kewcumber I noticed that myself and it's something we are taking on board with our decision. I think we'd regret never trying DE and always wonder would it have worked. Oh and DH got me a puppy it's no substitute for a baby don't do it!!! Crazy man thought it would be a good distraction!! Lol.

amazingmumof6 Tue 13-Nov-12 02:44:45

also this friend of mine (story above) wanted to adopt despite the fact that she easily could have had another child,
then out of the blue and only 4 years after the said adopting she decided that she wanted to get pregnant again, had a boy...go figure!

amazingmumof6 Tue 13-Nov-12 02:36:11

Kewcumber " hasn't been through both!" actually as I said in my first comment I haven't been through either, but we know enough people with experiences of either/both that I could form a basic foggy idea of what DH &I would have done, possibly.

What I think about IVF/adoption/surrogacy/egg& sperm donor/ embryo donor situations are not only differ greatly depending on whether it's what I or others would/should/could/want etc to do, but also it clearly cannot be based on my experience if I hadn't been through it!

what I hear, see, read etc shape my opinion. personal experience is not required to form an opinion about any subject!

(I mean for example I haven't experienced deep sea diving, but know enough about it to know that I'd love to try it. Also I never experienced becoming an Olympic champion and I never will, but even if I could I don't think I'd be interested. I've heard enough about all the dedicated hard work and applaud it, but it wouldn't be for me )

OP was asking about opinions and support as well as advice!
she didn't say she wanted only people with experience to reply, but I do apologize if I irritated you in any way thanks

Kewcumber Tue 13-Nov-12 00:33:25

I find it very interesting that pretty much without exception the adopters on here have said think very carefully before dismissing egg or embryo donation as an option as the pregnancy and newborn advantages are too huge to dismiss them lightly and the non-adopters have said they would go for adoption over IVF!

BTW anyone who thinks that IVF is the nasty medical horrid intervention and adoption is the lovely matching of needy child with doting parents really hasn't been through both!

IVF was certainly more within my control and less public though physically more draining than the adoption process. On the other hand adoption provided you are single minded enough will result in you bringing a child home.

I took the decision (and it was a chronological one Kate rather than a preferential one) that my chance for IVF was immediate and due to my age unlikely to be something I could come back to later, so I did that first in the knowledge that I would move onto adoption if IVF failed.

I don't doubt I would have cherished a child who came to me through any route - but to be honest I was so desperate by the end of the 6 year journey that I would have cherished a puppy!

amazingmumof6 Mon 12-Nov-12 23:57:29

Also after the first meeting of their DD and the little boy they asked DD what she thought and she said "well, he is my brother and I love him!"

amazingmumof6 Mon 12-Nov-12 23:54:02

kate I'm so glad you have been adopted by such loving people!

I've just remembered that a good friend of mine had a horrible time giving birth to DD1 (baby was ok, but it was very traumatic for her, long recovery time, possible PND although never diagnosed) and she swore that was the end of it

then a few years later she had a strange feeling that they should just adopt. DH agreed.
people thought they were bonkers, why don't they just have another baby blah blah blah

they said they felt their son was waiting for them

the first child they were to meet was a 6 year old boy they'd never seen before (and vica versa) who spotted them walking through the door and quietly said to his carer that his parents came to take him home! (there were other children in the room and adults coming and going so it was far from obvious that they came to see him)

when they were introduced to each other it was love at first sight and they have never referred to him in any other way than" our son".
he knows about his biological parents, but calls my friends my "real dad & mum"

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