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To think using donor eggs is selfish

(157 Posts)
Dilemma81 Mon 30-Sep-13 10:28:25

I have had multiple miscarriages. I have been trying for a baby for over 5 years and the last ivf round has now failed. Although i’m in my early 30s, using an egg donor has been mentioned several times now because it seems my eggs are not good quality. Whilst I wouldn’t ever judge other people’s choices for using an egg donor, I have been up all night wondering about the ethics of going down this route for us. I don’t have religious beliefs so that’s not my problem. But is it selfish to go down this route? If I think about the child, how would they feel when they are a certain age to learn that I’m not their biological mother? Part of them would surely be missing and they surely would be wondering who they are. On the other hand, I’m desperate for my husband to be a dad and I know he would be up for the idea of donor eggs. But again, I keep thinking that nature is telling us something and perhaps it is wrong to try and defy it. Very interested to hear what people think.

YABU, and best don your hardhat and flame retardant knickers.

Methe Mon 30-Sep-13 11:03:17

It's all very well to say 'biology doesn't come in to it' while it might not be an issue at all for the recipient parents it might be a huge issue for the child when they are growing up or as adults.

WomblingFree12 Mon 30-Sep-13 11:03:18

We went down the donor route and now have a beautiful and amazing little girl who we wouldn't change for the world. I can't imagine being without her.

But I am aware it is ultimately a selfish decision to take this route to having a baby - because you can never ask the child how they will feel about it, it has to be. And, I must admit, I do worry how she will feel about her origins when she is older. We have started to tell her (not everyone does apparently but I couldn't imagine not doing) and have been reading her a children's book specially written for the purpose. Again, everything I have read or heard from other people suggests that it is far better to have always known than to be sat down when you are older and find out then.

You might find the Donor Conception Network helpful while you work through your decision making process. Others have mentioned Fertility Friends too which I found a great resource (although I did find that all the tickers people use on there are quite hard on the eyes).

I am so sorry about the hard time you have had up to now and wish you the very best of luck with your decision.

nigelslattern Mon 30-Sep-13 11:13:07

DH and I have a child conceived with the help of a male donor. We have already started talking to him about this aspect of his birth (he is 4) and can't think that he would ever have a problem with it - he knows we are his parents. All our friends and family know and noone has ever commented negatively.

Our donor is a registered donor and as such in the uk is non-anonymous. He has been screened etc. and is willing to agree to meet any children he begets should they wish to do so in the future. Our child is not missing anything and won't have any unanswered questions.

There are many ways to be selfish in life, I really don't think this is one of them.

Nancy66 Mon 30-Sep-13 11:13:09

In your situation I don't think the child needs to know it was donor conceived.

magictorch Mon 30-Sep-13 11:14:33

I am so very sorry for your losses and the pain you must be feeling, but please, please, please get your thread title changed. It is very upsetting and I say that as the mum of a six month old son born thanks to an egg donor after many years of heartache.

He's my son, I've grown him since he was a three cell embryo and he's playing quite happily on his mat knowing mummy is right here.

You may want to check out the Donor Conception Network, Fertility Friends and the Care Fertility boards.

I hope you get the baby you long for.

SummerRain Mon 30-Sep-13 11:17:24

The egg donor will have provided one cell. All the other millions of cells which form that baby will have been grown by you, you will be the one to give birth, feed and care for the child, worry about them as they get older, kiss them better when they fall over, teach them right from wrong... all the things that make a mother.

Egg donors give their eggs because they want someone else to have the joy of raising a child, they donate because those eggs will simply go to waste otherwise.

Studies have shown that nurture is as strong if not a stronger influence on a child's life than genetics, and genetically the child will be 50% your dp, so that tiny influence of the donors genetics will mean little enough in the grand scheme of things.

I think you would regret not being a mother far more than you would regret not being genetically related to the child.

nigelslattern Mon 30-Sep-13 11:19:07

you can never ask the child how they will feel about it

The lessons learned from donor-conceived children now grown up is that they just want to be able to join the dots and have the opportunity to meet their donor - that's why the law was changed in this country, removing anonymity from donation. How can it possibly be selfish to bring a child into a loving family?

RafflesWay Mon 30-Sep-13 11:20:48

Totally agree summerRain! Couldn't have explained better.

nigelslattern Mon 30-Sep-13 11:23:23

Nancy66 children do need to know they are donor-conceived - that's a shockingly ill-informed thing to say.

WomblingFree12 Mon 30-Sep-13 11:25:53

Nancy66, I am not sure I agree that there is any situation in which a child need not know it was donor-conceived. It is a huge thing not to tell your child and relies on you keeping a massive secret from them and from everyone you know (because if anyone else knows there is a risk of it slipping out).

Then there are all sorts of health-related situations in which such a secret can potentially come out, or you have to lie to keep it covered up. Surely honesty has to be the best way forward?

EasyMark Mon 30-Sep-13 11:32:34

My sister has twin boys from egg donor and she had a csection and still breastfeeding them at 2.5 years old. She is their mum. Her relationship has just broken down and all three kids have to live with that but she is a good mum. She is 50 and has a limiting health condition. She is finding it very hard and has said if she cant cope they will have to go into care. I find that unbelieveblely selfish. To create life and be unable to support it instead of giving a home to a child already on Earth but no one can see the future.

As long as you can love and support the child for the next 25 years i dont think it matters how the child is concived. But please think about adopting as well as ivf. Family is not only blood but actions and love.

Every child desevers a loving careing stable home.

Kewcumber Mon 30-Sep-13 11:34:23

Having children is selfish.

Not one person on this thread or probably the whole of MN had a child in order to repopulate the earth, because you know they will cure cancer or any other saintly reason. They have children because its what they want. Before the child is real, having children is massively selfish.

I could say its selfish of anyone to give birth to a child when so many children need families!

What lengths you will go to to fulfill your desire is very personal and often illogical - I would use donor sperm but not donor eggs but would have considered donor embryos. There was a thought process involved in that but I'm not sure anyone else would understand it!

As it happened I adopted a child from another country as a single parent - you can't get much more selfish than that. We are both currently very happy which is in essence what you aim for whatever child you have.

But if you are going to make a child through any of the less traditional means then you do need to think through very carefully how to handle it with a child and other people. The Donor Conception network can be very helpful in advice on how to deal with this area.

NotYoMomma Mon 30-Sep-13 11:48:12

are you for real?!

just tell them the truth from a young age

I'm adopted but my mum who raised me is my MUM.

I would be an egg donor or a surrogate for someone in need of a hand - it isnt selfish at all

if you feel like this though I guess its not for you

Kewcumber Mon 30-Sep-13 11:48:20

KenDodd - anyone who thinks the only difference between adoption and giving birth is that you don't get a tiny baby is I'm guessing not an adoptive parent!

frumpypigskin Mon 30-Sep-13 12:29:30

I don't think it's selfish. I think we are very lucky to live in a time where this is possible.

IVF is taking things out of the hands of 'nature' so I don't see how this is much different.

I don't think you should try to second guess how a child from an egg donor pregnancy would feel. Hopefully, they would feel loved and happy that their parents wanted them so much they went to all this effort to have them.

You have other options available to you such as adoption etc. You have to work out how you feel about it. I became pregnant after 3 IVF cycles and I would have seriously considered egg donation if we hadn't been successful.

I hope things work out for you.

HopALongOn Mon 30-Sep-13 12:33:06

OP I think you need to talk to an egg donor, or a clinic, to get a better understanding of the whole process.

mscorduroy Mon 30-Sep-13 12:38:58

I have donated my eggs twice, as part of an egg share program whilst having IVF myself. Both times the woman had a baby.
I don't view it as me having 'given away' babies. I donated a cell. It is the best thing I have ever done for another person.
I don't view it as any different to donating blood, or an organ. But as a recipient it's really important you are comfortable with using donor eggs. Your clinic should offer you counselling.

LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Mon 30-Sep-13 12:40:04

I'm sorry for your losses.

I don't think it is selfish, though.

Someone who has a lot of love to give to a child is not being selfish by having them.

Retroformica Mon 30-Sep-13 13:05:31

Please don't forget you would still be carrying the little blighters for 9 months and give birth to him. He would grow up with you and know he is very wanted and special. Yes there maybe some questions about the donor but its much much less complex then an adopted child looking back on his own history. Many women donate spare eggs with the intent of helping others. At the end if the day your DH will be his father and you will be his mother.

Dilemma81 Mon 30-Sep-13 13:07:33

Thank you so much for giving me your thoughts. I did wonder about posting here but I wanted to gauge people's thoughts even though I know this is a non supportive environment. Whenever you read about donor eggs or even ivf in the newspapers, it attracts so much hostility and the nasty judgemental comments speak for themselves and I worry whether my family and friends would be as judgemental as these people if we went down this route. Anyway I am sorry if i offended some people with my wording. Obviously not my intention as I myself need to come to terms with this. I think donors are incredible human beings too. Anyway clearly not right forum for this discussion.

Dahlen Mon 30-Sep-13 13:13:51

I'd never even considered it might be selfish. While the act of having children is in itself a selfish act, I can't see how the use of donor eggs can say anything other than "I wanted a child so badly I was happy to use donor eggs to conceive" - any child hearing that will know it was conceived in love.

Also, don't get hung up on genes. Science has progressed far enough for us to realise that the nature v nurture debate never really existed as anything other than an academic exercise. As more and more is learned about the effect of nurture on nature, we are realising that the two are interconnected. Genes can have multiple expressions. Which route they take is affected by the environment they are exposed to. The effect of your body and your lifestyle will influence the development of the DNA in that baby in a way that is unique and makes you just as much the biological mother as the woman who donated the egg. And in terms of nurturing it's all you.

The only thing that would make this child any different to a child you'd conceived with your own egg would be the need to be informed about the donor's medical history.

I'm so sorry for your miscarriages. I wish you good luck for the future. flowers

TheBigJessie Mon 30-Sep-13 13:13:55

I'm not sure if this will help you decide or not, but information makes people freer than not.

Pop science is generally a bit simplistic- his DNA, her DNA, etc. If you go down this route, then yes, the donor egg would originate from someone else, but your uterine environment is individual and that would significantly affect what genes were expressed. There is the genotype, the DNA that someone started with, and the phenotype, which is the results after DNA and environmental influences (such as exact hormone concentrations in the womb) interact. So the baby wouldn't simply be half biologically someone else's.

You would have contributed to his/her genetic make-up yourself.

TheBigJessie Mon 30-Sep-13 13:17:27

X-post!

Dahlen Mon 30-Sep-13 13:18:59

Amusing cross post. Yours sounds much more informed though Jessie grin

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