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.

DontGiveAwayTheHomeworld Mon 30-Sep-13 13:45:55

At the end of the day, only you can decide if you're comfortable using donor eggs. You can have all the information there is, but if it doesn't sit right, that's fair enough. I'd advise getting as much information as you can and seeing what you think after that.

I would like to point out that family is a very fluid concept. Everyone has a slightly different setup. If a child is raised in a happy home, with people who love him/her, does it really matter where the child came from?

pinkdelight Mon 30-Sep-13 13:58:45

I'm a sperm donor baby. I wasn't told till I was middle-aged and it's made no difference whatsoever. My dad is my dad. And he didn't even give birth to me, so egg donation is even more biologically involved. I think this can't possibly be what's really troubling you, this 'selfish' business. As some already said, having kids is selfish anyway. I think you just need help to get your head around the baby not being from your own egg. Your issues with that sound bigger than any your DC would have.

Kewcumber Mon 30-Sep-13 14:20:22

just to pick up on something sugarman said - I know the thread has moved on but I didn't want to let it pass in case anyone reading might misinterpret...

* And adoptions here have to be open which frankly sounded too complicated.* assuming you are talking about the UK, adoptions do not have to be open (depending on what you mean by that). At 18 adoted adults have the right to access their file, but that has been the case for some time.

However an adoptive parent is the childs legal parent and can make the choices they feel are right for their child - that often means letterbox contact yearly with birth family and sometimes though more rarely contact meetings too. Very often there is no contact at all between birth and adoptive families. Once the adoption order is granted its your decision to make, hopefully in the best interests of the child.

It can be complicated but then having children can be complicated.

That's not said to talk anyone into adoption - it really isn't for everyone but there isn't some kind of compulsory life long contact between adoptee and birth family.

TheBigJessie Mon 30-Sep-13 14:33:58

Dahlen funny! I thought yours sounded much better and clearer grin.

Pennyacrossthehall Mon 30-Sep-13 14:36:38

BrokenSunglasses
My mum is my mum because of the fact that she brought me up, not because we share DNA.

And, of course: My dad is my dad because of the fact that he brought me up, not because we share DNA.

I believe this absolutely.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Mon 30-Sep-13 15:35:45

Re: the nature thing. I got pregnant with dd very easily. During her birth I haemorrhaged very badly. Had I gone with what nature said then dd would be here but she would have grown up without a mother. And there would be no ds.

Nature sucks!

Although I have to admit I have no clue what I'd do in your situation.

Pigsmummy Mon 30-Sep-13 15:40:32

I read a great explanation recently, the baby will have three parents, the fathers sperm, the donors egg then the birth mother supplies the blood and all nutrition to the baby. All three needed to create the life.

Pawprint Mon 30-Sep-13 16:16:01

First of all, I am sorry about your miscarriages - I had several myself and I still don't know why they happened, despite extensive testing.

Re. the donor egg - it's not something I know much about. On one hand, it is 'just' an egg from another woman and 'just' DNA. However, whilst I don't think it selfish, I can imagine that the child born of such a procedure would be curious as to where his/her maternal DNA comes from.

CHJR Mon 30-Sep-13 17:10:28

Having been through some of this myself, I understand the ethical quandary, though I don't think "selfish" is the word you're looking for. People who have never been in this position do not really understand the whole picture, and people who are in this position become very sensitive and alert to the possibility of being insulted.

In the end we didn't have to go this route, but we did conclude that adopting just the egg is best considered as a variant on adopting a baby (which adds up to donor egg, donor sperm, surrogate womb). This can inform your decision either way -- adoption brings up the same ethical concerns about whether the biological parent/donor is acting freely or is being coerced by economic pressures, for instance, and the same concerns about feeling kinship to your child.

Don't condemn others or yourself out of hand for considering a donor egg, but do get some counselling/help talking through the issues with your husband and doctors. For one thing there are many different ways of obtaining a donor egg or an adoptive child, some of which will enable the child to identify its biological parent(s) later, some of which may come with more guarantee that the donor is truly donating and not being forced, some of which will cost more and take longer.

BTW, much sympathy for your pain. It took us 10+ years but now the only time I think of it is when someone like you posts on MN!

Tavv Mon 30-Sep-13 17:14:26

> One thing I don't really understand is the need some people feel that they must have a (bio) child of their own. To me adoption is just as good and not second best at all.

So did you adopt, kendodd?

Lilka Mon 30-Sep-13 17:15:59

Honestly, all parenthood is selfish. People mostly have children to fulfill their own desires. I adopted 3 children then tried one round of donor insemination (which failed, and I felt able to give up on the idea of a birth child after doing that). All selfish decisions, all equally selfish. A bit of selfishness is actually a good thing - children need to know how loved and wanted they are. Imagine feeling unwanted. You would probably feel like that if you knew your parents didn't have you out of a real strong selfish desire to parent a child. "I did it for you" does not sound good to a child, it sounds like "I don't love you very much/I have to sacrifice everything for you and don't get lots back in return" etc. Not good.

I'm not saying that there is no such thing as too selfish, some things are so selfish/ill thought out they really shouldn't be done - like (IMHO) not telling a child they are adopted/concieved through gamete donation - and I would never say that your own selfish desires should lead you to do something which is either harming somebody else or taking away their rights. Like the childs right to know their medical history which includes what is known about their genetic make up. Likewise, if someone said they were going to illegally traffick a baby from another country into this one because they wanted a child so bad, no one would think it a good idea.

The difference between good selfishness and bad selfishness is how it affects the other people

So no, I don't think there's anything wrong with egg donation, and I don't think it is any more selfish than becoming a parent through any other means. The child is not (IMHO) harmed by your actions. As long as the donation process is ethical and you tell the child, you're in the clear.

OP, maybe you would benefit from a bit of counselling? Also, fertility friends has a lot of people in your position, and you can talk to clinics about whats involved until you feel comfortable (or decide against).

Viviennemary Mon 30-Sep-13 17:23:07

I can see your point about this and would worry about it myself. However, I don't think it's selfish. It's just something people have to work out if it's right or wrong for them. And the person donating them is quite happy to give them and give people the chance of having a child so I would focus on that.

fairy1303 Mon 30-Sep-13 17:33:17

You want a baby so badly you plan, pick a kind donor and put all that work into having your longed for child.

You will carry it, give birth to it, feed it, love it care for it.

You will be its mother.

Think of it like baking a cake - you might have had to borrow the eggs from your neighbour but you provide the flour, sugar, butter and cook it yourself.

As someone who has brought up her SD since aged 4, I can tell you catagorically that DNA is overrated.

Good luck having your longed for baby.

Preciousbane Mon 30-Sep-13 17:42:41

There was a lovely thread yesterday about a woman who is looking after her niece as her actual parents are unfortunately drug users and in prison. The little girl wanted to call her Mummy, gosh it made me cry. This woman is nurturing this child and the love she felt for her came across strongly in her posts. She is not her bio Mum but she obviously loves her.

I have no idea how I would have felt in your position because I have had two dc. The fact that you are fretting makes me feel that you would make a lovely Mum and I personally hope that your dream is fulfilled by whatever it takes.

Tavv Mon 30-Sep-13 17:54:51

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

That's a great summary! Well said.

StitchingMoss Mon 30-Sep-13 17:58:08

Tavv I was going to ask exactly the same qu of Ken - generally find people who trot out this nonsense about adoption have popped out their own kids with ease.

Kewcumber speaks much more sense on adoption.

Cheesy123 Mon 30-Sep-13 18:33:35

I went to see about being a donor sadly now I'm too old, my daughter will need a donor if she wants babies when she is old enough, I don't see anything wrong it, it's a beautiful gift to give someone and whoever raises the child is their mum DNA doesn't matter.

BlingBang Mon 30-Sep-13 18:44:49

I think saying DNA doesn't matter is simplistic and often not the case, at least from the child's POV or many adopted children (also possibly egg and sperm donar)wouldn't be trying to find out more or track down their bio parent, the person whose DNA helped bring them into existence.

Not that I think egg donation is wrong or that I wouldn't have chosen that route if I couldn't conceive my own children. Wish you all the best whatever you decide, having children is selfish to a degree in this day and age - no matter how they are conceived.

CHJR Mon 30-Sep-13 18:45:36

OP, another thing you might want to take out and examine in the quiet of your heart/bustle of your doctor's or priest's office is how much of an issue it could become if your DH is biologically related to the child and you are not. You say you're desperate for DH to be a dad and are sure he'd be up for egg donation. Ask yourself: does that mean he's not up for adoption, that he does believe having a biological link to the child is very important? If so, how will that affect his view of YOUR relationship to the child? Also, are you feeling "guilty" that you can't get or stay pregnant and trying to "make it up to DH" by giving him a "stronger" biological link to the child? Then there is the practical matter that generally IVF, even with a donor egg, is quicker and cheaper than adoption. And that even if some of your or DH's feelings aren't rational, they still matter and need to be taken into account.

One potential difference between donor egg and adoption is that it can introduce (or highlight) an imbalance in the parental roles -- adoption is like when the two of you are from different countries and live in a third country where you are both equally foreign; donor egg can be like the two of you living in a country where one of you is native and thinks s/he knows how to do everything while the other always feels like an outsider. On the other hand I think that in lots of families where there was never any infertility, both the mothers and the fathers (and sometimes DC) feel that mothers bond more easily with the DC. And as a parent by both birth and adoption, I must say I think it's a real benefit to know before you get there that all DC are in fact separate from both of you.

This is just one illustration of what I mean when I say I don't think the real quandary is selfishness but just that infertility throws up all sorts of questions a quick easy pregnancy may not. Since, as many above have said, all parenthood involves negotiating complexity, there is statistical evidence that parents who deal with these questions during infertility end up with stronger marriages in the long run. I also think the fact that you're thinking hard now and not just plunging ahead without a second blink is a sign that you will be a good parent. Forget your concerns about going against Mother Nature (WHY is she called MOTHER? believe me you won't call her that once you've seen what "natural" labour and delivery are like grin). Is it fighting against nature to treat TB, or heart disease? As many above are basically saying, parenthood is really not about putting an egg together with a sperm. No matter how hard getting this DC proves, by the time he or she is 10 years old, like mine, you will know getting the child is the simplest part of the job!

Lilka Mon 30-Sep-13 19:11:42

generally IVF, even with a donor egg, is quicker and cheaper than adoption

Assuming OP is in England/Wales, adopting domestically is much much cheaper than (private) IVF. The total cost could even be £0, but might well be a couple of hundred pounds, if your LA make you pay for your medical check and court fee.

International is pretty expensive though

BigBirthdayGloom Mon 30-Sep-13 19:25:51

We have three donor conceived children (dh has no sperm) and honestly, his ability as a parent renders biology interesting but irrelevant on a day to day basis. We have shared the way they were conceived with them although at 7,4 and 2 they are largely uninterested. I'm sure this will change.
I do agree that really, the desire to have a child is a selfish one, albeit nobly selfish. If you do go down the donor route, you will have counselling and will certainly have actively considered your decision to become parents more than some, although not all, parents who don't require help from a donor.

Kendodd Tue 01-Oct-13 15:32:16

> One thing I don't really understand is the need some people feel that they must have a (bio) child of their own. To me adoption is just as good and not second best at all.

So did you adopt, kendodd?

No I didn't. From talking to people who have the adoption process looks so hard in this country (UK) it seems designed just to put people off, maybe that's the point, only the most determined and resilient survive.

I remember I heard something a few years ago on R4 talking about donor (sperm) conceived children reaching adulthood and a very common feeling was resentment about the process. Not to say that they loved their parents any less but that they felt a piece of them was missing, deliberately taken from them. I was thinking about this for the last couple of days and, I know it is very much going against the common opinion but maybe it's better just not to tell the child produced. I know that seems unfair and they have a right to know but if that knowledge only results in upset, well.... are they really better for it?

Lilka Tue 01-Oct-13 15:50:29

Well, issues surrounding family/genetics etc can be complicated. But at the end of the day "they have a right to know". That's it. End of story. Their right to know does not get trumped by some worries you have in your head about how they might feel one day. But equally might not. If you have worries about how they might feel, you need to talk to people before concieving and get to a place where you are comfortable with telling them, and have located some resources to help you if you need them (again before concieving).

Using the same logic, "Some adult adoptees have very complicated feelings about adoption, and sometimes feel very sad or angry about it. Therefore I won't tell my child that I adopted them"

Suddenly, that seems like bad logic

People who always know their 'story' tend to do a lot better than people who 'find out'. Some of the stories of both adoptees and donor concieved children who found out as an adult after their parents tried to conceal it, are awful to read, because of the devastating effect on them when they realised they had been lied to all their life. It wasn't the being donor concieved/adopted that was the upsetting thing - it was the lying

PeriodFeatures Tue 01-Oct-13 16:02:37

I have had experience of this OP. I had exactly the same dilemma as you are having now. I think it's a healthy concern and you are thinking about your child's identity.

Before you are accepted to receive donor gametes you will have implications counselling. This is exactly what they are checking you have considered.

We now have a beautiful dd and a reserve for a sibling.

It's a huge journey to embark upon but at the centre is a little girl who is very much loved and who will, one day know that her biological origins are different but we plan to raise her to understand that families are all made differently, as indeed they are.

Who knows what the future holds but we will do our best.

Good luck. PM me if you want to ask anything flowers

PeriodFeatures Tue 01-Oct-13 16:08:45

pinkdelight Fabulous.

Fairy I love your analogy about baking the cake!

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