The decision to use a donor egg can be difficult one for couples. Choosing this option inevitably involves grieving over the loss of one’s biological connection to a child. However, the donor egg option enables the recipient to still be able to experience pregnancy, have some control over gestational environment, and have a baby that is genetically related to at least one member of the couple.
A further issue involves deciding whether to use a known or unknown donor. For some couples, the use of a known donor offers many advantages. If the donor is a relative – especially a sister – there can be comfort in using gametes from the same genetic pool. This can help the recipient to feel a stronger biological connection to the baby.
In addition, recipients often feel more in control and less uncertain, as they have more information about the donor than in an anonymous situation. Finally, there may be a shorter waiting time to begin the process, as opposed to the possibility of a lengthy wait for an anonymous donor.
Building a family using a donor egg has proven to be a viable and satisfying option for many. Deciding to use a known donor is a complex process with long-range implications for the donor, recipient couple and the child.
What works well, from our experience, seems to be when time is taken to clarify present and future roles, obligations and views on such important matters as privacy vs. openness. Recipients appear to feel best when donors offer. However, even when the recipient asks, donors, often respond quite positively. Giving the donor the time and space to consider the option is an important part of the process. Finally, planning a thank you ritual can be an equally important part of putting closure on what is an emotionally challenging – but deeply rewarding – experience for both donor and recipient.
This is the first in a series of articles entitled “Using a Known Egg Donor.” Read the rest of the articles in this series to learn more about the advantages and concerns of building your family using a known egg donor.