I became an egg donor after having my own children.
My partner and I are parents-through-IVF; survivors of infertility who inevitably became overbearing parents to our precious offspring. Archie was born after 7 embryo transfers, and he was our lucky last. Shortly after Archie’s second birthday, we conceived his brother, Rafael. Without IVF this time. Fertility, as most infertility survivors know, is a numbers game; a fickle friend who changes over time and is never guaranteed.
I decided, when I was going through IVF, that I would like to pay our (relatively good) luck forward and one day be an egg donor. After Raf was born, I investigated it further, and slid down the rabbit hole of google searches and online forums, and eventually offered my eggs to another couple. I decided I wanted to give unconditionally; that the recipients didn’t need to prove their worth to me. I had minimal criteria – they they live in Victoria, for the sake of convenience, and that they be prepared to tell their offspring about their donor conception. For my part, I was committed to being available to any donor-offspring and their parents, for their sake and for Archie and Raf to know their donor-siblings (or ‘diblings’ as they are sometimes called). We know from research with donor-conceived children that they cope better with the knowledge of their donor-origins if they are told early and with honesty and openness; gone are the days when it is considered better to keep it a secret. In Victoria, donor-conceived adults can now access records about their conception, including the identity of their donor and other donor-conceived people related to them.
So I donated, to two couples, and one of them went on to conceive a baby who is now 2 years old. People are often curious about what it’s like being a donor, and about my relationship with the child and their parents. “Is it weird, seeing him and knowing he’s your genetic child?” Well, it’s a good question. Before he was conceived, we’d done all the donor counselling and considered the consequences of what I was doing. We’d talked about it with family, including our two kids. For them, it was pretty easy to understand – mummy gave her eggs to help another family have a baby. No doubt as they get older, they’ll have more questions, as they understand more about genetics and family.
For my part, I was excited to help someone have a child, and excited for them when they announced a pregnancy and then the birth. I visited him in hospital when he was a few days old, and remember thinking ‘what a momentous day, to meet this much-wanted child that is connected to me but not mine.’ But the reality was less exciting. I mean, it was lovely. But my only feelings were for his well-being and for his parents’ happiness. I was curious, at first, to see whether he looked like me or my children – my initial thoughts were that he looked a lot like his dad, and a bit like my dad. But I don’t feel bonded to him the way I am to my kids.
This kid, that comes from my egg who is not my child, is now two years old. I was at the park the other day, with my kids, and a little boy raced past me on his trike. My first thought was ‘I know that face!’ and then I realised that it was, in fact, the child that my friends conceived with my egg. He is not particularly interested in me, and I expect that may change when he is older if he has questions about me or his half-siblings. In the meantime, I am happy just seeing his parents enjoy him and grateful that I had the opportunity to help them grow their family.
Have you considered becoming a donor, or do you need a donor? Do you have questions about the donation process? Read more about egg donation in Australia.
For more resources about donation:
Setting Expectations for a Donor Arrangement is really important for making sure everyone is on the same page.
Sperm Donation and laws: Joe Donor and the Consequences of Online Conception
Donor reflections: Podcast interviews with Carla or Amber, and from donor-conceived person, Hayley.
You can find information about surrogacy in the free Surrogacy Handbook, reading articles in the Blog, by listening to episodes of the Surrogacy Podcast. You can also book in for a consult with me below.