Using egg donation is usually the last recourse for couples or singles who wish to become pregnant, after months or years of failed attempts via fertility treatments such as IVF. As for sperm donation, while lesbian couples’ most common choice is to make use of a sperm donor in order to conceive, straight couples may also opt for this approach due to the male partner’s fertility issues.
Learning that they won’t be able to share DNA with their child is a huge shock for many, and particularly amongst women, as is demonstrated by the large number of blogs related to having a baby via egg donation. Not passing on their genetic information to their child is a concept that troubles them. Some of the most commonly asked questions include: “If we are not genetically connected, will the baby feel like mine? What if I never bond with my baby? What will people say? Will my child look like me? How much will they look like their donors?”.
Despite these concerns it’s important to remember that, no matter your situation and your potential doubts about the process, you will finally be able to fulfill your dream of becoming a parent thanks to sperm donation or egg donation.
Will I bond with my donor-conceived child?
If you are a woman, bonding with your child starts during pregnancy. Knowing that the baby is living and developing within your body, hearing its heartbeat, pumping your blood, kicking your belly and responding to your touch, are all things that allow you to create a bond with your child and feel that he or she is really yours. It’s true that you don’t share the same genes, but using donated eggs won’t change the love that you have for your baby.
If you are a man who has used donated sperm to conceive, as you don’t get to carry the baby, bonding might seem more difficult than for a pregnant woman. However, following and supporting your partner’s pregnancy, accompanying her to prenatal appointments and touching her belly can help you feel connected to your child. For many dads, the bond emerges at their baby’s birth, when they hold their little one in their arms for the first time, whether they’ve been conceived with donor sperm or not. For others, it can take some more time. But don’t worry, nurturing your baby, cuddling and playing with them will all help you to create a strong bond.
Will the baby feel like a stranger if I am an egg or sperm donor recipient?
Being a mother or a father is about love and nurturing, not about DNA. Even if, before conception or during pregnancy, many people who use donation struggle with the idea of not being genetically related to their child, when they finally become parents the vast majority of them will say that the way their child was conceived doesn’t matter anymore. This is 100% their child and they love them unconditionally.
Your child would not exist without you
It is you and your partner (if you have one) who decided to have this baby. You attended all of the medical appointments, underwent fertility treatments, went through the pregnancy, carried the child or supported your pregnant partner. You’re also the one who will feed your baby, change their diapers, soothe them, bathe them and do everything that you can to make them happy and safe. You are at the origin of your child’s existence. They would not be there without you.
What makes a mother or a father?
The donor’s level of involvement in your child’s life depends on your choices. You can opt for a donor who will also be your co-parent. You can agree jointly that they will have a relationship with your child. You can also opt for an anonymous donor who won’t have anything to do with your child’s upbringing. If you choose a known donor, you can also come to an agreement that they won’t be involved in your child’s life.
If you choose one of the latter two options, your egg donor or sperm donor will have no involvement in your child’s upbringing. They are willing to donate their semen or egg to help those who cannot have a baby on their own but have no desire to help raise the child afterwards.
You are the mother or the father of your child, and your donor isn’t. Biology isn’t what makes a mother or a father. A parent is the person who guides you, who helps you to get back on your feet when you fall, who accompanies you on the journey to becoming an amazing adult, and who loves you no matter what.