Project "What IF" has started over at Mel's Stirrup Queen site. Here is my "what if" down at comment 201:
What IF I had never been brave enough to face using donor eggs? What IF I had never had a friend like FairyEggs who loved me enough to give me her eggs?
There are literally so many "what if" questions you ask yourself while navigating the world of IF. These two questions are happy questions for me in a time where I've been asking myself some very tough questions.
Feelings associated with the infertility process have not simply disappeared with my apparent success at getting knocked up. For me, with using donor eggs, I'm finally working through some of the aspects of what to tell my child. While I won't be meeting my child for awhile, this came up when my sister mentioned scrapbooking some of the pictures of Fairyeggs and I out in California. It's a seemingly innocuous thing however it could have enormous implications in the future with identifying my donor.
Most of you know that I have been extremely open about my struggles with infertility. When it would come up in conversation, I was simply straight forward with people. When it came to using donor eggs, we weren't quite so forthcoming and kind of just left it as another IVF try to most people except close friends and family. I'm not ashamed of using donor eggs, however, it seemed like just another thing to explain.
Fairyegg's privacy was also an issue initially. Would people look at my child askance when we were visiting together? Would people question if my child was really hers? Both of had lots of questions that we didn't have answers for when we first chose to move forward with egg donation. However, like anything in our friendship, we would just deal with it as it came as there was no way to foresee what might arise. Later in the process, Fairyeggs' started not really caring what people thought as she became more comfortable with the idea.
In my research on the topic of disclosing the fact that my child was conceived during egg donation, I have learned that like adopted children, if it's not a shock, then it's not really a big deal. When children find out about circumstances of their birth that differ from what is "normal," they often feel betrayed and disillusioned. However, if a child is told from the get go, it seems like it simply part of their story and not really that big of a deal. Knowing this, I have always planned to disclose this to my child, so I never had to hide it during pediatrician visits.
What I didn't know though was whether or not I would tell them who the donor was. I figured that simply creating a profile sheet on Fairyeggs would be appropriate so my child would know their medical and cultural history. However I wonder with everyone who knows if eventually the information would be disclosed accidently. I certainly do not want this to happen! Similarly, I would never want my child to dream about a fantasy life with his or her genetic mother. Disclosing this early usually prevents this kind of situation which I would like to avoid.
This of course brings up further questions with what kind of relationship my child has with Fairyeggs and how my child views Fairyegg's kids and family....do you see the tangle this creates? So, I brought this up on the Parents Via Egg Donation (PVED) website where I got some advice. The fact of the matter is that my child will take his or her cue from how my husband and I act. If we treat it like normal, then more than likely so will the child. Explaining that my eggs didn't work and I had someone who loved me so she gave me some of hers so I could have a baby, could be very matter of fact. Understanding his or her relationship with Auntie Fairyeggs could also be pretty normal.
I thought the hardest thing about being pregnant was going to be getting pregnant. However, the questions and feeling have obviously not stopped. I am forever grateful that I have the chance to make these decisions even if they are hard for me. I am thankful that I had the strength to let go of my genetics so I could have a family. Moreover, I am forever indebted to Fairyeggs for her gift and her friendship that allows me to have a choice about these issues.