How might my child feel?

3 fertility expert(s) answered this question

How do donor egg kids feel?

When proceeding with IVF treatment patients can come across some obstacles that they haven’t taken account of. One of them is to proceed with egg donation. Once the baby is born thanks to donated gamete, there is another concern: how and when to tell the child?
​The biggest fear is how this information might impact him or her? ​

Answer from:
Psychologist, In Vivo Fertility, Founder and CEO In Vivo Fertility

Two key questions that might give you a good idea about how your child may feel….How would you like your child to feel? How do you feel about your decision of egg donation?
We are mirrors of each other’s feelings. So why should the children feel any different than the rest of the family?
Children are emotional intelligence sponges!
We are born with the innate capacity to feel for ourselves and to perceive others’ feelings…it is in the process of socialization that sometimes we forget this unique talent and we need to re-learn it…Therefore, think about what would be the feelings that you would love to transfuse your family with – is it the feeling of trust, care and being special? Is it the conscious choice and determination for creating a family and creating life? Is it the joy of sharing love – both giving and receiving it?
Also consider how you feel as the recipient of egg donation. How much “in peace” you and your partner are with your choice, is a valuable emotional heritage you pass on to your child. Your emotional ownership of parenthood is a journey well worth traveling, even before acting upon egg donation.

Answer from:
Gynaecologist, Co-Onwer and Co-Founder at Los Angeles Reproductive Center

They have completed a lot of studies on this and it’s very hard to see what study you can do. Some of the studies look at the well being of the child at school and it is not a perfect method, but one of the things they look at is if a child does well, behaviour wise, at school it means that he is well adjusted. They do not have to be an A grade student, but if they do not have behavioural issues and so on, if they have adjusted well. Now, I am very careful about saying that as kids can have many behaviour issues and have the most loving family and not in any way did I mean this negatively, but it’s a very imprecise way that they try to assess that and there is no difference at all, those kids were well adjusted, from their perspective, it’s all they knew, they were born into this loving family.

Answer from:
Fertility Coach, Patient Advocate and Founder of and Paths To Parent Hub

This is the biggest question I think we all have as parents. It is one I feel most will have, how do they feel, and it is something that you can’t really control because it is however they feel. I think there are a lot of things we can do to support them in how they are going to feel about their conception. One of the things is by telling early, telling them about their conception before they even remember they were told. Our girls know from the age of two, they could almost start reciting it back. Mommy’s eggs were broken, we tried really hard to have a baby and a lady did a kind thing by donating her eggs and that allowed us to have a baby, that was mixed with daddy’s seed, put in mummy’s tummy, mummy grew them and that’s how it came to be.

That story will evolve as they grow so it’s not just one time, we’re going to tell you this and you’ll be fine about it, it’s a dialogue, a process. For my eldest I tried to introduce certain things where she’s noticed, oh mummy your eyes are green and mine are blue and i’ve just tried to explain you don’t have the same eyes as mummy, you won’t look like mummy, because you didnt come from mummy’s egg but you will probably have some things from our donor and you’ll look like daddy, but you also smile like mummy dont you? You also sound like mummy when you talk, so we celebrate the things we do share. But I think it’s really important to talk with pride and to become comfortable with your story so they can pick up on that. Children are intuitive, they can sense how you’re feeling about it. So I would say practice from an early age and make sure that you have gotten used to saying it out loud and that even while you’re pregnant, you can talk to them. There are some amazing children’s books to help introduce the concept as well.

As they grow and thinking of how they might feel about it, there are some important things we can do as parents such as being open to them asking questions , not shutting those questions down with things like, oh don’t about that because that might upset your mum, or don’t mention that because the donor doesn’t matter, it’s not important, it might be important to them. It is having that open dialogue that they know that they can come to us with any questions they might have. Also letting them know if they do want to know more might be possible. So for those who have used a donor, who have an open ID or are anonymous and you don’t know who they are, DNA testing nowadays means that quite often you can find a close relative match and work out who that person is.

It varies in different countries as to how easy that is, but I find comfort in the fact that anonymity is no more and there are tools out there that allow me to support our children. I think alot of how they will feel, they will pick up from us and how we feel about it and if we can talk about it without shame, have a supportive family network around us who know the story and can reinforce that dialogue and we can be open to however they want to feel and express themselves about it and they are going to experience it very differently to people who may not have found out until they were older.

Being open is key and I don’t think that that means there won’t be questions or feelings in the future but it definitely gives you a head start. That’s what the research says as well, there’s a brilliant book called We are family and that’s the research of Susan Golombok. She’s researched families over the past forty years, families through natural conception, IVF and donor conception. The findings were that there were better outcomes for those who used a donor than those who’d conceived naturally. I think quite often we’ve really thought through what parenthood means to us to go down this route and we are already steps ahead in thinking about the future and supporting our children so like I’ve said in of our previous answers, were much more conscious parents by this stage and so that will also have an impact on how our child feels, how secure they feel and how loved they feel within the family as well.