What reactions can I expect from others?
Answer from: Elli Papadopoulou, BSc
Let us focus on two words – reactions and others. And I will start with the word others. It is ultimately our choice how we share our decision for egg donation with our family and friends. It is important that it is a conscious decision, and it is agreed by both partners as to avoid miscommunications and breach of trust. And here we are leaving out the most interested party – the child itself. This issue is addressed in another question of this series. So I am not going to get into that right now. You decide who you tell, and it really depends on how you feel about things.
One consideration to keep in mind is that once you tell you cannot untell…Also, the timing of your sharing might be important to you – is it when considering egg donation, is it at pregnancy, after the baby is born or a bit later? So exactly in the same way I urge you to build your own support team consciously and thoughtfully when going through Assisted Reproduction, I am encouraging you to choose carefully who and how to share your decisions regarding egg donation.
Now let’s move on to the word reactions. We cannot control others’ beliefs and attitudes, their behaviors, or comments…they depend on their own model of the world, they are unique and quite often unpredictable…What we can control is our own reactions. Having clear in your mind and your heart of the reason why you are following the path of egg donation, and being at peace with that decision, is the best way to make yourself immune to any type of comment: the insensitive, the ignorant, the untactfully curious, or even the well-meant…This is one of the reasons why working with a fertility mental health professional to identify and solidify your very own reason for your decisions, can prove very helpful. For some people even going through different scenarios and working out possible outcomes and responses calms anxieties and negative thoughts.
Answer from: Becky Kearns
This can be a huge fear for people as well, what will people think, what will they say and I think it can really depend. From my own experience and through speaking to many others, I think quite often were pleasantly surprised by the reaction of people. I think we can worry about these things and worry that people will make comments and use an alternative path to parenthood.
I often find that if you give people the contacts and if you allow them to see the journey that you’ve been on, they more often than not will be empathetic to what that means to you. Sometimes it can be really difficult to find the words, it can be quite a personal thing to share, and I have create a resource which allows people to say to family and friends, this is what we’re doing, here’s some information for you to go and learn about it and it also talks to them about how they can best support you as a family, when you’re embarking down this path and it answers some of the questions they may have but may not want to ask you.
There are tools out there to help you with this. Personally I’ve not had any real negative reactions but I’ve had the odd reaction of ‘oh i don’t know if i could do that’, which can be quite difficult to hear because you kind of think to yourself ,well i’m not really asking for your opinion but it’s obviously not something that you would do, you can never make that judgment because they are not in that position, you can only make this decision if you’ve been through what you’ve been through and you’re in that position. Therefore I think that it’s important if you’re sharing this , say that you’re not asking for opinions, you’re sharing it with them because it’s personal to you, you trust them as a loved one with this information and that you hope they will support you with it. So I think it’s definitely a worry for many people, a generational issue can sometimes come into play where parents or grandparents may not understand how things work but there are tools there that help you talk to other people about it. It can be a huge weight lifted off your shoulders knowing that others are there to support you. Then also your children start talking about how they came to be and they won’t be met with blank faces or people asking questions. But instead there will be encouragement and empowerment as well talking about their story.
What reactions can I expect from others when they find out about egg donation?
Decision about proceeding with egg donation is difficult by itself. On top of that, patients worry about how and when to tell children and what reaction they can expect. How about others? Family members and strangers?
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