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Adjusting to Using an Egg Donor: Facing Emotional Challenges

If you’ve come to the point in your fertility journey when the need for an egg donor arises, you’re not alone. Roughly 12 percent of all in vitro fertilization (IVF cycles in the United States) — or about 16,000 per year — involve donor eggs. The good news for those participating in an egg donor pregnancy is that IVF cycles using donor eggs are among the most successful of all fertility treatments.

Knowing you’re on the right track can help you feel good about your decision to use an egg donor. However, there are other ways to process this decision to help reduce any residual anxiety.

Remember: You have choices
Choosing your egg donor can be an exciting process! Egg Donor America’s egg donor database offers a lot of variety when it comes to characteristics of donors. You can select a donor who closely resembles you in height, eye and hair color, and IQ score. This ensures your new baby will have some traits in common with you; and it can help you feel a connection to your baby from the very start.

Find adequate support
Some people make decisions and process life changes very quickly, while others benefit from talking things through. A loving partner or spouse can be enough support, but it’s also common for people to join a support group or see a therapist. Some even find it helpful to do both. There is certainly no shame in seeking guidance and support from people who are either undergoing fertility treatment themselves or trained to work with those of us who are.

Prepare to tell (or not tell) your story
Sometimes, the scariest part of undergoing any type of assisted reproduction is how you’ll tell others about your choice. It’s important to remember that you control your own narrative. Nobody has a right to know the details of how you conceived your baby, and you have the option to tell some or all of your story, if you want to. If the court of public opinion has you borrowing trouble, take a deep breath, and read more on how to talk to family and friends about using an egg donor.

Spend some time with you
Unless your fertility specialist has advised you of a very small window of time in which to conceive using a donor egg, ask him or her whether it’s okay to take a little time to adjust to the idea. Most people who get pregnant with help from a donor egg are able to gently modify their perspective. What begins perhaps as sadness or fear soon turns to joy and excitement as you start to anticipate having your baby. If you take some time to gather your thoughts and emotions, remember that love is elastic: it stretches to include new friends, new pets and new in-laws. It will stretch to include your new baby too.

Processing the need for an egg donor is easy for some, but can be challenging for others. If you keep your eye on the prize, you’ll likely learn to see this need as an opportunity for personal — and family! — growth.

Related Topics: Infertility, Using an egg donor, Egg donation, Intended parent support