How to Talk to Family and Friends About Using an Egg Donor

There are a number of major occurrences in your life you might broadcast to family and friends: a new job, getting married, buying a house, an incredible vacation to Hawaii, etc. Typically, building your family is almost certainly one of those occasions, but what if you’re using an egg donor? For some, concern about the reaction of family and friends may prevent or delay this announcement.

The decision to use an egg donor is a very important step in the journey of couples and singles who struggle with infertility. In some instances — such as a same-sex male or single male family having a child — it’s obvious that a donor egg is used. However, people using donor eggs should feel empowered to exit conversations and leave overly personal questions unanswered. Enhancing your reproductive capabilities is your business, and you get to decide when and how to talk to friends and family about your fertility decisions.

Plan your narrative
Talk to your partner (if applicable) and make a plan about when, how and how much to tell. Decide whether you want to reveal this decision at all and also whom you feel comfortable about knowing the details behind your choice. For instance, if you’re a woman with a diminished egg reserve due to age, illness or other factors, you might find it acceptable for your mother and sisters but not your hairdresser, carpool buddy or even your close friends to know.

If you’re considering telling people about your egg donor decision before your baby is born, just keep in mind you’ll also have to tell them if the egg donor pregnancy fails. That’s probably not a conversation you want to have with someone you don’t know well.

Have answers ready
People aren’t always careful or sensitive when they ask personal questions. This insensitivity, usually unintentional, doesn’t mean people are making a negative judgment about your family goals. Family members, friends, colleagues and acquaintances will naturally be curious. Depending on your unique situation and level of comfort, you should be ready with some retorts like these:

  • “It was really important to me to start a family of my own, so I worked with a fertility specialist, and now I’ve done it.” (Be straightforward but not specific.)
  • “I’m a new parent. It’s a really exciting time. I’d love to tell you more, but I have an appointment so I need to run.” (Acknowledge and exit.)
  • “My partner and I worked with an egg donor and/or surrogate. It’s been a long road, but we’re really excited to be new parents.” (Tell the truth, and end on a positive note.)

Remember, your family story belongs to you (and your partner). It’s not your job to educate the world about egg donation and in vitro fertilization (IVF). You decide who gets to know how much about your exciting decision to pursue an egg donor program.