Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On ice

In brief: donation plan on ice

As promised, an update on the donor idea. I've pitched the idea to my
husband, and somewhat to my surprise, he thought it was a good idea
right away. He also agreed with my preference for the known donor

I also went to see the fertility clinic psychologist about possibly
donating, a very kind woman. She took plenty of time to see me and
explore my concerns.

Her professional opinion is that anonymous donation is not harmful.
Basicly, it is better to exist and come to grips with not knowing
where half your genes came from than not existing because no donors
were willing to work anonymously. To be honest, I don't need
convincing of that, but that doesn't mean 'coming to grips' can't be
Also, it doesn't convince me that *I* should therefor settle for
donating anonymously, which she recognized readily.

The clinic did a study amongst 10-year old children conceived from
donor sperm in lesbian couples. These children were aware at a very
early stage of their different conception story. Half the children
didn't mind not knowing anything about the donor. A quarter would have
liked to know something about the donor, but was ok not knowing. A
quarter felt affected by not knowing anything about the donor.
The psychologist acknowledged that these statistics wouldn't
necessarily apply in other situations. Other studies have shown that
children who learn about their conception story later in life often
struggle with it considerably. Also, this is just a snapshot, who
knows how they will feel later in life.

We talked some more on the possibilities of becoming a known donor. It
would be no problem at all if I already knew a potential donor
recipient, but I don't.
The clinic says it is illegal for them to be go-between in finding a
recipient for known donorship. I disagree with that interpretation of
the law, but that doesn't make any difference to them. They won't do

Of course, I could find a potential donor recipient within seconds on
the internet, but I'm very reluctant to do that.
The thing is I'm not proposing a quick 'here are my eggs, good luck to
you' scheme. In my ideal scenario a long-lasting connection between my
family and the donor recipients' would exist, not necessarily a close
tie, but a tie nonetheless. My reason for wanting this is in the hope
of decreasing the risk of the B-movie plot from happening
(half-siblings turn star-crossed lovers after chance encounter). Call
the risk small all you want, it would keep me awake at night.
A more realistic scenario would probably be that the donor recipient
would let me know the name of their child, maybe some early pictures,
but that over time we would drift apart. Fair enough.

Which brings me to finding a potential recipient on the net. There are
dozens of women who have posted on local forums, hoping to find a
donor. Usually they only write a single post, which is not much to get
a sense of someone by (speeddating for donors?). Sure, I could contact
some of these ladies, to get to know them better. But then if I think
it would be a bad match, where would I find the nerve to disappoint
them? Too stressful.

What I have done is let some of my IRL friends know about the idea, if
they have friends (or friends of friends) who are looking for a donor,
I told them I would consider it. So far no one knew of anyone.

The 'window of opportunity' I had in mind for a donor cycle is closing
soon (november - december). For the foreseeable future, the donor idea
is on ice. Which brings me to that other thing we have on ice: a
cryo-preserved embryo. As of next January we're hoping to restart
treatments again. I've already booked a consultation with the RE to do
some planning.

The honeymoon is over, secondary IF here I come. I have mixed emotions
about it. I'm trying not to think about it too much, but failing. I
think it won't be as emotionally trying as primary IF, (hah! the
fertility clinic psychologist said). In part, I feel greedy, and that
I'm just asking for trouble. I suppose that's the IF talking.


At 12 November, 2008 06:02, Blogger Bea said...

It sounds like if you do find a match, it'll be a properly-done match, and that's good. Interesting to hear the stats. I would feel strange about anon donation too, though, I think. I guess we'll see what happens. If nothing - good luck with round 2.


At 12 November, 2008 20:03, Blogger Pam said...

I think your desire to be a donor is admirable. If my situation were different and I was still in my 30s, I think I might consider it. Alas, I am on the receiving end of donor eggs. :( We've been through two donors and no luck to date, with 3 embryos on ice. After the FET in the new year, I'm not sure what we'll do if it doesn't work.

Good luck with whatever you do.

At 13 November, 2008 05:50, Blogger Aurelia said...


I've hesitated to comment about this as you've been posting, but I have to interject about that study. Frankly, it's not very accurate. And that therapist? Nice of her to speculate about how people feel instead actually 'asking' them.

When the reproductive tech law was being drafted here in Canada, many interviews and studies were done and testimony was given from grown adults who were the product of donor eggs/sperm.

None of them were happy about the circumstances of how they came into being, and yes, if they were told early it was better than being told late, but no, it didn't make up for it. Really, you aren't going to get a real response from children who know their gestational parents are watching them and will find out what they say.

There is now a lawsuit that has just been launched by a donor conceived adult who is trying to get all the records from IVF clinics preserved permanently so that she can get the identity of her sperm donor father. She has a really good case and will likely win.

Someday this will happen in Belgium and the EU as well, and I have a feeling that therapist is going to get a shock.

At 13 November, 2008 21:06, Blogger Aurelia said...

I'm sorry Lut, I should have been clearer. I know that you agree with known donation and I have to applaud your efforts to do it that way instead of anonymous donation.

This is a touchy topic, isn't it?

I apologize.

At 13 November, 2008 21:30, Blogger Lut C. said...

Aurelia, I'm very glad you weighed in here, and I have to insist there is no reason to apologize.

Disagreeing is no cause to apologize, especially if it is done in such kindly terms.

By the way, I think we agree more than we disagree.

At 14 November, 2008 08:55, Blogger Sparkle said...

I have to agree with Aurelia in that I think they may get a very different response from these kids when they are young adults.

I am a little confused tho Aurelia - were the findings that they were unhappy in being conceived 'at all' via donor sperm/egg or that it was anonymous???

Lut - v.exciting that you are going to be trying for another baby in the new year ...

All going well, your next window could be in another 18 or so months - maybe you may have found a known recipient by then :-)

At 22 November, 2008 01:01, Blogger katty said...

There is something fallacious - and ridiculous - in the psychologists arguement.

It's better to exist, you could say to the child conceived through DI, than not. But that doesn't mean the way that child was conceived was ethical or good or something that should be supported by the state.

would you say that to a child born as a result of rape, for example? No. you might say, 'a terrible thing happened to your mother, but aren't you happy you are here?' - and while the child might acknowledge that she is happy to be alive, you certainly wouldn't expect her to go on and support rape as a method of conception....

and the psycholgoist is further wrong. it's not about anonymous donation or nothing... there are other options... ... it's a choice between known or unknown donors... and while numbers might initially drop if anonymous donors are outlawed, they may well rise later.... giving donor conceived children the same legal rights as adoptees to trace their genetic parents.

and if the numbers don't rise and donors can't be found who are willing to be known - then maybe anonymous gamete donation should be outlawed.... because it doesn't taken into account the rights and needs of the child.

wishing you the very greatest luck this second time round.


At 26 November, 2008 20:12, Blogger Lut C. said...

I agree with you, the the psychologists argument isn't very good. Especially when applied to children conceived through rape or other less than stellar circumstances (the office Christmas party?...)

The thing is, in my state it IS anonymous or nothing, or almost. The law doesn't allow organising a known donor registry like it exists in other states.


<< Home