Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

You know when you have that one subject that keeps coming up in your life, where every thing you seem to do seems to turn around that issue. Well, this has happened to me, and I feel that I have to talk about it now, not that it will make the issue go away but because it is so important in the world of surrogacy and infertility. For me the focus has always been on getting the child here, all the rest of it could be dealt with once that precious gift was in my arms. Only problem is that every choice that I make now affects my child's future. There is such a huge burden, and one that many people who have babies the "old fashioned" way never has to grapple with. Often, way too often, when things scare me I just want to hide, and this time I cannot.

The issue of how we are going to tell our child about their very special beginnings and all the amazing people who were involved is frightening. After years of questioning my place in the world as a women, and something that I still have trouble looking at some days, my immediate reaction was to say that there was no need for my child to ever to know if they were the product of donor egg or sperm. This is not about all my insecurities, this is about a child that has no say in how they came to be, but have every right to know where they came from.

When we thought that we would need a donated egg, we put a lot of thought into everything that we were going to use as selection criteria. I have written about how weird that whole process was, and how at times it was just down right creepy. The part that was the most difficult was deciding if we could choose a donor who was not willing to meet the child later in life. After all the debate and putting the whole thing under a high powered microscope, we decided that we had to make sure that the child had as many options as possible and it was not our right to take any option away from our child.

Yes, in some way it is awful. I want to believe that I will be enough for them. As a child of adoption, I know in my heart and my head that it has nothing to do with me or the husband being good or bad parents, in fact it has absolutely nothing to do with us except for the fact that we made the decisions from the start. This issue is about our child having the right to know whose nose they have, if they are at a risk for disease, or any other fact that they want to know. Yes, I believe that there is a difference between being the child of donor sperm or eggs and adoption. I am not really sure exactly what all these differences are, or if this is just something that I tell myself. In the end, at some point in time I am going to have to do a thousand things that make me uncomfortable and upset because it is best for my child. I just thought that we would be able to hold that off until preschool.

We still have every reason to believe that we will be able to use my eggs. This is just an issue that keeps coming up in various aspects of my life.


Amani said...

We grappled with the ED issue for a good year. Like you, the issue went under the microscope and we did a lot of research about donor-conceived children and how they feel as adults. From that we came to the conclusion that, while the vast majority of donor-conceived children don't care, some do.

What if that was our child? what if they had a need to know that went beyond idle curiosity? What if they had a hole in their heart that could never be filled unless they met their genetic mother? Even if I was enough?

Our first preference then became a known donor, but surrogacy in India cautions against known donation. Most surrogacy clinics won't accept a known donor, while it is not illegal, it is in the Indian IVF Guidelines that known donations are not encouraged. So different to Australia where a few years ago the government moved to ban anonymous donations of both sperm and eggs, and set up a register so that anyone agreeing to donate now has to keep updated on the register so that at age 16, with parental approval, they can contact their donor, or 18, without parental approval. As such, the pool of sperm and egg donors has dried up and waits lists for a known donor are very long, and the choice is limited to usually one donor.

So we are still trying to move heaven and earth to have our friend Amy in the USA be our ED. This is our first preference. I love the thought of my child having a "second mummy" and a half-biological brother in the USA, and so does Amy. We will be extended family half a world away.

i so glad you are thinking through these issues, but i hope you get to have your own genetic baby (ies) as that is the ideal for most, if not al, of us.

Cyn said...

Have I thanked you lately for being so open and putting it all out there?
Thank you for continuing to open my eyes to the issues that muddle around in your head and heart.

FET Accompli said...

There are so many extra issues we need to struggle with when the process of having a child isn't done the old fashioned way. I understand your concerns, and understand the conclusion you arrived at - if ultimately you use donor eggs, the child has a right to know. But this is a backup plan for you, and hopefully you will be able to use your own eggs.
In terms of surrogacy, the social worker who was required to interview us during the screening stages, explained that it's important to tell the child the truth - which always seems to come out in the end!

Meg. said...

Oh Jaymee. *hugs*

I really wish this whole thing was more simplified, for all of us.

You and me, we're both 100% woman and will make great mothers -- we must keep reminding ourselves of this.

I agree that the thought of unveiling the whole truth to a child conceived with a donor egg sounds very daunting (and hopefully this is a scenario that won't even apply to you), but I have confidence that your child(ren) will grow up to be happy, confident, well-rounded individuals.

Kristin said...

Best of luck figuring out what approach to take.

Mugsy said...

Thank you for your honesty and putting things out there. We're in the possible donor sperm category, and like you, we hope that's a back up plan. As we've talked about it, the issues you've talked about - and the comments here - have all come into our thought process.

It's a tough road and seems to me to be so unfair that these are the questions I grapple with - not, what color to paint a nursery!

TABI said...

I know how you feel. There are so many more things to tackle with when using donor egg and surrogate. I am grappling with this all the time and feel like it will have to evolve as my child grows up. I wish I didn't have to think about it but I think you are so right that there are going to be things we will have to do for our child that we will not want to do at all. But I am sure most parents feel this way but we have an extra layer of contemplation. But let's face those one step at a time.

Beautiful Mess said...

That's a lot to have on your mind. I'm positive that you and your husband will make the right choice. It may not even be the one you thought you were going to make. It'll be fine! Good luck, hon!

Lisa RM said...

Jaymee, you are an amazing person, and I'm sure your DH is too or else you wouldn't have picked each other. You'll be able to conquer this obstacle as well, if you even have to cross that bridge (it's Cliche Day!). This will be your child, no matter the genetics, and just like every child they'll have moments of thinking "please let me be related to someone else" and you'll be able to get through those as a family. Probably by doing something simple like cleaning up a bit. (Muah! I'll be in the same boat as you when Ken learns embarrassment) You know you have my love, and so many other people's as well. And you will continue to for as long as you are you.

Mama-Beans said...

Stop. You are messing with all the good Karma I'm gathering. We WILL be using your eggs, so this is all moot.

And love hugs to you, because where you're at is just so healthy and yet so hard that I can't comprehend how you got there.

corine said...

I know a couple who took lots of pictures, wrote the story in poem form and put it all together as a book ( can do that for you for very cheap) As early as possible, the child was read that story at bedtime. It has become her story and she loves it.

corine@ hidden in france