How to Make the Emotional Transition to Egg Donation
There are different stages in which those who’ve struggled to conceive may be advised that working with an egg donor is their best option moving forward. Perhaps it is clear to your fertility specialist after initial screening(s) that egg donation is needed as a first step, or maybe you and your partner have already gone through multiple treatment rounds that have proven unsuccessful and now it is time to consider donor eggs. It is perfectly understandable that this recommendation can come as an emotional blow. There are many things to consider when making this transition as it is an emotional, mental, and physical pivot.
We know that so few areas of fertility treatment come without challenges. We work very hard to support every patient along their journey, and that includes situations in which we’re advising the use of donated eggs. We wanted to provide some information that we know previous fertility patients who’ve made the transition to egg donation have found helpful, hopefully, to ease some of the feelings that you and your partner may be working through now.
What do I do when I’m told I need an egg donor?
Give yourself some time and grace
Unless your fertility specialist advises a quick transition to egg donation for medically-based reasons, you do have the option of asking to “press pause” on treatment to process this next step. Needing to use an egg donor probably came as a significant surprise, and you likely never imagined not being able to use your own eggs to have children before. It is 100% OK to feel however you feel as you process this decision. We know that many patients feel deeply disappointed, enormously frustrated, shocked, hurt, and worried (often all at once). There can sometimes be an inner push to “get over” these feelings and carry on with treatment, but it is perfectly all right to take some time if you need it.
Ask your questions
We know that patients will have questions about moving toward using donor eggs and we’re in favor of making sure that you and your partner feel educated and prepared every step of the way. Please feel free to come to us with your questions in the time after learning that egg donation is the recommended path forward. Being prepared with information and knowing all of the options available can be a great source of comfort to patients at any stage of treatment, including this one.
Consider what you’d want in an egg donor
Once you are comfortable and ready to move forward with egg donation, you’ll need to think about what kind of egg donor is best for your growing family. Many intended parents hope to find a donor that matches one or both parents’ physical characteristics. There is also a growing desire for donors that match other priorities as well such as education, career choices, interests, etc. You and your partner will need to decide what matters most in an egg donor so you can narrow down your options when it is time to review donor databases online. However, one point of note we like to include is that the more specifications a couple have for an egg donor, the further narrow the pool will grow. So, if you have a higher number of qualifications, you may have a very limited pool of donors to select from.
Ultimately, we like to remind patients that egg donation can be the best possible option in which you become parents. As daunting as egg donation can seem at the outset, once you have the time and support needed to adjust, it can also be exciting.