For same-sex couples and single people, at least one of the ingredients needed is ‘missing’ in the family unit. To make a baby, some intervention is needed. On top of this, there may also be fertility issues to navigate.
In all these situations, one way forward is to get help from a sperm, egg or embryo donor, using their genetic contribution. This way of creating a family has its own particular implications and it’s helpful to pause and invest time to be sure you can make decisions that are right for you and your future child.
If you’re a couple, you may find that each of you has different feelings about donor conception. You may not be going at the same speed or reaching the same conclusions, so make sure you give each other time and space to catch up together. These are important decisions, so try not to rush.
What are Common Issues When Using an Egg or Sperm Donor?
Our charity, the Donor Conception Network, has been around for 30 years and society has changed enormously over that time, but what’s interesting is that the issues people are facing today are surprisingly similar to those that people faced all those years ago.
There is a recurring theme of loss, grief and wondering if it’s ‘OK’ to have a baby this way. You may have concerns about the egg or sperm donor, who they are and how to choose a donor. You might be worrying about who to tell, what to tell, and when and how. You may feel nervous about what people will say and how your child will feel.
There can be real anxiety around whether you will bond with the child (and whether they will bond with you). Will you feel like a ‘real’ parent if you don’t have a genetic connection? Will you feel like equal parents if only one of you contributed your genes?
Sometimes, the fear is over the importance of the egg, sperm or embryo donor and that genetic connection. A donor-conceived child will be genetically linked to the donor as well as to the donor’s genetic relations. Added to this, your child may not be genetically connected to you or your partner (if you have one).
Remember that genes aren’t everything, but they are not insignificant and how you feel about genetics may influence how you feel about donor conception and whether it’s right for you.