How do I feel about children who are biologically related to me, yet not mine?

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Awhile back, the lovely Lyssie asked about how I felt regarding eggsharing. You know, that little sidenote of IVF that led to an anonymous recipient having a baby last time around – and the same woman is getting my eggs this time as well. (Though they become her eggs, in my mind, the instant they leave my body.)

You know, before I thought about the mechanics of lesbians having children, I was pretty against sharing my DNA with a stranger. I had a selfish this-is-mine attitude that I think is totally normal and probably the more prevalent attitude in society. I also think there is more stigma, emotions, etc attached to donating eggs because it is about a million times more demanding than donating sperm. (Not that I don’t appreciate sperm donors. Holla!)

Years ago we went to a presentation by our clinic aimed at couples who were considering using reproductive technology to expand their families. And it was during this presentation that my eyes filled with tears and my heart with longing and I knew I would do whatever it took to have children. Anything and everything, and that was before I knew how incredible (and fucking exhausting) parenthood was.

Not to  mention the success rates. If we did IUI (intrauterine insemination, when washed sperm is placed directly into the uterus), the success rate at our prestigious and worldwide reputed clinic was 23 percent over THREE cycles (and that’s back when I was fucking young). The success rate quoted to me for IVF, at that time, was 55 percent.

WELL. I liked the maths, and the only way we could afford IVF was to eggshare. (A note on eggsharing – at age 16, the children in Country B who were conceived using donor eggs or sperm can get confirmation that someone they are dating is not related to them. At 18, their donor’s name and contact information is released to them, should they want it. I hope this other family does reach out to us one day, but that is perhaps the subject of another entry…if you remind me.)

When the head nurse called to say she had a match for me, and the match was super excited and grateful, something flared in my chest. Like a big firework of happiness and love for this random woman I’d never met.

You guys, women who need eggs have probably been trying to have a child for years. Trying conventional ways,  having testing, more invasive ways, multiple cycles of IVF, and then facing a two to three year wait for an egg donor – and this is at a private clinic, where things move more quickly. Can you fucking imagine that, all the agony and money and time and dashed hopes? I can’t.

I’m lucky because I can’t.

So we did it. And we got a card from her, and I plan to write HER a card this time – and I know that I feel better about this decision BECAUSE it is this same woman. I don’t know why, I know it’s illogical, but there it is. I didn’t think much about it during my pregnancy, but once my children were born I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me. A lot.

I looked at the gorgeousness of Snort and Coconut and couldn’t help wondering about that third child. Did they have the same birthday? Were they smiling yet? Had I made an awful mistake?

But you know, the bottom line is that I can’t regret anything I did that led to the successful pregnancy and birth of my most beloved twins. Not one thing. And the joy they bring to me….knowing I helped another family have that makes me feel good. Just plain old ordinary good. Warm and steady and happy.

And of course, my children were created with the assistance of a generous anonymous man who gave us his sperm. It doesn’t make those kids any less ours, just as I hope the woman who birthed that other child loves him or her fiercely and amazingly. Like I know she must, because that baby was so wanted. And she felt that baby kick at her ribs, she birthed that baby, she bonded with her child. And I hope she gets to do it again, just as I hope to see my wife’s belly swell with our much wanted child, this third baby wonder my children will embrace, her breasts will feed, my body will comfort as she or he is wrapped close to my heart.

What a world where our children are so wanted and valued and we have to work so damn hard to get them. And it’s a community of people standing shoulder to shoulder with us. That man as he donates sperm, and a second man who gives us new sperm to create this new life. Me as I give eggs to that woman who longs for a baby, a sibling for her baby. We’re all connected together, and the bottom line is that this is a path of love and selflessness and hope. We may do what we do for different reasons, but our goal is the same:

to hear that new baby cry as they enter the world, to draw them close, to expand our families and hearts.

 

 

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2 Responses to “How do I feel about children who are biologically related to me, yet not mine?”

  1. jinxyisms Says:

    Awesome post!

    I love how honest you are about all of this. I don’t know if I could make the same decision, but if it was the only way I could have a baby I think it would be a much different decision to make. I am in awe of your courage and strength and your babies are so lucky to have you and TMD as parents. They are so wanted, cherished, desired and loved. Lucky babies.

  2. Winnie Says:

    I love love love your writing and your compassion and love for your fellow man and woman. Thank you for reminding me what happens when people think of others as well as themselves.

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