Should Egg Donors and Intended Parents Meet?
When we embark upon creating our families via egg donation there are so many things to consider and decisions to be made. As we pour through egg donor profiles we look at the following and decide what’s important to us.
• Educational background – high school grad, college degree, advanced degree
• Physical Traits – Tall, short, hair color, eye color, body type
• Spiritual Beliefs
• Musical Abilities
• Athletic Abilities
• Artistic Talents
• Proven or unproven egg donor
• Ethnic Background
• Geographic Location
• Health, Social and Mental Health History
• Egg Donor Age
The list is often daunting and almost always overwhelming as we draw closer to making that final decision. However, there is always one decision that many don’t talk about initially that causes all of us to inhale and pause – “Should we meet our egg donor”?
And to be honest – there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s a very personal and individual thing. Some intended parents feel strongly that to make a bond with an egg donor they need to meet her face to face. To get a sense of who she is – and for the egg donor to get a sense of whose she’s giving her genetics to. While others the mere idea of meeting their egg donor is daunting, scary, and not something they’d rather not do.
Many intended parents have said meeting their egg donor was the “icing on the cake” it helped them complete the circle and brought them closure. It wasn’t scary at all; it helped personalize something that can seem so incredibly impersonal.
The initial worry that many intended parents share is that they won’t like their egg donor after they meet – and then what? “What are we going to tell our children? That Mommy and Daddy met this lady that helped them bring you into the world and the truth is we really didn’t like her? She wasn’t what we expected or hoped for?” These are all real feelings and thoughts but most of the time the meetings turn out to be healthy, productive, and in many instances fun.
What can help intended parents and egg donors reduce anxiety, create a safe space, and make a meeting a positive experience? Plan, plan and plan some more! Ask your IVF clinic or egg donation agency to help facilitate a meeting with their staff psychologist or a staff member who is experienced in facilitating meetings between egg donors and intended parents. Meet in a neutral place – the IVF clinic, the egg donation agency, a quiet restaurant or coffee shop.
Keep the conversation light, admit to each other that you’re nervous (because naturally you will be), and ask open ended questions that require thinking that aren’t just yes or no answers. Keep it short – don’t turn your meeting into two or three hour meeting. This isn’t a job interview—this is just two parties meeting to learn more about each other.
Lean on your facilitator to help break the ice and lead the conversation until you both are comfortable enough to continue the conversation without help. Last but not least – take the pressure off yourself and understand that this is just a meeting – and all meetings end!
The good news is 99% of all egg donor / intended parent meetings go off without a hitch – no really they do! In fact, most intended parents and egg donors express they wish the meeting could have continued they were enjoying themselves that much! So do your homework, ask your IVF clinic’s or egg donation agency’s psychologist to meet to discover if meeting your egg donor is the right thing for you.