We often talk about the way that a “baby team” is needed when growing LGBT families through egg donation and/or surrogacy. Enlisting the help of experts, professionals, community, and family around you can be hugely supportive and do worlds for alleviating the stress that can also come along with the wonderful journey of family building. We as an egg donation and surrogacy agency also try to “team up” with other professionals so that if we can’t offer one aspect of support we can point you in the right direction!
One piece of support that we don’t offer directly, but that can be very important, is surrounding yourself with psychological and emotional support throughout the process. This can be both formal or informal through friends and family and doesn’t connote that anything is “wrong.” The family building process (especially for LGBTQ identified individuals who already have to deal with other cultural/social stigma and discrimination) can be stressful– but this doesn’t mean anything is bad/dysfunctional about the process. Rather, creating space for yourself to process can make your journey more enjoyable so you can revel in your growing family! We asked Marlene Klarborg, IMF, PCCI, who specializes in work with the struggles of the non-biological parent to share some thoughts about the process with us:
The Road to Parenthood
At times you may feel like you are in a challenging relationship where you wonder will I ever have a child. You may experience the social stigmatization, distress, and disputes about your perceived parental status because of your personal choice of lifestyle. Some non-biological parents are exposed to condescending words describing their roles (e.g. non-gestational, non-biological, non-birth, second mother, social father, other mother, and co-parent) rather than just mommy or daddy.
Maybe you are unable to discuss your concerns or moving forward. Having a network of professionals may ease the pain or provide support along the road to parenthood so you learn tools to avoid conflicts and prepare yourself for parenthood. You may be grieving the loss of having a child of your own, or trying to make meaning of not having a biological connection with your child. – You are a meaningful mother, father and parent and your child needs you, even if your journey may seem bumpy at times.
As a non-gestational parent and therapist I understand the complexity of the layers that influence, add additional stress or may set the agenda for growth in your life. I understand the importance, patience and compromise affecting your daily life when going through the process of planning for the future and having a child. That is why I have established a safe and valuable relationship not only with my clients, but also with the facilities that provide family building services.
Third Party Reproduction LGBT Coordinator
Traci’s academic background is in Gender Studies with a focus in Sexuality and her career background is in counseling and diversity education. She believes in the strength of families of choice and is passionate about offering affirming options for egg donation and/or surrogacy to the LGBT community looking to grow their families.