During our NT scan on Friday, somehow the topic of telling Murdock of his/her beginnings came up. With nary a break, the tech said, “There’s no need to tell him anything except that he was a product of IVF. If you tell him about being from an anonymous donor egg, he will question everything about him from the past and will question everything you ever tell him in the future. It would ruin his life.”
So many things about her statement rattled me.
- That she even thought she had the right to voice her opinion about something so deeply personal to an expectant couple, much less patients of the clinic, blew my mind.
Maybe she based it on her own personal experience? I can assure she did not as she later told us (after we tried to diffuse the tension by pointing out her choice of male pronouns) that she had two boys and that there were no fertility challenges in her past.
- Her adamant opinion only confirmed in us both that this is not something we will hide from Murdock. However, Mr. DD and I are at odds when. He said it should be while h/she is well into his/her teens. I say it should be during young adolescence.
The professionals really have nothing definitive about this (see Q&A at bottom of second link – worth reading if you use donor), but just some sensible guidelines. XBoy’s mental maturity has not warranted the beginnings of a sex talk with him, and he’s six. He knows that babies grown inside Mommies, but he’s never asked how they get in there. I’m sure it will come up when we finally tell him about Murdock, and no matter how long we dwell on the information, it will not make it any easier.
- If there was regret over using donor egg, it is the fact that our donor was anonymous. That is just the clinic’s overall policy.
While we certainly could have made a radical change by switching clinics for a very last cycle to one that offered both open and anonymous egg donors, that option had so many downsides, one of which at the very least would have meant me taking a leave of absence from my job and moving to another city for at least three weeks, we couldn’t have fiscally or emotionally handled such a drastic change.
But you may ask, wouldn’t any sacrifice now (or then) had been worth knowing the donor to avoid future conflicts?
We believe we have sacrificed and sacrificed and maybe in the back of our heads we never believed this last cycle was going to work, so the thought of another sacrifice to an uncaring and deaf Infertility Goddess was moot.
I know that we will face some challenges in the future. One of them will not be us trying to hide the fact we may a child born via a donor from either of our children. If we wanted to keep it a secret from Murdock, we would have requested same blood types; we would have demanded similar physical features.
We can only repeat the mantra that comes from families of donor resources and that is it is the child’s story to tell. How or when we tell that child? I just know it won’t be the way the clinic’s tech “suggested”. That’s our business and our business alone.