Why the decision to undergo IVF (egg donation) shouldn’t be a taboo

Not all of us, women, can easily or naturally become mums. Some of us choose to be childless and are happy in the role of aunties. And I understand them. But some of them, faced with infertility diagnosis, keep fighting, try IVF/egg donation and, finally, succeed and become mothers. And I also understand them. When a woman experiences an early menopause in her 20s, has poor egg quality or has no eggs at all, but is otherwise healthy and able to carry pregnancy, egg donation seems an ideal solution to infertility. 

Thankfully, there are many generous women out there who donate their eggs to couples in need. Some non-anonymous egg donors help their sisters, cousins or friends and other, non-anonymous donors, donate to clinics or egg banks out of sheer desire to help others achieve their dream of parenthood. It is a beautiful and very rewarding experience for all individuals involved. And if there is so much talk about egg donors we should also talk more about egg recipients.  

Nowadays, IVF treatment using donated eggs has become much more common than it was a decade ago. One of the main reasons for this is that more women in their 40s get married later in life and still wish to have a family. Also over the years, especially in the European clinics, the in vitro procedures, egg freezing and thawing have become even more successful and effective. The chances of success with IVF (egg donation) are definitely higher than for IVF with own eggs or conceiving naturally. For example, according to EggDonationFriends.com you have 80% chance that your fertilized donor eggs will develop into good quality embryos – that’s an impressive result. And about 50-60% of having a baby, this is very good news compare to 3-4% chance of getting pregnant naturally in your 40s. How safe is egg donation? Actually with IVF procedures using donor eggs chromosome problems are less common as all donors are tested for genetic diseases.  

Deciding to have IVF (egg donation) should not be considered a taboo topic. Infertility is not a failure. It does not mean you have failed at being a woman (or a man) or you have not looked after your body properly. Infertility does not discriminate. It is a medical problem. It touches the poor, the rich and the famous. Unfortunately, there is a stereotype that every woman should have a baby, that they are here in the world to make offspring. It is simply not right. We all should live our lives and let others live theirs.  

Conceiving through ART (assisted reproduction technology) is not much different than natural conception. The sperm meets the egg and that is how it starts. Certainly, it is all done in a lab under careful supervision of embryologists and fertility doctors. But are IVF donor babies any different? Should they be ashamed of that? Why is it still a taboo? Loren, who is one of the first Australian babies conceived through IVF/egg donation process says: “I’m proud of both my biological mother and my mother. IVF doesn’t make them any different to other parents, and raising a child that was not her own biological material doesn’t make my mother less of a parent.” Because being a parent is not about conception. It is much more than that. 

In order to fight off the taboo label, people need to realise that using donor eggs is only means to expanding your family. What makes you a real parent is not your biological material, your egg or sperm, but the ability to love them, look after them and raise them to be good human beings.  

Conception is just the trigger, the means to achieve a dream of pregnancy. It may occur in many shapes and forms: naturally, with the help of advanced medicine & science or even through a surrogate. But ultimately it usually has very little impact on the IVF children and their parents’ life and happiness. If you happen to know anybody who is struggling with infertility or is unsure if eggs donation is a good solution, share this post with them.

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