From the start I have always said Donor Eggs were not for me. Biology matters to me and therefor...no donor eggs. The reason biology matters to me is probably different than other people. My biology matters to me because I'm American Indian. It's different from wanting a donor who's Scottish/Irish/ French but you have no cultural ties to that place and it would have no impact on how the children were raised. My tribal membership, identity, customs, culture, religion are very important to me and will be an important part of my family life. It would not be right to raise a child to be "insert my tribal name here" if they were not "insert tribal name here". Additionally I do have a genetic child who will be raised as a "tribal name". So that just complicates the heck out of things. Would I raise her "tribal name" and the other(s) not? Would I just raise them all "tribal name" and to hell with DNA? These questions are on top of the already difficult questions and emotions about DE. It was easier just to take the issue off the table.
But then something happened that has started the evolution of my thinking on the matter. I found a donor. Out of curiosity I was browsing a DE site (that right there tells you I must have some level of open-mindedness to DE). I found someone...she's me 15 years ago. Not so much in looks but she's a mix-blood Native woman with a strong tribal identity. I don't know what tribe she is but I'm guessing it's related to mine...at least in the same region. She does not really look like me (which I don't care about....my own bio-child looks nothing like me) but she is my "type" short, petite, athletic, brown hair/eyes. She's also studying in a field similar to the one I studied and is pursuing the same degree I have. For the first time I thought this might be a possibility. I know finding a donor is much more complicated and many, many times it falls through but at least I am open to it...if not her then maybe someone else. One of the biggest stumbling blocks for DE was that genetic link to being a Native person from my region. While that would be incredibly hard to find donor-wise...it's possible. When I say Native I mean really Native. Someone who has a tribal identity, knows and is involved in their culture and community....not part Cherokee Princess (sorry to offend any real Cherokees out there..but come on. You MUST know what I mean right?)
Now that DE is possibly on the table have been pondering all those emotional questions I thought I didn't need to deal with. I want another baby (or two). Besides my daughter, my greatest joy in life are my brothers and sisters (2 of each surviving). Siblings are important to my idea of family.
I want to be pregnant again. I have no doubt I would love a baby conceived with DE just as much as I love Piccolina. All that is easy. And while DE is obviously not my first choice it is an option I am open to. OK then, so what's my problem?
Once I started thinking about it I realized the reason I didn't want to do DE was not because I stigmatized it...it was because other people stigmatize it. I think society looks at Donor-Egg children as somehow less than (I don't mean to offend any DE sister's out there. Just putting it all out there). I think my friends, co-workers and even family members might not see these children...might not treat these children as they do Piccolina. I hate saying that about my family...they are not bad people...but honestly.....if I were not in this situation I would probably have thought the same things about other people's DE children. Not even on a conscious level but it would undoubtedly be there...somehow that mother wasn't the "real" mother, their link to each other wasn't as strong or as valid. I cringe to even have that thought come out of my mouth (fingers?) but there it is. A naked admission. Talk about walking in another person's moccasins! (I'm Native I can make such bad jokes. Please refrain from making any moccasin, totem pole, teepee jokes unless you are Native in which case I would love to hear a good NDN joke right about now.)
Obviously my knowledge and compassion have grown leaps and bounds due to my infertility. But what about all the 95% of folks out there who aren't infertile? How would they judge us? And why do I care? Well, I don't care that much about general society....they don't even have to know. But what about friends? Family? If I don't know how they would treat this child should I even tell them? I don't see how I could keep something this major a secret but I would to protect my child if I felt I had to. And what a sad, sad thought...to have to protect my child from the judgment of family and friends.
What about Mr. Peeveme's family? Shoot, IVF is barley legal in their home country. I don't even know if they know DE exists let along have come to terms with it. What about all the other grandkids who are 100% bio-kids? Would there be a difference in how they are seen or treated? Do I give our families too little credit?
Clearly I am very early in the process. I still have at last one IVF left with my own eggs before I need to decide. I just want to start working through all this now because I can see it may take a while.
If you have done DE, know someone who has, are considering DE or even donor sperm...are you telling? Who? When? How have you sifted through all these conflicting feelings? What are your stumbling blocks and how are you resolving them?
This is my first heart-felt post (i.e. not about pooping, farts). I'm feeling really naked here so please comment with your thoughts or support or suggestions.