Below you will find my letter to the donor. It's not a world-shattering work of prose. I wanted her to know something about us so it reads a bit like a bio. It's hard to be profound when listing demographic information about yourself. I also went for a "time capsule" approach instead of something that would remain relevant over the years. I wanted something that would bring her back to this day and her original motivations in case she ever had second thoughts. I also wanted her to know why we chose her, the type of life we live, what type of parents we are and how grateful we are to her without getting too sappy. Mostly I wanted her to get a "feel" for who I am....without all the cussing.
It has always felt weird to me that I get to know so much about you and you don’t get to know anything about us. While I understand the nature of anonymous donation I also wanted you to have some sense of who we are, why we chose you and how grateful we are.
I have been dealing with infertility for the past 6 years. At 38 it’s a difficult realization that my ovaries are just not going to produce any more children. I grew up in large family and just assumed I would be able to have lots of kids. While donor eggs was certainly not our first choice, once I realized it was the only way we could build our family, it was an easy decision. While I morn the loss of a genetic link to my future child I am so excited to create this life and can’t wait to expand my family. As a mother, you know the love you have for your child is indescribable even before they are born.
We both grew up in the Bay Area and plan on staying here. My mother was a teacher (as was her mother) and my parents have been married for almost 50 years. My parents were strict and traditional and made many sacrifices for us kids. I could not have asked for better parents and I still rely on their advice and love. I talk to at least one of my siblings everyday (two brothers and two sisters). I have 7 nieces and nephews. All the cousins love to play with each other and have sleep-overs. I want my children to be part of that extended family.
My husband immigrated to America when he was 6 but has strong ties to his home country and I have been lucky enough to visit there twice. As a family we plan on taking our children to his home country often. His parents have also been married for almost 50 years and are two of the nicest, hardest-working people I have ever met. He has two siblings both of whom have children so there are plenty of cousins on both sides. In their culture they absolutely love children and make them the center of their world. My husband speaks Italian in the home and we hope our children will be bi-lingual.
Aside from the physical characteristics (small fame, brown hair, similar facial features) I wanted a donor who was mixed Native American. I am American Indian from a California tribe. It has been a large part of my life. My mother is Mexican-Native American. We were raised with those cultures and religion (as much as possible in the sub-urbs) and as an adult I am involved in my tribe and the American Indian community. Finding a donor who is part Native was important to me.
In deciding on egg donation I had to really examine my motivation to be a mother and what it means to be a parent. Although it’s been painful I think it has made me a better mother. I have cottoned to the idea that my children are individuals who should be allowed to be whoever they are. They are not mini versions of me and my husband. I want to guide my children....not replicate myself. I want to love, teach and watch my children grow into the persons they want to be. I want to be proud of my children...not proud of little parts of myself. I want for my children to be good, compassionate people living meaningful, productive and happy lives. If we can do that for our children I will consider us successful parents.
I believe that children have a right to know where they came from. We do plan on telling our child(ren) about you. I tear up every time I read what you wrote to them. When it’s time they will know as much about you as I do. You are connected to them and I know they will be curious when they are older. And while I know it’s a long way off and I’m probably not even allowed to write this: I would be honored to meet you some day. And when the children are old enough and if they choose to I would welcome the opportunity for you to meet them. Ideally, we would like to have two children from this cycle. Perhaps that is being a bit greedy but I feel like it would be easier to have two so that they have each other. With two they would have someone who shared 100% of their genetics and could relate to their life experience. It’s impossible to know how this will all turn out but that is what we are hoping for.
And now for the impossible part: thanking you. It’s just not possible to express how grateful we are. I’m writing this the night before your retrieval. I’m sure you are sore and nervous and sick of getting ultra sounds and blood tests. You might be excited or you might be wondering what the heck you got yourself into. I’m sorry for any discomfort you are in.
Since you are a mom I imagine you can understand how grateful we are. I think only a mother can know how much it means. It’s been such a long and difficult road for us. I do believe it has made us stronger as a couple and better parents. I hope you never have doubts about being a donor. But if you do I hope this letter sustains you through those times. I can’t imagine that a single day will go by when I don’t think of you and say a silent prayer for you.
With overwhelming gratitude,