31st May 2013 | by Dr. Karen Kranz
My partner and I have received the devastating news that we will not be able to have our own children using my eggs and his sperm. We are consideration sperm and egg donation. How will we know if we’re emotionally ready for this family building option?
Written by our mental health expert, Dr. Karen Kranz.
In order to build this foundation we first need to talk about the pain you have both experienced when you received the diagnosis that your eggs or sperm were not viable options for conceiving. I imagine that your have felt and perhaps continue to feel shock, disbelief, sadness, anger, and fear. You may be angry and feel your body has let you down. You may feel less a man, less a woman, less a partner. You may wonder what you have done for this to happen to you. You may reflect back on your life and feel regret for decisions you made earlier. You may feel this is unfair and rage against the injustice. It is true your life is not proceeding down the path you had imagined. Feel your pain, let your heart break, stand next to your partner and face infertility together – side-by-side. You cannot control infertility but you can control the meaning you make of infertility. Work towards unhooking yourself from the negative story about why this is happening to you. Rather, open to the possibility that infertility is no one’s fault. It doesn’t make sense – it just is. It is not a punishment and it does not mean you should not be a mother or a father.
When you have grieved all you can for now and when your heart is spacious enough to consider other options, you are then ready for part two of building a loving, solid foundation from which to choose to bring children into your lives through sperm or egg donation.
Consider what biology means to family and ask what makes a family warm, loving, and supportive. Is it the biological connection? No. What makes family rich and fulfilling is the relationships between family members. It is the daily experiences of showing love – it is nurturing and being responsible for a child’s development. It is the day-in –day-out experience of being a positive influence in a child’s life. By opening your heart to the importance of relationships, roles, and responsibilities as the primary ingredients of what makes families great, you will develop acceptance, compassion for yourself and your partner, and gratitude that this option exists.
It is so important to conceive your child from this place because how you feel about sperm or egg donation has meaning. The decision to use sperm or egg donation is not only about you. It is about your child. The last thing I am sure you want to do is conceive your child from a place of shame and regret – a place of believing this is your second choice. I know it is hard to view conception with donor eggs or sperm as your first choice. Maybe you will never feel this however this is your BEST choice. This child can only come into the world through the decisions the two of you are making today. This method of conception is your BEST choice – open your heart to the miracle of this child who would never be in the world if it were not for infertility.