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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello ladies

I hope you don't mind me starting this topic but I have an immanent DE IVF treatment looming and I still have some awkward thoughts and questions racing around my mind. 

I think because I am going through this alone and I don't have anyone to talk to these thoughts are not getting resolved and I would value your ideas/comments.  I really hope that what I write isn't going to offend or upset anyone.  To be honest this thought has stopped by posting in the past but another FF has prompted me to share these thoughts.  Anyway, you'll be glad to know that I'm not going to pour all my thoughts out in one post ;D ... I'll drip feed them into this topic. 

OK ... first 'thought' coming up.  I don't know why this popped into my head but I was thinking ahead 20 years when my double donor baby would be dating themselves.  If the fact that they were a donor conceived child was well known would they then come across prejudice because of this?  And if they did how should they deal with it?  I would hate for them to feel second best or 'odd'.

I think this all stems from my first boyfriend whom I was with and engaged to for nearly eight years.  I was raised as a Catholic as an only child by a single mum (very difficult in the 60s/70s) ... so lets face it I feel guilty about everything I'm doing now  ^roflmao^  I really didn't know my father.  I knew his name, I had met him a hand full of times and mum never really spoke of him ...  except to say that he'd been violent and so she wouldn't stand for it and left ... which I fully respect. 

Anyway, for some reason (maybe because I knew no different) I was happy enough with this situation and never really questioned it.  But my ex (who loved a good argument) when we were 'talking' about the possibility of having children taunted me saying that I shouldn't even think of it because I didn't know what genetic disorders I had on my side of the family and in fact that I was practically a walking time bomb.  Then years later when I was relating this to a friend they actually agreed with him which actually upset me more than him saying it in the first place.

OK ... that's it for the first 'thought'.  I'd love to hear your ideas.

love

dcon
xx
 

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Hi dcon

Good luck with your DE IVF.  I have heard great things about Reprofit - you're in good hands.

I am very interested in child development and have studied a lot of subjects around it.  This is an interesting first thought you've brought up.

I'm sorry you have had such ignorant comments from you ex (I think it was him that didn't want children but tried to blame you?) and also from your 'friend'.  It sounds like you have been carrying this worry for a long time now.  But I don't think you need to worry about it at all.

It's the old question of nature / nurture.  A recent lecture I went to on child attachment explained that this was a really old fashioned argument and that it is now known that babies learn everything from their primary care giver which is usually of course their mum.  The lecturer explained that when babies are born their brains are a blank canvas and the first year of their life (and the first 4-5 years really) are critical in their development.  Just being a good mum will determine the future health of your baby.  And that's what your mum did for you - she took care of you and that's why you are so sensitive, loving and thoughtful now.  You are NOT a walking time bomb.  Being violent is not hereditary.  There is no violent gene.  It's extremely likely that your father was troubled like he was because of his early upbringing.

Your mum sounds a very strong and principled woman.  I think you must be the same as her in some ways and you will make a brilliant mum.

A great book to read on the subject is 'Why Love Matter: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain' by Sue Gerhardt.

There are some illnesses that can be handed down from parents genetically but your clinic will have done a lot of investigation into your donor's family history.  Sue Gerhardt discusses the argument of nature vs nurture - I think you'll be relieved to see what she says about it. 

The only thing you need to concern yourself with is giving your baby all the love and attention in the world.  That doesn't sound too hard does it?  The lecture I went to talked about the fact it's impossible to spoil a baby with too much attention.  Joy is the most important thing for a baby to feel so they develop healthily.  Sounds like great advice doesn't it?

I hope you can relax and look forward to ET day.  It's exciting and daunting all at once isn't it?

Good luck!

Jaydi xxx

p.s. I love your ticker!
 

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Jaydi - what you say makes a lot of sense and Sue Gerhardt's book is excellent, but I do think you have to take account of genetic inheritance somewhere.  As I understand it, we are all born with genetic predispositions to certain ways of being, talents, temperament etc.  How we are raised, particularly the emotional climate in which this happens, can help turn on some genes and restrict the development of others....so nurture matters hugely, but genes definitely have a role as well.  A baby's brain is not quite blank but it is 25 per cent of the weight of an adult brain.  It contains billions of cells but most of them are as yet unconnected.  It is the nurturing climate created by the parent(s) that helps make the connections.  But, as any parent of more than one child will tell you, each child comes out different.  Each one, even if the genetic background is the same, will behave differently from Day 1.  This has to mostly come from genetic inheritance, although the environment of the womb and the birth experience may contribute something.

Dcon - you wonder how a donor conceived child will deal with their beginnings when they are older.  All the evidence currently available from donor conceived adults and young people points to children handling this well if they have been 'told' early and have parent(s) who is/are confident about the decisions they have made and are able to give their child pride in their origins.  All those old enough to talk about their feelings are sperm donor conceived in this country or in the country in which their parents live.  What we don't yet know, is how children conceived abroad and/or by double or embryo donation are going to feel.  We can only assume that similar principles will apply.
Olivia
 

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Olivia do you believe there is a 'violence' gene and that some people can be a walking time bomb??  I don't. 
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Jaydi and Olivia thank you both for your very thoughtful replies.

I really appreciate your comments on especially on the 'violence' gene ... but to be honest this perspective hadn't even occurred to me ^idiot^ I apologise, I(he) obviously used the wrong analogy, but my ex's main argument was that I could have some inherited 'nasty' (illness or condition) lurking in the background that I didn't know about. Something along the lines of MS, Parkinsons or a similar illness. I think you're right Jaydi ... I don't think he was "prejudiced" as such ... I think he never wanted children and this was just a convenient argument for him.

As I said this has never been as issue for me and I've even dated a guy whose father was an "abandoned baby" and so similarly he had no idea of his genetic background before he created his family, and so his children are themselves were somewhat 'blind'. I'm sure there are hundreds of similar stories out there.

Maybe because my DE tx is imminent and I'm churning over all possible foreseeable 'issues' any child might have or come across in later life I want to be able to have considered all and got other people's opinions to check my perspective.

I too am reluctant to believe in a 'violence' gene (conveniently for me) and lean towards the strengths of nurturing. ;D Thanks to mum I was raised in a calm, peaceful and supportive environment. My ex on the other hand was one of six and had a 'fiery' mum and passive dad. As a family a good night in was to have a good debate (aka argument to a point where veins would stand out on necks) Usually on things like religion, politics or the chemical composition of soil :-\ (yes ... this really was a topic one night) ;D Anyway, now I love a good informed discussion (like we're having now :-* ) but can't stand heated arguments and actually walk away from them. So I reckon nurture has won out with me ... otherwise I think I would have head butted him at least once in the 8 years ^roflmao^

Jaydi ... the lecture you went to sounds fascinating. "it's impossible to spoil a baby with too much attention" and "Joy is the most important thing for a baby to feel so they develop healthily" I can do that :)

Olivia ... yes I'm very conscious of fact that because I'm going abroad that at least one of my donors will not share anything of my heritage. As a result I have made a concerted effort to choose a sperm donor (US Sperm bank) with ID release that shares my ethic mix and physical charcateristics (well some of them he's 6'4" and male whereas I'm 5'4" and erm ... not ;D If I could afford it I would like to do the same for my egg donor but alas I can't. And I suppose this leads me to my second awkward thought ...

As far as anyone else is concerned (friends, family and even UK medics) the details relating to conception will be 'private' ... not a 'secret' just 'private'. Any questions will be met with "It's complicated", "No he's not married", "No it wasn't a one night stand", "I've been waiting a long time for this baby and they are so wanted" etc. My child will know all about the sperm donor and it will be their choice what they do with this information but given that I can't offer anything in respect of the egg donor (except that for example they might be a student with blue eyes and blood group A) ... does revealing this info to the child do any good or would it just given more fuel to the potential sense of 'not belonging'?

I think I read somewhere on this thread that the DCN were planning to publish a 'double donation' booklet. I must keep an eye open for that one.

Well I think that's enough for now. Thanks again for listening and replying.

dcon
xx
 

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Hi dcon  ^hugme^
I believe, like olivia, that lots of things are inherited - talents, temperaments etc. (although I can't quote any evidence for this) all I can say to you is that I'm glad for you that your ex is indeed an ex.

I'm not in the same situation as you but we are using donor  ^HappySperm^ and we know a lot more about the donors medical history and genetics that we do about my own and that is the truth. I did not question DH about his genetic history before I married him to decide whether I would like a child by him, I don't think may people do. I am having donor insemination but questions haven't been asked about my family genetics. (many of which I couldn't answer anyway)
The donors you are using,  I should imagine,  have thought long and hard about their decision to donate - they are giving someone the greatest gift anyone can offer - if your resulting child is going to have any of their personal traits I am sure genorosity, humility and understanding will be there in abundance.
all the best with your treatment  ^hugme^ ^hugme^ ^hugme^
spooks  
 

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Jaydi - No I don't believe in a 'violence' gene.  I do think that some people's temperaments will lean that way but upbringing, emotional climate and social culture will shape how a person actually behaves (translates feelings into actions or not) and how any aggressive tendency is channelled.

Dcon - I know this is a very difficult one for single women and DCN single members doing double donation struggle with revealing both donors, but I do think you have to in the end as otherwise you are misleading your child, and potentially lying to them outright when they assume and make direct connections between how they look/behave etc. and you.  You may want to talk first about the sperm donor, but add within a short space of time that 'mummy didn't have enough eggs either' and so a very kind lady helped by giving some of hers'.  If and when your child asks, you can say that unfortunately you don't know much about this lady, but you know she was very kind because she wanted to help people like me to have a baby.
Of course once your child knows their story then you will not be able to prevent him/her from talking with others about it.  It can help the child if those people who are close to you both know the truth first so that they can sup[port your child and not show shock or surprise when the situation is mentioned.
Yes, DCN will be bringing out a story book for double/egg donation children later this year.  The first one is for children of heterosexual couples but we are working on another for children of single women.
Olivia
 

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Hi dcon,

I can only echo what Olivia says.  I am a mum at age 48 to 20 month old boy/girl twins conceived in Spain via donor embryo.  Like you, I would have loved to have known donors but money had run out for me and this was my last shot (so lucky that it worked). 

I do find it hard that there is no information on their donors - but I feel that is my problem not theirs. I really feel even more now they are here, that lying to them or concealing the circumstances of their conception despite no information would be unthinkable to me.  This feeling grows stronger every day with them.  I just want to do the best for them and I believe this is to be open and honest with love about how they came to be. 

I feel very strongly that I chose for them to exist in this way and I should take the responsibility to give them as much information about their conception as I can (in age appropriate ways) despite the understandable temptation to maybe try and protect them from what may seem difficult issues.  I believe we can handle it.  I could not bear them not to know or to find out later on.

The biggest helping factor for me in this situation is the support of other parents of donor conceived children including double donation and donor embryo.  I have met many others through IVF Connections and also via the Donor Conception Network.  It is this support that really bolsters my confidence that telling my children is the absolutely right thing for me do to.  I meet regularly with other women and children and this is something I feel will help my children too.  They will always be in contact with other DC children.

I believe that not revealing the fact that you did use donor eggs may be an strain.  I think keeping these things secret does change the 'vibe' in a family in ways you may not be able to detect now.  Your children may well put two and two together given your age and where you are going for ivf.

Although you may also find that issues around being a single mum will rear their head before the egg donor aspect comes into play, I still totally believe in telling them about the donor egg and sperm.

It is obviously a decision for you to come to in your own time and way.  You may remain undecided after you child is born... it is an ongoing process.  You may feel differently once a child is born or grows a bit older who knows...

I would really beg you to remain open minded and maybe find others in a similar position for support and a chance to talk with other parents. The Donor Conception Network and IVF Connections is brilliant for this - especially the Wonderful Women thread for Spanish clinics (although there are some Czech patients there too).  This and the DCN is where I have built up a really strong support network (especially the support of other single women).

I know how hard this is and how daunting and it is totally understandable that you are grappling with these very complicated feelings.  There is lots of support out there and I hope you will find help and peace of mind.

Sorry to ramble on - I find it hard sometimes to convey all of this concisely!! 

Good luck to you,

Daisy
x
 

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Hi dcon

What a great discussion you have started.

I think I got rather taken up with the ignorant comments you had from your ex and didn't reply to your question about double donor conceived children and adults and if they will experience prejudice. 

I just wanted to add that I am in the 'tell camp' of whether to tell children about the donors.  We are only looking for DE at this stage but would feel the same about double donors.  I have been a foster carer and so have seen first hand that children manage very well with the truth even with very difficult truths.  I also think they know when something is being kept from them (even with the best intentions) and unfortunately they end up inventing their own 'truth' which to me can often be much worse than their true story.  A little girl we looked after hadn't been told her story at all and so had made up all kinds of things which she then came to believe as fact and it was so hard to talk her out of.  Whereas if she had been told everything clearly and honestly and lovingly then she would actually have had less of a burden!  She too might feel different and experience prejudice in life because of her beginnings but she will be much better armed to deal with it all if she knows her own story completely.  She also has the reassurance now that she it totally loved and supported.  And I think that is an important key - bringing our children up to be self-assured and resourceful.

My plan would be to start to tell a child their story as early as possible so that they grow up always having known.  There are lots of story books to help with this.  For our foster child I made her own story book so it had her name and pictures as the character in the story.  She would choose it when she wanted to have her story read to her and as time went on she would ask new questions.  Listening to her questions was a great way of finding out what false ideas she had about her story and guided me as to what to say next.  As well as the books on donor conceived children there are also some great books on Lifebook work available from adoption websites - which have great ideas for helping you make a life story book for your children.

I would push to find out as much as possible about your donors.  Some clinics give more information than others and some give more if you ask for it.  I know it doesn't compensate for having a known donor but at least you know you did everything you could to find out.

On the subject of health time bombs then I think we have some reassurance from the interviews and health checks that the clinics do with potential donors.  A friend of mine is a chiropractor and when I told her I was concerned about not knowing my child's family health history she said she sees new patients every single day and very rarely do they know anything about their family health beyond their own parents and even then they're not sure.  She said it's very surprising but very common.  I don't think that means it ok to choose anonymous donors over known donors but it does add to the picture doesn't it?

A lot is discussed about our fears of the donors carrying terrible genetic links but hardly anyone talks about the good things that could be passed down.  A talent for music or sport would be something wonderful on my side of the family!  We have neither!  Well our children could come with all sorts of treasures couldn't they?  And health wise I've been ill for most of my adult life with endometriosis - it is terribly debilitating and I've also had to have 4 lots of major surgery.  I would dearly love not to pass that onto a daughter of mine.

You are someone who is really trying to think about these things and that is so important isn't it?  We found it really uncomfortable to face up to the reality of what we are doing - the responsibility of bringing someone into the world who can't trace their full heritage.  It would have been 'easier' not to face it and not to read anything about it.  But accounts from children and parents who have already done this were so important to us.  I totally agree with Daisy saying that she should take the responsibility for what she has done - I feel exactly the same way.

Wishing you lots of luck with your journey dcon!

Love Jaydi x
 

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Hi D

I am astonished and appalled at the way your ex behaved - says more about him than it does about you.  And as for your friend, hope you kicked her into touch.  I'm sure if your dad had any really serious illnesses in his family, your mum would have heard about them while they were together.

I can understand and empathise with your questions and concerns.  However, I do think that no matter how well planned a pregnancy is, whether it is as a child to a loving couple or whether it is completely unplanned and unwanted, there is no way to predict how children will react or turn out.  A really good friend was one of four children - three ended up well balanced individuals, but one has ended up as a complete wrong 'un.  My friend was even worried about him trying it on with her daughter - his own niece!!!  The family all came from the same genetic stock, and a similar upbringing, so it's difficult to pinpoint what motivated this guy.  The only thing I can think of is that nobody within a family has exactly the same upbringing.  I guess that like any parent whatever the situation, we can only do our best as we see it to provide the best environment but there are so many variables that we have no control over, particularly as we don't know what most of them are.  The best anybody can offer is all the basics plus lots of love and attention.  Judging by your desire to give your child the best possible start, I would say that you have everything to offer that any other parent could offer if not more - not many parents put as much thought into how their children will feel when they grow up, do they?

Also, my cousin was adopted - equivalent of double donation I suppose.  She didn't have any problems when she was dating as she was confident that she had a loving family who had desperately wanted her enough to go to extremes to get her.  Talking to her now, she wouldn't change a thing.  Her husband just worships the ground she walks on - and quite rightly too, as she's lovely.  In a way, I think she feels special as my aunt and uncle had to go through a hell of a lot to get her.

Hmmmm, looking forward to your other thoughts ;).

love
Suzie
xxxxx
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi ... me again

Thank you all so much for your replies and helping try and get through all this. I'm sorry it's such a heavy topic but believe me you are a great support. In the few days I have been sprouting my awkward thoughts you and this thread have been a great comfort and release.

Jaydi, Daisy, Olivia ... oh I agree totally about 'telling all'. I'm not saying that my life to date has been a Mike Leigh film ^roflmao^ but there have been too many secrets and lies to date and I've been at the butt end of most of them. There's is nothing worse than suddenly finding out someting HUGE that effects you personally (which I don't want to go into here) that the rest of the family has known for years. Anyway, my 'awkward thought' (and I really, really, really don't what to upset anyone here) is that if there is nothing to tell (because a donor is anonymous) then am I not inflicting potential pain on the life I've created for my own desires? If I adopted a child that had no history, was an abandoned baby, and who knew nothing of their biological background then I could be 'comfortable' because I would be trying to reslove a 'problem' not create it. Not sure if I'm making myself clear here and hope you understand that I'm not saying any of this to hurt anyone ... I'm just trying to 'arrive'.

Jaydi ... what a brilliant idea you had about creating your very own story book for your foster child. You sound like an amazing person. I'm hoping that once I have my own child that I might be considered as a foster parent. Anyway, I agree children have amazing imaginations and can make up the wildest of stories. I know when I was young I had the idea that I was adopted ... I never told anyone ... and I don't think I had this thought for long cos after considering 'the facts' for a while the penny dropped. I came to the conclusion that adoptive children were placed with couples and not single women ... and also to families that were financially better off than we were. But maybe, like you said, I created this 'story' because I knew something was being kept from me but at the time I didn't know what. I can also appreciate your friend's experience with people not knowing their family history (medical or otherwise).

Suzie ... as always thanks for your kind words. I know what you mean about families where some children, despite having 'the same upbringing' as their siblings, turn out to be a bit of a 'blacksheep'. I know parents do their best to treat their children equally but let's face it, parents are only human and this isn't alway possible. I love the fact that your cousin has a loving and kind husband and has never experienced any negativity ... it's a good job she never came across anyone like my ^bigbad^ ex ... although I think (hope) he is in a class of his own.

Daisy ... It's so good to hear that you've found such good support through IVF Connections and the DCN. I understand how a continuing association with these groups could make this difficult journey for you and your children better ... I must look into them further. And as one rambler to another please don't apologise for long posts ... as you know I find it's very difficult to explain the maelstrom of thoughts I have in a few words ^roflmao^

Spooks ... I know what you mean about knowing so much about your sperm donor ;D Because I'm choosing a donor from the US I know more about my sperm donor and his likes and dislikes ... as well as a FULL medical profile for him, his parents and grandparents (one that would please my ex no end) than most of the guys I've dated ^roflmao^ At least I'll be able to write a story book about a kind and generous man, whose favourite film was Braveheart and who loved to watch the Red Sox play baseball while eating his favourite vanilla ice cream ... I just wish I had the same level of detail for my egg donor.

I dunno maybe I'm too hung up on all of this? But in a way I feel as though I am the product of a 'known' sperm donor ... and it has been a quest of mine for an awful long time to find out as much as I could about him. Since coming across my father's death certificate which gave me the date and place of his birth I now know more about his family tree than I do my mothers.

So ... here's my next thought/question. Given that MY issue seems to hang on the anonymity or lack of personal info that comes with the egg donor that I'll be offered from the clinic in the CZ Republic ... should I be trying to find an egg donor that comes with ID release or even just more personal info? Although Spooks and Olivia ... I had never thought of it they way you put it, that a lot can be gleaned about donors from the very fact that they are donors - So my egg donor will be a thoughtful, kind, and generous woman with great humility, empathy and understanding.

Once again thank you all for being so patient and accepting of my awkward thoughts and questions :-[

dcon
xx
 
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