Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Embryo Donation Update

I met with Leslie in late August when she was visiting Kate for a couple of days.

I felt strangely nervous at first, when we all had dinner together. Like my children were on display as part of an odd first date. I wanted her to fall in love with them so she would want us. Isn't that crazy? She seemed very relaxed but later confessed that she felt nervous too.

We parted ways while I put my kids to bed and then met privately (without our mutual friend) to talk. It was intense. She shared some details of her failed marriage, and cried. It was hard to see her in so much pain. She's such a good, loving, kind person. And then to have two failed adoptions before that, one where she was actually caring for the baby for multiple days in the hospital... My heart breaks for her.

Then we talked a bit about what it might look like for us if I donated my embryos. It was nice to see her energy change -- she became much happier and more animated, despite the fact that she's still not sure she wants to be an SMC. That was never her plan. Given the choice, she wanted the partnership over the child. But now that choice has been made for her, and she's realizing she would like to be a mother after all. Maybe.

My main concern is what it would be like for my girls. These babies would be their full biological siblings, though I would call them diblings (not brother or sister -- despite their biological connection, their emotional connection would be nothing like the tie between Calliope and Amelie). I want to be able to be honest with them.  Though I would simply explain it, I think, as "this baby has an egg from Mommy and a seed from the same donor as you." Calliope still has zero interest in her donor. I'm not sure she even realizes it's a person. She may just think of it as "a seed from the sperm bank," not that I've ever used that term.

But beyond being honest with my girls, I'm not even sure what I want for myself. I think that I would like a relationship with them (Leslie and the baby), but I'm not sure what kind of relationship. I'd love for my girls to have more cousins, but I wonder if it will be painful for me to see this child that could have been mine? Although in my heart of hearts I know I wouldn't be a good mother to any of my children if I had another in my current circumstances... that doesn't mean that I don't occasionally fantasize of meeting someone tomorrow who is wealthy enough to let me stay home in our fabulous new home and raise my third child.

I suspect the initial meeting of this baby would be hard, particularly if it was still a newborn who could look like anyone, and would get progressively easier as the baby became more and more the child of Leslie and less and less the biological child of mine. But how to handle that initial (potential) heartache? Would I delay the first meeting? Or just get over it? Would I be honest with Leslie about my emotions?

Many things to think about. We meet again in December, next time with a counselor. In the meantime I hope to set up a meeting with a counselor on my own.


  1. I had these thoughts too when I donated. Obviously never had to face the reality though since the embryos did not result in a baby. However I do know a SMC here in NYC is the recipient of donated embryos and has contact with the bio mom and siblings. Let me know if you want me to connect you two.

  2. Thanks for sharing about this journey. I admire your care for Leslie and taking time to think through how it would feel for your girls and you. As you know, I'm thinking about it from the perspective of receiving a donor embryo, though it's very different because it's not an embryo left over from IVF. I like to think of the care and influence and connection I would share with the embryo during pregnancy, so that I would be part of creating the child, as well. I hope your situation works out best for everyone and that you feel good about it. I think it could be cool for your girls to have a dibling or you could say cousin maybe? Sending good thoughts.