When you need to describe yourself to someone you don’t know, it can be hard to know where to start. Sometimes egg donors have trouble writing the pen portrait that’s to be passed to their donor-conceived child when they’re 18 – that blank piece of paper can be quite intimidating! – so here are some suggestions to help you out.
Your donor conceived person will already have the basics: on the consent form, you give some information about yourself, which covers things like your age, height, weight, ethnic background and marital status. It also includes the number of any children you had at the time. The pen portrait is for filling in the gaps.
But don’t feel overwhelmed. You already wrote down most of the content that goes in a pen portrait when you set up your donor profile for Altrui. So there’s no need to do the thinking twice! Although you only have access to your profile for two weeks (for security reasons), we can can it send it back to you any time you need it. Just chat to Alison, Cathy or our office manager, Sarah, and they will sort it out. Then you can either use what you’ve already written, or add to it, whatever you are comfortable with.
What might my donor conceived person want to know about me?
Why you donated. Your donation brought a person into the world so they are keen to understand why you did it.
What your children are like. They will know if you had children when you donated, but will be curious to find out more about their half-brothers or -sisters.
What you’re like as a person. Donor conceived people are often interested in what they might have inherited from you and your family, so this can include any family resemblance, hobbies you enjoy, what you were good at at school, or whether you are sporty.
You can add whatever you’d like to put – these are the kind of things that other donors have mentioned in their pen portraits:
- what you were like as a child
- what you were good at (or bad at!) at school
- your religious views
- your hobbies
- your temperament – are you relaxed, happy, a bit of a perfectionist?
- your job and why you chose it
- where you went to school or university, what subjects you studied and why
- what your family is like
- favourite books, music, things to do
I’m stuck – who can help?
Your clinic counsellor and the clinic donor coordinator will both be used to answering questions about this from donors. You can also ask one of the Altrui team to have a chat and go through some ideas – we are very happy to help.
The finished pen portrait is stored by the HFEA and you can update it anytime you like by contacting them. So if your life changes and you want to say something different, that’s not a problem.
Although it can be tricky to find the right words to begin a pen portrait, it really means a lot to that person who wants to find out a little bit more about you, their donor. It’s worth it!