You know the feeling? You’ve looked forward to the donation for months, your family’s been all excited, you’ve got through the treatment, you’ve had the collection, your eggs are fertilised and you know the outcome… and then what?
Women become egg donors out of empathy and compassion and the desire to make a positive difference in someone’s life. So much of our hearts goes into doing this, and the process is so intense for that short time, that when our part is over, sometimes it’s hard not to feel a little bit left behind.
This can be especially true if the couple is pregnant and moving on with their own lives into the joy of the family life they’ve longed for, and that we have helped to make possible. The focus moves away from treatment and on into an exciting new future for them.
Most couples who have egg donation have tried for years to have a family. Although some couples are happy to maintain contact with Altrui and their donor, most often they want to put all that pain behind them and quietly enjoy the pregnancy and their new family, to feel like a normal family after so long. Part of that can be loosening ties with everything concerned with their treatment, and keeping in touch less often.
This doesn’t mean that egg donors are forgotten or undervalued. In a sense, it’s a bit like when children leave home. When they move on to become independent it’s because you as a parent have done your job – now it’s their turn to take over. And donation can be like that too: donors do their essential and precious piece of work, meaning the parents can take it from there.
So what do you do with those feelings of being left out, or sadness, when it’s all over? Well, one way is to remember that this is what we’ve all been working towards. We want people to have their chance to get pregnant and when it works out it’s even better. So that ending is just the natural completion of the process.
The other is to remember that egg donors are not forgotten, either by the parents or by Altrui. You’ve done something to be proud of and that precious gift – and the feelings of pride and achievement that go with it – are with you for life.