LGBTQ2IA+ Family-Building: Using an Egg or Sperm Donor
Many LGBTQ2IA+ individuals choose to incorporate an egg donor or sperm donor into their fertility plan. Below, we provide an overview of the procedure, discuss some unique benefits that this process may bring, and highlight how to overcome family planning emotional challenges.
LGBTQ2IA+ family building doesn’t come with the ‘blueprints’ that many heterosexual couples have when planning their journey.
It can feel overwhelming to navigate the field of fertility care when a large amount of information is directed at an idea of family-building that doesn’t align with your goals. However, this idea of starting from scratch and designing your fertility journey can also be a time of great possibility.
The growth of assisted reproductive technology (ART) means that many families now have a variety of family-building options. As the fertility field continues to grow, we encounter new emotional challenges. It is important to remember that these emotions are valid and the feelings you are experiencing may be more common than you think.
Benefits and emotional aspects of using donor eggs, sperm, or embryos
When using a donor to help conceive a baby, a common concern is if the parent will bond to the baby to the same degree as if there was a genetic relation. In other words, some worry that their child will not feel like their own.
This is an understandable concern, and it is entirely valid to grieve a loss of genetic connection to your baby. However, it might help ease some concerns to know that most parents who conceive their baby using donor eggs feel a strong bond with their child and feel confident in their identity as the baby’s parent. Some even find that the challenges and hardships that they overcame to conceive their child made them even more connected to them.
A 2020 study aimed to explore the thoughts and feelings of mothers who conceived their child through egg donation around their relationship with their baby. While some mothers reported instantly feeling an intense bond to their baby upon their birth, others found that it took more quality time and emotional work before they bonded. However, importantly, almost all mothers felt a strong bond by the end of the first year together.
Incorporating a donor into your fertility plan is a profound emotional decision, which is why Anova works with a team of registered psychotherapists specializing in infertility. Every patient should have access to proper emotional support throughout their journey. When choosing the donor route, infertility counsellors are not only helpful for your emotional support but can improve the well-being of your future child.
Counsellors can help answer questions like:
When is the right time to tell my child about how they were conceived?
How involved do I want my donor or surrogate to be in my child’s life?
Will I tell my family about my decision to use a donor or surrogate?
.As an Anova patient, our counsellors are available to you whenever you need them to ensure that you are supported through the whole process.
Family Building: The Anova Way
At Anova Fertility & Reproductive Health, one of our core values is creating an inclusive environment for individuals to build their families. Our role is to facilitate a smooth experience for patients of all genders and sexual orientations.
It is essential to choose a fertility team experienced in LGBTQ2IA+ family building. One that is well-versed in the many ways to grow a family, allows flexibility in planning your fertility journey, and understands the emotional aspects of building a family.
To learn more about family planning options, be sure to register to attend Dr. Dixon’s webinar on June 28th at 7:00 PM ET.
Chloe Graham (she/her)
Master's Student (University of Guelph, Biomedical Sciences)
About the author
Chloe is a Masters Student in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Guelph, who also works as a patient coordinator at Anova Fertility.
At Anova, she educates patients through creating online resources, manages patient flow and assists with administrative functions. Before joining our team, Chloe advocated for women’s health and reproductive rights as an executive member of Oxfam at Guelph, local branch of the international anti-poverty organization.
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