My life as a science experiment.

One of my main concerns in using a donor egg was my fear that I would not feel that  the child was “mine”.  I wondered if I would bond with a resulting child and feared that if I did not then the child and I would suffer enormously. When I first raised the fear with my IVF doctor he shrugged it off lightly and said something along the lines of “Of course you will bond, when you feel that baby growing inside you…”

I felt as though he did not take my concern seriously and so went hunting to try to find articles about mother/child bonding where the child was from a donor egg.  Of the few articles I found, most suggested that there was little difference in interactions and bonding between Mothers and donor egg babies and Mothers and genetic babies.  A few even suggested that the interactions between Mothers and donor egg babies were more positive, intimating that this might be because the Mothers of donor egg babies were more attentive as they felt a need to make up for the shortfall in genetic bonding.    I did find one article that suggested that as the children grew up, the Mother’s of donor egg babies had more difficulty and some sadness to contend with as physical features were commented upon by those in their community.   Comments like “Doesn’t she have her Father’s nose” etc.

So I’ve been wondering what will happen in my own case.  Will I bond easily?  When will I start to feel like the baby is mine?

Not yet, as it turns out.  I’m 7 weeks pregnant and obviously it’s very early days yet, but I’m not feeling pregnant.  I’m feeling very sick with nausea and I’ve been feeling very anxious about spotting, but I don’t feel attached to anything yet.  I am hoping that will change a little at the 8 week ultrasound next week.  For now, I simply feel like a human science experiment.  The other day it crossed my mind that I am a surrogate for my husband’s baby.  I was pretty disconcerted by that thought.

Having said that though, I have been ultra careful with my food choices and terribly worried that I’ve overheated in bed and caused this poor little one some neural damage. So I care about the little one developing inside and am trying my best to support it, I just don’t feel like it’s mine.   In fact, I just don’t feel like there could be a baby at the end of all of this. Now I haven’t ruled out that this could very well be a protective mechanism against the possibility of miscarriage and failure, as has happened so many times before.   But I wanted some record of what I’m feeling now.  It’s honest.

I hope to be able to track a change in my  perception of this little being in the near future.

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4 Responses to “My life as a science experiment.”

  1. jodie38 Says:

    I felt the same. I felt that my only contribution to this child was as an incubator. That is untrue, but you’ll see for yourself. 🙂 The bond, for me, didn’t really begin to develop until after she was born. It started as simply being protective of this tiny thing, and rapidly grew into something ferocious. If we’re being honest here, we picked a donor who looks like me because of the future questions. It will make some things less difficult, for me and for her. When people say she has my eyes I smile and say she looks just like her father. I see D and the child hanging out together and sometimes feel like an outsider, even now (she’s 14mo). Those times are rare, and happen even less as she becomes more interactive. She is my daughter. Her smile warms my soul, every single time. I know what she’ll eat, know what she wants when nobody else does, and she reaches for me and calls me “mama”. I know these things because I’ve put in the time, same as any other mother. It’s not magic, it will absolutely happen for you as well. What you’re feeling is valid, but the good vastly outweighs all else. I promise I’m not just blowing sunshine, here. She is by far the best thing I’ve ever done. One step at a time, grasshopper. You’re doing so well – keep hanging in there…

  2. cat Says:

    Thanks so much for your comment, Jodie. It’s taken me a long time to reply but it meant so much to have read about your experience and know that mine is relatively normal and not necessarily predictive of a problem with bonding. It was very reassuring. I am getting there, though still anxious, but I expect it has more to do with my Mother having had post natal depression with me than with the donor issue. At least I’ve read that that’s as much a predictor of problems as IVF or donor eggs, which I find to be very interesting. But I should hasten to add, since I don’t want anyone getting worried, that I don’t feel depressed about it, just anxious about my role as a Mother – but then – I’ve heard that’s pretty normal too 😉

  3. bouka Says:

    YOU ARE VERY LUCKY YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN A GIFT OF FEELING A BABY GROWING ONSIDE YOU…YOU WILL NUTURE IT, DEVELOPE IT & WILL ALSO FEED VIA YOUR BLOOD…YOU WERE GIVEN A CELL…YOU ARE GOING TO PASS TRAITS EMOTIONALLY…I HAVE FAILED 4 TIMES USING DONOR EGGS..I WOULD BE LUCKY TO BE IN YOUR SHOES….GOOD LUCK CHEERS

    • cat Says:

      Thanks so much for your well wishes and comment. Indeed we are truly blessed to have our son and feel so every day. I’m sorry to hear a little of your story using donor eggs. It must be very hard. I wish you well too, with wherever life takes you.

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