Does a donor conceived baby feel like yours?
Hetero couples using donated sperm or eggs often admit to worrying before their baby is born whether it will feel like theirs.
Concerns like these are often not voiced at the time, even to each other.
As with any worry, it helps to know that you are not alone; many dads by donor sperm and moms by donor egg have been there.
Jana Rupnow, LPC in her book Three Makes Baby talks at length about parental legitimacy: “Will I feel like my child’s real parent? Intended parents with no genetic connection often wonder if they will be able to love their child as much as a biological child, and parents sometimes worry that their child will have negative feelings towards them.” She has some great exercises for parents and future parents. “Thankfully, a genetic connection is not required for the parent-child attachment process to occur because of the nature of attachment.”
@katherinenissen, egg donor mum: “I worried constantly through my pregnancy that I wouldn’t bond with my baby and thought I was the only person to ever feel like that. The second she was born, the overwhelming love hit me, and I’ve felt connected to her from day one. There are still days that I wish my journey to my daughter was different, but I’m so grateful to have this opportunity and I can’t imagine life without her. Some of the pain of infertility disappears once you have your child, but there are still times that it hits you. Although this may be seen as a negative thing, I then remember that that is what makes me particularly lucky and makes me enjoy every moment – even the sleep deprived ones!”
Marna Gatlin and Carole LieberWilkins, MFT in their book Let’s Talk About Egg Donation say: “Intended parents from around the globe all say the same thing – ‘I only wish I would’ve known that having a baby via egg donation would have no effect on how I feel about my children.’ So, here’s the thing: we love our kids. That’s the bottom line. It doesn’t matter whether or not we share DNA – they are our children. They may make us crazy and give us gray hair, but we love them so much that sometimes we forget to breathe”
Eloise’s and her husband used a sperm donor: “When we realised that we were pregnant there were so many mixed feelings from pure elation to apprehension. And though we were of course delighted, throughout the pregnancy my husband had a few wobbles, mainly at milestone scans. He had thoughts like was I carrying “someone else’s child”. Despite these feelings, finding out the sex of the baby helped and when each of our children was born, these feelings quickly disappeared, and we couldn’t imagine having any other children of our own”.
That is the thing, when you hold your baby in your arms, smell their precious baby smell, stroke their silky hair . . . they are yours . . . and you love them so much it almost hurts.