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The words “meant to be” come up a lot in the world of family building, especially for those considering egg donation. Sometimes they render great pain. It is surely devastating when a well-meaning friend tells you that your miscarriage was a “blessing” because the baby “was not meant to be.” Worse still is your mother’s pronouncement regarding your secondary infertility, “Be thankful for your precious child. Maybe you were not meant to have others.” And harshest of all are the questions you may ask yourself, “Is this a message? Perhaps we were not meant to be parents.”
So you may find it strange that I title this, “Egg Donation: Finding Comfort in What is Meant to Be.” “Is this some kind of cruel joke?”, you may ask yourselves. No. This blog, about comfort, is intended to bring comfort. It is about what happens when “meant to be” flips over, does a few somersaults and lands replacing pain with hope and reassurance.
Infertility is a bewildering experience. Alternative paths to parenthood, including egg donation, surrogacy, adoption, sperm donation, bring additional challenges. Anyone struggling to build or expand their family knows that you can feel out of control, at the mercy of fate, daunted by IVF costs, unable to reach your goal no matter how hard you try. Then along comes the concept of “the meant to be.”
Here’s what I mean… You are a trooper, who has done her absolute best to make a baby. Your efforts have included traveling for treatment, draining your savings to pay for cycles, adding acupuncture and a fertility diet and meditation to your repertoire of fertility efforts. Sadly, nothing has worked. Years have passed. You have watched helplessly as friends have sailed into pregnancy and then a second baby and many a third. You are reaching a point when you realize, albeit reluctantly, that if you want to be pregnant, egg donation is the path you should follow. To your surprise, you find yourself more comfortable with that concept than you thought you would be--more comfortable until you face the seemingly daunting task of finding an egg donor.
Enter “the meant to be.” Here’s how it works. You go online. You see a sea of women’s faces. You have no idea how you will choose your egg donor from among them. Then you start reading. The sea of faces narrows rapidly. You eliminate some women because they simply look nothing like you. Others drop off because of their choice of photos. Some donors get eliminated because there are health issues in their family that worry you and others simply seem too different from you. You may eliminate someone because you have the sense that she is donating eggs for money. Soon the list is small. You begin reading more carefully. Before long one or two or three women stand out. You have a dawning realization that this will all work out. You are feeling confident that you could be very happy having one of these women as your egg donor. You are beginning to take comfort in “the meant to be.”
Now a word of caution—believing that you will find a donor who was meant to be your egg donor is different from identifying one woman who quickly becomes your “one and only.” You may have a favorite, but she may turn out not to be available or she may not pass medical or psychological screening or in some other way not meet egg donor requirements. Time and again, I have seen women find the “perfect” donor only to learn that they need to look for someone else. When they move on, they discover another donor who feels right for them. Often so right that they happily declare, “it was meant to happen this way.”
"Meant to be" plays a big role in adoption and in surrogacy. As with egg donation, people move from a place of being daunted by “the randomness of it all,” to connecting with someone who was surely meant to play a key role in their lives.
So to return to where I began. The words “it was –or was not—meant to be” can be cruel. Spoken in the wrong way at the wrong time, the words inflict pain. However, there are times when believing something was “meant to be” offers great comfort. Life is not so random. Things happen for a reason. This is my story. It may not be the story I planned on but now that it is mine, it feels meant to be.
Ellen S. Glazer, LICSW