My Genetic Link and Becoming a Mom

Egg donationBy Marna Gatlin
Founder, PVED.org

I have been quoted  in the New York Times about my feelings about regulation regarding egg donation. I am not shy about how I feel on the subject. I think less is more where the government is concerned. The issue being that we are supposed to be a self-regulating community regarding egg donation and Third-Party reproduction and we aren’t. The Nadya Suleman’s of the world have put the “freak show” back into Advanced Reproductive Technology (ART), which frankly irritates me to no end because we as a community have worked so hard to educate the public about ART specifically egg donation. Moreover, while we want to put a face on those who create their families via egg donation many of us are afraid to be “outed “because of public reaction to something “different.” The NYT article as well as the ABC TV news story focused on the cost of eggs and those agencies who don’t abide by ASRM guidelines because after all they are just guidelines. ABC also focused on donor compensation, and what characteristics recipients felt were important in making their donor selection.

This got me to thinking about egg donation as a whole. How I get from point “A” to point “B” meaning how I made my own donor choices and my journey along the way. For me when I received my diagnosis that to create my family and become a mother I would need to rely on an egg donor I was initially relieved. Finally, a doctor could name what was wrong with me instead shrugging and saying “I don’t know.”
After 16 years of failure I was sick of “I don’t know.”

Then I began to ruminate – about my future child, about the fact I would not be seeing myself in the eyes of my child, or for that matter having a child that would have no genetic connection to me or my side of the family. I won’t fool you – that was a tough pill to swallow. Nevertheless, I swallowed it. I gnashed my teeth in the beginning because I didn’t know any better. I cried bitterly and shook my fist at my creator. “Nine times I lost babies and now you are telling me I can have a child maybe but I have to give up my genetics? Have you lost your mind!?”

So what did I do? I took the blue pill and jumped through the looking glass with both feet. I have never looked back. I have only gone forward. For instance, I decided I hated the fact I am a shrimp. Being short has been the bane of my existence. I feel strongly that tall people have it easier in life. Therefore, I decided I wanted a tall donor – an Amazon if I could find one. A tall donor coupled with my husband’s 6’3 stature would create a very tall child. I have some cardiac issues on my side of the family as well as Diabetes. I wanted to make sure my egg donor had a clean health history. I also was sick of my stick straight dark hair that never did anything. I have paid a lot of money over the years to have curly hair – so I selected an egg donor with thick curly hair. Is that being vain? Probably. However, my mindset was if I have to trade in my own genetics I might as well find someone not only had the characteristics I found appealing, but also someone that I could connect with, and fit into our family.

Was I scared? You bet I was. The insecurity I felt was overwhelming. However, I realized through the process it wasn’t just about losing my genetic link it was about finally becoming a mom. 1. Would I be a good mother? 2. Would I be as good of a mother as my own mother who inspires me every day? 3. Would I screw up my kid? 4. Would I be able to love this child even though this child and I shared no DNA?

Finally, when I was able to answer those questions:

1. Yes

2. Yes, my own mom taught me the most important thing about being a parent was to love your children unconditionally and to accept your children period – warts and all.

3. Yes, not only would I screw up my kid, I was going to do it on a regular basis. I was going to do it so much that I decided I would provide my kid with a “therapy bucket”. Every time I screwed him up, I’d give him a buck to toss in the therapy bucket to pay for the therapy he’d need later in his life.

4. Yes! Yes! Yes! I have to say this was probably the easiest part for me – was to love him unconditionally. And this is coming from someone who started out in a rocky place. I didn’t feel worthy of this piece of perfection, and when I finally got it together and came to realize I was deserving of this being who loved me unconditionally my shields and defenses came down I began to love and haven’t stopped since.

When I hear the media use the term designer babies, or read the snarky comments from those who do not agree with how intended parents select their egg donors I am left with the question – “How did you go about selecting your mate or life partner?” There were certainly characteristics you found attractive or appealing were there not? It is the same for us – except we do not get to use our own genetics to have our children we rely on a third party for that purpose – and with that being said, I see no reason for us not to be able to be comfortable with our egg donor selection.

So let us fast forward to 2010 – almost 10 years have passed since the birth of my son. The whole egg donor – selection process is hazy. In fact, even though I am the founder of PVED I often forget about the donor aspect because he is simply my son. He is an amazing, beautiful, well-adjusted, blue eyed, very tall nine year old who could care less about the manner in which he was conceived. Moreover, we don’t care how he was conceived. We are just glad he is here, that he is part of our family, and I am thankful every day for the privilege to love him.

I am not sure even why I feel the need to defend my choices. In the end, what others think is not important. I am my son’s mom they aren’t.
Marna Gatlin, Founder, CEO – PVED

After many years of struggling with infertility, PVED founder, Marna Gatlin, discovered that the technology to have a child through egg donation was available. She was curious, excited, and above all, hopeful that this process might be the conduit to finally achieving her lifelong dream of becoming a parent.
Marna ensures that all the needs of egg donor recipients are met, maintaining a high standard of ethics and confidentiality. Marna advocates and assists recipient parents helping them arrange for the highest quality patient care, wherever in the world they reside. Her experience and knowledge related to the complex emotional and physical needs of individuals dealing with infertility makes her an essential asset PVED.
As a previous recipient, Marna is uniquely qualified to provide caring and timely services. Marna is truly dedicated to compassionately guiding couples experiencing infertility through their treatment process.
Marna is joined by several dedicated and knowledgeable support staff that all work together clearly dedicated to see the success of PVED. These include clinical psychologists, reproductive endocrinologists, attorneys, as well as a talented business and public relations team.
 
Marna Gatlin
Parents Via Egg Donation
 
 

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