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Having a baby at 40: the emotional part of taking the leap to egg donation

Viki Peeters
Fertility Coach, Viki Peeters – Fertility Coach

Category:
Advanced Maternal Age, Donor Eggs, Emotions and Support

baby-at-40+-egg-donation
From this video you will find out:
  • the most common concerns regarding egg donation
  • how to cope with your grieving process
  • what information you should seek and what factors to consider when preparing for egg donation treatment
  • how to deal with all of your questions, worries, and concerns

Having a baby at 40: the emotional part of taking the leap to egg donation

During this event, Viki Peeters, a professional, certified Fertility Coach and mother after a long fertility process, discussed the emotional and practical challenges of becoming a mom at 40+ through egg donation.

Vicky primarily works with 40-plus women who are navigating the decision-making and follow-up process for building a family through egg and sperm donation. She discussed the unique challenges faced by women in this age group and offered guidance for those considering motherhood through egg donation.

If you are a woman aged 40 plus, or even 45 plus or 50 plus, whether in a couple or single, and you feel a passionate desire for a baby, this webinar is for you. You may be experiencing a sense of urgency due to your age and feel the pressure of time ticking away. You may be a critical thinker with a strong sense of responsibility, which can add complexity to the decision-making process.

The Leap of Faith

Considering egg donation for motherhood can feel like a monumental leap of faith. Our brains are wired for survival and tend to avoid the unknown and unpredictable. However, embarking on this path involves stepping into the realm of the unfamiliar. You cannot predict the future for yourself as a parent, your child, or your relationships. Uncertainty can trigger fear, resistance, and frustration, making the decision-making process challenging. If you resonate with these feelings, you are in the right place.

Embracing a Positive Mindset

To embark on the egg donation journey, it is crucial to cultivate a positive and empowering mindset. Your energy and mindset play a significant role in your ability to make this step and conceive successfully. By shifting from fear and doubt to trust and surrender, you can tap into a flow that feels liberating.

The Three Layers of the Decision-Making Process

3 layers encompass the decision-making process for motherhood through egg donation.

Layer 1: The Yes or No Question

The first layer involves determining whether this scenario of motherhood through egg donation is right for you. Can you wholeheartedly choose this path, or do you feel resistance? Identifying where the resistance lies and connecting with your desire for a child is crucial. It’s important to acknowledge that this process involves grieving, as you navigate through complex emotions and conflicting thoughts.

Layer 2:  Finding Balance in the Grieving Process

Grieving is a challenging process that requires both space and acknowledgement. On one hand, it is necessary to allow yourself the time to grieve. However, on the other hand, the pressure of your biological clock can make it difficult to fully immerse yourself in the grieving process. Striking a balance between giving yourself enough space to grieve and not becoming completely consumed by it can be a complex task.

Layer 3: Navigating Practical Considerations

During the grieving process, it can often feel as though you are trapped in a dark tunnel. Everything around you appears dim and hazy, and you struggle to see beyond the present moment. This tunnel represents your ideal picture of life, the one you have always imagined—a family with a genetically related child and your dream partner. This image feels familiar and comfortable, as it aligns with the desires your brain has grown accustomed to. Your strong attachment to this ideal picture keeps you connected to it.

Before you can transition to the new picture, which may also hold its beauty, you must first complete the old one. It is crucial to finish visualizing and embracing your ideal picture of life. This completion allows you to take the necessary step toward the grieving process. Incorporating rituals and other techniques, such as those utilized in coaching programs, can aid in completing the old picture and transitioning to the new one.

Balancing Worries, Doubts, and Desires

In this decision-making process, two opposing forces are at play. On one hand, there are numerous worries, fears, and doubts that plague your thoughts. On the other hand, there exists a strong longing and desire for a child. These forces resemble two piles, with the worries dominating the first stack, hindering your connection to your wishes and desires in the second stack. It is essential to critically examine the worries, question their validity, and replace them with more empowering thoughts. By doing so, you can prevent the worries from overshadowing your desires.

Viewing from Different Perspectives

To gain a comprehensive understanding, it is crucial to examine the worries from various angles. Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Consider the perspectives of your future child, your partner (if applicable), and other children in your family. This broader viewpoint helps put the worries into perspective and reinforces the importance of examining them critically.

In addition to confronting your worries, it is vital to acknowledge and nurture your desires and wishes for a child. This collection of wishes extends beyond simply passing on your genes or creating a genetic connection with a partner. It includes the desire to experience pregnancy, breastfeeding, and the unique bond between a parent and a child. By consciously connecting with these desires, you can amplify the significance of the second stack and create a more positive and empowering outlook.

Considering the Future and Reflecting on the Donor’s Role

When contemplating the future, it is crucial to reflect on the donor’s place in your family’s story. Whether you choose an anonymous or open donor, the donor becomes an integral part of your family system energetically. Determining how to incorporate the donor into your narrative is an important aspect to consider. Creating a plan for discussing the donor’s presence, whom to inform, and when to share this information becomes essential.

Furthermore, contemplate the possibility of your child wanting to search for the donor in the future, even in cases of anonymous donation. As a parent, it is crucial to understand the available options and how you will respond. These considerations about the future can significantly impact your positive outlook throughout the decision-making process.

 

- Questions and Answers

I’m struggling with the idea of using donor eggs because I’m not sure if I’ll be able to accept the baby as my own. Have you heard of women who got pregnant with donor eggs and regretted their decision?

That’s a question I get quite often, so it’s a good question. I think it’s normal that you’re struggling with it. I know a lot of women who went through the process and became pregnant and became a mother through egg donation. I really don’t know any of these women who regretted taking the step and having a baby through donation. I think nobody ever told me, “Oh, I don’t love this child or I don’t feel a bond with this child because it doesn’t have my genes.” What I do hear sometimes is that they regret the donor profile, like the anonymous donor part. That’s another discussion. Sometimes, I regret that I, for example, chose the anonymous donor part. Um, that’s a thing I do regret, but not the fact that they took the step to go through egg donation itself. So, you start at one point and you just need to go through it before the final decision. And, you know, maybe then it’s just much easier when you already have a baby.

I’m interested in hearing about people who have had a family member, perhaps a younger sister, be their donor. Any stories or testimonies to share about this? Anything you can share in regards to that?

Well, I have to admit that I don’t know many stories about a donor from the family. Sometimes, people are considering it, but most of the time it ends with taking a donor from the clinic. Anyway, I think it’s a very good option, of course, from the perspective of the child because it can have contact with the donor from a very young age. But from my experience, I don’t say that it’s a negative option, certainly not, but it is complex sometimes for the parents, I think, to take, for example, a younger sister. But so, in my experience, I didn’t have many clients doing this, but that doesn’t mean that there are no examples, of course. If you have a younger sister, I think I would have asked, but I didn’t.

I’m worried that conception may not even work after making the decision. Any advice?

I understand that you’re worried about it because often, I think, once people take the decision, they believe, “Okay, now it will work for sure because the success rates from the clinics are very high.” It’s like it cannot go wrong anymore, but of course, that is not the case. It’s still nature, and you cannot control it, you cannot predict it. So yes, I think it can still go wrong. I mean, you have to be realistic about this. But of course, the success rates are a lot higher. I don’t know how old you are, but the success rates are a lot higher. And I think if it doesn’t work out the first time, do ask for more research, more examinations. For example, don’t just think, “Oh, it’s bad luck, okay.” It can be bad luck one time but don’t do it again and again and again because maybe there are things that they didn’t see. So ask for enough examinations. If it’s, for example, you have one negative treatment, don’t wait too long. I think they can always sometimes think, “Oh, it’s the age,” and there’s genetics, and they don’t look further. And there can be other things sitting. So it’s good to go for more tests if needed. Don’t go on using donor eggs again and again if it’s not working. Then try something else. But I’m not a doctor, so I cannot advise on this. But I think you have to be assertive. Say, “Okay, I want other tests.” And yes, of course, you have every right to ask for this. I think this question is your first stack of worrying thoughts. Of course, don’t try to focus too much on it because it can just work out the first time. If you think, “Yeah, it will not work,” it will work. You don’t get in the positive vibe.  

How do you deal with being pregnant with a baby that doesn’t come from your DNA?

The ideal scenario is to go through the grieving process before getting pregnant. However, it’s normal to still have thoughts, fears, and doubts during pregnancy. The emotional process continues even after a positive pregnancy test. It’s important to give yourself time and not be too hard on yourself if doubts arise.

If I tell my child they are from a donor, am I opening them up to being bullied?

It’s difficult to predict how a child will react, as every child is different. When and how you tell your child can make a difference. You have two options: choose a certain age to reveal this information as a special moment, or start early by planting seeds of understanding as the child grows. Research suggests that telling the child early on makes it more acceptable to them and part of their identity.

I worry that people will judge me for choosing egg donation over adoption. Any advice?

It’s normal to worry about others’ reactions, but the more confident you are in your decision, the less you’ll be affected by what others think. It’s understandable that people who haven’t gone through the same process may not fully understand. Egg donation and adoption are two different paths to parenthood, and they should not be directly compared. Focus on what feels right for you, rather than worrying about others’ opinions.

Are you a mom from a double donor? I’m 42, I’m worried I’m too old. I would love two children, and I’m worried I won’t even have one. I’m not a mom of a double donor. I’m up to egg donation. 

I was nearly 43 when my youngest son was born. The question is, are you just worried that you won’t have one baby? It’s a big step to take, but once you can make this step emotionally, then I think medically there are a lot of chances again. The success rates of a donation are very high. Medically, I think if you can take the step to a donation, there are still chances left. If I look at my clients, 42 are about the youngest. I also have clients who are 40 or 50. They tell me, “Whoa, you were young when you got your second child.” So it’s really a relative thing. I have clients who are 45 plus. So I think it’s not completely impossible yet, so don’t despair yet. This can still happen, as we get already also upset.
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Authors
Viki Peeters

Viki Peeters

Viki Peeters is a professional, certified coach. As a child wish coach, she talks to 40+ women through their decision and follow-up process, for example regarding egg donation and sperm donation. Viki is a mom of two beautiful children. She became a mother after a challenging process, much later in life, than planned. Email: coaching@vikipeeters.be Free online match call: https://en.vikipeeters.be/matchcall/ Website: https://en.vikipeeters.be/
Event Moderator
Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka is managing MyIVFAnswers.com and has been hosting IVFWEBINARS dedicated to patients struggling with infertility since 2020. She's highly motivated and believes that educating patients so that they can make informed decisions is essential in their IVF journey. In the past, she has been working as an International Patient Coordinator, where she was helping and directing patients on their right path. She also worked in the tourism industry, and dealt with international customers on a daily basis, including working abroad. In her free time, you’ll find her travelling, biking, learning new things, or spending time outdoors.
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