Intended Parent Blog

Welcome to Egg Donor Solutions Intended Parent Blog. This is a place for you to gain knowledge about Egg Donation and also talk with other intended parents who can directly relate to your experiences. Feel free to ask any questions and post comments. We want this to be a positive resource for you. We also welcome your feedback and how we can tailor the blog to meet your needs.

Amy’s Story: Loving your children equally but differently

Written By: Hillary Redwine

“How are your miracle children?” That’s the phrase Amy Huston’s mom often uses when inquiring about her children – Eli, age four, and Hallie, age one. “And they really are little miracles,” Amy says.

With a heart condition that prevents her from safely carrying a pregnancy, Amy used gestational carriers (or surrogates) for both of her children. Eli was conceived after three rounds of invitro fertilization and is the biological child of Amy and her husband, Evan, while Hallie was conceived with the help of an egg donor. ­­

“Because of my health condition, we had to take extra precautions during my egg retrievals, like having them done in an operating room instead of a fertility clinic,” Amy explains. “And we never got great results with any of them.”

Amy and Evan started trying for another child when Eli was six months old. They transferred their last remaining frozen embryo with a surrogate, but it didn’t take. “After that, we decided to use an egg donor for our next attempt to have another baby,” Amy says.

Will I love them the same?

For intended parents who already have a biological child or children, it can add another layer of complexity to the process of having a child via egg donation. Questions like “Will I compare him or her to my biological child?” or “Will I love a non-biological child the same?” may come to mind.

“It’s hard when you first learn that an egg donor is your best option, but over time, you come to realize what an incredible option it is,” Amy says. “Any reservations you have about loving a child – you don’t have to worry because you will.  Once that child is here, you get to just be a family. You’re that child’s parent, and it’s wonderful.”

Amy adds that she loves Eli and Hallie “equally but differently” because of who they are as individuals. “They are each their own unique person that we are getting to know,” she says.

The importance of nurture

Some of her children’s traits can be attributed to genetics, like Eli’s resemblance to Amy and Evan and Hallie’s personality, which Amy describes by saying, “She’s a firecracker!” (Noting that it’s not a trait Hallie gets from Amy or her husband, Amy says that she would love to ask her donor if she was as fiery as Hallie as a child.)

There are other characteristics that are a reflection of how Amy nurtures her children and the values she and Evan are instilling in them. For example, as a speech pathologist, Amy has been focused on helping her children develop language skills from an early age – something Hallie has been able to pick up quickly. “She’s very language driven; it’s one of her strengths,” Amy says. “It amazes me what a good communicator she is at just a year old.”

Amy also describes how Hallie has embraced her parent’s love of the beach, which is evident during the family’s trips to the ocean. “She loves it,” Amy says. “It’s neat to see how some of the things we have purposefully put into Hallie’s life are things she enjoys and are shaping her into the person she will become.”

Creating their family

In reflecting on her family, Amy describes a sense of wonder in how it all came together. “It’s amazing that we were able to have both of our children,” she says. “It was with the help of a lot of people, and I’m so grateful that there are people who are willing to help others have a family.”

She adds, “It’s been quite a journey to get to where we are, but when I think about it, it’s really a short amount of time compared to how long our children will be in our lives. Now, we’re just a regular family.”

Choosing the right egg donor for your family

Choosing the right egg donor for your family can at times be a daunting task but it does not have to be. There are many factors to consider and often there are so many different people who are giving their advise as to what is best. My best advice, pick a donor who you feel comfortable and can connect with. In order to reach this end goal many intended parents have found it helpful to create a ”must have” and a ”would be nice if” list. This will allow you to look at multiple profiles and give you the opportunity to really see who might be a great fit.

When making your lists consider asking these questions. Am I comfortable with paying for the donors travel expenses? Do I need the egg donor locally so can go through the whole process with my clinic, are we comfortable with traveling?

This is likely a financial decision. Having a donor monitored locally and then traveling for the retrieval is far more work on the agency and doctor (the donors don’t mind) and as an intended parent you will not be responsible to make any travel arrangements.

Do you want a proven egg donor OR are you comfortable knowing the your fertility clinic is going to do very comprehensive screening to be sure that the donor is a great candidate so a first time donor works well too? All donors have to donate for the first time. Having and doctor and agency who are flexible with screening could allow you the opportunity to select a first time donor who might meet your criteria better then a proven donor.

If choosing a traveling donor, ask your doctor what screening can be done locally to the donor to prevent travel cost and be sure you choose an agency who asks the same questions. With things going on in the world currently, ask what those monitoring appointments look like & seek if they can be scheduled locally for her to reduce travel.

Today there are so many screenings that will give your doctor a very good indication of how your donor will do in a cycle (FSH, AMH, antral follical count) that many intended parents are very satisfied with the initially screening process that allows them to choose the best donor regardless of their past donor (or lack thereof) experience.

Most intended parents want to find a ”connection” with the egg donor. Sometimes this is based on physical characteristics, personality, interests, goals in life, or sometimes it has to do with the donors willingness to be a ”known/open donor”. Decide what factors are most important to you and put those on your list.

Our last piece of advice when searching, try not to put more constraints on your list then you need to. We have often worked with intended parents who have chosen a donor they never saw in their first search because she was 1 inch shorter than their ”criteria” or decided that since brown eyes was dominant in their family that choosing a donor with green would be worth the gamble of having green eyed child because she meet all other criteria.

We look forward to working with you, guiding you and your donor through the process and creating a happy family! We at Egg Donor Solutions are here to support and guide you all every step of the way!

An Unexpected Family: Connecting with Donor Siblings

Written By: Hillary Redwine

If someone had told me back when I was first considering having a child via egg donation that one day our extended family would include our child’s donor siblings, their older sister and their parents, the idea would have seemed surreal to me. Fast forward a few years, this is our reality, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

How we met

As my friend Carrie, the mom of my daughter’s twin half-siblings, often says, “Life is hard and surprising and wonderful.” I can’t think of a more eloquent way to describe our situation.

Carrie and I both experienced several years of infertility and had to let go of expectations regarding how we would grow our families. That’s the hard part.

Three years ago, we connected via the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR). We learned that we had chosen the same egg donor to help us conceive our children with just an eight-month gap between them. That’s the surprising part.

Since then, we have spent time together on several occasions with our husbands and kids, who are beginning to understand their connection. And that, of course, is the wonderful part.

It’s their story

It helps that Carrie and I, along with our husbands, are on the same page about being open with our children regarding how they came into the world. Their conception and the fact that they have genetic half-siblings via the donor is part of their story, and they have a right to know.

“It’s heathier [for them to know],” Carrie says. “It’s not a secret, and it shouldn’t be a secret.”

Leveraging the DSR

When we were first getting to know each other, Carrie and I learned that we had taken a similar approach in how we selected our donor. We both wanted someone who would be willing to meet us and have ongoing contact through the DSR, as well as be willing to meet any future children so they can have the option of knowing their genetic relatives. It was so important, in fact, that we had these things stipulated in our donor agreements.

According to Katy Encalade, owner of Egg Donor Solutions, 60 to 70 percent of the agency’s intended parents today have the DSR written into their legal contracts.

“It’s something we definitely encourage for all our families,” Katy says. “The DSR provides an opportunity for contact while still maintaining anonymity. It’s a great way to share medical information and develop a personal connection if it’s desired. Even if intended parents don’t plan to have contact initially, we still recommend they sign up for the DSR because they may change their minds in the future.”

Similarities between donor siblings

With my daughter, Corinne, being our only child, I love that she gets to grow up knowing her donor siblings. It’s fascinating to watch her play side-by-side with Carrie’s twins, Zoe and Cooper, and see the similarities between them. When the kids were younger, we both thought that Corinne and Cooper looked the most alike. “I thought Cooper was the boy version of Corinne,” Carrie notes.

As they’ve gotten older, Corinne and Zoe now seem more similar in appearance. They are built the same (tall and lean), and as Carrie pointed out to me recently, they have the same walk. Personality-wise, Cooper and Corinne have the same sense of humor and frequently entertain us with their random silliness.

One of the most endearing things during our visits with Carrie’s family has been how her older daughter Willow, who is not genetically related to Corinne, takes on a big sister role with her – so much, in fact, that Corinne believes Willow is her sister too.

Our extended family

As I reflect on our journey to parenthood, a consistent theme is the unexpected blessings that have resulted from choosing egg donation. Not only do we have the child we believe we were meant to have, we’ve also gained a bonus family and incredible friends in Carrie and her husband, Jeremy.

As we were reminiscing recently, Carrie told me, “I’m so glad we’ve gotten to know you, Jared and Corinne and that you all are part of our extended family.”

I couldn’t agree more.

A person holding a baby

Description automatically generated
Meeting for the first time. Pictured from left: Cooper, Willow, Zoe and Corinne.
A person standing in front of a brick wall

Description automatically generated
Trip to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in 2019. From left: Corinne, Cooper, Zoe and Willow
Parents night out: Hillary, Jared, Carrie and Jeremy