This is a terrible blog post title-- because who am I or anyone else to say what is harder, right? It's all relative. Getting a donor for number one is friggin' hard, and you don't have a kid yet-- but...stay with me...I have a friend who I've written about before. She got off IF Island by the skin of her teeth with the last frozen embryo from multiple cycles. She has done two more cycles since and multiple transfers for an attempt at number two and outlook is not so good. She's older and the last IVF resulted in zero embryos. Now she is trying to decide if she continues with more IVF or if she should move to a donor. She might be more ready to move on than her partner-- sometimes we forget that decisions are not ours to make alone. But she said something interesting that I've been thinking about. She said something to the extent of if she had to go the donor route with her first kid she feels like it would have been easier, but for some reason having a healthy genetic child suddenly brings more to the table with getting a donor for number two.
Fear of comparison? Fear of what the donor conceived child might think or feel? Fear of differences? It's hard to articulate and I know there are people more equipped than I am to share thoughts on this subject so please do. I'm just throwing it out there because it's not the first time I've heard someone say this, yet a donor the second time around might even be more common because everyone is a little bit older second go round.
I can only share my own experience with the few weeks I thought we were going to have a genetic child after having Momo (via embryo donation). These thoughts about the what-ifs came up but oddly it was always something about how a genetic kid couldn't possibly be as awesome as Momo. I know that sounds terrible, I'm just being honest here. I assume most people think their kid is amazing, and maybe assume number two will be also. But when there is a definite difference, maybe comparison becomes more prevalent? My thoughts were always fleeting-- Momo is amazing and any other child will be and can be amazing in a different way. A genetic kid (and notice how I don't say "our kid" because I think that language is an important point here) of ours likely wouldn't be as tall, or as blonde perhaps, but we don't know. We never know what we are going to get with genetics or with a donor. Each child, each person is unique and has to be seen as such.
My worry was sometimes about how each child might feel-- would Momo feel more special because of everything we did to get her, of all the people who wanted her to be? Would she suddenly feel different that her sib shared our genetics? I decided, and this was just that, a decision, that it didn't matter. That if it mattered to my kids then I would be there to process their feelings and validate them, but the only things my kids, however they come to me, should feel is loved and valued and special and appreciated for their differences and for their similarities-- because genes or not there would be both. That's how I chose to deal with it and conceptualize it. I would love any child of mine regardless if they came form my egg, my body, my sister, a stranger, the moon. I'm confident about that. But I also respect the identity building process of a child/teenager and would support my kids in whatever way seems most appropriate. I think it's good to think about these things as parents of donor kids or when thinking about alternative family building because being thoughtful is important. And making sense of it all for ourselves first is imperative to feeling confident and proud of our choices and our families.
Anyone have more interesting thoughts on this?