Book Review: Building Your Family Through Egg Donation
Title: Building Your Family Through Egg Donation
Subtitle: What You Will Want to Know About the Emotional Aspects, Bonding and Disclosure Issues
Jolance Press, 2007.
Author: Joyce Sutkamp Friedeman, Ph.D., APRN, BC, LPCC
Building Your Family Through Egg Donation is a good and helpful book for intended parents considering using an egg donor. This book discusses the emotional aspects of conceiving through third party or collaborative reproduction.
I found the layout of this book to be a bit confusing but the overall content very informative and thought provoking.
The author addresses discussing use of an egg donor with friends and family. She advises couples to keep the decision private until they examine the ramifications of what they tell the child and others. She goes a step further by suggesting intended parents un-tell people they may have shared this intimate information with if they find that support is not forthcoming, or those who are told become intrusive with their questions.
On the other end of the disclosure spectrum, the author offers a chapter titled, Guidelines for Telling Your Children Their Story: The Gift. This chapter offers suggested scenarios parents can use to start the discussion of egg donation with their child. Each scenario has a script and is categorized by the age of the child at the time of disclosure. I find this to be the most thought provoking part of the book. I am not convinced intended parents will follow the recommendations of the author to read the scripts directly to their child, however the scripts included provide what the author describes as tangible guidelines for discussing the donation with their children. I consider any direction for intended parents on how to start this conversation a good tool for success.
The book discusses other significant concerns intended parents will probably find helpful: the psychosocial screening and assessment of egg donors, the importance of supportive relationships, managing grief and stress, and parenting at an older age.
Overall, I believe this book could prove helpful to intended parents considering the use of an egg donor but who may feel overwhelmed by the idea. The issues the author discusses are significant concerns in the patient population we treat here at Pacific Fertility Center. I appreciate the thoughtful choices the author made for discussion points. Unfortunately the book seems to be geared more toward the conventional husband and wife couple that have experienced the grief of unsuccessful IVF attempts with their own eggs; however most of the issues discussed in the book seem to be appropriate for intended parents that have never attempted IVF with their own eggs, single parents, or same sex partnerships.
Daragh Castaneda, Program Director, Egg Donor Agency at PFC