Donor conception – same stress different families
If there was one model to follow on how to deal with the stress of donor conception, it would make the whole process a lot easier. There’s often a misguided assumption that assisted conception will be easier for some types of families than others, but sadly, that’s not the case.
For anyone trying to conceive with donated eggs, sperm or embryos, there is usually an acknowledgement of loss - the loss of how they’d hoped to conceive. Within a heterosexual relationship, there might be a known cause of infertility; single women, or single men, choosing to use donated sperm or donated eggs and surrogacy, are doing it without a partner and co-parent. While, for same-sex couples, there can be an assumption they should cope better because they just need sperm, or eggs and a surrogate, and hey presto, it’s family time, with no stress involved. But each path to conception can be difficult, and that’s why the London Women’s Clinic are on hand to help.
There is usually a planning and acceptance process prior to embracing donor conception. Sometimes it’s a sense of feeling unfulfilled and then something clicks, giving that extra capacity for nurturing that suggests you’re ready to become a parent.
If you’ve had previous treatment, or if you are planning a first cycle, it’s often not until treatment starts that the enormity of the potential change in your life becomes a reality. And, as we know, each cycle brings its own unique stresses. When treatment starts, reality hits. Success or failure will surely follow and that panic can feel overwhelming, more so to the people who have planned the most.
For anyone trying to support someone they love, care for and respect, there can be a desire to get it exactly right - to make sure they feel ok. Sometimes, being given reassurance that everything will be fine just causes frustration, as no-one has a crystal ball to the future. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend, partner, spouse or lover - don’t try too hard to support each other! Be available, offer hugs, but don’t be too hard on yourself or each other if things get difficult.
The London Women’s Clinic have many different support initiatives to help you before, during and after treatment. Visit their website to speak to a Patient Coordinator, and find out more about how they can help you with counselling and support groups.