Is it like a step-family


#1

I may be quite ignorant about this, since I did not grow up in a step-family and know only anecdotal information from friends who have. DH was, on the other hand, raised by his step-dad, and doesn’t even know his bio father.

We are faced with the possibility of having to consider donor sperm. Currently, we are coming out of our first FET with donor embryos, which resulted in a chemical loss. We are returning for the other two embryos we adopted in a few weeks. However, I am now not as certain as I was before that this may work. It took a lot of effort and cost to get hooked up with these donors, since we were all looking for an open adoption arrangement. Yes, I fully saw this as an adoption, after having tried unsuccessfully to adopt the traditional way for years.

So, I do not see donor embryos on the same level of “gametes” as I do donor sperm. My main concern is the idea of mixing my gametes with a stranger’s gametes. I know that it is not the same as adultery. My brain knows that. I’m not so sure my heart does. It doesn’t help that our religion forbids ds. (It does not have an official stance on donor embryos due to it being a pro-life option and seen as an adoption.)

On the one hand, with a sperm donor, we’d have a much better chance of matching with the qualities we are looking for. I really want our child to share my DH’s Latino heritage, and our current donors are both Hispanic… but they seem to be the only ones out there. So if these next two embies don’t take, we are pretty much looking at going with Caucasian donor embryos (not exactly my first choice, even though I’m Caucasian, bc while I get to carry the baby, I wanted DH to then at least share their ethnicity). I should note that DH does not care in the least if the child is Hispanic or not.

On the other hand, with donor embryos, we are in the clear with our religious community and my own conscience, as we can continue to look at it as a form of prenatal adoption of a child already conceived before we entered the picture. In the process of having a child, we could also feel good about helping others.

I can’t say that for using ds. We’d be creating on purpose a child that would not grow up with both of their biological parents. I don’t know how else to word that - I don’t think the sperm donor would be a parent, but I don’t know how else to word that patriline.

I feel as though using a sperm donor would be like having a step-family. Since there’s no adultery in place, we can say that I had this child before DH entered the picture (ignoring timing obviously), and now DH has adopted the child and we are raising the child together. I think this would be the only scenario I could try to comprehend and get on board with.

So, my question is to anyone who has used donor sperm, and especially anyone familiar with step-families, can parallels be drawn between the two? In what ways are they similar and in what ways different?

Thanks so much! I should note that I also welcome any other explanations of ds that could help me wrap my mind around it.


#2

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#3

My dear,

I could have written this post. Your questions are exactly the questions that I struggled with when we first considered DS. I am Caucasian, my husband Hispanic. We tried traditional adoption and it failed. I also struggled with the spiritual implications of DS.

I wish I had the answers, I don’t.

But this is what I feel I’ve come to know. God loves me. And He knows I’m trying. God is in everything. In every cell of every creature. He is in the blade of grass, He is in the air, He is in this science that enables me to conceive a child. Is it genetic adultery? I’m not sure. Does it feel strange to conceive and carry a stranger’s child? You bet. Would I prefer it to be biologically linked to my husband? Absolutely.

My husband and I have talked about this and I tried to be open to all the possibilities. Even the option of remaining childless. But as my hubby says, " We are family people." We wouldn’t truly be happy unless we could fill our home with children.

yes, this baby will be genetically linked to someone else. but it will also be MY baby. And in the nonbiological sense it will be OUR baby. Because my husband’s mannerisms and style and personality will totally rub off on our child. We will raise him or her together. They will be part of us both.

I didn’t have a step- parent, but my father was not in the picture. My grandfather pretty much stepped in as the male role model in my life. We could not have been closer until his death last year. He gave me advice, a good ribbing, support, pride, and his time. Losing him left a whole in my heart. Yes, we were genetically linked, but he was not my father. My biological father is someone I don’t really like too much. I wish him well but definitely never had the bond I did with my grandfather.

I don’t know if any of this is helping, but please keep in touch.

I go for my 2nd IUI w/ DS tomorrow.


#4

NNN2011 - I don’t know why I find it in the least bit “surprising” that ds would not be anyone’s first choice (except perhaps lesbian couples, but I digress).

While I didn’t grow up in a step-family, I find that I’m not all that close to my blood relatives anyway… so honestly, I really think that for me it comes down to the mixing part. I don’t care if I pass on my genes. I care that DH and I pass on our values and wisdom and faith and ok, maybe certain personality traits or the like. But genes? Eh. If there was a way to use my ovum without actually passing on my DNA, and then mixing that with ds, I’d do that. lol

I guess I also assume that IUI is automatically more successful than FET (when there are no uterine issues).

Anyway :babydust: :cross: tomorrow!


#5

I hope that you don’t mind me barging in to your conversation, we did DE not DS so I know that there is a difference because I still carried the baby. That being said, I was adopted as infant, and I don’t consider adoption or using an egg donor anything like a step family. In the case of a step family, there was a real known person who is/was the father (or mother). Even if that person is replaced when the child is very young, there was some sort of relationship that existed at one time and that is never gone. In the case of “real” biological parents in step families, they usually have some legal rights throughout the life of the child. When I was adopted, I only had one mother and one father. They raised and loved me. I’ve always known that I was adopted, but my biological parents were never a part of my life and after the adoption was complete their legal rights were severed. I guess that modern open adoptions are different; however, the adopting parents usually have more rights to control things that step family situations.

That being said, I do understand your religious concerns. I struggled with them before we did DE IVF, and I continue to afterwards. My situation is complicated by the fact that we have 4 frozen embryos, and I’m not sure that I’m up to trying to have baby #2 due to complications with my first pregnancy. We are thinking about doing embryo donation; however, we’d like to be comfortable with any couple that got the embryos. IUI with DS wouldn’t involve the creation of embryos…but it would be intentionally creating a child.

I do think that your wrong about success rates. IUI even without uterine issues usually have fairly low success rates (<20% age 33 according to Shady Grove’s website). My RE stated similar stats. FETs can have success rates that exceed 50% if the embryos were good and vitrification was used during freezing. If the clinic where the embryos were made wasn’t very good or initial embryos weren’t great, the stats will be much lower than 50%. In my opinion, there is a big difference in cost. DS and IUI is likely to be less costly than donor embryo…even if takes a couple of cycles.

Best of luck! Kirsten


#6

I’ve toyed with responding to your post for several days now…but think it’s time.

My husband is Catholic, I am not. The two of us researched the “rules” of the church before beginning our efforts to conceive with “help.” The one thing we realized was that the “rules” are NOT written by God. They are written by celibate men chosen by other men (not God)…the last publication of which was in 1987. After thought and prayer, we felt that God would lead us in the path he chose for us…not the writings of modern-day men.

With that being said, our initial focus of our infertility was on my husband. Our OB (prior to seeing an RE) actually recommended that we consider donor sperm. My husband was crushed, as he REALLY wants a son to carry on his father’s lineage/name. We talked for the month leading up to our RE appointment and agreed to listen to the advice of the RE before making further decisions. While IVF with ICSI were proposed, my husband had already committed to using donor sperm if it was the best option for us. He felt that he would have 38 weeks to bond to the baby before he/she was born and NEVER implied that the child would not be his.

After our first failed IVF cycle, we learned that my eggs were poor. Not being willing to accept this, I tried a second IVF round which was cancelled for poor response. I then realized that donor eggs were truly our best (and likely only) way to have a child. I was devastated that my child would not have “me” in them…and they wouldn’t come from “my family.” I spent several months coming to terms with donor eggs and have now accepted them… I will be starting meds next week. The more committed I’ve become to the process and idea, the more I really feel that this child WILL be mine!

Throughout hours of conversation and tears, my husband and I never considered having a “donor” child not be ours. I can’t see our child as a “step” child or in a “step” family, and I can’t help but think that until you can resolve this in your head and heart that you are not ready to move forward.

As a religious person, I can honestly say that prayer answers questions. I sincerely believe that if God doesn’t want us to have a child with donor eggs, that it just won’t happen. I belive the same would apply to you. You are NOT sleeping with another man, you are making a family for you and your husband!

I found this on an old board post and thought it was tremendously validating…maybe it’ll help you as well. Sadly, I don’t know the author’s name to give credit…

I am a religious person and my faith in what God means when he gives people certain challenges has kept me going
through this ordeal. What do I think
God meant when he gave me Infertility? I think
he meant for my husband and I to grow closer,
become stronger, love deeper. I think
God meant for us to find the fortitude within
ourselves to get up every time infertility
knocks us down. I think God
meant for our medical community to discover
medicines, invent medical equipment, create
procedures and protocols. I think God meant
for us to find a cure for Infertility.
No, God never meant for me to not have children.
That’s not my destiny, that’s just a fork in the road I’m on.
I’ve been placed on the road less traveled,
and like it or not, I’m a better person for it.
Clearly, God meant for me to overcome my devastation,
guilt and sorrow in order to develop more compassion,
deeper courage, and greater inner strength on this
journey to resolution and I haven’t let Him down.
Frankly, if the truth be known, I think God meant
for me to build a thirst for a child so strong and
so deep that when that baby is finally placed in my arms it will be the longest, coolest, most refreshing drink
I’ve ever known.

Best wishes on your FET! Hopefully, all of your worry over DS issues will not be needed!


#7

Reading this post brought tears to my eyes. Thankyou so so much for sharing. This journey is so personal and each one of us have individual stories, but this quote really summed up exactly how I’m feeling. My dh and I are still childless and struggling with how to move forward. We had some months ago decided to move onto ds but I’m still struggling with this decision, both emotionally and spiritually. Infertility has also taken it’s toll on my marriage and we feel god is testing us, testing our relationship and strengthening us before we proceed. God has a plan for each one of us I know God is good and keeping our eyes on him is what pleases him. He can give us the strength to get through this.

[QUOTE=lucyddr]I’ve toyed with responding to your post for several days now…but think it’s time.

My husband is Catholic, I am not. The two of us researched the “rules” of the church before beginning our efforts to conceive with “help.” The one thing we realized was that the “rules” are NOT written by God. They are written by celibate men chosen by other men (not God)…the last publication of which was in 1987. After thought and prayer, we felt that God would lead us in the path he chose for us…not the writings of modern-day men.

With that being said, our initial focus of our infertility was on my husband. Our OB (prior to seeing an RE) actually recommended that we consider donor sperm. My husband was crushed, as he REALLY wants a son to carry on his father’s lineage/name. We talked for the month leading up to our RE appointment and agreed to listen to the advice of the RE before making further decisions. While IVF with ICSI were proposed, my husband had already committed to using donor sperm if it was the best option for us. He felt that he would have 38 weeks to bond to the baby before he/she was born and NEVER implied that the child would not be his.

After our first failed IVF cycle, we learned that my eggs were poor. Not being willing to accept this, I tried a second IVF round which was cancelled for poor response. I then realized that donor eggs were truly our best (and likely only) way to have a child. I was devastated that my child would not have “me” in them…and they wouldn’t come from “my family.” I spent several months coming to terms with donor eggs and have now accepted them… I will be starting meds next week. The more committed I’ve become to the process and idea, the more I really feel that this child WILL be mine!

Throughout hours of conversation and tears, my husband and I never considered having a “donor” child not be ours. I can’t see our child as a “step” child or in a “step” family, and I can’t help but think that until you can resolve this in your head and heart that you are not ready to move forward.

As a religious person, I can honestly say that prayer answers questions. I sincerely believe that if God doesn’t want us to have a child with donor eggs, that it just won’t happen. I belive the same would apply to you. You are NOT sleeping with another man, you are making a family for you and your husband!

I found this on an old board post and thought it was tremendously validating…maybe it’ll help you as well. Sadly, I don’t know the author’s name to give credit…

I am a religious person and my faith in what God means when he gives people certain challenges has kept me going
through this ordeal. What do I think
God meant when he gave me Infertility? I think
he meant for my husband and I to grow closer,
become stronger, love deeper. I think
God meant for us to find the fortitude within
ourselves to get up every time infertility
knocks us down. I think God
meant for our medical community to discover
medicines, invent medical equipment, create
procedures and protocols. I think God meant
for us to find a cure for Infertility.
No, God never meant for me to not have children.
That’s not my destiny, that’s just a fork in the road I’m on.
I’ve been placed on the road less traveled,
and like it or not, I’m a better person for it.
Clearly, God meant for me to overcome my devastation,
guilt and sorrow in order to develop more compassion,
deeper courage, and greater inner strength on this
journey to resolution and I haven’t let Him down.
Frankly, if the truth be known, I think God meant
for me to build a thirst for a child so strong and
so deep that when that baby is finally placed in my arms it will be the longest, coolest, most refreshing drink
I’ve ever known.

Best wishes on your FET! Hopefully, all of your worry over DS issues will not be needed![/QUOTE]


#8

well said…

lucy said it so well…as a Christian, I struggled with using donor eggs as well. Neither I nor my husband are Catholic, and in fact our protestant denomination is relatively liberal on this and other issues (often too much so for me), but I still felt the need to determine for myself if this path was Biblically sound. First I talked to my pastor, who it turns out was a sperm donor a decade ago. then I prayed and read my Bible, and talked to my husband who has a degree in Christianity, and we prayed together.

Here’s what I believe - I do not believe God causes suffering in the world. As a felony prosecutor, I see too much and I do not believe God causes murder, child molestation, rape, etc to take place. I believe He allows things to happen, and as a result we are allowed to suffer, and I believe He can use all circumstances, good or ‘bad,’ for his glory and to positively influence others and the world, in large or small ways.

I have come to the conclusion that it is unimportant whether I bear a child, or bear 100 children, or adopt, or don’t. I happen to desire children, and as such I persue that end. But whati is important is that I do my best to allow this situation to grow my faith and, by my example, be a light in the world for others to see how faith sustains through struggle.

So, I believe this child will be mine, but more importantly, it will be His. That’s more important than dogma or biology or theology or whatever.

Allow this process to grow your faith, and no matter the outcome, you will find peace in it. Prayers for you as you make your decisions.


#9

Wow, thank you for all the thought-provoking feedback!

[B]kirstyloo[/B], I guess I was thinking of the sort of step-family where the father is no longer involved in the child’s life once the mother marries another man. Like I said, my experience with step-families is limited, so that’s why I’m glad to hear feedback from others, showing me that I’m overanalyzing it! :wink:

[B]shez[/B], “we feel God is testing us, testing our relationship and strengthening us before we proceed.” DH and I have thought the same thing. When we think about WHY we had to have adoption fall-throughs, WHY we had to see our foster daughter leave after 10 months in our home and hearts, WHY our first FET resulted in a chemical loss. And we’ve thought that when we finally DO become parents, we’ll have been better prepared than most - for the unexpected, for heartache, for lack of control, for life not being fair, for loss - and therefore be better parents for it.

[B]lucyddr[/B], you are absolutely right that I cannot move forward (if I’ll need to) until I get this resolved. This thread is one of my early attempts to even consider the option, which I’ve rejected flat-out in the past. And I’ve seen that poem before, thanks for sharing! Yes, it’s good to have that reminder!

[B]ejinga[/B], “So, I believe this child will be mine, but more importantly, it will be His. That’s more important than dogma or biology or theology or whatever.” Shivers! This is sooo true! One of my favorite quotes is from a poem by Khalil Gibran, where he says that “children come through us, but not to us”. I’ve always said that children are not ours in the sense of “property”. We don’t actually create children, even though in the world of ART a lot of us seem to think that with the right doctor or protocol, we can. It’s always the hand of God that makes the final call. Thank you so much for wording it so beautifully.