One of the the most important decisions you will face in EA is whether to go with a known or anonymous donation. Both have positives and negatives and often we find ourselves leaning one direction only to go the opposite. Today I would like to take a moment to discuss the two and why we chose the path we did.
In the beginning of all of this we were certain that we would go with a known donation. We believe that open adoption is the best so why should embryo adoption be any different, right? Well, EA is a different ball game and sometime you have to change the rules. Even though we are going the anonymous route for a second time I do believe that known is still the route I prefer, but not always possible.
There are pros and cons of both. For known you will get a complete health history, access to changes in health situations, and the ability for all genetic children to know each other. The cons are that you will be linked with this family forever and if there is ever a disagreement it could become awkward. I am not saying that this will happen, but it can. Also, some donors have specific requests for donor couples and you will need to comply.
For anonymous the pros are that you never have to deal with anyone else. Once you sign the papers you are finished. This is usually (though not always) a less expensive option. The cons are that you have no access to the donor family at all. Ever. Some clinics will contact them in the event of a life threatening illness, but not all will. Also, children will not have the option to meet their genetic family.
In 2009 we posted an ad on Miracles Waiting hoping to find a match. During this time we began searching for an RE to use locally once we found our embryos. During one of the consults we were presented with the option to use embryos they had available, but it would be anonymous. We struggled with this decision. What if our child wanted to meet their family one day? What if she needed bone marrow? What if, what if, what if?? Then two things were said to me that changed everything:
*Just because the embryos were donated anonymously do they not deserve the chance at life? And if so, why not you? Why not me? Someone will use them, why not you?
*If someone abandoned a baby at a hospital and there was no information on that child, would you adopt him? Or walk away because you will not have a complete health history? Or say no because he cannot meet his genetic family one day?
After this I knew that this was the path that God had chosen for us. And looking at my daughter I am so very thankful we went the route we did. For our second attempt we tried a known donation again but after 2 failed attempts and the frustration of no communication we felt like anonymous was our path again. And God is working it out perfectly!
The choice to go known or anonymous is a personal one and each family needs to do what is best for them. But neither option is less than the other. Both are amazing! But for those starting down this path I urge you to open your heart and mind to other possibilities. Do not get so stuck on one idea that you miss the opportunity that God may have for you.