The Good Enough Donor

Posted On May 26th, 2016

Several years ago, the notion of “the good enough mother” became popular in psychology. The idea was that striving for some idealized notion of parenthood was fruitless and even harmful. By contrast, parents who accepted that they could not be perfect, served themselves and their children well. Lately, I have been thinking about how this approach relates to egg donation. Along the way, I’ve become a strong believer in “the good enough donor.”

Many women embarking on egg donation find their “good enough donor” with relative ease. She is usually someone who resembles the intended mom in broad brushed strokes. The good enough donor is ready and willing to donate and she has communicated some things about herself that resonate with the intended parents. They like what they see in the photos she sends and what they read in her responses to questions on their donor agency questionnaire. Their good enough donor is someone they feel they can relate to, someone who shares their values to some degree and either has interests and talents similar to or complementary to theirs. And perhaps most important, the good enough donor is likely to have an ample number of “good” eggs.

Were that it was that simple. Unfortunately, not everyone subscribes to the idea of the good enough donor. There are some people on a quest for what I would call “the idealized donor” For them, the search for a donor is not “short and sweet;” it is long and arduous.


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On Surrogacy by Ellen Glazer

Posted On May 4th, 2016

There was a piece on today’s Morning Edition (NPR) that began something like this, “Here’s a story of the lengths one couple went to have a baby.” As someone who counsels people struggling to build their families, my ears perked up, curious as to what would follow.

The very short version, of what was a sixteen month saga, was that a gay couple had a baby through an egg donor and surrogate in Thailand. When baby Carmen was born, the surrogate tried to claim custody, saying that she did not know that the intended parents were gay and she did not support gay parenthood. Last week the Thai court ruled in favor of the biological father, Bud Lake and his husband, Manuel Santos. Morning Edition was now turning its attention to the relieved parents, celebrating with them and asking Mr. Lake what advice he’d have for others considering surrogacy. He responded, “Be sure to vet your agency. Our surrogate should never have been a surrogate.”

I agree with Lake’s advice to “vet your agency,” but wish that NPR had asked him to elaborate on this comment rather than simply dismissing his surrogate as inappropriate. Even in NPR’s brief account of the tale, there were several red flags that pointed to agency shortcomings that went beyond proper selection and screening of surrogates.

The first thing that jumped out to me was that this surrogate/gestational carrier did not seem to know that her “IP’s” were a gay couple.


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