Thursday, September 16, 2010

Counselling Session

Yes, if you've read V's post, you know we finally had that session with the social worker yesterday.

We were booked in for 8:30am. Getting into the downtown core from the eastern end of the GTA is a challenge any morning. But yesterday with 90 minutes allowed we were still late. We left at 7am and got there at 9am. I had called in at 8:30 to let them know we were downtown but stuck in traffic. Once we secured parking (our usual lot is closed for renovations) we got up to the clinic at 9:10. I knew the appointment was schedule for an hour and I said to V that I hoped she wasn't going to say she didn't have time and we'd have to reschedule. We were very lucky. She didn't have another appointment until 10am.

Anyone who has had to go through this type of appointment whether it's for donor egg or donor embryo, has had the same discussions. She asked us about ourselves, as about us as a couple, and then moved onto more important questions.

She first asked if we'd talked about what we were doing with anyone. We have done so with select friends and very limited family. She said that if we were successful we'd have to decide if we were going to tell anyone, who and how much. And in terms of any children, we'd have to decide the same. The usual answer is "I'll tell when he/she asks" but how does a child know to ask? V thought telling before puberty made sense, whereas I thought more around 5-6 in a more simplistic version of how they were conceived. She made a really good point. When you have this discussion you want to make it about the child's conception not about trust. So, if you wait until the child is a bit older, when you think they can understand (or even wait until they're in their teens) they could respond with "why didn't you tell me before?" making it a trust issue. So, she's recommended that you start talking about it as early as 3 years old. A toddler will just accept it as that's how all children are conceived and won't know to ask why didn't you tell me before because there is no before.

She asked us how we felt about contact with the donors. We thought we would be agreeable to meeting them if they wanted to meet us. Because any other children the donors have would be full siblings, she also raised the question, what if the child wants to meet them. We said we were fine with that as well. This brought her to the difference between adoption and donor embryo conception. I had explained that for me, I didn't find any difference between using a donor egg vs a donor embryo because my genetics isn't involved either way. I was a little disappointed I'd be giving up the genetic link to V, but I likened it to adoption in that there would be no genetic link to either of us in that regard. She made an important statement, one that I hadn't thought about. For a child, when they are adopted they may want to meet their biological parents to find out why they were given up. Whereas with donor embryo conceived children there are no other parents. They know that they were wanted and that it took great lengths and great expense to have them.

Those are the things that stick with me from yesterday. In spite of our bumpy first meeting over the phone, she turned out to be a very nice person and it was clearly evident why having us come down in person made sense.

Her report isn't required for us to move onto the next stage. If there was any reason why she wouldn't recommend us for the donor embryo program, she would have told us yesterday. So now we move on to viewing and choosing a profile. I suspect it will be a few days before we get anything from the clinic.


Lut C. said...

Sounds like a good consult.

I liked her view on when to tell a child about their conception.

Also the difference between adoption and embryo donation, I agree that there isn't the question 'why was I given up'. Even though there may not be other 'parents', a donor conceived child may still be curious about their biological roots.

Looking at profiles! Exciting!

Anonymous said...

How exciting! We've been going trhough IVFICSI cycles for approximately 6 trillion years and are on the donor waiting list for eggs at our clinic now. We tried some IUI cycles with donor sperm a few years ago too, so have already thought through a lot of this stuff when we went through counselling at that time. Interesting to hear the perspectives expressed here though.

I hope all goes well; looking at profiles sounds exciting!

Midlife Mommy said...

We were kind of lucky, I guess. I don't know if my state is just backward, but the clinics don't have their own egg donor programs. We were referred to an "egg broker" (the only one in the state) and frankly, it was probably in her economic interest to move us along. We did have the same type of discussion though (the egg broker is an MSW).

About the telling thing. My daughter is six, and I haven't figured out quite how to do it yet. She knows that we used a doctor, that the eggs were fertilized outside of my body and the embryos were put back in. I just haven't quite figured out a way to just work the DE thing into a conversation. It would come up naturally if we were to talk about genetics, I suppose.

I have some books, but to have her read one and then discuss it would not be in her own time and I would think it would be kind of contrived. Still trying to work this one out in my head.