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The experience of known egg donors : what it means to help a family member create a life Winter, Alanna Therese

Abstract

This study explores the experiences of three women who have donated their eggs to a family member and thereby helped them to create a life. Because there is little known about the post-donation experiences of those involved in known egg donation situations, this study was an attempt to begin to learn more about the implications and issues involved in this form of third-party reproduction from the perspective of the donor. A narrative research approach was utilized. To begin, an audio-taped, unstructured interview was conducted with the participants about their experiences as egg donors. Following the interview I developed third-person narrative accounts that were presented to the participants to ensure correspondence. The narrative accounts were then analyzed for common elements. Thirteen common elements were identified. The participants were also presented with these common elements to ensure they were representative of their experiences as known egg donors. The common elements were labeled: donor as instigator, consultation with spouse, compassion as the most significant motivator, importance of being finished building their own families, concerns about future health problems, clarity of donor's role, importance of pre-donation couraelling, feelings regarding disclosure to others, feelings regarding disclosure to the child(ren), positive responses from others, looking for resemblances, special relationship between donor's children and recipient's child(ren), relationships with recipients deepened. The results of the study indicate that for these three participants egg donation to a family member was a satisfying, life-enhancing experience. The results are discussed in light of current literature regarding egg donors, with suggestions made for counsellors working within the field of infertility treatment, and possible directions for future research.

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