What makes someone want to be an egg donor? It’s a complicated, painful, time-consuming process that is not without risk. Is it for the money? For ego reasons? Tia Swanger agreed to share her story. If you are an infertile couple considering egg donation, it may give you some peace.
Thirteen years ago, Tia was a preschool teacher on maternity leave. She hadn’t expected becoming a parent to be much of a change from her role as a teacher. But, “I was wrong! Having the baby changed us. We saw how the miracle of life brings God close to you.”
One day, she noticed a newspaper ad soliciting egg donors. “I read what it said about infertility, and I started thinking about how sad it was that someone could want a child and not be able to have one. I realized I could help someone have what I have – and feel what I feel – and I wanted to do that. I felt like God was calling me to do that.” She talked to her husband about it. “Jeff said, ‘If you feel led to do this, you need to do this.’” So, she called the clinic.
“It was a huge process,” she said. There were tests and screenings, a psychiatric evaluation, two shots a day, side effects (that, for her, would include leukopenia), “plus, I had to find someone to watch the baby, we didn’t live anywhere near the clinic, and… it was definitely a challenge.”
One day, an unidentified couple requested photos of Tia and her baby. Then, they requested additional genetic testing. “I did whatever they wanted, and everything came back perfect,” Tia said. “There were never names or faces. No information about them. But then, I got a letter. It said, ‘Dear Donor, Thank you! After 14 years of infertility…!’” It said the father had received a heart transplant, so this was not the family’s first experience receiving a gift of life.
“I read that letter,” recalled Tia, “and I prayed, ‘Please God, let this happen for them.’ I never heard another word. I prayed and I hoped… but I’ll never know. In my heart, I feel it was successful. ”
Did Tia ever regret giving away a part of herself? “I had no issues with that. Ever. I’m not the mother of that child. I’m not holding that child’s hand and walking them to the bus; that’s the mother. I’m not comforting them, helping them when they’re hurt, loving them every day; that’s the mother. I’m just a way for someone to become a mother.”
Can she understand why someone might worry about using an egg donor? “Sure, but there’s a bigger picture to consider. It may not be your flesh, but that baby will call you ‘Mama.’ When you hold that bundle of joy, it will supersede all your preconceived notions. A baby bonds, and it knows no one but you as the mother. It doesn’t matter to that baby what the genetics are. It just knows love.”
What advice would Tia offer infertile couples considering egg donation? “Look inside yourself. Ask, ‘Why do I want a baby? Is it to have a part of me walking around in the world, or to share a life?’ It shouldn’t matter to you whose genes these are. Once you love this child as your own, that won’t matter. This child will be yours.”
Tia will never meet the child(ren) her egg(s) helped conceive, and she has complete peace about it. “I think about it every now and then, but not a lot. What I did was God’s will, not mine. I was obedient to the calling, and what a privilege. I never felt afraid, just like – a job’s got to be done, so you do it. End of story. Some people might question my decision, but if I know it’s God’s will, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do. Nothing.”
The Bible says, “… serve the Lord with gladness.” Tia did, and through her, God gave the gift of an egg to a couple longing to steward a little soul.
Might He intend to bring a child into the life of your family the same way? If so, may the story of Tia’s selfless gift — given in response to God’s tug on her heart — bring you peace.
Find more resources and cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com