Unconventional Means To Motherhood: Breaking The Donor Egg Taboo

Why Is The Use Of Donor Eggs Still Taboo?Cheap Is The New Classy

Many couples who have unsuccessfully tried to conceive a child through traditional intercourse find that they need medical intervention in order to achieve a healthy pregnancy. In the United States, 1.5% of all babies are conceived through the use of IVF. People hardly bat an eye about so-called ‘test-tube babies’ anymore, but other unconventional methods like egg donation, may still cause raised brows. It’s unfortunate that the use of donor eggs to conceive is still seen as taboo. But why?

Why Is The Use Of Donor Eggs Still Taboo?

Egg Donor Process
Of those babies conceived through IVF, 15% of couples used egg donors. That’s not insignificant! A couple may be unable to use the female partner’s own eggs because of medical diagnoses like diminished ovarian reserve or premature ovarian failure, or due to genetic conditions in the mother’s genetic line that they don’t wish to pass down. In other cases, treatments for other medical conditions, such as cancer, may have affected the viability of her eggs. For any of these reasons, donor egg IVF might be the best chance at achieving a viable pregnancy.

Why Is The Use Of Donor Eggs Still Taboo?

Once the couple decides to pursue donation, they can start to get in contact with agencies and donor egg banks who can assist them in finding the perfect donor. Depending on the specific criteria the couple wants in a donor, a match may be found within a few days to a few months. After pre-screening and cycle coordination have been completed, the donor undergoes the first half of an IVF cycle to retrieve the eggs, which fertilized using the couples own sperm and transferred back into the intended mother. Egg donor IVF cycles have a 49% success rate and so, with good luck, the couple then becomes pregnant! Which is what all infertile couples want… So why the lingering taboo?

While sperm donation has been widely available since the 60s and is well accepted by society, egg donation is a much newer procedure, being pioneered in the 80s, and has not yet become as ubiquitous in society. But with recent advances in egg freezing technology, more infertile women are using donor eggs than ever before, and perceptions have still been slow to shift.

Some have speculated that the taboo against donor eggs might be due to ageism towards women on the part of society. A larger percentage of women are waiting to start their family building efforts and are building careers first… But then, when they want to start a family, they may find that their own eggs are no longer viable. Society shames them for being “too old” to reproduce and argues that they shouldn’t be allowed to try with a younger woman’s eggs. There are also people who view it as a problem because the mother has no genetic link to her child. This is the same as with adoption, but the idea of the mother being pregnant with a baby she isn’t genetically related to seems to be harder to accept.

Why Is The Use Of Donor Eggs Still Taboo?

Nature vs Nurture
For years, the debate about nature vs nurture has raged. What makes a person who they are, their genetics or their environment? There’s no doubt that a combination of genetic and environmental factors affects humans as they grow and develop, but recently there have been major breakthroughs in understanding how life in the womb affects the characteristics and attachments of babies. Babies, we now know, respond to their mother’s voice not only immediately after birth but also within the womb itself! While the mother is still pregnant, the baby moves more and has a slower, more relaxed heartbeat when hearing their mother’s voice than that of a stranger. This effect can be observed as early as the second trimester! These responses remain true after birth, the mother’s voice is immediately calming. These responses have nothing to do with genetics and everything to do with the bond that has been formed during the pregnancy itself.

When a woman uses donor eggs to conceive, she will have the following 9 months to bond with that child. She is in control of its nutrition and emotional environment and she will give birth. The act of giving birth itself releases oxytocin in both the mother and baby, deepening the bond that had been created throughout the pregnancy itself. This is motherhood. Genetics are not necessary in forming a family. And there should certainly be no taboo around using to the technology available to get there.

*This is a sponsored conversation contributed by Donor Egg Bank USA.

About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn is a full time travel and lifestyle blogger. Besides Cheap Is The New Classy, she also owns and writes for EatPlayRock.com, an entertainment site. Her interests include traveling, home decor, DIY projects, organizing her home and enjoying a nice cup of coffee {or two}. She currently resides in North Carolina with her dog, Daisy.


  1. robin rue says:

    I think everyone needs to do what is right for them. There is no right or wrong 🙂

  2. I have never really understood why Egg Donation and use has been taboo either. Like you said, sperm donation is widely accepted! I never had any issues personally, but I know I would have done anything I needed to in order to have a child when I was trying to get pregnant.

  3. I actually had no idea that it was looked down upon. I don’t see why anyone would want to judge a person based on how they’ve had their child. If they are unable to get pregnant for whatever reason, and have to go a different route with medical intervention, then so be it.

  4. Your child is the person that you love and raise. So I’m all for people having babies any way they want to. And my uncle was adopted so… I’ve never seen why it matters if you’re genetically related to your baby.

  5. This is interesting because a friend of mine was discussing this a few days ago. It’s great that people have the ability to donate their eggs. I couldn’t do it but this is great for couples who want to have kids!! So awesome!

  6. Interesting read. I have had so many friends and family use one or the other method. One used both, if I recall correctly. All are the best parents, as they are acutely aware of the gift they have.

  7. It is strange that egg donation is still seen as taboo. I remember hearing about it years ago with the discussion being about how much more invasive the procedure was to retrieve eggs vs sperm. I don’t see anything wrong with either. If you want to be a parent should have options.

  8. Being a parent is such a gift and if egg donation can help you get there, then why not pursue it. People are always going to judge, you just have to decide if you care to listen.

  9. I think, it’s an amazing thing to donate your eggs. This post is very helpful for those who wants to donate their eggs.

  10. This is very interesting and informative to learn about allnthis. It’s also interesting that this is still being considered a taboo when many companies can’t conceive naturally.

  11. Well it is hard to donate eggs than to donate sperm so it might be good that not as many people use donated eggs. I really don’t know very much about IVF though.

  12. I have heard a lot about IVF and not sure why so many people think it’s taboo! If people really knew how much Women have to go through during that process then maybe they would understand more.

  13. I just think that it is great that there are options like this available for people. No matter what the issue, at least they are able to get their outcome!

  14. I think its a wonderful thing that egg donation came around. Some women would be such great mothers but unfortunately are unable to use their own eggs. I believe you don’t have to be blood to be family

  15. I think it’s a great way that science today can help women getting pregnant, especially for the women who would love the pleasure of being a mom.

  16. Each situation is unique and it’s wonderful there are so many ways for families to experience parenthood.

  17. Learned something new today….for some reason, I thought that egg donor IVF cycles would have had a higher success rate than 49%. I didn’t know that it was more like a 50/50 chance.

  18. Thanks for sharing this information. Good read. I learned something new today about egg donation.

  19. I think that this is a wonderful option for couples looking to conceive. I can’t imagine the frustration and heartbreak involved in wanting to start a family and being unable to do so.

  20. If you’re ready and you can support a child then I don’t see anything wrong with it. I think it’s a good option for women. We should be in control of our bodies and choices and no one should say otherwise.

  21. I didn’t realize that the subject of donor eggs was taboo. It seems like an amazing blessing and gift for someone to donate such a precious thing.

  22. Being able to have a child is such a privilege and a huge gift not matter how you got there. Weather it was natural or egg donation or adoption. Either way they are still your children and people need to accept it as is. People judge no matter what you do as long as the parents and children are happy the rest don’t matter.

  23. I don’t understand the taboo either. I think it’s a wonderful way to help those who have trouble conceiving.