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12 January 2023

Exploring Donor Conception with the Counsellor – part 3

Our counsellor Mollie Graneek explored in the first 2 parts of her blog, donor conception. Part 1 included “Implications of Donor (Gamete) Conception”, while part 2 was about “How to decide if donor route is right for you”.


The current blog weighs on the importance of exploring donor conception with the counsellor.




Below are some of the issues which will be explored with the fertility counsellor in a session set usually before treatment is authorized.  The counsellor will also direct patients to other organizations who will further support them with their questions (The Donor Conception Network, National Gamete Donation Trust, HFEA, BICA).



  1. Most people who want children want to bring them up with honesty and integrity. Can a parent realistically impress these qualities on a child when they are not being honest about something as fundamental as the origins of conception?
  2. Openness offers donor conceived children the right of choice and, to be able to make contact with a donor, when the age is appropriate, should they want to. There is of course no guarantee that the donor will be receptive to contact.
  3. Donor conceived children often have many half-siblings and, being honest about the origins of conception may help to minimize their meeting and, having a relationship with someone to whom they later discover are genetically related.
  4. With the disclosure laws firmly in place, a donor conceived child may find out about the origins of their conception from some source other than their parents.
  5. Untruths beget untruths and are often very difficult to disentangle.
  6. In the case of a woman who conceived at the age of 45 – 50 through egg donation, it is imperative that any female child resulting from treatment is aware of the donation for, she may defer getting pregnant because ‘my mother had me when she was 50’!
  7. Parents are often afraid to tell their child the truth about their conception in case their child makes contact with their donor and ‘favours’ them in some way to the parent who brought them up.




Diversity of Fertility Treatment

There are of course many ways of creating a family.  We live in a diverse society with expectations of fairness and equality.  Equality may be considered as creating a fairer society where everyone can reach their potential.  People coming to fertility clinics want to reach their potential – that of becoming parents.


The diversity of fertility treatment therefore demands diversity within the counselling session.  Within the session we are faced with differences – cultural differences and cultural beliefs, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic background etc.  It is important therefore that the counsellor accommodates as many of our patients’ needs as possible and discriminates against few.


Advances in medical treatments mean it is technically possible for more people with fertility problems that ever before to conceive a baby.  Career women putting off the decision to have a baby until it is ‘biologically too late’ are tempted by the option of freezing their eggs.  Companies such as Google and Facebook offer the incentive of freezing eggs in the hope of keeping experienced and valued female workers.  It is advocated that this gives women the freedom of choice in their decision to create a family but, also raises some issues to be explored with a fertility counsellor:


  • How many eggs should I freeze?
  • For how long should I defer motherhood?
  • What happens to the eggs if I decide I don’t want to use them after all?
  • What is the cut off age for using my eggs?
  • How old is ‘too old’ to be a mother?
  • Is pregnancy certain following egg freezing?
  • What if I discover I have no eggs?


To discuss your fertility journey with a counsellor, please contact us today.