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Directed Egg Donation: How the Donation Narrative and the Conception Narrative Combine to Think about Origins

Raphaële Noël, Marie-Alexia Allard, Gabrielle Pelletier

Research Framework: The socio-legal context of Quebec allows access to different modalities of egg donation to conceive a child through assisted reproduction. The present qualitative empirical research focuses on directed egg donation in which the donor is known to the recipient couple (RC).

Objectives: This article aims to provide a better understanding of each person’s place in this new family reality and to study the impact of the use of egg donation regarding maternal identity and filiation.

Methodology: Semi-structured interviews accompanied by a free genogram (FG) were conducted with eight donors and eight RCs. An inductive and iterative logic guided the collection and analysis of data by conceptualizing categories.

Results: The analysis made it possible to highlight the development of an emotional and relational history between donors and RCs as a backdrop to the specific issues at stake for each of them. If there is indeed an encounter between both parties, the psychic work they go through, and which appears in the course of the FG reveals different universes.

Conclusions: Thus, it is an opportunity for the donor to develop a meaning to her donation in the light of her personal and family history, laying the foundations for a narrative of donation, allowing for a work of historicization and re-subjectivation. As the parents, they construct the story that enabled them to give birth to their child, questioning the place of the donor and the link with her, as well as the maternal identity.

Contribution: As a basis for the psychic birth of the parents and in particular of the mother, such a conception narrative is combined with the donation narrative to think about the origins of the child. This article contributes to the reflection on becoming a parent by means of directed egg donation. It raises the importance of offering support to both the RC and the donor to enable each to develop a narrative that is in continuity with their own story.