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Marianne Nozell and her twins

Marianne Nozell and her twins

CNN’s latest on the Kelly Preston story (see links below) was to interview fertility specialists (who appeared to be dancing on eggshells) on the delicate subject of how and if mature women can get pregnant.

We all know what it’s like to be ensconced in one of those ‘politically correct’ social situations where you’re just dying to state what everyone’s really thinking, but can’t.

Mention the terms “egg donation” and “women over 40” in the same breath and you can almost hear the angry murmur of the lowest incarnations on the enlightenment chain thinking: “How unnatural—an old lady getting pregnant with somebody else’s eggs! How can she be a real mother?”

Like taking a simple, ‘snapshot’ view of any real human story, knee-jerk reactions rarely expose the inner truth of the matter.

Marianne Nozell from Texas was 40 years old with two grown-up children when she married a second time, to a man who wanted to have a family.

Now 46, the Registered Nurse Manager of an ICU, had tried four times to get pregnant using her own eggs over a three year period and failed.

“The hardest thing to hear every time you went in and got a pregnancy test was that it was always negative, and then I had to go home and tell my husband”, she recalls.

She was finally told that her eggs were too old and that her only avenue still open to motherhood was to find an egg donor.

It was when she went online seeking help and information that Nozell found Parents Via Egg Donation (http://pved NULL.org/), an online non-profit organization offering support to older women (amongst other women with fertility challenges) hoping to become parents.

“They were always there for me,” says Marianne Nozell, “all the way through my pregnancy”.

After three years of trying, she conceived with the help of a 29-year-old egg donor who was “a good match”, healthy, with living parents and grandparents with few health issues.

“I wasn’t looking for a Phd or anyone like that”, says Nozell, who adds that her husband’s genes played a significant role in the process.

She was 43 when they learned she was pregnant with twins and she admits to being “scared and crying at the same time”.

Marianne Nozell is adamant that getting pregnant by egg donation is not ‘unnatural’ because she says “they were growing inside of me.

While some people thought she was “crazy”, others tried to help as they understood the circumstances.

“The hard part and the part not sure is what do I tell them [the twins] when they are old enough to understand that they are not really mine when they are,” she says.

“They have step-brothers that love them and will always be there for them.”

Of having doubts about her pregnancy, Nozell admits: “Only once, when breast feeding the twins, I thought of all the expense and asked myself ‘what did you do?’—then I looked at them and felt they are just great to have.”

Now that the children are 2-years-old, Marianne—whose 6th wedding anniversary is today—says: “They are keeping us young and we have a long road ahead!”

Marna Gatlin from Portland OR, founder of Parents Via Egg Donation (http://pved NULL.org/) —who is currently working on her Masters in Education—was 38 when she conceived with the help of an egg donor.

“For as long as I could remember I was always going to have two girls and two boys and be married to the love of my life,” she says. “That was my dream.”

But after many miscarriages, a fertility specialist finally told her what she “needed to hear, which was the truth” in that her eggs were not up to par.

Now the mother of a 9-year-old through egg donation, it had become Gatlin’s mission to aid would-be parents who could not conceive with their own eggs—for whatever reason—and felt isolated and needing to “receive support, get educated, become empowered or have a voice.”

Gatlin says that 75% of PVED’s (http://pved NULL.org/) membership consists of women over 40 who often arrive “overwhelmed, panicked, puzzled and really upset that their physician has just dropped the bomb on them that they either have poor egg quality or diminished ovarian reserve.

“The over-40 club is bittersweet for many,” she says.

While they are up against “social resistance,” she insists that “having a child over 40 has so many pluses—we are settled, stable and our careers are established.”

“We are more patient, and most importantly we want this so badly we are ready to consciously make those sacrifices in order to have children,” she continues.

Yet, their concerns about pregnancy through an egg donor are whether they will be able to bond with a baby not genetically related to them, or if the baby will love them in return.

They ask, “Am I a real mother?”

“My answer is always ‘Absolutely, positively, absolutely!” says Marna Gatlin, who is clearly in a position to know.

Notes for this blog:

Flower Power Mom, main website: http://www.achildafter40.com (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/)

Contact Flower Power Mom: email (e‌ditor null@null ‍flowerpowermom NULL.com)

To contact Parents Via Egg Donation:

http://pved.org (http://pved NULL.org/)

History for this blog: CNN live interview (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/publicfiles/Angel_CNN NULL.mp4) with founder of Flower Power Mom (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/)

Readers reacted on the CNN producer’s blog (http://newsroom NULL.blogs NULL.cnn NULL.com/2010/05/23/kelly-prestons-later-life-pregnancy-how-old-is-too-old-to-be-expecting/)

FPM’s Over-40 Moms and Supporters Networking Group (http://www NULL.facebook NULL.com/group NULL.php?gid=310289838109),

5 Responses to Do ‘Real’ Moms Use Donor Eggs?

  1. vida hamilton-sandle says:

    Are adoptive mothers real moms? Are birth mothers who reunite with the children they gave up for adoption real moms? A mom, is a mom, is a mom, no matter how the child came to be.

  2. Simplesurrogacy (http://simplesurrogacy NULL.com/) says:

    Yes, it doesn’t matter, Mom is a mom, a donor’s are special person to give the gift of life to a deserving couple.

  3. dondig says:

    A woman who uses donor eggs is very much the mom of the child. The biological mom, at that. It is her body and blood that feeds and nurtures the child developing in her womb for 9 months. It is she that goes through the swollen ankles, the stretch markes, the swelling breasts and the delivery. And ultimately it is she who raises the child to maturity. Sounds like a real mom to me. Ultimately, the genetics is a very small part of the equation. I also think, why bother to tell the child their genetics come from someone else they may never even meet?

    • Teresa Villegas (http://howwebecameafamily NULL.com/) says:

      This is a common misunderstanding. There are many reasons to tell a child about their genetic origins, even if you don’t ever anticipate meeting the donor.

      Being open and honest is the best policy. Families who have secrets undermine trust that leads to conflicts and can feel that their parents were ashamed of them or how they were conceived.

      If parents are open about how their child was conceived, there is no reason they should feel any different from any other child.

      We have enough history (and data) now (over 20 years) that people have been using egg donors or sperm donors and now these children who were donor conceived are adults, and can tell you why.

      I can only hope that someday telling children that they were donor conceived will be as common as telling children they were adopted. It wasn’t too long ago that the stigma of telling your child they were adopted was the norm. The person who loves and raises a child is a mother, no matter what age or what gender for that matter.

  4. quinesha williams (http://flowerpowermom NULL.com) says:

    I am a 30 year old who would love to be apart of such wonderful cause to help some one who’s looking for a joyful celebration of parenthood. Because i’m thirty, i don’t meet the qualifications but all the rest of the qualifications i meet. IS THERE ANY WAY I CAN DONATE MY EGGS AND BEING 30 YEARS OLD?

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