I made it up to 33 weeks before Finnegan’s arrival. He was born folded and twisted like a street cart pretzel with knee, hip and elbow dislocations. He was born with lungs so weak that he needed the help of machines to breathe for almost two months. But he was born. And when I stared down at him in the intensive care unit and saw his resemblance to me – the blue eyes, the brown hair, the upturned nose that had called me Miss Piggy as a kid – I wondered, if Finnegan and I had one Been out together for a day and I’ve seen children who had the same set of characteristics. Or would my egg donor children, even if they had been mixed with an unknown Y chromosome, be unrecognizable even to me?
I recently listened to a podcast about the children of a serial sperm donor. Each of them innocently handed swabs to 23andMe, expecting to find out what part of the world they came from and what diseases they were prone to. Instead, they found that they had dozens of donor siblings (or “siblings” as they called each other). That annoyed me. I never thought there would be a line – traceable and findable for only $ 199 – from Finnegan to the children who may have been born from the eggs I sold. The cloak of anonymity under which I donated my eggs failed to predict the rapid rise in consumer DNA testing. Which meant that I couldn’t predict how the decision I made 10 years before Finnegan’s birth would resonate for the rest of his life.
When Finnegan, now 2, getting well at home – dropping his medication, growing out of his casts, and walking alone – I started pondering how Emmett and I would one day speak to him about his possible split siblings. After all these years, I had to wonder how I was looking at my egg donation.
Was it a means to an end, just a way to top up my skinny intern’s salary?
Was it the ultimate gift that made aspiring parents’ dreams possible?
Was that what I always suspect damaged my body and put Finnegan’s life at risk?
Or was it, as I imagined these revolving doors to be, the necessary precursor for everything in my life that I love? Not so much a revolving door as a sliding door, to borrow a Gwyneth Paltrow rom-com metaphor?
Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes.
And when we finally tell Finnegan his birth story, it will be a story of circumstances, close calls, a fateful cute meeting, and so much love. A story with at least one happy to the end. Or maybe up to 29.
Justine Feron is a writer and advertising executive who lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.