Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Art of Evading Questions

Politicians do it. Celebrities do it. Why not infertiles? As I embarked on the first announcement to friends of our pregnancy, I didn't do much prep for spin control. I figured we'd just explain we are using a surrogate and that would be that. No mention of donor egg necessary at this point. It all went well in terms of reactions, which came as a huge relief. Joy, laughter, tears were all part of the response to our good news. The one thing I didn't figure out before hand is how to evade the questions about eggs.

We all know there is an art to evading certain questions you are not ready to answer. If you do this with confidence and finesse, no one will question you. I learned this by not having the right answer the first time around. When we told the first set of friends, I wasn't ready for this question:

"So how does it work? Is it the surrogate's egg or yours?"

I had some choices for this answer that I realized only in retrospect:

A) Lie and say, "My egg."
B) Withhold info and say, "Oh, it's not the surrogate's egg." (not the same as lying)
C) Sort of a lie, but not really, and say "No, they put our embryo in her." (In the most gruesome of terms we did buy the egg that made the embryo, so it's "our" embryo).
D) Spill the beans and tell the truth and disclose about the donor egg.
E) None of the above, just run.

So being caught off guard, I went with Choice D and told them about the donor egg. Even though we had no intention of telling them. But I really didn't know how to evade the question. We explained that we are keeping this private among close friends and family and that we feel strongly it it the child's story to tell, not ours. They understood.

But lesson learned. For the second try with another friend, we tried to bypass questions altogether and just told her we are using a surrogate and our embryo. That seemed to work and yet I had a lingering feeling of guilt that I wasn't revealing the whole truth. I explained we want it to be the child's story and began some non-sensical garbage about our hesitation to tell people which I could tell just started to confuse her. I could see her puzzled look and knew she was probably thinking, "What's the big deal if the child is genetically yours?" Which of course, it is not. But I realized I don't need to get into much, just keep it short and to the point. I am hoping this guilty feeling passes in time. However, I am finding that Choice C seems to be a good one for us. Just like the SATs, I remember some prep course teacher saying, "If you don't know the answer, choose C." It was something about the odds being in your favor that more "Cs" would be a correct answer.


Infertile In the City said...

And maybe it is me - but it is yours, your love your relentles never give up ever makes that little amazing growing little naked person yours - it is not a lie.
I admire your strength Tabi and as we embark on our second run with surrogacy I keep reflecting back on the post that you did oh so many months ago about the tiger mom... roar.

JellyBelly said...

i agree with IITC, that baby is 100% yours. you're not lying at all (and that's coming from someone with way to much catholic guilt!).

we've become very good at evading questions about our childlessness. heck, i'm going to have major surgery in august and barely anyone knows.

it's what you feel comfortable about sharing. if you want to tell people the truth, then go ahead. if you don't, then do that too. there aren't any hard and fast rules in the land of IF.

Dora said...

I'm generally pretty open about being pregnant via embryo donation, but I don't always want or expect to get into it with people I meet during the course of my day. The question that seems to lead to greater explanation is, since I'm pregnant at 46, have I had an amnio. I suppose I could just say yes, but since the embryo was created with a 23 year old egg donor, no amnio. I wonder if just saying yes will lead to questions about the amnio experience. Which I've never experienced.

Sue said...

In the end I don't think what you say to people matters that much. I was fairly open with people when I was pregnant with a DE embryo, but I don't know that providing that information was always necessary. My best friend, who knows I used a DE embryo, frequently comments on how my baby looks like me. She also recently commented, in response to something I said about older women using DE to get pregnant, that just because I had to use donor eggs doesn't mean EVERYONE else has had to use them too. People just think what they want to think.

DAVs said...

I like choice C too!

Sarah said...

Kudos to you for crossing a major milestone - disclosure of your happy news! I am really glad that you received a warm and loving reception - really there should be no other reactions! There is no right or wrong answer here but what feels the best to you and what you are comfortable being consistent with. I agree with everyone else too! :O)

Anonymous said...

Gah. It is so hard. We told our families this week - about the pregnancy, not the donor sperm - thank god no one asked I have no idea what I would do - but I am sure the questions will come.

FET Accompli said...

I was awaiting this post and can't believe I missed it! (Well, I can, I have been stuck at work for quite a while and am just now coming up for air).

I am sooo glad to hear that people's reactions involved joy, laughter and tears. That is good. Hopefully I can expect the same!!

In terms of the question about telling vs. not telling about the DE, I agree with the other bloggers that this baby is 100% yours. Really. And I agree with the option about saying it is your embryo. Be confident in your response because it it is your embryo! No further explanation required.

Lost Soul said...

Hey Maybe -

DH and I conceived our son in the exact same way -- DE/GC. And, I opted for C also, but have been confronted with rude questions -- is it donor egg...argh. People are unbelieable. This is the situation I most struggle with. Not because I'm ashamed, it's just TMI for the situation. Also, I don't feel obligated to explain my life to certain the end, I do tell the truth, because I feel strongly that what will shape my son's attitude about his conception most strongly is our attitude. So, I am struggling to develop a thick skin of "it's no big deal."