Let’s Talk About Egg Donation, the brainchild of Carole LieberWilkins and co-author Marna Gatlin has been eight years in the making! For years Carole and Marna had many many conversations about the lack of any book on the market that would help parents talk to their kids about their donor conception–a book that would share real stories from real people about their journey through egg donation.
Founder and Executive Director, Parents via Egg Donation
One rainy afternoon in Portland over coffee, Carole and Marna had their very first brainstorming session and Let’s Talk About Egg Donation was born.
There were no books at the time on the market for donor conceived children or their parents about talking to their children about their donor conception story. Both Marna and Carole felt strongly that a book like this was needed in the egg donation and embryo donation community.
Marna Gatlin is the Founder and Executive Director of Parents via Egg Donation (PVED). Having kids and being a mom was something Marna always thought she would do. But that’s not the way it worked out—at least not for her. Marna struggled with infertility for many years, until in the winter of 2000 when she had her son through egg donation. Marna, like many of the intended parents she talks with on a daily basis, struggled with her own genetic link loss as she wrapped her head around the idea of egg donation.
When Marna first learned about egg donation, she was curious, excited, and, above all, hopeful that this process might be the conduit for her to achieve her lifelong dream of becoming a mom. As she began her quest to learn about egg donation, she was extraordinarily frustrated by the lack of information available about this particular kind of assisted reproductive technology. Marna wanted education and support. She also wanted to be empowered. However, back in the late 90’s, there wasn’t much in the way of education, support, or empowerment. In fact, during her pregnancy she was pretty much on her own, except for her husband, family, and a small email support group that she clung to. This support group was truly herlifeline.
After her son was born, Marna felt isolated and alone during what should have been the happiest time of herlife. She didn’t want anyone considering or parenting after egg donation to go through what she did alone, so she decided to create an organization that would embrace every parent who had chosen egg donation to grow their family. Marna wanted to welcome traditional parents, single mothers and fathers, as well as gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals into a warm community. Like many of these individuals Marna recognized they didn’t have the means to receive support to become educated, empowered, or have a voice. She knew they often felt lonely, isolated, or like they didn’t belong. And so Parents Via Egg Donation (PVED) was born.
Marna’s broader vision was to create a global resource for unbiased, timely, and accurate information about egg donation, eliminating the need to scour the Internet for answers. Today, PVED is home to thousands of members who share emotional support, as well as egg donor, clinic, agency, and medication protocols; mental health questions; legal concerns; anecdotes; and other information about egg or embryo donation on a daily basis.
Marriage and Family Therapist, Los Angeles
After being diagnosed with significant Premature Ovarian Failure at the age of 30, Carole first became a mom via adoption to her son, Alex, now 32 years old. She was present at the moment of birth and his dad cut the umbilical cord. Then, wanting to add to their family, she ‘accidentally’ became a pioneer when she became one of the first few people in the world to receive a “donated” egg. Daniel, now 31, is one of the first 11 people in the world born through egg donation.
Carole’s career was launched with the passion to help families tell the truth about donor conception with all the enthusiasm that she felt when she talked to her own kids about their genetic connections to others and the story of how they became a family. Through warmth and storytelling and engaging together, parents can discover what their kids are thinking and feeling and guide the discussions from there. For three decades now, Carole has been helping individuals create healthy families by guiding them to the path that is just right for that family. And when that means parents and kids don’t share genetic connections, Carole helps them begin the lifelong process of weaving their family building story into the fabric of the family life.
For over 25 years, at lectures, conferences and her private practice in Los Angeles, Carole has been asked her if there was a book that talked about how to talk to kids about donor conception, or how to navigate the process to get there. And there wasn’t. So, finally, Carole and co-author, Marna Gatlin, created a soup-to-nuts book about egg and embryo donation, whose focus is on information sharing. LET’S TALK ABOUT EGG DONATION, is finally arriving July 2019!