Every week, Daniel Mallory Ortberg answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.
Q. Not my eggs: I am a trans man engaged to a cis man. I already have a child from a previous relationship, pre-transition. As we talk marriage, children have come up a lot. He wants kids. I love kids and love being a parent, but I don’t care if I share biological material with the kid. He does. He has been sending me articles about egg harvesting, and the thought of having to stop my transition sends me into panic mode. He wants a child that is biologically both of ours, carried by a surrogate. We have the financial means to do that, so really the hang-up is me not wanting to stop my transition to harvest some eggs. How do I tell him, “Honey, I love you, I would love to raise more children with you, but I do not want my genetic material involved”?
A: Tell him exactly that. That’s an entirely reasonable stance to take, and you have every right to decline to put yourself through an expensive, arduous egg-harvesting process that you don’t want (and that might require going off of hormones for a significant period of time). This is an important and necessary conversation. You two may need to spend time dealing with the grief or sadness he feels at the prospect of not having biological children together, but you have sufficient reason to make this decision about your own body.
The question of sending articles to a loved one in lieu of having a face-to-face, difficult conversation came up in the live chat this week, and I think it’s important to tell your partner that you don’t want him to send you any more articles about egg harvesting. You instead want to talk honestly with each other about what you want, what you don’t want, what areas it’s possible to find compromise in, and what your limits are. He’s made it clear what he wants, and I think it’s time for you to be equally clear about what you want, what you need, and what you’re capable of. They’re your eggs, and it’s your body, and while you can respect where he’s coming from, ultimately you’re the one who gets to make the final call about what you do with it.