People keep asking me why I have decided to donate my eggs.
It’s quite hard to describe but honestly, I just want to help another couple have the opportunity have a child of their own. When I learnt more about the type of women who use egg donors, most have had cancer treatment, have genetic issues and can not use their own eggs, or they have gone through the menopause. It seems only right to offer to help these people the chance to have a baby of their own too.
I feel lucky to have learnt about the need for egg donors when I did as I was right on the cusp of being too old! You have to be under 36 to donate your eggs and the process can take a couple of months minimum- the clinic I contacted said I had to start the process 6 months before I turn 36. So as you can imagine the appointments have been quite swift!
How did i find a clinic? Google. The first thing I did was google “fertility clinic” in my home town and gave them a call.
My first question was about any impact on my own fertility and chances of having more children. The clinic assured me there is no risk to my fertility- they screen you to review your egg reserves and you have to fall within a certain range to be allowed to donate. Sometimes women can have a reaction to the drugs which can mean a hospital stay and be quite serious, but apparently this is rare and they monitor for signs of this.
The risk to me was always Martin’s biggest concern. He’s been 100% supportive of the process, which given I am likely to be a bit of a grumpy, hormonal mess at times is quite brave! I could never have decided to do this without him.
My second question was about the procedure and how it all works. its quite straightforward,
- Quite a few blood tests and lots of consent forms
- A scan and stopping of contraception.
- Then they match you with a woman needing an egg donor and sync your cycles
- The process for donating is exactly the same as the early stages of IVF. (I found this detail on the HFEA website)
- Medication taken as a daily injection or nasal spray will suppress the natural hormone production and give the doctor complete control of the fertility process.
- A scan to check your natural cycle is fully suppressed. If it is you start hormone treatment to boost the number of eggs your body produces.
- A day or two before the eggs are due to be collected you are given a hormone injection to help the eggs mature.
- The eggs will be collected whilst you’re sedated or under general anaesthetic. The procedure takes around half an hour and after you can feel a little sore or bruised.
- Whilst the eggs are being collected, the woman’s partner will be asked to produce a sperm sample (or her donor’s sperm will be taken from the freezer) for mixing with your eggs.
Sounds simple right?!
The third question I asked was about whether it mattered I had no familial medical history on my paternal side. I do not know, and never will know, who my biological father is. I am OK with that fact, but If I had the chance to find out who he is I would. Just to see what he looks like and to see if there are any personality traits we share. I wouldn’t be looking for a dad, or any money! Its interesting how many people have assumed and commented that any future contact from any child would mean this. Maybe that’s also influenced my decision to donate? Luckily not having my biological fathers details was not something that prevented me from donating as they screen for genetic disorders.
The overall reaction from people has been really kind and supportive. Its been interesting to see reactions from some people who believe I am giving away unborn babies, and Its made me realise how diverse and divided opinion is when it comes to fertility. I feel like I have learnt a lot about my friends and family’s beliefs around parenthood and mostly their beliefs in relation to the fact egg donation is no longer anonymous.
My fourth question when i called the clinic was in relation to the fact you can no longer be an anonymous donor. Since 2005 the law changed which meant that anyone who donates their eggs no longer has the ability to remain anonymous. You do not meet the people receiving the eggs, and they do not know who you are. But when any child born turns 18 they can request your details and make contact. Since its been less than 18 years since the law came into effect no one knows yet the impact.
The effect of this change in law is that there has been a significant decline in altruistic egg donation, so now there are long waiting lists. I understand most egg donations come from couples sharing their eggs with other couples, for discounted IVF treatment themselves. Waiting lists in the UK can be over a year long which must be the worst situation for couples wanting to conceive. At the clinic I will be attending the wait is 6 months.
The one thing you can know, is if any child is born from your donated eggs.
I have told Kayton ad Evie about what I am doing. Evie was impressed at first and thought it was cool, then started asking if she would have a brother or sister out there somewhere. The genetic similarity was something I hadn’t considered in great detail! We had a really interesting talk about the various scenarios, including what we would do if there was a child born who made contact with us.
So far I feel pretty comfortable about what I have to do and whats expected. I am not excited by the injections and I am anxious about the egg harvesting, but it all feels like the right thing to do.
I will keep you posted about the appointments and how it all goes, but if you think this may be something you would like to do then google your nearest fertility clinic and give them a call.
We would love to hear your views and thoughts on egg donation. Please leave a comment or email us a Shesaworkingmum@gmail.com. you can also follow my journey over on our instagram account @shesaworkingmum