Using donor eggs - a CARE Patient's story

All CARE Fertility patient stories

Egg recipent patient story

“We do understand that so many of us, have and will, go through the joy and heartache, putting your lives on hold and also the financial struggle when trying for a baby through IVF and other routes and I will try to put into words our story, although along the way we may have left out a few of the minor details. Our journey began about 23 years ago!

We, like most couples, thought lets start a family – ‘if only’! After about a year of trying we decided to go and see why nothing was happening. After tests starting with my husband, we found that he had a low sperm count and motility. That was a problem so in order to over come this we were offered the option of donor sperm as an inseminations treatment. We went down this road for about 7 years under going various tests along the way on myself and always being told at every review appointment that they couldn't understand why I was not pregnant!

At this time we were with Nurture and it was here that we were introduced to IVF. In 1991 we underwent our first IVF cycle. Over the next few years we had many treatment cycles with my own eggs but still all ending in failure. I can't explain how I felt other than I had this need that I could not give up. I was about to turn 40 and was told that the Nurture have a policy in which they cannot treat anybody over 40 with their own eggs so now what do we do? Luckily for us we were told of a new clinic that would be able to give us another chance with my own eggs and this was how we came to find CARE.

On our first visit we felt excited and looking forward to our treatment as we knew that we had found a really friendly and caring clinic and we were also told of a treatment called ICSI which would enable us to use my husband's sperm (this was some thing we had never come across before). It was all looking exciting for us at this point. We underwent another cycle of IVF using my own eggs but this ended in a negative result and we also had a cycle where we had none fertilise. After another review appointment we were advised that maybe egg donation was the route for us in view of my age. It didn't seem that we needed to think about this too much as we both so wanted children that if this was the best route for us then this was how it would be.

We did not have a straight forward journey down this route – at our first cycle in the year 2000, from what I can remember, the donor was very slow in responding and it ended in no eggs. This was so unexpected but again the staff at CARE were so supportive and reassured that we would be able to carry on, so I kept on with the medication until I was matched again with a donor. It took a few months after we had started our cycle in which we received great news – our FIRST positive result – and I cannot say in words how I felt. When the phone call came I felt numb! I just kept saying are you sure and even had to hand over the phone to my husband to ask if I was hearing the news correctly IT WAS WONDERFUL and after so long it took some sinking in. YES IT IS Positive!

It was all going well until about 6 weeks when our world fell apart as I started to bleed and lost the pregnancy. I have never felt so much pain emotionally. I had to keep it all in as we had not at this point shared our journey to achieve children with any one. It was hard to keep my emotions under control when all around all seemed to be asking ‘don't you want children?’ It took us some time but after a while we did pick ourselves up and start to look forward to the fact that we had some frozen embryos and started to look ahead as to the right time for us to try again.

We started another cycle with our frozen embryos and just could not believe our luck – for a second time a positive result! BUT after a few weeks this ended in a loss. At this point I felt emotionally low but was still not ready for giving up after having 2 positive results. Another cycle about 10 months later again ended in a very low positive and failed to continue. This again left us devastated.

However, we seemed to receive so much support from CARE at our review appointments we felt we could go on with our journey to achieve our goal despite what we already gone through. After a lot of discussion we were then advised that it may be an idea to undergo tests which were scans at Pro Scan to check blood flow etc. and investigation tests with the Chicago clinic. We were lucky in that our own GP helped us with some of the investigation tests and this helped to keep some of the cost down. These results came back showing several reasons why I may not have been able to keep hold of a pregnancy. We had further appointments with George Ndukwe at CARE, who explained how he may be able to help us achieve our goal, all of which involved different and even more medication to do with immune problems. It does seem that you can do, and go through practically anything if it helps to achieve your wish for a child.

So again we waited to start another cycle, with donor eggs this time. With so much hope, for me it was always a very emotional time trying to keep things as normal as possible to the outside world, trying to juggle work and appointments when inside all you can think about is the treatment you are going through. I could not have coped if people were asking questions all the time about how I was feeling or coping (this was my way of coping with it by keeping it to ourselves). This cycle was to involve more drugs in order to try and help us over come problems involving blood flow, anti bodies, killer cells (can't really remember all the reasons) as after a time it all becomes a way of life taking all the medication. Again it was unbelievable, we did achieve a positive result and I was so scared from the start with so many what ifs!! Sadly yet again at about 4 weeks we lost this pregnancy – I was, at this point, devastated! All the thoughts again of why me, why will it not happen, oh so many things going on in my head. It was very hard emotionally at this point but still we did not feel I could give up my dream while there may still have been a chance for us.

It took us about another year before we could try again (money being a large stumbling block) and also needing to be emotionally ready for another cycle. We always had so much support from CARE and that for us was a really big help in giving us belief to carry on with treatment. It would have been November 2003 when we tried again but this cycle was another negative, which was such a blow for us but from this cycle we did also have embryos that were suitable for freezing so it gave us a chance for another cycle in the future. Well over a year passed until we were given the go ahead to have another cycle, this time with our frozen embryos. Sadly this ended in a negative and it was at his point that I felt it was just not to be for us. We had never discussed any of this with family or friends and after much searching we did confide in them and they gave us extra support and said if there was any chance of another treatment cycle we should go for it. So we did contact CARE again, asking if they would they consider us for our final chance (as age was not on my side).

We did get our chance to cycle again and we knew this was to be our last chance and this time we were matched with our donor and it was to be 2 persons share. It did take a little longer than expected in that I was not down regulating as fast as they would have liked and then the donor was taking a little longer to get to Egg collection so at this stage I was starting to think ‘oh no’ this is starting to go wrong from the start maybe it is not to be for us. On the day of egg collection we had five eggs (I was thinking what will our chances be? It seems the odds are always stacked against us). I can remember this time so clearly, we called on the Saturday for the fertilisation results and two had fertilised. I remember thinking only two? Then it was the wait to see if they would go on to divide so we could go ahead with transfer. When I rang I was told I was to be a day 3 transfer, something else I had never done so my thoughts at this time were all over the place with WHAT IF's.

Transfer day came and we both had so many mixed emotions seeing the embryos on the screen and knowing this was to be our last attempt. We had never been in and out so quickly with Embryo transfer and then it was the 2 week wait! Even though we had been at this point so many times, this time it did seem like a lifetime but it was Christmas and being busy took my mind off the waiting for some of the time (but it was always there in my thoughts). I tested just after Christmas and when CARE called to say it was positive I just could not believe it. I was so emotional we both just could not believe how lucky we had been after all the waiting. Although we had confided in the family they did not know exactly when we were cycling so we were able to keep the news to ourselves for a while, wanting to be sure things were going in the right direction having been at this point so many times before.

We made it to our first (after testing positive) scan at CARE – something we have never achieved before! We were given fantastic news – we had two on board, well I was just crying with happiness until about 1 week after the scan as I started to bleed. I was devastated, how could we have come so far this time for it all to go wrong again? I kept in touch with CARE daily, they told me to rest and come in a few days for a further scan to confirm what was happening to me. We had both come to the conclusion that it was all over for us, having had this experience before of a big bleed. We went for our scan appointment so tense and nervous with so much apprehension, so frightened to look at the monitor, lying there and holding each others hand, and then to hear look, ‘there are still two heart beats’. We could not take it all in, my husband with tears streaming down his cheeks and I was just stunned into silence (not like me). All the staff again so supportive and happy for us – this was the best Christmas present ever. We were given another appointment for 2 weeks time and it was a wait and rest time.

At our next appointment all was still going well and we could actually see a little bean shape. It was just so wonderful, words cannot describe how we were feeling and this after such a long time trying. It was at this time that we were to be discharged from CARE and it did feel strange to be signed out of CARE's care and over to our own GP as for so long we had had so much support and care from them. My next hurdle was the 12 weeks scan. I just took each day at a time never taking anything for granted and I was just happy to see 2 heart beats at each scan and that all was going well for us. Everybody kept asking, ‘Don’t you want to know the sex?’ but we never did for one moment, we just wanted two healthy happy babies.

We never took anything for granted always being on the cautious side at every appointment and scan, just happy to see the two heart beats and then me driving everyone mad, as I would not and could not plan ahead for fear of anything going wrong. It was almost as if I still could not believe how lucky we were. This was the year I was to turn 50! And here I was pregnant with twins! I was the talk of all our friends and family and every body was so happy for us. I was very lucky in that I did have a very good pregnancy with no real problems. I kept well throughout, other than really sickly and heart burn, and I was very lucky to be able to fly at 24 weeks and see my family in Lanzarote which was a real boost for me.

Then in the August my waters broke at 35 weeks and we had a beautiful little boy (who could not wait to see the world), 5lb 3oz and beautiful little girl, 3lb 11oz although small, both healthy, and not in need of any assistance. This, we now feel has made our family complete.”