Egg Donor experience - a CARE Fertility Patient's story

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Egg donor patient story

“I'd wanted to donate eggs for a long, long time but I waited until after I had finished having my own family as I thought it might affect my fertility, but this is not the case – it makes no difference at all to a woman's fertility. I'd had my first child when I was 20 and I wanted to help someone else have a child. My children are aged 16 and 13 now and I just can't even imagine what it would be like to not be able to have a child of your own. As my life has progressed, I have met many people who have had fertility problems. I am a student midwife and I wanted to do something to help. So I called CARE in Northampton and took it from there.

The whole process took two and a half months and started off with lots of health checks, including family history. I had a few visits to the clinic, and you can have counselling if you want to talk things through and help you decide. Once all the health checks are complete, you are taught how to give yourself injections. I had to self inject – there are two types of injection – every night for a couple of weeks. You have to do it the same time in the evening and then there's one final injection 36 hours before collection. It doesn't interfere with your social life either, I even took mine to the theatre and just popped to the loo during the interval! People get put off because they have to have injections, but the needle is tiny – like a hair – you can hardly feel it. The egg collection is done under conscious sedation, I was aware and awake but I didn't feel anything. They collect vaginally, so no cuts or scars, and aspirate the eggs from the ovaries. They just collect them through a tiny tube and it didn't hurt at all. The process was so simple. The effect of the hormones on my body was nothing. The week following the collection I felt a bit bloated but it was not even uncomfortable, a bit like eating a large meal and it passed around 4 or 5 days later.

My partner and children were happy and supportive about my decision to donate my eggs. I spoke to my children before I became a donor and they were fine with it, they have even said they are proud of me for what I have done for someone else, which is lovely. I suppose for them it means that there will be someone out there who is biologically related to them, but they do understand that they can't claim them as a sibling. My partner has also been very supportive, he knows how important it is to me.

My eggs were used to help two different women in their IVF treatment. They match you with two different women and you can select different options and say what you want for the embryos. You have certain options on the people who you would like to donate your eggs to. I wanted to donate my eggs to someone who really wanted a baby but couldn't have one. I stipulated I wanted it to go to someone who really needed it and hadn't just changed their mind after a sterilisation for example. You also have to choose about embryonic research – you have the option to allow any of your eggs that are not used, to go for research. I agreed to that as I think it can only help medical research.

For me, it has been a wonderful experience, one that I want to share in the hope that it may encourage others to come forward and give someone the most amazing gift one woman could give to another, and ‘Child Magazine’ have written an article about my egg donation experience. But I know that not all women would be comfortable donating their eggs. Some people do not like the fact that the child can contact you when they are 18. I'm absolutely fine with that though, it's not a negative process for me at all. I think it's lovely and if a child wanted to meet me I'd be absolutely thrilled. It would be nice to see the result of my input.

You have the option to write a letter to the couples who received my eggs, which I did, and you can also write to any potential children and they receive that information when they are 18. I decided to write a letter, in which I said that I hoped that they have grown into decent human beings and that they strive to be the best that they can be. I wished them a long life full of happiness and success in everything that they do… I just said the same sort of things I hope for my own children.

I know for sure that one of the ladies who was a recipient of one of my eggs is having a baby. You get the test results about three weeks after you donate the eggs, and you can find out if the IVF process has worked. When I started the process it was stepping into the unknown but since I have done it it's really exciting. You feel you are part of someone else's pregnancy journey. I feel really privileged and happy to be able to help a couple to have the chance to have a child of their own, a child that they otherwise might not be able to have. I am now 36 and the only regret I have is that I didn't start donating eggs when I was younger. You can only donate up to your 36th birthday. I wish, seeing how simple and painless it was, that I'd started earlier and done it many times.”

Lisa Fox