An uplifting one this week. What greater gift is there than giving someone the chance to have a baby? Gives me goosebumps as I write this. That’s exactly what Rachel has done. In donating her eggs she has made dreams come true (and probably healed broken hearts while she is at it. Remarkable

  • Did you know that thousands of women every year need donor eggs to conceive? Two years ago I didn’t know that and I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t even know that you could donate your eggs. I’d heard of sperm donation but never egg donation I think more people need to know about this as like it did me, it could inspire others to donate too. I think like myself so many people don’t know about this and like everything, it’s great to share, especially when we can help others

  • I was about to embark on my own journey to become a parent on my own by using donor sperm and ivf when I first learnt about egg donation and egg sharing and that it was an option whilst undergoing my own treatment

  • I know egg donation or even sperm donation isn’t for everyone but for me I was using a donor to help me have a child and if I could help someone else have a child too then I was going to help.

  • To me I thought well people donate blood and organs and this is spoken about a lot so why not talk about donating eggs more and encourage others to when they can?

  • Whilst people understandably see sperm and egg donation different to donating organs and blood to me the end result is the same, we are doing it to help someone else, to help someone else to have a family they have longed for that without a donor they wouldn’t be able to have.

  • It didn’t take me long to think about donating my eggs when I found out it was an option, I informed the clinic I was using for my own treatment that I would like to egg share and they started to look for a recipient for my eggs from the list of women they had waiting. It took from October 2016 until March 2017 for a donor to be found and matched to me and to start the next process of the journey. Like with all donations you have to be matched and people would have preferences in regards to characteristics of the donor, just like I did when picking a sperm donor and this is so that the baby has similar characteristics as the parents.

  • Egg sharing is basically sharing your eggs whilst having them collected for your own treatment. You share half the eggs which are collected and this is just one of the three types of donors there are. The other being altruistic donors (donating to someone you don’t know) and known donors (donating to someone you do know)

  • After around a month of ivf drugs and daily injections I was ready for egg collection. Under sedation I had eight eggs collected which were split between myself and the recipient. It felt great that not only I had eggs available for myself but for someone else too for them to go on and use. 

  • In order to egg share you had to have at least 8 eggs collected. Any less you had to make a decision prior to collection whether to keep them all for yourself or donate them all. I have 8 collected that day, literally just enough to share so we had four each. Two of mine turned into embryos, once which I used to have Evelyn and the other is still currently frozen.

  • This time I decided not to find out whether the couple did go on to have a baby from my eggs, mainly because I wasn’t sure how I would feel should they get pregnant and I didn’t but the second time I donated I opted to find out and also asked what the result was of my previous donation

  • Evelyn was only around six months old when I got back in touch with the clinic to look at donating my eggs again. I always knew I wanted to do it again and help someone else and the time felt right whilst I was single and not currently looking to have another child myself

  • I needed to wait until my cycle was back up and running as normal and had been for six months. After this time a new recipient was found, and really quickly this time and then I was soon “back on the drugs” again for around a month. I had to do daily injections in the evening, in the stomach or my thigh for down regulation and then further along a second daily injection was added for stimulation to help my follicles produce as many eggs as (safely) as they could. They have to try and get the balance right so that you aren’t over stimulated. Towards the end I was also in for internal scans to check the size of and number of follicles every other day as well as blood tests to check how everything was progressing. A final “trigger injection” is done within so many hours of you going in for egg collection

  • Doing the injections again brought back so many memories of doing them first time around and my journey to becoming a single parent and my first egg donation. I personally found the injections easy to do and preferred to do them myself, although really I had to as I had no one else here to do them, and they didn’t really hurt as the needles are very small and fine. This time around it definitely felt different though, no anxiety about whether I was doing everything correctly and whether I was going to get pregnant because this time it was all for someone else

  • Going back in for egg collection felt so rewarding, under sedation (which was an amazing nap for this tired mum) my eggs were collected and taken away to be used by a recipient. I went back into the theatre with a smile on my face, not scared this time like I was first time around, knowing what a difference I was hopefully going to make to someone’s life. 

  • Egg collection is painless and as mentioned is performed under a light sedation. A fine needle is inserted through the vagina and guided via ultrasound to the ovaries and follicles and the eggs are taken out. Afterwards you feel a little groggy from the sedation (although this time to me it was great to get a good nap!) and you can experience light cramping but nothing more. 

  • I was an altrustic donor (both times) so they do not know who I am or where I am however there have been recent changes in the law meaning that when a child, who has been conceived by a donor, is older they can find out who the donor was. People have said to me “oh you could have loads of children out there” but to me there not my children, I donated my eggs to help someone else have children of their own. The fact that donor conceived children can find out where they came from doesn’t stop me from wanting to donate and definitely won’t stop me doing it again.

  • So far all I know is that the recipient of my eggs from the first donation froze them and then they haven’t yet been used as there was a change in their personal circumstances and second time round they were used and mixed with the sperm and the embryos were frozen ready for use when the couple are ready to go. So as of yet there have been no babies born from my eggs but the clinic do update you as and when they have been used further / a baby has been born. Just like the sperm donor will have been notified that a baby had been born from his sperm donation.

  • As Evelyn was donor conceived she will be the same when she is older in that she can find out who the sperm donor was and I know that I’ll be fine with that should she wish to do that. At the end of the day in my opinion that guy is a bloody great guy and helped me have the greatest gift of all.

  • I definitely plan to donate my eggs again in the future I just don’t know when as of yet. I still don’t plan to have another baby anytime soon or on my own (I don’t think) so I think it will be in the next couple of years that I go back. The clinics do make a payment to you to cover expenses and to say thanks which I presume varies on clinics but the one I use is £750. The first time round as I was egg sharing they reduced the cost of ivf treatment. 

  • Donors are needed for thousands of women and the number of women requiring donor eggs has been increasing over previous years. Some will stay within the uk and use donor eggs here but others will travel abroad for one reason or another.

  • I’m hoping by sharing this that it may encourage others to think about donating their eggs if they are able to. Most clinics do have certain criteria that you have to meet in order to donate your eggs for example being under 36, be a non smoker but I would say to contact your local fertility clinic to discuss everything further if it is something you are interested in.

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