Sign Up
Egg donation
My Journey Dec 4, 2019
10 Minutes

My Journey: egg donation

Our philosophy is that when it comes to fertility, conception, pregnancy and early years every person goes on their own unique journey. We are simply here to support that. Raising awareness and providing tools and the latest science/experts for you to pick and choose from. We love hearing about inspiring people’s journeys. There is usually a lot to learn… 

Today’s journey is with Jess: mother of one, who decided to donate her eggs… 

Click here to hear Jess’ story directly from her on our podcast or read on for some of the highlights.

Egg donation has never been more in demand. Two factors contributing is the the growth in same sex couples having children, and the fact our careers and lifestyles have increasingly meant that we leave it later and later before being ready for children. Unfortunately our eggs have a faster ageing process than our bodies.

The world of egg donation can seem like an opaque one. Who does it? What are their motives? It can also be hard for some people to decide to take a donor egg. So, we ask Jess everything from why, to the process, to what she learnt and whether she would do it again.

Once again, to hear her inspiring story directly in her own words click here for our podcast interview (highly recommended). Or read on below for a couple of snippet/highlights!

Why I decided to donate my eggs: 

One of my best friends is gay, I had always said that when he finds a partner and is ready for children I would help him. This was what first opened my eyes to donation. But more than that, it was also from watching so many friends struggle to fall pregnant. So many suffering miscarriages. You feel so helpless sitting back and watching and not being able to do anything about it. So doing this is just my own way of being able to help someone have a child that they so desperately want. 

In the UK you can only do anonymous egg donation before the age of 36: 

Anonymous donation is where you donate your eggs to a couple and you are not told who they are and vice versa. This is opposed to donating your eggs to someone you know: known donation. I will be 36 in May so I wanted to get on with it! 

Did I have reservations about egg donation?

Well it was actually my partner. His only reservation was that despite the fact it is ’anonymous’, when the child turns 18 in the UK they do get my contact details and my last known address. He was worried about how it would be if the child does ultimately wants to meet.

Couples Counselling:

To deal with a lot of the emotional issues around doing a donation you are offered a free couples counselling session to make sure everyone is happy with it and to provide some support. 

‘The child wouldn’t be my child‘ 

One of the things that anyone considering donation should be aware of is that in the UK the child has a legal right to have your details when they turn 18. For me, that is ok as my personal feeling is that the child would not be mine. It might look like me, but it is not mine. The couple who I have donated my eggs to have put in all the hard work. They have raised the child from the start – I have just done two weeks of a few injections! 

Matchmaking! 

My experience of egg donation was a very good one. The company I used: Altrui were super thorough in their research on me. Not only did I have three or four phone conversations ahead of time. This included a mini interview to find out why you want to do egg donation and to find out about you before you even start.

There is also an online questionnaire and they go quite in depth. They were interested in everything from where I stand morally, to my education and even my hobbies. Plus genetics. Altrui match you not just based on physical characteristics but also personality, background and education. So, if the child does reach out it is not too different and jarring for everyone involved.

Checking my levels: 

Then it was submitting photos of me as a child, one as an adult and an at home test kit to check my AMH levels (click here for more on what this is). Once I’d done all of that, they called me four weeks later to tell me I had matched with a couple. It was a really lovely and emotional moment for me.

The couple who would be receiving my egg donation had one older child and four failed rounds of IVF… 

You don’t get told a huge amount about the couple you match with, but you can find out a few things. Typically things like age, profession, rough location and their reasons for wanting an egg donation.

Then you get going! Injection time: 

I then had scans to check my ovaries, some blood tests and a genetic questionnaire. They were happy with my results and then I received my medication through the post. 

I did them myself and it was absolutely fine! 

I had one injection for three days, then another for 11-12 days (the length of time however is person dependent). I also deliberately did them in front of my daughter so she could see that injections are not scary and it was absolutely fine. I was nervous about them before (you don’t typically envision having to inject yourself!) but it was totally fine. They show you exactly how to do it when you go in so you’re well prepared. 

All I thought about every step of the way was the couple receiving my egg donation: 

I ended up filming a video diary every step of the way. Even before matching. I really wanted to keep this for my couple or for the child if one was born as a result. If they want it of course. The main reason is because I wanted them to feel like they were part of the process. From the beginning. I think because i did this I felt like they were there through it with me.

I was worried the injections would send my hormones crazy…! 

Pleasant surprise: it did not impact me whatsoever. Well, at least in my mind! (My partner may disagree!). I felt totally normal. Turns out I had nothing to worry about.

The only real hassle of egg donation… 

The hardest part was actually the fact you have to be very strict about when you do the injections. It has to be within a two hour window every night. You cannot miss that timeline because you need the steady dose over time. So, it was little things like having to be back from fireworks at a certain time in order to do the injection. That was the only real inconvenience. It also applies to your trigger injection: the egg removal has to be 36 hours after which obviously means your schedule has to be pretty flexible during this time. It is tricky when you have a busy lifestyle. 

I was a bit nervous about egg retrieval, but it was only 20 mins! 

I went in to get my removal and was nervous about the sedation. But, they were lovely there, super kind. They talked me through the process but its only 20 minutes, it’s so quick. Actually, I had a great sleep! I then came to, ate a load of food (you can’t eat before) and I was totally fine. They let me go two hours later and my partner came to collect me. I went home and made the most of not having to look after my daughter and slept!

If anyone is worrying about egg donation, obviously people can respond differently, I can say that physically for me, it was not a massive deal: 

I found it easy. It was just the logistics and the constraints in terms of timings of the injection. They also can’t tell you in advance about when you’re going to need scans/blood tests. So,  you need to be flexible and organised. 

How I managed as a career girl: 

I spoke to Altrui to arrange for my scans to be close to my office. They were very accommodating which was great. You do have to be organised through and ask for it. It is definitely possible to accommodate though. Also, remember you don’t have to tell people if you’re not comfortable. You can make up good enough excuses if you don’t want to tell. Tell people you’re getting a root canal if you want! 

They got 11 mature eggs from my egg donation, although I don’t know the final number: 

What I do know is that at least 3 of the embryos (fertilised eggs) were growing well. 

In fact, thats the other thing that surprised me: the couple really are on that journey with you: 

My couple were in the building while my egg retrieval was going on. I hadn’t realised that they fertilise the eggs then and there. I found myself looking around for the couple in the waiting room for anyone that looked vaguely like me! For me, it was nice that they were so close by. They really are on that journey with you. 

I have offered my video diary and contact details IF they want it…  

I am mindful that it may not work. I am also mindful that they may not want to get into contact. Obviously the video diary has my face in it which takes away the anonymity.  This is entirely their decision. 

Legally, you do find out if they have a successful birth from your egg donation: 

You find out what year that child was born and the sex of the child. I think sometimes you may have to ask for that information yourself. You can also chose not find out if you prefer. 

You decide what happens to the rest of the eggs: 

You have options as the egg donor. You can allow one live birth, you can allow the couple to have what they want and the rest to medical research or you can even have the option to offer eggs to someone else. For me, this egg donation was just for my couple. Even though you haven’t met someone you feel like you have a real connection to them. 

Overall, it was way easier than I expected: 

Yes, I felt a bit bloated by the end of the two weeks pre the removal. But, honestly it was so much easier than I expected. I did however feel more emotionally involved than I expected

I did not expect to feel such an emotional connection to the couple I had not even met. I am gunning for them to succeed: 

I knew how much the couple must want the baby to have invested so much financially and emotionally in the process. So, I badly wanted to get as many good eggs as possible for them. They had four rounds of IVF and then made the decision to reach out to a donor. A decision which I can imagine is not an easy one. This made it all the more important for me to succeed for them. I did not foresee that. I also didn’t foresee the connection and how much I’m gunning for them. They’re in the back of my mind all the time.

I still feel firmly that the child would not be mine if it is born: 

It would just be lovely to see them happy. The only connection I have is to their happiness. I just want to be able to help just one person. All of us are touched by someone or many people impacted by fertility struggles. It happens everywhere and it’s hard not to be able to do something. In my mind, if I can do something for just one couple for just two weeks of a bit of inconvenience why wouldn’t I? 

My advice to anyone thinking of donating their eggs: 

Emotionally you need to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. You need to also make sure you’re comfortable for a child to find you. Particularly with the DNA test kits available these days. You have to be happy to be found. You also need to consider if you are found, how will you handle it? You need to think about that. If you want nothing to do with the child, I don’t think you should be an egg donor. If you are found you need to be there with open arms for the right reasons. You’re not their parent you just need to be there as a friend. 

Resources to learn about egg donation: 

Altury are incredible – they arm you with so much info. I also joined a lot of Facebook Groups. For those looking for egg donors which was the Altury facebook group which was useful. I also joined groups for those donating eggs and for children of egg donors. I really wanted to understand each side. I found the last one the toughest. There were some very strong opinions on there. 

The whole process has not put me off. In fact, I am going to do another egg donation. It is such a rewarding thing to do – if you’re doing it for the right reasons. It’s not easy, but it is much easier than I thought. 

Click here to hear the full story from Jess or here to read more about egg donation with Altrui. 

————————————————————————————————————————————————————

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The information on this website has been developed following years of personal research and from referenced and sourced medical research. Before making any changes we strongly recommend you consult a healthcare professional before you begin.

The Journey Logo

Copyright © 2022

Welcome to The Journey

Each month we will be giving away a curated box of goodies to suit the individual stage of your Journey, worth £100. To enter the draw and join us, enter your details below. Winner announced at the end of the month.

 

Welcome to The Journey

Each month we will be giving away a curated box of goodies to suit the individual stage of your Journey, worth £100. To enter the draw and join us, enter your details below. Winner announced at the end of the month.

 

Next on your journey?