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Egg-sharing

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Egg recipient's stories

Amanda

It wasn't that I chose a career or a single lifestyle over that of having a family - I just didn't meet the love of my life until I was 39. I knew that my biological clock had been ticking, but on top of my ageing eggs, my husband had had a vasectomy and failed reversal, so we knew we'd have to go the route of IVF.

Over six years we had six ICSI attempts using my own eggs, which finally resulted in a much longed for pregnancy. But the devastating loss of the pregnancy at the end of the second trimester brought home to us that our dream of bearing our own child was over.

After much heartache, we began thinking about adoption and soon I was well over my worries about rearing a child that was not biologically mine. But, like IVF, adoption is a long and tortuous road, and after almost three years we began running into difficulties. We had three more unsuccessful attempts to conceive using different techniques in three different countries, thus experiencing almost every form of reproductive headache.

Then we heard of the egg-sharing programme at The LWC, and Dr Shailaja Nair helped us get onboard. We couldn't believe how lucky we were; that some incredible woman might, after all these years, give us the chance of having the baby we longed for. In turn we could help her have a child with IVF - something she might not have been able afford otherwise. We were also reassured by the fact she was having treatment anyway, and would not be taking fertility drugs without a personal medical need.

The end of our story is that we now have been blessed with our adored twins. We thank the unbelievable generosity of the donor and pray that she too was successful. I thought of her often during my pregnancy and wondered if she was feeling some of the emotions that I was as our pregnancies progressed.

We met other couples having IVF on our long road to parenthood, and there was something bonding about our shared predicament. Now, we look at each other's babies knowing how extra special they are.

We owe thanks to all the wonderful doctors and nurses at The LWC who helped us along the way, and who treated us more like friends than just clients. Above all, we owe thanks to our incredible donor. She changed our lives forever, and we will never forget that.

It is now eleven years since we became a family and our twins were born. Yet right from the start, ours was no ordinary journey.

I had fought my first life-battle at the age of 24 when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. So it was no great surprise to me when, eight years later and having met the man of my dreams, we found out I was infertile. The cancer and chemotherapy had taken their toll on my remaining ovary, so if I wanted to get pregnant, my only chance was to have IVF with donated eggs.

And so we entered the world of the childless - a world of waiting rooms and waiting lists - and we soon found out that the supply of donor eggs and donors was very limited indeed. The first few clinics we visited told us we would either have to find our own egg sharer - a very daunting process - or join a two-year waiting-list.

A friend of mine had offered herself as a donor, but I felt uncomfortable with the idea of putting a healthy woman through such an intrusive medical treatment, and we declined her generous offer. Then we heard about a scheme run by Dr Kamal Ahuja and Mr Eric Simons, called egg-sharing.

Shortly before, after many rounds of discussion and review, the HFEA had announced its support for egg-sharing schemes. And so it was that in 1998 we became one of the first couples to enjoy the benefits of egg-sharing at The LWC, with the official approval of the authorities. Not only would we not have the pressure of trying to find a donor, but we would also be treated relatively soon.

For us it was a lifeline. At this time none of the other clinics we visited were offering egg-sharing, yet seemed such a logical idea. It was a stressful enough time anyway, and we felt it was imperative to be treated at a clinic where we were fully supported. Egg-sharing seemed the best solution for both donor and recipient, as two families going through a similar situation could help each other.

We were very, very lucky; after a year of treatment and our second attempt at IVF, our precious babies were born. 11 years on, we rejoice in being a family and I wouldn't have had it any other way. I am extremely proud of our journey and of our childrens' beginnings in life. We will always be eternally grateful to our generous donor who has bestowed this incredible gift upon us and made our lives complete.

I hope that through egg-sharing many other couples have the chance of happiness that we have had. At the time of our treatment, the future of egg-sharing seemed uncertain. No one is more delighted than I am that it is now endorsed by the HFEA and embraced by many clinics in Britain and around the world.