By Mirror, Courtney Greatrex
Could you help another woman fulfil her desire to be a mum ?
There is a shortage of reproductive egg donors with demand – especially from women over 45 – outstripping supply.
Now a leading fertility expert is calling for the reversal of the “right to know” law, introduced in 2005, which allows a child to have information about or make contact with their donor once they turn 18.
Dr Luciano Nardo, consultant gynaecologist and clinical director of Cheshire-based Reproductive Health Group, says: “There is a national shortage of sperm and egg donors in the UK.
Realistically, using a clinic outside of the UK is the only way we can offer our patients a good service without a waiting list that could stretch to months or even years.”
So what is involved in donating your eggs? Here one donor tells her story:
Amelia at the clinic
When she was growing up, nurse Amelia Abby, 32, always dreamed of being a parent.
So when she found out that both her and her husband Kevin, 50, from Colchester, Essex, were unable have children or adopt because they both have fertility issues, Amelia was ‘devastated’.
What’s more, because Kevin has cystic fibrosis , a genetic condition which affects breathing and digestion, the couple, who’ve been together for seven years were told they weren’t able to adopt.
Incredibly, Amelia decided to help other women do what she could not – and selflessly donated her healthy eggs to help other childless couples have kids.
Speaking from her home in Colchester, Essex, she said: “I’d always longed to be a mother, so when I found out being parents wasn’t on the cards for Kevin and I, it was heartbreaking.
“But I still had healthy eggs and there was no reason for them to go to waste.”
Now, Amelia has donated 29 eggs in two rounds of IVF via an egg donation company and helped two women in their quest to become mothers.
What’s more, she documented the entire process of egg donation on her blog My Egg Donation.
Amelia added: “Knowing that I’ve helped other couples become parents is so rewarding, I want to urge other women to donate their healthy eggs too.”
Amelia was diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome in 2009 when she was 26. She also discovered that she has an incompetent cervix, and medics warned her she would never conceive.
Amelia’s internal scan the day before egg collection
She recalled: “It was a huge blow. I was told it would be unethical to implant a foetus somewhere it had little chance of survival, which I completely understand and agree with.”
She met husband Kevin at a dance class in 2009 and tells how there was an instant spark between them – but within ten minutes of meeting, Kevin revealed that his cystic fibrosis meant that he was infertile.
Amelia recalled: “He also admitted that, because cystic fibrosis typically means a low life expectancy, Kevin was considered ineligible to adopt.
“I appreciated his honesty and didn’t hold it against him, though it meant we would never become parents together.
“But as we fell in love, I knew he’d make an excellent father. As our yearning to have a child became stronger, the realisation hit that this would never happen.
“It was heartbreaking and frustrating – we both knew we’d make great parents.”
Amelia tells how the news took four years to come to terms with.
Amelia says: “For a long time, even seeing a baby would be leave me depressed for a number of days.
“As time went on and I became more accepting.”
In April 2014, as her 30th birthday approached, Amelia tells how she decided to become an egg donor.
She recalls: “I had heard about egg donation but I didn’t know anything about it until a random post came up on my Facebook for the egg donation agency Altrui.
“I clicked to read about it and was instantly engrossed.
“I knew that the eggs in my body were healthy, and I know better than anyone how it feels to yearn for a baby, so by donating my eggs I could help a wish come true for another couple, which was hugely motivating.
“The more I read, the more I started to think it could be something I could and would like to do.”
With her mind made up, Amelia also decided to share the entire emotional process online in extreme detail.
Amelia says: “I knew it wouldn’t always make for light-hearted reading, but I wanted to raise awareness for other women considering doing the same thing and give hope to those who want to receive donations.”
She tells how husband Kevin, was fully supportive of her decision, agreeing to attend all of her egg donation appointments.
She says: “He was really supportive, he knows what I’m like – I’m a helper.
“Because I’m a nurse, I feel I have to help people to feel like I’m doing something useful.”
(Photo: Getty Images)
In May 2014, Amelia made contact with the egg-donation company Altrui, who help the facilitation of donating.
She says: “The first step of the donation process was to create a profile about myself, including my height and weight, qualifications, hobbies, beliefs and passions.
“Receiving matches with couples who might one day receive my eggs was so exciting.
“My couples were all matched very specifically.
“The women in the profile photos had similar looks to me and like me, the woman loved writing, liked dancing and the couple even had a beach wedding just like Kevin and I.
“If I didn’t like what I read or was told about them, I was able to object, but when the donation company flagged up this couple, they seemed easy going and bubbly. Their profile was spot on.”
The couple wrote Amelia a letter in April explaining that they wanted her to know more about them and she replied.
She explained: “My heart went out to them and I knew I could help. It was like we bonded without ever meeting.
In May 2014, having selected a couple, she had to undergo a tough Vetting process at City Fertility in London where her hormone profile was checked and was given tests for a range of conditions including sexually transmitted diseases and genetic conditions.
Over the next three months, Amelia began using the contraceptive pill so she could sync her period with the woman who would eventually carry her eggs.
She then had to inject herself with Gonal F, a medication which combines two hormones to stimulate the production of the ovaries for a number of weeks, as well as another injection called Cetrocide, and in the end the ‘trigger’ injection’ which was just before the eggs were extracted.
Amelia said: “During the process I experienced side effects like tiredness, bloating, and hot flushes while her eggs grew inside of me.
“Though tiring, the symptoms didn’t upset me as I was focussed on the end result.”
In July 2014 doctors retrieved the eggs from Amelia at their clinic in London by passing a needle through the top of the vagina under ultrasound guidance in order to get to the ovary and the follicles inside.
The follicles were then retrieved through the needle and sucked out of the ovary and doctors managed to harvest 15 eggs.
Amelia said: “It was amazing to hear after the procedure how many they had managed to extract. Each one of those eggs felt like an opportunity for a childless couple to become parents.
“The high number of eggs retrieved meant the couple receiving my eggs could try a couple of times and even freeze some eggs for another child with the same genetic make up.
“It meant that I wasn’t just giving the couple a one-off shot at falling pregnant, I was offering them the chance to create a family.”
Amelia tells of the emotional moment she received a necklace with “our thanks always, 2014” engraved on it along with a card from the couple, leaving her ‘in tears’.
She says: “It was one of the most thoughtful, personal gifts I have ever been given.”
Amelia reveals she had a vested interest in the development of the eggs, and kept in contact with the couples through the clinic.
Amelia felt elated when she had been told the couple who received her eggs had fallen pregnant for the first time in ten years, but weeks later, devastated that they had miscarried .
She says: “When I found out the woman had the miscarriage, I was so upset, it felt very personal.
“I knew how far they had come, and I know that after falling pregnant for the first time in so long, they would be so sad.”
Amelia receives sporadic updates from the clinic about the couple who received her eggs, and as far as she knows they are still trying to give birth.
She says: “They still have my eggs and are still trying to have a baby. I am still very hopeful for them.”
In March 2015, having already donated enough eggs for a small family with two children, Amelia decided to go through the process for a second time for a different family.
In her second IVF procedure, Amelia opted for a donation centre closer to her home.
She wrote about the entire process in extreme length on her blog My Egg Donation which gets thousands of views every month.
She said: “When it took off I was really surprised, people were reading and sharing it in infertility forums and egg donation pages and getting in touch to find out more.
“People receiving eggs got in touch to hear about the process from my perspective, while other donors thanked me for putting the experience in writing.”
Now, while Amelia has donated eggs twice, she has no plans to do it again.
She said: “Doing what I did helped me find peace with the fact that I will never be a mother, and I am now comfortable with that fact.”
Find out more about her journey by visiting her blog .