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Donor eggs - donor information

(42 Posts)
Hobbes39 Sun 10-Jun-18 18:03:35

Hi
I am 41 and have been ttc a sibling for our DS for 3.5 years. We have unexplained secondary infertility and been through 3 fresh and 3 frozen cycles of IVF with my own eggs. We have got pregnant - once before we started ivf, ended in an ectopic - first round had a chemical, 3rd round had a MMC and it seems that I have had another MMC with our last frozen embryo. I find out for sure next week.
So, as time is very much not on my side, I am thinking ahead to what we do now. I don't feel ready to give up but have slowly been trying to get my head around donor eggs since round 2 tbh - it's been at the back of my mind as I know we are unexplained but my age can't be helping...
My DH would prefer to use an anonymous donor, I'm on the fence - for me anonymous might be better, but I'm not so sure about what's best for the child if we were to finally get lucky and be successful...
So... I was hoping that people here might be able to tell me what clinics / countries give you the most information about the donor, even if it's anonymous? This might sound daft, but does anywhere tell you info like if they like sports/ are musical / like travel/ artistic... or whether they have freckles, what level of education etc?
None of the above are particularly important to me in deciding a donor, but I can't help but feel that if I were donor conceived that's the sort of thing I'd like to know (I may be way off though, as obvs I don't know) especially if they were not something I shared with my parents...
Sorry if this doesn't make sense... hope you know what I mean!
Is there somewhere that gives a summary of the info each clinic gives to you from the donor?
Thanks

Hobbes39 Mon 11-Jun-18 14:10:53

Anyone able to help?
Thanks x

siftingflour Mon 11-Jun-18 21:00:53

Hello. It sounds as if you have had a really difficult last few years. I'm really sorry.
I think it might be useful to talk through why your husband is against anonymous donation. Is it because he thinks the baby will feel more 'yours' or is he worried about a third party looming over your family.
I ask because the research to date shows that it is better for donor conceived children/adults to have access to this information - if they want it (and they may well not).
I would suggest signing up to the Donor Conception Network - a UK based organisation supporting DC families - and seeking advice and experience from them. You could also read up stories on the donor sibling registry in the USA which tries to match donors/offspring half siblings and has a lot of research and stories on the website about what anonymity can mean to donor offspring. I would add that I have met a number of women who chose an anonymous donor and after they give birth regret that choice - not because they regret their baby - never! - but because they have closed a door for that baby - willingly restricted their child's options if they turn out to be someone who wants to know more (and they will one day not be a child who wants to know more, but an autonomous adult who wants to know more).
At this stage, as you have a choice, it might be worth researching the options. BTW: It's an interesting question: if you were donor conceived what are the kinds of things you'd want to know. For me, the answer was: the identity of my donor!
As for specific clinics abroad: you could also ask on the fertility friends website, as there are people there in the midst of treatment abroad. I know someone who had loads of information from a South African clinic, really detailed although not identifying (as I believe it's against the law there). Other clinics in Spain and Ukraine give nothing at all.
Wishing you the best of luck.

Hobbes39 Mon 11-Jun-18 22:38:22

Thanks for your reply @siftingflour - I am not entirely sure why he's more against a non anonymous donor than I am (I'd have thought it would be the other way round) but I suspect it's a combination of protecting me, the fact that he's a v private person and yes, that there's this other person lurking in the background.
As I said I am on the fence about it, as for me, as the recipient, it probably would be easier for me to deal with if the answer to questions were that 'we don't know', and so I'd feel less worried about them going off and finding their 'real mum' later in life... I realise this is my own insecurity though and not necessarily in the best interests of the child...
I know for definite that I wouldn't be able to cope with a known donor - ie someone known to us already, or someone who would be part of our lives - I also realised today when researching info that I wouldn't want to see a picture of the donor as I worry I'd only see their face when looking at my child... sorry if this is incoherent rambling and hope I don't offend anyone in the process but I'm trying so hard to get my head around it all..
anyway, I shall check out the donor conception network. If anyone has any further info on what donor information various clinics offer, I'd be grateful. Thanks

siftingflour Mon 11-Jun-18 22:53:26

one of the good things about DCN is that it's all about networking and once you join you can ask to talk to people who have been in a similar situation... you realise very quickly that any anxieties are very common indeed and all part of the process.
very good luck

Persipan Tue 12-Jun-18 06:18:35

You've said you can see yourself finding things easier if the answers to questions were 'we don't know'... Out of curiosity - and I mean this in a gentle, reflective way, not in a confrontational one - how would you feel about questions about why you don't know, and why you made that choice? Genuinely not trying to be an arse, this is stuff I'm wrestling with, too - my strong preference is for a non-anonymous donor but I can see scenarios where going abroad (which for me would pitch me into anonymous donors) makes some sense, and that's the bit where I get stuck.

If you haven't already, do make use of some counselling (you can usually access this via your clinic) - having a neutral and supportive space to explore this stuff can be really helpful.

Good luck!

Hobbes39 Tue 12-Jun-18 08:16:32

@Persipan - thanks for asking that nicely rather than having a go at me for it... I think to be honest the way I'd feel about it is slightly guilty, but then also that it was actually not my choice, but the choice of the donor and i'd assume that anonymity would be part of the reason she decided to do such an amazing thing and donate and therefore without that the egg, and therefore the baby, wouldn't exist... if we chose to go somewhere else that wasn't anonymous then that wouldn't result in the same baby....?

We have a couple of friends who are adopted and I know they both wanted to know about their birth parents, partly curiosity but mostly to know why they were given up... this is where I think it is v important to know who they are. I can't help but think that with egg donation it's slightly different... there's no 'giving up' as they were just a cell without the recipients and it was an act of kindness rather than rejection..? I feel there would still be that sense of curiosity but not the same searching for answers... but having some non identifying info about them, such as 'they were sporty but couldn't sing' or something like that, could be enough...?
As I said before I may be wrong as haven't been in that situation, so I'm guessing.

Rogue1234 Tue 12-Jun-18 08:40:55

Hi OP,

I'm sorry to hear you're having such a tough time conceiving.

I don't know if my perspective will help at all but I have donated my eggs through a UK clinic, where the donations are regulated by the HFEA. I'm not an entirely anonymous donor in that any child conceived can find out who I am when they are 18 and decide if they want to contact me, but I'm not known to the parents in any way. I am also not allowed to contact the HFEA to find out the child's identity, it will all be down to them to find out about me if they want to.

When I was going through the paperwork, I answered lots of questions about physical characteristics (hair colour, eye colour, height etc) and there is an empty A4 page where you have to write about yourself and your reasons for donating. This is where I wrote about my likes, dislikes, strange quirks etc. I basically thought about what I might like to know about my genes and made sure to include it.

I had to undergo a lot of different tests to make sure there were no genetic abnormalities etc, so if you're going through a UK clinic you can rest assured that they are thorough in making sure the eggs are as good quality as they can be.

My DS is donor sperm conceived (although a different situation to you as we're a same sex couple), so we understand it from the other side as well. It's recommended that you tell the child in an age appropriate way right from the beginning, ("We wanted a baby very much and a nice man/woman at the clinic helped us" etc) but it will be up to you how you handle that. For us, the idea of going abroad for treatment and using a non UK donor meant that DS will never have the choice of finding out about the donor and we hated that idea. We feel that when he is older he deserves to have the chance to find out whatever he wants to about his own genetic make up, and that won't stop us from both being his parents.

I also second what a PP said about counselling - make as much use of it as possible, it helped us a lot.

Hobbes39 Tue 12-Jun-18 11:27:49

Hi @Rogue1234 - that is really useful, thanks so much for your reply. I think donating your eggs is such an amazing thing for you to have done, and am extremely thankful there are people like you around. I'm clearly far too old and likely have useless eggs, but not sure I could do it even if I was 20 years younger, so thank you.
It's good to hear what information you gave. I do like the idea of a UK donor but am concerned about waiting times and partly cost, but that's less of an issue.
Can I ask you, how do you think you might feel in 18 years if you were to be contacted? Also, how do you feel about your DS wanting to do the same? I suppose it's slightly different in that his sperm donor would be an additional person rather than a replacement (i hope that doesn't sound wrong, I'm sorry if it does, I'm so grateful for people helping me talk through this!)
I have been using the IVF counselling service, but until now we haven't dwelt on possibility of donor eggs as my test results have always pointed to me having a good AMH for my age and therefore a decent number of eggs, but I'm beginning to accept that numbers mean v little and that the quality must be poor.
If there is anyone that has used donor eggs from abroad I'd love to know what info you get on the donor and if that influenced your decision on which clinic..? Thanks x

Rogue1234 Tue 12-Jun-18 13:47:54

Don't worry, you're not being wrong or offensive in the slightest!

My DP and I are planning on explaining to DS (and any other future kids) that our love and the choices we made are what made us a family, and the genetics of it aren't important. We're both equally his mums, it doesn't matter that only one of us gave birth to him. If he wants to contact the donor when he's older, he's welcome to. Curiosity about ourselves and where we came from is entirely natural and I would never want to discourage that in him. Having said that, the donor is not his father. He has lots of male role models in his life, but a father is not one of them, and we'll be telling him at the correct age that he should not expect that from the donor.

I'd say similar to any children conceived with my eggs. We went through several rounds of fertility treatment to get DS so I know how hard it is, so one thing I know for certain is how much that child's parents wanted them. You don't go through IVF otherwise! His or her mum is the lady that carried them, gave birth to them, and looked after them for the interim years, not me. I'd be happy to answer any questions etc but I wouldn't expect to build any meaningful relationship. DS may feel differently as they would biologically be half siblings, but he'll be an adult by then so it'd be up to him.

Carajillo Wed 13-Jun-18 10:32:25

Hi,

I would definitely recommend joining the Donor Conceived Network. This will enable you to meet and talk to other parents of DC children and to find support and information. The DCN also run a preparation for DC parenthood workshop which addresses all the issues you have raised. They also produce a useful document on clinics abroad vs UK here:- www.dcnetwork.org/home-or-overseas

It is really hard before we have children to imagine how we and they will feel about the choices we made in terms of clinic etc. I do know that there are plenty of UK clinics with very short waiting lists now as well as places like the London Egg Bank, Altrui and New Life who all have exclusive egg donors.

I have 11 year old twins via donor embryo in Spain as a solo mum. While I would never regret going to Spain as this resulted in my beautiful children, I know that this choice has and will impact greatly on my kids. My kids love me and are very proud of lots of aspects of their conception in Spain. BUT, there are definitely issues to do with not being able to know or find their donors and not having any information on them except their age and blood group!

I have told my children from birth about their conception and we are very open and talk about this quite a lot. As they get older, the questions are harder and they are definitely pissed off that Spain has the 'stupid' law on anonymity! They want information on their donors and they want to submit DNA as soon as possible in the hope of maybe finding the donors and definitely they want to find half siblings if any exist!

I would just recommend that you take your time, even though I completely understand why you would want to get a move on!. Join DCN, maybe a bit of extra counselling, have a look at the clinic search on HFEA website where you can find UK clinics with short egg donation waiting lists. Try to think into the future for your child rather than how you feel about it!

Also try the National Gamete Donation Trust as they have information on UK donors.http://www.ngdt.co.uk/intended-parent/

I am really happy to answer any questions you have!

Best,
C xx

Carajillo Wed 13-Jun-18 10:35:38

Also I notice you have what is called a 'mixed' family - a naturally conceived child as well as potentially a donor conceived child. Another publication from the DCN may be of interest...

www.dcnetwork.org/products/product/mixed-blessings

Cutesbabasmummy Fri 15-Jun-18 20:49:10

Hi op! We have a three year old son via donor egg ivf from the sane clinic as Carajillo. Ironically he asked me the other say how he got in my tummy. Firstly he asked if I'd eaten him!! I explained that mummy has eggs in her tummy and daddy has seeds and when they go together they made him. We used a donor because I have a gebtuc condition that I might have passed on. There is no pre implantation diagnosis for it as experts cannot classify it yet. My little boy I feel us 100% mine. The donor and I have the sane blood group although that was a co incidence. Although the advice is to be open with the child I just cannot see myself or my husband telling him about how he came into the world. He can never trace the donor anyway and we had basic info when we chose her eggs. It's a hard one. Please pm me if you need to chat further.

Carajillo Sat 16-Jun-18 21:03:40

Cuteabasmummy,

Just a reminder that your son may submit his DNA at some time in the future as it becomes more routine, so I just wanted to put that out there as it may be useful information. Of course, should you ever decide to change your mind it is never too late and there is lots of support for you and your son.
Best wishes xxx

Cutesbabasmummy Sun 17-Jun-18 16:28:29

Hi Carajillo! Yeah We get that about the DNA testing but unless he's really into tracing ancestry Im not sure why he would do that. Who knows? My DH has some pretty famous people on his side of the family so he might get into it. Xx

Loopytiles Sun 17-Jun-18 16:32:19

I understand that the rationale for the UK regulations, eg not paying for eggs and sperm, includes ethical considerations and, importantly, the interests of DC born following egg or sperm donation.

Carajillo Sun 17-Jun-18 21:07:51

Cuteasabunny - He doesn't have to submit his DNA to be found by a half sibling for example. You don't actually have to have submitted DNA to be found of course.

Cutesbabasmummy Sun 17-Jun-18 21:39:28

We had exclusive use of our donors eggs so he won't have any half siblings x

Carajillo Sun 17-Jun-18 21:46:19

But he will if the donor has children! What I am trying to say is that there is a very high chance now of our children being found by other relatives and that is just something to be aware of for your information. I counsel donor conceived people who are now finding their relatives and their relatives are also finding them, so it is happening now.

Hobbes39 Sun 17-Jun-18 22:01:07

@Carajillo - I'm not sure I understand about finding 'half siblings' - while I totally understand that some donor conceived children will want to find out about them, surely even in the uk any 'half siblings' would have to want to be found?
I also put that in quotations as I think that's part of what worries ME about going down the whole donor route- it would upset me if it was successful and my child, who would have a sibling in my DS, would turn consider any other child to be their sibling. Genetically they might be, but in no other way...

Cutesbabasmummy Sun 17-Jun-18 22:05:45

But unless the donor tells her children she donated eggs how would they know? I take your point but I find it highly unlikely.

Cutesbabasmummy Sun 17-Jun-18 22:06:34

Hobbes39 thanks for your message. I will send a proper reply tomorrow xxx

Hobbes39 Sun 17-Jun-18 22:59:34

@Carajillo - not sure that I worded that right, so trying to explain better - if I'm totally honest what you've said actually makes me feel less like I'd want to tell my possible future child they were a donor egg than I have felt before, as it scares me that they might have some 'half sibling' find them (not the other way around) and then disrupt their relationship with my DS who would have spent a lifetime building a sibling bond, so potentially break my DS heart... I thought the whole idea of uk donor system (where I understand the child can find their donor when they are 18, but not the other way round) was good, as then its totally up to the donor conceived child to make contact, but if you are saying they could have someone find them when they aren't ready, that is an upsetting thought...Is that what you mean?

Loopytiles Sun 17-Jun-18 23:13:47

“my child, who would have a sibling in my DS, would turn consider any other child to be their sibling. Genetically they might be, but in no other way...”

How to regard any other half siblings would be entirelu for your DC2 to decide.

Carajillo Sun 17-Jun-18 23:15:45

Do you mind if I reply to your post tomorrow please? As it is late I wanted to properly consider your post and reply it’s consideration. C

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