BlueLionel · 09/01/2021 10:28
I am looking for some information and anyone's experiences on egg donation please.
I have a family member who has been unable to conceive for several years, it has been found she is unable to produce a mature egg. She has recently commenced treatment to mature but it is so far unsuccessful.
I have always thought I would like to offer to help if needed, either through egg donation or surrogacy. At this point I was child free and never wanted children of my own, this almost ruled out surrogacy as most prefer you to have already had a baby. I then found myself unexpectedly pregnant. Family member had been wonderful throughout and was pleased for us, and I continued to support her through her journey. I realise this is a lucky situation to be in as it can sometimes effect relationships.
My pregnancy was not my finest hour, I hated being pregnant and I suffered dreadfully with sickness and being unable to do many things I would usually do, and for this reason I no longer would want to surrogate. I do however want to offer to donate eggs, should she want or need them. I also understand she might not want this offer and wouldn't feel "offended" if they say no.
However, before I voice this and make the offer, I want to make sure I have fully considered all the implications. Does anyone have any stories, experience or advice in relation to donating anonymously or to a specific couple?
Neighneigh · 09/01/2021 21:07
Yes, I've done it for a family member. I take it you're in the UK? There's an extensive screening process and counselling. The medical side of it is fine really, obviously you go through the IVF process and drugs up to a certain point so you are taking significant amounts of hormones and drugs. Tbh it was fine, I was zonked after the extraction but I react badly to anaesthesia so that was actually the worst bit for me.
The baby would have a right to find out who you are, I think at 16 they can have your name and 18 get your full details and access to a letter that you can write to them at the time of donation. I did it a few years ago so am happy for someone to correct me on those details. The major thing is to discuss with your family member about how and when you'd tell the child and your own child too (we went for the always-known-never-an-issue approach). The other thing, and someone said to me after their own sister had offered then withdrawn, is absolutely utterly make sure you're certain before you jump in, because going back on it is heartbreaking.
BlueLionel · 09/01/2021 21:22
Thank you. Yes I am UK. I have thought about this for probably the past 2 years but haven't voiced it to anyone as I want to be absolutely sure of my offer before I make it, as withdrawing it would be cruel.
I hadn't considered about the child knowing or not knowing about where the egg had come from so thank you for that point. I know that the family member and myself are close and have values which are inline for raising a child, that I know I will have no parental role and will need to maintain an appropriate distance with the child etc and am happy with this. How have you found watching this child grow knowing technically it is your biological child? Have there been any difficulties? Feel free to PM if you would rather not rely publicly.
PinkGold · 09/01/2021 23:32
That is a very generous thought @BlueLionel
You sound serious about it and good that you are thinking it through before speaking to your relative.
I don't know if you'd find it useful but there are counsellors who specifically do implications counselling for people going through the donor process. It's not the same as counselling to talk through problems (although that might also be a service they offer). Anyway I can PM you who I used if you might find that helpful.
I'm not a donor, I'm hoping to have donor egg treatment. I do have close female relatives, one of whom would offer in a heartbeat but would be considered too old.
As it happens I would be apprehensive about them not having that boundary that you have already thought about.
Another thing to consider is your relative's partner and their views.
My DH would not like a known donor but if anyone made such a generous offer I know he (and I) would refuse graciously and let it be known how much it was appreciated, because the offer and sentiment would be.
In any case I hope it all works out for your relative, they are fortunate to have you to support them whether it is actually donating eggs or in other ways.
Delphinium20 · 11/01/2021 19:56
OP, you mentioned considering if the conceived child should knowing about you before age 16. This site has a diverse range of opinions from donor-conceived children. Hope it helps.
Eggcellent29 · 14/01/2021 09:08
It is wonderful to hear that you are considering donating! I have a beautiful son through egg donation, our donor was not known to us but I am thankful every day that her generosity gave us this life together.
Please do not think that I am in any way trying to suggest that you should not make this offer, but it may also be worth considering how your family member may feel about the offer. Has she asked about it before or voiced any views to you about known donation?
I ask because I had a close friend offer to donate her eggs to me and I took it very, very badly. I was in a dark place (not about egg donation, I actually didn’t struggle with it and refused to even try with my own eggs) with my self image and it felt like she was rubbing her fertility and over abundance of eggs in my face.
Of course, she wasn’t and would never do such a thing. But at the time, it felt like she was and I became even more isolated as I pulled away from her.
Just a little thought, it may not be relevant to your situation at all!
Thank you again from the bottom of my heart - without women like you, women like me wouldn’t have the beauty in our lives that we do with our children.
BlueLionel · 14/01/2021 11:05
Thank you for the responses it is certainly giving me things to think about, particularly in regards to how the child could feel in the future something which would need to be discussed in detail between us if we went ahead.
@Eggcellent29 thank you for your thoughts. We have talked fairly openly about her treatment so far, and it was certainly a big worry of mine when I told her about my pregnancy. I felt awful and quite guilty as my pregnancy was unplanned and I had never particularly wanted children but she was supportive of the pregnancy and wanted to be involved. We are both able to separate the emotions.
Before I offer, I intend to find out how she feels generally about egg donation, obviously she isn't at the stage yet and hopefully her own treatment will work. She may not wish to go down that route at all, and if she doesn't then I won't make the offer.
If and when I do make the offer, I intended to do so in writing so that she and her partner aren't put on the spot. Within the letter I would outline that I don't expect a response immediately and that I respect it is a difficult thing to think about, and won't be upset or offended if they don't want to take up the offer. Hopefully this would give them a chance to think and not feel pressured to decide. I am fully prepared that they may not wish to do this at all, and I won't take that personally. It's hard to explain here but I did think that it then allows us both the space to think about it clearly, with no face to face emotion putting either of us on the spot if that makes sense?
FannyCann · 14/01/2021 20:51
You are obviously approaching this very thoughtfully, and sensibly doing lots of research and considering all the implications. I think making your offer (if you do) in writing is very prudent for the reasons you mention, and which I have seen other women on other threads express similarly.
You may find this podcast interesting to listen to. It's a bit more focussed on sperm donation rather than egg donation but both are discussed with a focus on the child and how the child will be impacted. There are other podcasts in the series which cover egg donation, albeit based in USA where this is commercial and quite different from your own situation, however some of the discussion will be relevant for you.
I would also advise you really carefully investigate the medical side of it. I know another poster upthread has said it was fine, but what one person thinks is fine another may find very intrusive and quite difficult to tolerate. I personally would not fancy injecting myself with anything, even once, as I'm not a fan of needles! Then there are the hormonal effects and the trans vaginal scans. It's not a walk in the park! And that's without excessive side effects - ovarian hyper stimulation is not uncommon although ideally, since you would be making a one off donation for one woman, there should not be the same incentive to obtain the maximum number of eggs possible as there is in commercial situations such as the USA. Guidelines from NICE stipulate that the minimum dosages of hormones possible to obtain the necessary number of eggs should be used to minimise the risk of OHSS. So for a one off donation for one woman I wouldn't have thought the number of eggs collected should exceed say 10, as your relative is unlikely to want ten babies! However in the USA it is common to collect between 40 - 60 eggs! Clearly requiring significantly more stimulation of the ovaries with all the risk that entails.
I'm certainly not up with all the knowledge, but looking at some of the IVF threads I have seen women saying their specialist reassured them that "one good egg" was all they needed, and saying that is exactly what happened in their case so I don't think pushing the body to produce an excess number of eggs can really be justified.
The more you look into all this, the more issues pop up. For instance if there were quite a few eggs, and they were frozen, and after your relative used one or two there were some left over - what would you want to do with them? Donate them to another woman? Or for research? Or just have them disposed of? These are quandaries that women going through fertility treatment find themselves faced with all the time. Or if the eggs were used straight away to create embryos, meaning there were excess frozen embryos? What to do with them? In the USA, I think probably within religious/catholic community, embryo adoption is a thing - where fertilised embryos are made available to like minded people.
What starts off as a simple idea ends up having so many implications, so many questions and possible consequences to think through. It's good to do the research and ask around before making up your mind.
FannyCann · 14/01/2021 21:12
Here's an article about embryo adoption that was in the news recently. I had no idea this was a thing before!
And this is another interesting podcast focusing on egg donation.
EarlGreyT · 14/01/2021 22:43
It’s wonderful that you’re considering this OP and I agree with the comments from other posters about doing your research. I also agree with @Eggcellent29 about considering how your family member might feel before making such an offer. I’m not trying to suggest you shouldn’t offer (if you wish to), but tread carefully. I also wouldn’t have liked a friend or family member to have offered to donate eggs and wouldn’t have accepted an offer. My reasons are different from Eggcellent29, but I wouldn’t want a known donor as I think i would have felt any child was partly theirs rather then mine and would have felt that they’d (understandably) be more judgmental of my parenting and perhaps want an influence on the way the child was brought up.
So for a one off donation for one woman I wouldn't have thought the number of eggs collected should exceed say 10, as your relative is unlikely to want ten babies!
This point from @FannyCann is partly right. The “ideal” number of eggs collected is usually 10-15 to balance the chances of enough eggs to get a good one with the risks of overstimulation and OHSS.
10 eggs absolutely does NOT equal 10 babies though. Assuming 10 eggs are collected, not all will be mature, of the mature ones not all will fertilise and of the ones which do fertilise not all those will result in an embryo which develops, then of those which do make it to a stage suitable for embryo transfer, not all of the embryos transferred will implant and then if the embryo does implant there is still a risk of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. 10 donor eggs collected is likely to result in 1-2 babies (on average).
FannyCann · 14/01/2021 22:44
This is another very thought provoking podcast about egg donation.
Jennifer Schneider, M.D., Ph.D., is a physician certified in Internal Medicine, Addiction Medicine and Pain Management. She is the author of 15 books and has published numerous articles in professional journals. Not only is Jennifer impressive academically, but she is also a loving mother. This is the intersection where the CBC and Dr. Schneider meets. Jennifer’s daughter, Jessica, is featured in our film Eggsploitation. Jessica tragically passed away just before her 32nd birthday from colon cancer. As a student at Stanford and Columbia, Jessica was persuaded to donate her eggs on three separate occasions. Now, Dr. Schneider worries about the welfare of other women who are egg donors. The fertility drugs used during Jessica’s egg donation cycles could have contributed to her cancer and early passing. Join us today as we talk with Dr. Schneider about her daughter’s legacy as well as her own work in exposing the lack of research on the long-term risks for egg donors. Like Dr. Schneider, we are concerned that there are many more women who have donated eggs and have suffered from an early cancer diagnosis. You can read the important publication by Dr. Schneider, Jennifer Lahl and Wendy Kramer at: www.rbmojournal.com/article/S1472-6483(17)30048-2/abstract You can find out more about Dr. Schneider at: www.jenniferschneider.com You can visit Jessica’s Memorial Website at: www.jessicawing.com Jessica's website, created by her, with links to some of her music: www.warmblooded.com You can watch our documentaries Maggie’s Story and Eggsploitation free on Amazon Prime at: amzn.to/2K7Svou and amzn.to/2Q3NelW
FannyCann · 14/01/2021 22:56
I was perhaps over simplifying as I wouldn't expect ten eggs to equal ten babies, but I don't really understand why anyone would be stimulated to produce literally dozens of eggs. I'm not sure where I read it but I think I have seen it suggested that where multiple eggs are produced many don't mature so I don't understand why clinics (in USA for example, where egg donation is commercial) would go out of their way to obtain so many if a large proportion will not be any good anyway.
I just found this helpful thread which seems to be more realistic.
Donor egg - numbers www.mumsnet.com/Talk/donor_conception/4092342-donor-egg-numbers
BlueLionel · 17/01/2021 18:42
Thanks everyone for your views and information, certainly plenty to think about. I appreciate your points of view and it has made me think again about how and if I would offer. Although she is a bit off this step in treatment yet I might bring it up casually and ask if they have thought what they would do if it wasn't successful so I can gauge how they may feel about a known donor.
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