Infertility, the inability to conceive a child naturally. According to the NHS, one in seven couples struggle to conceive. It’s a statistic I’m well aware of and it’s hugely frustrating and depressing, knowing that your body doesn’t work the way you think it should, despite doing all the right things at the right time.
Today, I have the absolute honour of bringing you Zoe’s story. Zoe and I met during our pregnancies with our children back in 2012/2013 and Zoe is doing the ultimate act of kindness; she’s donating her eggs to couple’s who are infertile. Here’s Zoe’s first post on why she’s donating her eggs.
I was 24 when we made the final decision that our family was complete with our daughter Poppy. This was very young, of course, but my age was also a huge influencing factor in why I investigated egg donation. Having seen close friends long to complete their family, I could not ignore these key facts: I was the right age to donate eggs, I have no health conditions which would prevent me from donating and I have no family history of genetic illnesses which would prevent me from donating. Something in my heart told me this was the right thing to do; infertility, including secondary infertility, has been breaking the hearts of so many of the people I care about, and I could make that better for someone.
A quick Google search bought up an agency, and I knew just from their website that they would take care of me throughout the long road ahead of me. Altrui answered my enquiry within hours of me sending it, and my journey to egg donation began in October 2015. Sooner than expected, I was matched with a couple who would be unable to have children without donated eggs and suddenly it was real. They were going to have my eggs. They were going to have a baby!
There are, of course, some things you truly have to understand with egg donation. It is not easy and you really must commit. Altrui have just been exceptional, they’ve been subject to everything from my silly questions to my hormonal outbursts and everything in between, and every time I’ve had such kindness, grace and gratitude. One of the most important things about egg donation is coming to terms with having a child that is genetically half yours, but as the process is totally anonymous, having nothing to do with them. Personally, I feel that I have kept my eggs safe and warm until their mummy and daddy can have them; for me, the genetics are nothing compared to growing and loving this child that will come from my egg. In my mind, these eggs are already the recipient couples’; I’ve just got to look after them for a little while.
Knowing there is a couple ready to receive my eggs is the one thing that has kept me going. I’ll be the first to admit there have been times I’ve thought ‘I’m not sure I can do this’; when they explained how the eggs will be retrieved, when I was told I would have to self-inject, when I fell ill earlier in the year with suspected glandular fever. But every single time, those two people who were longing for a baby won, I don’t know who they are, and may never know who they are, but I have my baby and they’re relying on me to have theirs. I can’t let them down. A few injections in the stomach are nothing really compared to that absolute longing for a family, a longing that I can end for them.
I am writing this today after taking my first injection (and eating a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s as a reward). I have taken the pill for 10 weeks without a break to sync me up with my recipient, and I stopped taking it two days ago, and here I can tell you another thing you must be sure of when you decide to donate eggs: your family’s support. Is the rational reaction to someone asking you if you like the bread on GBBO “JUST LEAVE ME ALONE SO I CAN BLEED TO DEATH IN PEACE!”? No. Without the support of my partner, Stuart, who is currently living in Hormone City, this process would be a lot more difficult. Stuart is the one who supplied the aforementioned tub of Ben and Jerry’s; believe me, you need someone who will buy you ice cream and chocolate.
We now have around two weeks until my eggs are collected, I have one injection for the next nine days and then add in a second until the collection. Hopefully Emma will have me back to talk about how it’s all gone, but in the meantime…. #prayforstuart
Stay tuned for the second part of Zoe’s egg donation story to follow.