Gone are the days where traditional baby making was the only way to bring a new soul into the world. Today we are grateful to Kirsty, for sharing her experience as an egg donor and how she helped a couple receive the greatest gift in the world…
Amica: How did you get involved in egg donation?
Kirsty: A Mummy friend was telling me about her experience going through the donation process to assist her best friend to become pregnant, which gave me a decent idea of what was involved.
Later that day, I went to catch up with my sister and another childhood friend. The friend mentioned that her sister was experiencing infertility and required an egg donor, but they weren’t sure if it was the best decision for everyone for someone to donate within the family. Having just spoken about the process in detail to my Mummy friend, I volunteered to be the donor.
Amica: Is it something you have always wanted to do?
Kirsty: It wasn’t something that ever really crossed my mind until I had my first child. Like many young women, I spent my late teens and early 20’s trying NOT to fall pregnant. Then once my partner and I decided to try for our first child, nothing happened. Luckily we had a great GP who referred us to a fertility specialist after 10 months of trying. We conceived our child on our fourth round of Chlomid (fertility medication to encourage egg release). We lost our first baby at 6 weeks (possible twins) and then I hold suspicions that we lost another one on the third cycle.
Though our struggle with infertility was brief, it is something I never wish to go through again emotionally and took a toll on our relationship and other aspects of my work life and friendships.
If I can help someone else to gain life’s most precious gift, and ease their struggle. Who am I to not be willing to help?
Amica: Can you briefly describe the process?
Kirsty: The process was surprisingly long. I introduced my partner to the couple around August of 2012, but we decided not to pursue anything until the following year as we were getting married in the November. I introduced the egg recipient to my fertility specialist as she was someone I felt comfortable with and I knew produced good results.
My husband and I had to attend counselling through the fertility clinic, as did the receiving couple, then we all had to complete counselling together. The counselling involved quite a lot of family history, and suggestions about how the resulting child should be raised (knowing or not knowing about their conception) and different examples of how people approach this.
Once the counselling was complete, the recipient and I both commenced treatment so that our cycles were aligned. I had to complete a full cycle of IVF including administering myself with a few injections per day, and going completely coco bananas emotionally.
After 10 days I went for an ultrasound to check that I had produced eggs during the cycle. Two days later I was put under twilight sedation for the eggs to be “harvested”. One of the nurses informed me that once the eggs were collected I no longer had ownership of them, but she could write on my hand how many had been “picked up”. See attached picture!
On a good IVF cycle, the hope is to collect 10 to 12 eggs. I produced 24! This wasn’t ideal in all ways though as it made my hormones go wild, and I was in a fair amount of pain for the next few days.
The first embryo which was transferred to the recipient unfortunately didn’t take. Thankfully on the second attempt there was success and the happy couple are expecting their bub in October!
Amica: We imagine a lot of people feel like they couldn’t handle the emotional aspect of being an egg donor. How are you coping with your feelings?
Kirsty: As I mentioned above, following our own struggles with infertility, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Things that really help me emotionally are that the couple don’t live in the same city as me, so it’s not like I will see them at the shops every day. Also, I’m currently pregnant myself so I’m a bit busy to focus on it too much. Added to that, our babies will grow up together so I won’t feel like I am watching someone raise a part of me.
Most of all, I just try to reverse the situation. If what I needed to conceive was one egg that someone else wasn’t using, and no one would help me, I don’t think I would cope. Who am I to deny someone the joy of being a parent, when I would have flushed my egg away that month anyway?
Amica: Will you remain in contact with the child?
Kirsty: Yes, I’ve spoken to the couple at length and we stay in constant contact. I’m hoping to take the role of “special aunty”. There have been conversations about explaining it to the child how I just helped with the recipe which made them a person. I was the borrowed cup of sugar!
Amica: Will your own children be made aware that you have donated an egg when they are old enough to understand?
Kirsty: I explained what was happening to my older step children while I was undergoing the process and they were very understanding. Beautifully their biggest concerns were that I wouldn’t have any eggs left for more babies myself, and they also wanted to be reassured that the process would be successful and the recipient couple would definitely end up with a baby!
Amica: Will you do it again?
Kirsty: I wouldn’t do it again, as it was a bit of an ordeal physically and emotionally. I don’t regret it for a second, but I can’t help everyone. I’m not here to change the world, but if I can improve my corner of it, I’ve done my best.
You can follow Kirsty’s happenings by following her blog.
Have you had a special journey with fertility? Would you consider being an egg donor? Leave a comment, we would love to hear from you!