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Patient Story

Anita and Richard’s Story: I successfully used donor eggs in the UK when I was over 45

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Having unsuccessfully tried IVF in the past using her own eggs, Anita and Richard took the next step of using donor eggs to give her a better chance of pregnancy

 

When we were trying to get pregnant, I had seen a few consultants who had all told me that I would have a very slim chance of conceiving using my own eggs, due to me being over 45, an age when the quality of your own eggs is reduced.

I attended a London Egg Bank free webinar about IVF using donor eggs for women who are over 40, which offered lots of really useful facts and figures about the comparison between using your own and donor eggs.

Having tried IVF unsuccessfully in the past using my own eggs, I was at the stage where I had come to terms with the fact that using my eggs would probably not be successful again, and that I would be very hurt and disappointed again.

I understood at this stage the only way forward was to use a donor egg in order to get pregnant, and together Richard and I were ready to find the right donor.

I went to another clinic in London which told me that I would have to go to Barcelona in order to have the treatment done. We knew that would be a very stressful journey, we weren’t sure what background checks they do for donors, and we were only given limited information about the donors.

But then I visited the London Egg Bank and met the Consultant, and also met with Donor Manager Annabel Yazdi. Annabel gave us lots of information and put us at our ease. In her own words, she said “I will support you in every way”, and she definitely did that for us. It was really helpful that the London Egg Bank was so closely aligned with the London Women’s Clinic, which gave us seamless treatment throughout.

With some more preparation and getting ready both mentally and physically, we started looking at the egg donor database.

"I went to another clinic in London which told me that I would have to go to Barcelona in order to have the treatment done. We knew that would be a very stressful journey, we weren’t sure what background checks they do for donors, and we were only given limited information about the donors."

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My partner is White and I am Asian, so we wanted to find an egg donor with a medium skin complexion. I didn’t want my baby to look out of place in the future within our family.

When we had selected a donor, we sent our photo to the Donor Manager so that she could tell us whether there was a good visual match, to get reassurance.

When we were happy with our choice, we bought six eggs, and the clinic collected Richard’s sperm. We were a little disappointed when only two of the eggs were fertilised.

When I had the embryo transfer, I felt scared as I didn’t want to be disappointed, but I tried hard to relax and stay positive. I remember asking the nurse to confirm that the number of the egg donor was correct and that Richard's details were the right ones, just in case I was implanted with the wrong embryo - but of course, all the right checks were in place!

Ten days after the transfer, I needed to take a home pregnancy test before going to the clinic for blood tests. Sadly the home kit was negative – I cried my heart out. I was so sad when I went to the clinic and told the nurse, but she said that the blood test would give a more accurate result.

I even remember speaking to the admin staff and asking about how much it would cost for the next round of IVF treatment, but then we decided that mentally and physically we had had enough, and needed a break from the whole journey.

But then everything changed. 

I received a call from the clinic that the blood test was positive. It was so wonderful, but I asked for confirmation that all the details were correct and that I was actually pregnant.

I was pregnant during the lockdown, and I was scared about catching Covid-19. Luckily my employer was very supportive, and I spent the whole pregnancy not working. I was very worried in case anything went wrong, as I couldn’t believe we were actually having a baby at last. 

All the scans were all going well and my health was good, even though due to my age and IVF I was classed as high risk. I had my baby at 37 weeks, and as she was in a transverse position I had her via C-section.

If I was worried about anything at all, I would ring the nurse and speak to my midwife. They offered the support I needed, as I didn’t want to tell my friends and family that I was pregnant until the baby was born.

When our daughter arrived, I did feel a distance from her, as everyone kept saying she looked like her daddy, but I knew I needed to get over those feelings and give our daughter all my love. I kept telling myself that my baby had been with me the whole journey growing inside me, and she has my blood from the pregnancy.

And after about a  month I bonded completely with my daughter, and now she is my world. The way she looks at me, how I know exactly what she wants - no one can take that away from us. I don’t think of the egg donor anymore, all I know is that my daughter is all mine.

We are planning to tell our daughter about the difficult journey her mummy and daddy had to have a beautiful baby when she is much older and can understand. I want her to know how grateful and thankful we are to the egg donor who helped to make our dreams come true.

"There is no difference for us in raising a donor-conceived child, I wouldn’t treat her any differently, she is our baby and I will love and protect her for the rest of my life."

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It would be nice for the egg donor to know that her eggs worked for us, and to send her a photo of the baby. But there is also a part of me that holds back from that, as I don’t want my baby to feel that she has two mothers. I know that my daughter can trace the egg donor once she reaches 18, but I’m not worried about that and will deal with the situation when it happens.  In the meantime, there are no words that can describe how grateful we are. 

If I were to give any advice to other people thinking of taking the same journey, I have a few tips that we learned along the way:

  • Ask for advice and support from the London Egg Bank, they have been absolutely brilliant
  • Do your research, and don’t ever give up hope
  • Make sure you are physically and mentally ready
  • Go with the flow, and don’t blame yourself if things don’t work out
  • Make sure you have a good grasp of the financial costs and allow extra money in case of more medication, scans etc
  • You’re not alone, there’s lots of available support, whatever the outcome

Want to find out more about using our donor eggs?

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