After a few years of trying the 'natural' method to have children without any luck, we had ourselves tested for fertility levels and found that Emma had experienced premature ovarian failure.
Our only options realistically were adoption or egg donation. As our desire and dream were to be able to experience the whole process of pregnancy and childbirth, we decided egg donation was our number one option.
When we started to choose an egg donor, we were keen to find someone with similar physical characteristics to Emma, but we also looked for a donor who appeared to have a similar personality, outlook on life, and range of interests to us.
We had a couple of years and five attempts to get pregnant with one clinic, choosing the 'fresh egg' route via egg sharers or altruistic donors.
All these rounds failed before even getting to the fertilisation stage, due to donors dropping out at the last minute, or not being able to retrieve enough eggs at the start of the process.
“The journey can be very stressful and demanding, so finding a clinic with nurses and doctors who make you feel at ease the moment you walk in the room, really helped relax us and reassure us.“
Having spoken to the counsellor at the previous clinic, we were made aware of another option at other clinics for using frozen donor eggs. This is how we ended up choosing London Egg Bank.
The guarantee of having at least 6 eggs to even 'have a go' was a huge relief to us and gave us a great amount of hope that our dream might finally come true.
There was a good selection of donors at London Egg Bank, and we were lucky enough to find a donor who not only managed to match well, but also genuinely appeared to want to help couples in our situation.
When we found out that 3 of the eggs had been fertilised at the first time of trying we were elated - but not as much as we were 9 months later when our son was born after our first egg transfer.
It was a long journey, but it has been worth every minute for what we have gained as a result. We couldn't be happier with our little family.
The emotional journey over the years following the initial diagnosis and subsequent fertility treatment has certainly felt exhausting at times. The extreme highs and lows which can change with one phone call can be a lot to deal with both on an individual basis and also as a couple.
But when our son was born, happy and healthy, all the anguish and heartache disappeared in an instant. We would now not change that journey for anything in the world as it brought us everything we dreamed of, and more.
The bond between the three of us was instant. There is no question that he is our son, and the fact he is donor-conceived doesn't even come into mind.
The genetic inheritance was obviously always something we pondered about before the fact, but having read into epigenetics, and the plain fact that Emma was able to carry him for a full pregnancy and experience all the joys (and pains!) of that, means we hardly ever think about the egg donation due to that strong bond forming.
Our new family is amazing and we are doing absolutely nothing different to any other parent in raising our son.
We are planning to tell him about his story, and we have been given quite a bit of information on support groups and leaflets that can help with this. It's an important part of who our son is, and also of who we are, and so we have already bought story books for him to help start explaining everything from a suitably early age.
Should he wish to find out more about his origins, we’ll be fully supportive of that when the time comes.
“…when our son was born, happy and healthy, all the anguish and heartache disappeared in an instant. We would now not change that journey for anything in the world as it brought us everything we dreamed of and more.”
We don't think 'Thank You' could ever fully explain how grateful we are. What these donors do is amazing, selfless and a real act of kindness towards those who would otherwise never get to experience what comes so naturally to so many.
Because of their act of kindness, we managed to achieve everything we ever wanted, and couldn't be happier as a result.
For any other couples embarking on the egg donation journey, one of the major lessons we learned was to trust your gut and not the 'numbers' when choosing a clinic.
The journey can be very stressful and demanding, so finding a clinic with nurses and doctors who make you feel at ease the moment you walk in the room, really helped relax us and reassure us.
It's ok to put yourselves first and not take too much 'advice' from too many different directions, including your own family and friends. People who haven't been in this situation will never fully understand the emotions and thought processes involved.
I guess finally, you will question yourself during the process about what it's like to have a child that isn't necessarily inheriting your genes - but the moment you get to hold that child in your arms and give all the love you've been saving, all that goes out the window. You realise that it's irrelevant, and that nurture really is stronger than nature!