We started trying for a baby 11 years ago and began our IVF journey 5 years ago. It has been an emotional journey with some really dark days. Yet each time, we would pick ourselves up and keep fighting. After numerous tests, the reason for our inability to conceive was diagnosed as 'unexplained infertility.' This meant that for me, there was always a glimmer of hope that one day it would work.
But at the age of 43, I had to face the fact that my egg store and quality were just not good enough. So, in 2022, after an honest conversation with the consultant, we started our IVF journey with donor eggs from the London Egg Bank.
“You will be the mother in every other aspect you can think of,” she said – “make it happen! What are you waiting for?!”
Choosing a donor is a minefield! There are so many things to consider and get obsessed with (although it did provide some comedy along the way as we compared it to online dating profiles!). Then, when you finally narrow down your choices, they have already been chosen, or they are not a match for you.
We were getting nowhere with our decision – how do you make that choice?! I had a counselling session with Jamie Forster, through London Egg Bank, which I found super helpful – it allowed me to let out the grief at not using my own eggs and stop delaying using a donor – think of the eggs as just a bunch of cells. “You will be the mother in every other aspect you can think of,” she said – “make it happen! What are you waiting for?!”
A few days later, my husband sent me a donor profile he had seen. “You could have written it,” he said– “it is just like you AND it’s a match! She even hates peppers – as do I!” Without procrastinating, we went for it and purchased the 6 eggs. It felt exciting and terrifying all at once. Then we embarked on the IVF journey once again. We had been there several times before with my own eggs. Sometimes we were successful, but we would only reach 7 weeks, and then there would be no heartbeat, or I would have a chemical pregnancy.
Each time my heart would break a little more, but you just don’t want to stop believing it would happen one day. IVF in whatever form takes its toll on your body and your mind – not to mention your bank balance. And each time you make it over one hurdle, there is another one around the corner.
You rarely feel brave enough to celebrate positive news. It is the same with the donor egg route – you are constantly hoping for good news and preparing for bad news. I never allowed myself to fully believe it had worked – not when we got 3 or 4 positive pregnancy tests in July 2022, not even when I was waddling around 8 months pregnant or having an epidural ready for my C-section.
“For those considering egg donation, I would say this… the love and the joy always extinguish the pain and the doubt – BE BRAVE!”
When Mia Lily was born in May this year, we fell in love with her at first sight. I cannot describe how wonderful it is! Bonding with her must have started in the womb, as she is and will always be my everything.
There are days when I worry about how she will feel about being a donor-conceived child, but I know that our love will always be unconditional. We are surrounded by the most wonderful, loving, and supportive family and friends who all know about the egg donor, and as they say, it takes a village to raise a child. We have children’s books that we will read to her about donor families, and we will tell her about her conception from a young age. If/when she wants to seek out the donor, then we will support her.
If I could, I would tell our donor how she has made our life complete with the most beautiful, life-changing gift anyone could ever have. I would say thank you from my very soul for helping us fulfil our dream of becoming parents.
For those considering egg donation, I would say this… the love and the joy always extinguish the pain and the doubt – BE BRAVE! Without egg donation, Mia would not be here, and a world without our beautiful girl seems unthinkable.