There are thousands of UK women who cannot have a child of their own because either their ovaries have never developed properly or because of surgery or chemotherapy. In my case, I suffered a premature menopause, which was very hard to cope with at 30 years old. Women like me can be helped by receiving eggs donated by other fertile women. At present, however, there is a desperate shortage of egg donors in the UK so women who need eggs face a minimum wait of two or even three years.
If you are a mother under thirty five and are fit and healthy you could become an egg donor and give a wonderful gift to a childless couple.
Donors receive some drug treatment to stimulate the growth of eggs. They have to make a few visits to an IVF clinic for scans to see if the eggs are developed and then mid cycle the eggs are collected. The collection procedure takes about one hour. For some people there can be some discomfort but apparently compared to childbirth it is an absolute doddle!
The collected eggs are fertilised by the sperm of the recipients partner and then two or three of the resulting embryos are transferred to the womb of the recipient. If all goes well a normal pregnancy develops.
Egg donors always remain anonymous to the recipient and donors have no obligations or rights over any child following donation. Donors are not paid in the UK but can expect small expenses such as travel reimbursed.
Would you like to help?
The shortage of donors is acute. Many clinics have hundreds of couples waiting for treatment but only around twenty donors come forward each year.
Donors need to be aged between eighteen and thirty five and preferably have their own children. They should expect to be routinely tested for HIV and Hepatitis B before they are accepted. Sometimes the drug treatment can cause headaches and sleeplessness but these side effects are short lived. Women who have donated have said that the inconvenience and minor discomfort are nothing compared to the joy they are giving to someone else, so please think hard about becoming a donor.
My husband and I are actively seeking a donor in the Cambridgeshire / Hertfordshire area so anyone wanting more information can contact our clinic on 01954 719111 quoting medical number 16562. Alternatively if you live elsewhere in the country you could help someone else by contacting NEEDS (National Egg and Embryo Donation Society) on 0161 276 6000. Please remember the immense joy you could give to a childless couple like my husband and myself.
Article by Rachel Graham.