Updated: Jan 21
Wednesday 30th December 2020
This morning I received an email from my clinic to inform me that my egg donor had started her stimulation and her predicted date of egg collection would be the 10th of January 2021. Up until this point, the content of my blog posts have been all about me. My thoughts, my feelings, my experiences, my worries and my concerns. For the first time, my thoughts were now all about someone else, a stranger, my egg donor and potentially the person who will go on to be 50% of my children’s DNA. However, the phrase egg donor seems so impersonal. I may never know her true identity, or at least won’t know who she is unless my child/children choose to find out who she is at the age of 18. So until then, I think it only fitting to give her the temporary name, Edie (E. D.).
In the same way that I had to undertake various procedures as part of my fertility care, Edie would also be undertaking similar procedures. To begin, her application to become an egg donor will have been processed. The non-identifying information which she will have provided was made available to me when I was informed that a donor had been identified.
Sometime after applying to become an egg donor, Edie will have been invited to the clinic to undergo a thorough health screening. These tests are crucial in identifying certain diseases, including any serious hereditary genetic diseases, before donation can take place. She will have been required to tell the clinic about any personal problems, or any known issues in her family’s, medical histories. If anyone chooses to withhold information regarding a serious physical or mental condition, they could face legal action if a child born from any donation inherits it.
By law, all fertility clinics are required to offer counselling. This vital service is designed to help donors to talk through all the implications of their decision to donate and how it could affect their family in the future. Edie will likely have accessed this service as this was a mandatory requirement of my clinic for me.
Before donating her eggs, Edie will have been required to consent in writing. It is important to remember that any donor, whether it be egg or sperm, can change or withdraw their consent up until the moment of embryo transfer. This means that, even after my embryos have been created, Edie still has the right to withdraw her consent. This would also mean that any embryos created using my sperm would not be able to be used, and most likely be destroyed.
Finally, her ovaries will be stimulated through daily injections to promote the growth of follicles containing the eggs. The process is monitored with ultrasounds and/or blood tests, to control the size and quantity of follicles. The medications stimulate two key hormones, Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinising Hormone (LH). FSH stimulates follicles to develop during the menstrual cycle. Normally, non-dominant follicles die off before ovulation as FSH levels fall. FSH injections maintain higher levels of FSH in the body, allowing the ovaries to produce more mature eggs. To assist with the final maturation of the eggs and loosening of the eggs from the follicle wall, an injection of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), also known as a ‘trigger shot’ is administered. This stimulates ovulation. Eggs are then collected under general anaesthetic and the procedure takes around half an hour.
Whilst Edie will be under sedation for the retrieval procedure, the whole process is quite invasive. Words cannot describe how grateful I am of her. Grateful that this complete stranger has made this life-changing decision to give away one of the most fundamental parts of herself, to another stranger, for me to fulfil one of the most instinctive, human desires of starting a family.
Thank you, Edie, from the bottom of my heart.
Until Next time, Keeping the Dad Dream alive!
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