I guess I should start with a flashback of our ‘journey’. We thought we were on the normal route of marriage and babies. We got married in August 2017, decided to have a few months baby free and started for a family after our 30th Birthdays in February 2018 (we went to New York to celebrate).
After a few months we went to our GP to check everything was ‘okay’. We were then referred to our local fertility clinic for tests and, after A LOT of blood taken, we were called in for news that we really weren’t prepared for – my egg reserve was extremely low (AMH 1.7) and at that point I wouldn’t even qualify for IVF on the NHS as our success rate was so low. The options were to try to increase my AMH levels with hormones or use a donor egg. This was now November 2018.
I started on DHEA to increase my AMH levels and went through IVF in April 2019.
At this point the thought of using a donor egg was completely alien, I couldn’t even imagine using another women’s egg for my own baby.
But our first round of IVF failed dramatically. On egg collection day, after 16 days of injections, they could only retrieve 2 eggs and we got the dreaded call the next day that we had no embryos. It took a while to get our heads around this, that our dream might not happen, and we decided to take a break, with a holiday in between. Our fertility consultant was amazing and said that as our first round went ‘so badly’ that he wouldn’t count that one at all, so we still had 2 rounds of IVF on the NHS.
In October 2019 we started our next round with double the doses of fertility medication. The scans throughout were a lot more promising and our collection was brilliant with 7 eggs! We were sure that we’d get at least 4 embryos! But, yet again, we had the devastating call the follow morning that we had no embryos. With 5 immature eggs and the final 2 didn’t last the fertilisation process. I can’t describe how utterly heartbreaking this was. We knew the next option would be to use donor eggs, and I couldn’t get my head around it.
As we started to get back to normality over the next few weeks we had a lot of conversations about our options. The decision to use a donor then began to sink in.
We came to terms with it by looking at our end goal, to be parents.
Why were we doing all of this, why had I endured weeks of injections and 2 egg collection procedures? Why had we let this take over our lives for now 2 years? I did a lot of reading and watched videos on the Donor Conception Network website; by this time I felt a lot of admiration for donors. Donors also have to go through weeks of injections and egg collection and most have experienced fertility issues themselves. So we decided, we were going to use a donor and we went onto the wait list for a fresh donor cycle.
Now, I have kept some aspects of our treatment from our friends. I’ve been very open about using a donor and our whole journey, but I wanted some part of our experience to be like everyone else, to be able to surprise people with our good news when it came along. So for any friends reading this you might not know that we did get the phone call that the clinic had found a match. I cried so much. We were sent a small amount of information about our donor, but most importantly we had a letter from her. A letter explaining why she was donating and then a letter to our future child. It was all very surreal, there was a stranger out there who could help to give us a child.
As you may guess this time line then leads right up to (bloody) lockdown. Our clinic called to say that all treatment across the Nation had been put on hold! As if anything else could go wrong! I cried again, we got angry and had to wait, for such a long time!
Now I’m going to leave the story there, I still want the surprises and my friends know not to ask ready for our eventual big news! We’re keeping positive (in between the angry days) and I look upon our donor with a lot of love. The law is now that a donor conceived child can get information about their donor at 18, so look, if this does work and our child wants to meet her, then we'll be there in full support and with open arms. Whoever she is, we’re truly grateful. It took a while to get here mentally, but we can’t wait to carry on with the next steps of our journey.