Monday, February 7, 2011

A Nurture Egg Donor's story...

My experience as a Nurture Egg Donor…

I am one of the lucky ones… my husband and I conceived easily and I had 2 healthy, full-term pregnancies. I have been blessed with 2 beautiful, precious, extremely active boys. Many of my friends have not been as lucky, I have watched over the years as many of them struggled to fall pregnant and keep pregnancies. I have watched them go through IVF and even surrogacy and have always said to my husband ‘ I wish there was more I could do to help’.
A few months ago, I went to a fundraising talk for a school in our area and the speaker happened to talk on her experience with surrogacy. I was blown away! Tertia and Kim from the Nurture Egg Donor programme also spoke and presented the egg donation process. They mentioned that they only accepted donors until they were 33. My birthday was a few months away and I was nearing the deadline! I discussed it with my husband and friends and decided that this was something I really wanted to do. I felt like I could finally help someone, even if it was not a close friend, and I knew that if I did not do it now, I would miss the opportunity.

I contacted Nurture, filled in the application form and so the process began. I met with Melany, who explained the entire procedure to me. She answered all my questions and dealt with all of my concerns. She also detailed the risks involved are and exactly what I would be committing to. I have spoken at length about my decision with friends and family. A lot of the questions that were posed to me, were ones that my husband and I discussed prior to making the decision to donate. We were obviously concerned about the hormones I would be injecting, about the actual retrieval procedure, and about the fact that in 20 years time, one of our sons could meet and potentially like a young lady who has half of their genetic make-up!!! My husband is a doctor and after getting all the information from Melany regarding the hormones and actual procedure, he was very comfortable that it was low-risk and well-managed.

I got a phone call to say that my profile had been selected and then received a letter (via Melany) from my recipient. It was the most genuine, heartfelt, grateful letter I have ever received and after reading it and learning more about my recipient and her journey, I knew that I had made the right decision! I had to go for blood tests and a scan at the Cape Fertility Clinic. Dr Heylen and his staff were wonderful – very honest and professional and approachable. I felt extremely comfortable.

I know that a lot of people have found it difficult to understand that my need to help someone actually overrides the 10 days of hormone treatment and the fear of a procedure. The anaesthetic is very light one and I was home the same day. I really feel that 12 days of my life is a small sacrifice to make, to give someone else such a life-changing gift! I can find out (if the recipient couple will allow) the sex of the baby when it is born. This will allow me to discuss things easier with my sons. Once they are old enough to understand, I will have the conversation with them and explain to them, what I chose to do and why.

I have had the reactions I was expecting, like; ‘That is amazing, so selfless, what an awesome thing to do.’ I have also had some that I was not expecting; ‘You are mad! What if the kid comes looking for you in 18 years time?’ The way I look at it is that this is not ‘my’ child, I am not the Mother, I am merely giving potential…. I really feel that the recipient will carry the child and that the baby will be hers completely. I have also been asked; ‘wow, are you getting paid a fat sum of money for doing that?’ and have shut those people up, by explaining that I am not selling my eggs to some market! The money that I am being paid is for my time, travel costs and effort, which I have decided to donate to an NGO that has an awesome Mothers Programme. I want this to be a selfless act, with absolutely no financial gain!

I begin with the injections tomorrow and the retrieval date is booked for 12 days time. So, I will write after that to fill you all in on how that goes! I will certainly do everything I can and can only pray that this works for the recipient couple!!! I have found that it helps when I feel anxious, to put myself in their shoes…. They have far more at stake and put in perspective, I have nothing to be scared of and am inspired by their faith and perseverance. So far the experience has been a very positive, humbling one!!!

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