Becoming an egg donor has changed my life – I hope it changes someone else’s

Lisa didn’t realise that she could donate her eggs until a friend going through IVF told her about the shortage of egg and sperm donors. “It just took 6 weeks of my time and will make a lifetime of difference to someone else. It feels so rewarding.”

Lisa (33) had seen first-hand how heart-breaking infertility can be: her cousin went through it for years before she had her daughter, and a number of her friends had struggled.

“I had my first child at 19 and was with my partner for ten years before we split up. I was feeling in a bit of rut and thought I would like to put something back and make a difference,” she says. “I am not in a position to donate to charity but thought ‘this is something I can do, and it will be life changing for someone else’.

Becoming an egg donor has changed my life – I hope it changes someone else’s

“I made enquiries at Bourn Hall and to be honest I couldn’t believe how fast and easy the whole process was. I have now donated four times. The first time I needed to do blood tests and a health check but now I wait for my body to recover and then get in touch to donate again.

“I know some people might be unsure about donating their eggs because of the injections, or they are worried about their hormones and the effect on their body. I warn my friends and family that I am about to start but I find it doesn’t affect me massively, I can still work and go out every day.

There are many people in the UK who need help from an egg donor to give them the chance of starting a family. We need amazing women to help make this possible. Find out more about egg donation at Bourn Hall.

“Egg collection is a bit uncomfortable, like a smear test, and I was offered a general anaesthetic but didn’t want to do that.

“I pretty much seem to produce the same number of eggs each time, twelve or thirteen, and they tell me that is a good number, so I am quite happy when I leave because I want the egg collection to be successful and for them to get a reasonable number of eggs.

“It takes up six weeks of my life and it is so rewarding. I feel like I have done something which is life-changing, not just for me but for somebody else.

“It makes my heart go a little bit funny when I go into the clinic to be honest, it is a really strange feeling. I feel empowered, my heart feels a bit full, and I feel like I have done something so good. I feel great for the rest of the day.

“I have got two children of my own and have told loads of people about becoming an egg donor. So many people are not aware that you can donate your eggs and they say, ‘wow can you do that?’ So, I hope that by raising awareness more people will consider doing it.

“People I know who have had IVF say, ‘OMG it is amazing what you are doing, you are a super-hero’ and I get overwhelmed by that, but I am just doing my ‘thing’!

“I have had implications counselling and it did help but now I know the process, I go in, do it, and get on with my day, but it is different for everyone.

“I have had implications counselling and it did help but now I know the process, I go in, do it, and get on with my day, but it is different for everyone.

“I am a very strong-willed and independent woman, whereas a lot of people really think about it too much and it scares them. I was talking to one woman who said, ‘oh I couldn’t do that it means you have got babies all over the place.’ I explained that it doesn’t work like that.

“The limit for a donor is creating ten families. And all I am allowed to know from Bourn Hall is if a child has been born and their gender. To be told that a donor-recipient has had a baby would be amazing and is the whole reason I am doing it.

“I wrote a short note that will be given to any children that result from the donation. I didn’t go into too much detail; I’d be quite happy to meet someone in person if they are 18 and wanted to find out about how they were created and things like that. But I don’t know if that will ever happen.

“I would love to have more children of my own, but I don’t know if I would need a man! I had a chat with the nurses at Bourn Hall and they said I could have sperm donor treatment and get a discount for donating my eggs, so let’s see what happens but at least it is an option…

“Every time I go into Bourn Hall to donate as I’m leaving, they are really thankful and grateful and the nurses say, ‘hope to see you again!’ and I say ‘yes, I’ll be back!’. Last time I donated the nurses sent me a card and a big bunch of flowers which was lovely. I cried, I was very touched by that, it was so nice of them.”

What does the egg donation process involve?

“The whole process takes about six weeks,” says Lisa. “First, I have to take medication for two to three weeks to control my bleeding and then to stop me from having a period.

“Then I come off the medication and after a week I have a period and then I start one lot of injections followed by another lot for a few weeks before I start having scans to see if my follicles are getting bigger and they keep a track on it every couple of days to make sure it is doing what it is supposed to and then I get a provisional date for my egg collection. So, the whole thing takes around six weeks.

“I get a treatment plan from Bourn Hall and I put it all in the calendar on my phone so I know what I am doing because otherwise I might forget to do something and you have to know when to stop the contraceptive so I just put it in my Google calendar ‘stop’ and I get a little reminder every morning at 8am of what I am supposed to be doing. I print the treatment plan out and keep it in there as normal, but everyone uses their phones these days…

“The nurses just make it such a pleasant experience and that is what you need really, and I think for some people who go in there they need a lot of reassurance and they do give that there which is amazing, and they know me really well, so they know I like my biscuits at the end!”

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