“I don’t think you can quite put into words the amount of gratitude that I feel for my egg donor,” says Elle*, who discovered aged 17 that she had very few eggs and would struggle to conceive. “Egg donation is an incredibly selfless act for someone they don’t know.”
Elle’s baby is the first to be born since Bourn Hall’s dedicated donor team was set up earlier this year. She popped into our Cambridge clinic to show the team the results of their work and share some Christmas cheer.
A national shortage of donated eggs had meant a long wait for some women, so Bourn Hall put out an appeal for more donors last Christmas. Following a good response, the clinic set up a dedicated and committed team to focus on encouraging more sperm and egg donors and supporting potential recipients.
Rise in egg donors
Through their actions, the team has seen a sharp rise in enquiries from women wanting to donate their eggs, with many saying that they wanted to give something back after completing their own families.
As a result, a record 25 couples have been given the chance of a baby since August.
The donor team is headed by fertility consultant Dr Valentina Mauro and supported by a team including Katie Warburton, Patient support specialist and egg donor coordinator, who keeps close contact with patients on the waiting list.
“Our egg donors are very special women indeed,” says Katie. “What they do is truly amazing. It is a wonderful feeling to tell someone on the waiting list that we are able to match them with a donation. It has been brilliant to see such an increase in people coming forward to donate.
“I feel very privileged to be part of these amazing patients journey you get to build a relationship with both donors and recipients, and you become emotionally invested in their treatment”.
Elle was diagnosed with Primary Ovarian Insufficiency aged 17. Now married, she says she and her husband are “eternally grateful” to their altruistic egg donor.
“I really wanted to try and experience pregnancy and to feel a baby kicking in my tummy. It was wonderful that an egg donor gave me that chance.
“After the embryo transfer, we tried to remain positive but realistic at the same time, IVF isn’t guaranteed to work, but we were so incredibly lucky that it did, and that it worked first time. There are no words to describe what it felt like seeing that positive pregnancy test. It still makes me want to cry when I think about it now. We were in complete and utter shock!”
The team at Bourn Hall are happy to talk to anyone considering donation and provide a single point of contact throughout the process. Having a dedicated pathway means that donated eggs are swiftly matched with recipients.
To donate eggs, you need to be: aged 18-35; in good health with no family history of hereditary illnesses or diseases; a non-smoker; and have a BMI of between 18-30.
For further information visit our egg donation page.
*name changed for confidentiality.
[top image shows Katie Warburton and Julie Middlemas from Bourn Hall’s donor team celebrating their first arrival]