Altrui Information Evening

24th October 2017

Tuesday evening (17th October) in Central London gave potential egg recipients the unique chance to hear from a panel of speakers who gave unparalleled insights into egg donation.

A last minute addition to the programme was Sophie, conceived from donated eggs and now 18, who came with her mum and offered her experiences of what it has been like for her knowing that she was originally a ‘special egg’. Her poise and wisdom, not to mention the obvious love and affection she has for her mum, showed throughout. She described how, what and when she was told that she had been conceived in this way and how her thoughts and feelings grew up with her. It was extremely interesting for everyone to hear her side of this and how rare it is to find someone who is so open to discussion. Many recipients found great relief and hope in what she had to say, and will be going forward feeling very differently about egg donation and how to broach this with future children.

Equally enthralling was hearing from Natasha who had experience from both sides. Being a mother herself and a recipient of donor sperm as well as being an Altrui egg donor. Her journey from one side of the process, as someone who needed help to start a family, to her experience as an egg donor gave everyone there such insight. What inspired her to become a donor was quite clear from her talk, but to hear from someone just how important it felt to become one, really hit home. That she was appreciated so much by the couple she helped, and felt supported throughout the treatment was clearly very important and what made this so special for her.

Although Jo has spoken before, she again gave such a moving account of her personal journey through egg donation from a recipient’s perspective that it was clear from the start that she completely understands the distress and despair experienced by so many people undergoing fertility treatments. She talked openly, warmly and at times with great humour about the disappointment caused by their own fertility problems, as they struggled to come to terms with what it might be like to have a child from donated eggs. Her evident pride in her son brought home the reality of egg donation and we were left in no doubt that the genetic dissimilarity in no way took away from the fact that to her he was truly her child. Following Sophie and Natasha and coming with her little boy, she completed the circle at many levels.

The evening was enhanced by Jennie, a senior fertility counsellor, who did everything that a counsellor does well. She was reassuring, non-judgemental, informative and totally reassuring for everyone there, and through her talk de-mystified counselling.

Finally the evening was given to Mr Enda McVeigh, the Chief Executive of IVI UK who gave a remarkably clear, and extremely helpful, overview on the clinical side of egg donation. The audience greatly appreciated his balanced and fair guidance on how to choose a clinic, and it was evident from the feedback that many there were completely won over by his down-to-earth and sensible approach.

And from one person who attended:

“I just wanted to say thank you for encouraging us to attend last night’s information evening. It was really great to hear all the speakers’ experiences and get their personal perspectives on egg donation. Since talking to you last week, I’ve come to realise the importance for me of our journey being as ‘human’ as possible, rather than just something medical, and last night really reassured me about this. My husband also appreciated Jenny’s advice on counselling and the importance of being open to that.”

The evening ended with an opportunity for those present to put their own particular questions to the expert panel. We at Altrui loved meeting everyone that came and, judging by the many complimentary comments that we received, they clearly found it extremely helpful to hear first-hand accounts of the different aspects of egg donation.

Thank you once again, to the brilliant speakers and to those of you who came to listen.

What really came out of the evening was:

  • An egg donor would feel reassured that the result of her donation was so wanted and loved.
  • A donor conceived child felt no differently from any other and was deeply loved and accepted.
  • A recipient would be reassured that a child would totally identify her as her mother in every respect.

For all this to be so, it was made clear that full disclosure from an early age was all important.

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