Women who offer to become egg donors are usually confident about their fertility and excited about helping a couple have a baby. Donors have often given a lot of thought to this before they contact us and it can come as a shock to find out that things aren’t right, and a big disappointment not to be able to help after all. Sam, who has three children, tells us how it felt to discover she couldn’t be an egg donor.
“I started thinking about donating eggs because I have a friend who finds it difficult to conceive – her and her husband tried for quite a few years to conceive naturally. They had IVF to have their son. It was so difficult for them, you want to help so much. I didn’t feel like I could help them myself because being close to them, it would be extremely strange. So I felt that if I helped somebody else, that was half way there.
There’s no ‘little’ thing that you can do with regards to helping somebody conceive. You can be there for somebody and let them talk to you, like I was with my friend. You donate something, a part of yourself, or you donate your body for nine months to be a surrogate, or it’s being there for support. A friend has been a surrogate and I knew I probably would not be able to cope too well with doing that; the only thing I felt I could do was to donate eggs.
I first went to a fertility unit in April this year for tests and they found my AMH level was too low to donate, which is strange because I’ve got a baby who’s almost a year old. So I went to another unit two months later to get a second opinion and after a blood test and an internal exam, they phoned me with the results and said that even though the level had gone up, it was still too low to take the risk. I feel that it’s because of the depo injection that I had, because the job of that injection is to pause your natural cycles, which obviously it did quite well, so I feel thats the reason my AMH levels are quite low.
I was very disappointed to find I couldn’t be a donor. It took me a few weeks to really deal with it when I first got the news. I was shocked because obviously I’ve had a baby – I’ve had three – and my last one is not even a year old yet. I was so confused, just so gutted. And I was heartbroken for the couple, too, because obviously they must have got excited thinking that there’s somebody who’s willing to donate eggs for them, and then to find out that they can’t actually do it must have been a roller coaster ride for them. I felt like I was truly letting them down. I’ve had three children and I can’t imagine how it feels to have that one opportunity to try to have a baby and to be told you can’t do it.
As it stands at the moment, I can’t donate. But something is telling me that it will improve in six months time. They have said that it can take up to a year for my body to get back to normal again after having the depo injection. It ran out in December last year, so it might take till December this year before my body is back to normal. In the two months between the first blood test and the second, my AMH level had gone up. It hadn’t jumped up massively, but it went up a little bit. I’ve asked to get tested again and I’m hoping that by December or January, another blood test will show I will be able to donate. But I can only hope.”