November 27, 2013
There’s been a lot in the news recently about women going to the US to donate eggs. While to some this may seem appealing at first sight, there are a few issues that haven’t been covered in the news articles which you might like to consider too.
- The way US fertility clinics operate is not regulated centrally as it is in the UK. Although there is accepted good practice and some world-leading clinics are based there, standards do vary. Laws can be different from state to state, too. This means you should be careful to check out clinics and agencies in advance and be sure in your own mind that they are established and reputable. You will probably be expected to sign a legal contract prior to starting treatment, so you’ll need to read this carefully or get your own legal advice.
- The information you can find out as a donor may be quite limited. Clinics are not obliged to tell you how many people you are donating to nor how many pregnancies are achieved. If you want to be a donor to help people have a baby, you might never find out whether this has happened.
- Unlike in the UK, most clinics only provide anonymous donation where the donor is not identifiable to donor-conceived children or adults. This information could be important for your own family too, later on.
- Having medical treatment in the US can sometimes make it more difficult to get hold of your treatment records, which you might need afterwards. It can be time-consuming to set up communication between a US clinic and your doctor in the UK. There are various different drug regimes and types of egg donation treatment and your UK doctor will be best able to help you if they have the full medical records.
- Should you need any medical aftercare following a donation, you have ready access to the full resources of the NHS in this country. You may like to check out what the situation is regarding aftercare at any clinic that you are considering in the US; for instance, would it be advisable to take out some medical insurance beforehand.
- In the UK you can get compensation to cover expenses; in the US the sum you get is more like a payment for eggs. This means that it may be treated as earnings and so may be subject to income tax (as it is for many US donors). A first-time donor in the US is usually compensated a lower sum than a ‘proven donor’ whose donations have helped a couple achieve a pregnancy, despite going through the same treatment. Plus, you might like to consider the feelings of the donor-conceived person: many US donor-conceived people have said how uncomfortable they are about money changing hands for the eggs or sperm that created them.
- Last but not least, going through a donation abroad, away from friends and family, could be emotionally demanding, especially if things don’t go completely to plan. It’s best to avoid flying too soon after an egg collection because it might make any after effects worse, and symptoms can take 2-3 days to appear. You may also find it a lot more comfortable to rest in your own home after egg collection, rather than in a hotel by yourself.
As you might expect, we totally support UK donors staying in the UK to help UK couples, and naturally we would love it if you donated with us! Ultimately though, we fully recognise that it’s your choice as to where and when you donate, or if you do at all.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s a good idea to check out things fully in advance before you finally make your mind up. To find out more, see our information about egg donation with Altrui. Alternatively, if you want to talk about any of the issues in this blog, or egg donation in general, you can contact us for a chat on 01969 667875 or email Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 9, 2013
An Altrui couple talk about their feelings on diary day two of their two week wait. Today: our couple finally get their test results.
We lasted until 6am. Ensuring that I had consumed plenty of water throughout my sleepless night I was ready to pee all over that stick!! I had never been so ready.
Our hearts were racing. I was shivery and nervous. I suddenly didn’t want to do it. I was so scared. This was the scariest thing we had ever done.
I sat on the toilet and read the instructions. Pee on the stick for 5 seconds. Oh gosh. Right, here goes. 1,2,3,4,5. “Was that 5 seconds?” I asked my husband. “Yes, it was definitely 5 seconds but did you actually pee on the stick?” “Oh no don’t say that now. I definitely pee’d on the stick!” We turned the test away so we could not see the results window. “Shall we look now?” “1,2,3…”
November 8, 2013
An Altrui couple talk about their feelings on diary day two of their two week wait. Today: panicking about spotting.
1 DAY TO GO. I cannot believe that TOMORROW we find out if we are pregnant. My excited feeling soon disappeared as soon as I went to the toilet. I wiped myself and there was blood!! Only a small amount. I felt my heart start to break. I woke my husband and told him. We were panic stricken. We still had two hours before the Assisted Conception Unit opened so we could speak to someone for advice. My mind was in overdrive. I was spotting, my nausea had gone – that was it decided then, I wasn’t pregnant. My husband reassured me, hugged me. This was a hard time.
We waited until 9am and called the Assisted Conception Unit and spoke with one of the lovely nurses. She reassured me and explained that spotting is common and advised me to take it easy and try not to stress. So simple.
We decided to go out for dinner to cheer ourselves up that evening. Throughout dinner we discussed what we would do if we had a positive result and what we would do if the test was negative. A holiday was the obvious choice for the latter. We did not spend much time discussing a positive result, again, not allowing ourselves to be vulnerable to disappointment.
My new obsession was worrying that I was not going to be able to pee enough on the pregnancy test in the morning. As you can imagine we did not take part in a lot of sleeping that night. Thoughts ranged from not being able to pee enough, missing the stick, not being able to read the results. I even had a dream that I had to go to the canteen at work with my boss to get another pregnancy test as the first one was faulty. I don’t even have a canteen at work, and even if I did I doubt they would sell pregnancy tests.
At regular intervals in the night we asked each other if it was too early to carry out the test. Although one minute past midnight was technically the date to do our test, it was still perhaps a little early.
November 7, 2013
An Altrui couple talk about their feelings on diary day six of their two week wait. Today: the tears.
Waking up still feeling nauseous. Lovely feeling. I dragged myself into work; unable to disguise my symptoms I sat and obsessed over every pungent smell in the office. It didn’t usually smell so offensive. Opening the fridge was a definite no-no. I walked through to the main building, passed the hydrotherapy pool and the overwhelming smell of chlorine and into the main reception which oddly smelt like a pet shop. I was curious as to why my sense of smell had multiplied. Not curious enough to believe something was going on though.
It was acupuncture night tonight. My little piece of heaven in my topsy-turvey world. I explained to my therapist that I had been experiencing some nausea so he attempted to combat this throughout the session. After my treatment was over, I still had some residual nausea. However, by the time that I reached home, I was hungry and able to eat without gagging. Had my acupuncture therapist vanished away my nausea that I was secretly enjoying? Or was it coincidence?
Whilst preparing dinner with my husband, I started crying. I sobbed for the first time since embryo transfer. I just wanted to find out NOW. We had waited so patiently surely we deserved to find out. But once again, not wanting to break the rules; we refrained from taking the test. I dried my tears and tucked into a yummy dinner.
November 6, 2013
An Altrui couple talk about their feelings on diary day seven of their two week wait. Today: is nausea a good sign?
This morning we met friends for breakfast which was lovely as it kept my mind active whilst doing lovely things, and eating yummy food. It was not until after eating breakfast (and a large slice of coffee cake) that I started to feel nauseous. I have never felt so happy to feel sick. In my usual fashion, I suppressed my delight. It was most likely due to the giant piece of cake that I had just consumed at record speed. Or perhaps food poisoning? Or nerves and anxiety? Or… I have run out of suggestions. I spent the rest of the day gagging at the thought of eating; forcing myself to eat a banana was a task in itself. Still secretly gleeful with my nausea we spent the rest of the day on the sofa pondering over my symptoms. In an attempt to take our minds off the obvious, we joined my mum and her husband at the pub quiz in the evening. Being in a pub with the smell of beer and pub grub only highlighted my queasiness.
For the first time since embryo transfer, we discussed, albeit briefly carrying out a pregnancy test early. After all, it appeared that I was indeed showing some signs of pregnancy. I’m not sure if I believe in fate but if I did surely this would tempt it. We had been given strict instructions about when to take our pregnancy test. It would be foolish to do it before. I am not sure how we mustered up the strength to stop ourselves but we did.