September 26, 2014

An egg donor talks about donating again, Part 1

Joy of MotherhoodI chose to become an egg donor for two reasons, the first reason being that my mum was adopted by the most loving couple and this was my way of saying thank you to my grandparents. And the second reason being that my little sister is unable to have kids (or so we thought).

First donation:

If I say that I wasn’t nervous the first time then I would be lying. But the amazing support which I received from Altrui and the staff at the hospital in London made my nerves go away. There were a lot of thoughts going through my mind, like: how is my body going to react to the injections, will the injections hurt, how will they take the eggs out and will I be in pain after I have donated?

But I was happy to discover that the injections didn’t hurt whatsoever and my body reacted to them as planned. My first cycle took around two and a half weeks from the first injection to the actual donation. When I left the hospital an hour after donating I was feeling fantastic. I thought to myself hopefully the couple will be successful. But unfortunately they weren’t the first time, but were the second time they tried as they had embryos to freeze and used these.

A lot of my friends have asked if I didn’t find it weird to give my eggs to another couple who I don’t know and never will meet. And every time I explain to them, that I want to be able to help the couple fulfil their biggest dream, which is to have a baby. And that is what makes it worth it all – that sense of having done something so important and special for someone else. I guess it was this feeling of having done something so worthwhile which got me thinking about doing it again …

Read about her second donation in our next blog


September 8, 2014

Back to school and infertility

Little boy and girl on their first day at schoolHowever reluctant we are to admit that it’s autumn now and this year’s summer has gone, there are some clear signs that time is moving on: kids are going back to school. But back to school time can be a difficult reminder for infertile couples of what they are missing out on.

Pamela says, “When I was going through infertility treatment, the beginning of another year was yet another marker of time passing. All the images that flew at me through the “Back to School” media advertising only increased the pain. All of the happy families shopping for school supplies. It was a great big reminder of yet another cycle of life of which I was not a part.”

Back to school advertising is everywhere, but it’s also a big milestone for kids that families like to celebrate and share. Naturally all these photos of special first days are posted everywhere on social media where they can be hard to avoid.

“Every year our Facebook and Instagram feeds are taken over by insanely cute children with their new school uniforms and a shiny new backpack,” says Amanda. “We see them start kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, and by the time we watch them start 3rd Grade we’re wondering how in the world did they grow up so fast, and has it really been four or five or six years since we started trying to have a baby of our own?”

Lots of our Altrui egg donors are already happy mums, and sharing the joys of being a parent is one of the reasons they want to donate. Now that the kids are back at school, could you make time to make a difference to people who want a family of their own?

July 28, 2014

After egg donation… then what?

Thoughtful woman copyright Rachel Sian, know the feeling? You’ve looked forward to the donation for months, your family’s been all excited, you’ve got through the treatment, you’ve had the collection, your eggs are fertilised and you know the outcome… and then what?

Women become egg donors out of empathy and compassion and the desire to make a positive difference in someone’s life. So much of our hearts goes into doing this, and the process is so intense for that short time, that when our part is over, sometimes it’s hard not to feel a little bit left behind.

This can be especially true if the couple is pregnant and moving on with their own lives into the joy of the family life they’ve longed for, and that we have helped to make possible. The focus moves away from treatment and on into an exciting new future for them.

Most couples who have egg donation have tried for years to have a family. Although some couples are happy to maintain contact with Altrui and their donor, most often they want to put all that pain behind them and quietly enjoy the pregnancy and their new family, to feel like a normal family after so long. Part of that can be loosening ties with everything concerned with their treatment, and keeping in touch less often.

This doesn’t mean that egg donors are forgotten or undervalued. In a sense, it’s a bit like when children leave home. When they move on to become independent it’s because you as a parent have done your job – now it’s their turn to take over. And donation can be like that too: donors do their essential and precious piece of work, meaning the parents can take it from there.

So what do you do with those feelings of being left out, or sadness, when it’s all over? Well, one way is to remember that this is what we’ve all been working towards. We want people to have their chance to get pregnant and when it works out it’s even better. So that ending is just the natural completion of the process.

The other is to remember that egg donors are not forgotten, either by the parents or by Altrui. You’ve done something to be proud of and that precious gift – and the feelings of pride and achievement that go with it – are with you for life.

July 14, 2014

I want to lose weight so I can be an egg donor

Healthy eating and a healthy weight helps women become egg donors. Copyright TipsTimesAdmin on FlickrJenny tells us about her special reason for losing weight – she wants to become an egg donor.

I first approached Altrui when I saw one of their ads on Facebook – I hadn’t thought about donation before then.

But my auntie had fertility problems and hasn’t been able to have children of her own, so I always thought that I’d like to do something to help. And when we were trying to conceive our son, we had to wait for a year before I got pregnant. I know it’s not long compared to what couples waiting for donation go through but it made me understand what it’s like to want a child but not be able to have one.

When I saw the ad, I contacted Altrui through Facebook and got the information pack about becoming a donor. I noticed that donors have to have a BMI of 30 or below, but I thought there might be some flexibility with this. I spoke to Cathy and she explained that the clinics have this limit because of the drugs you need to take.

At the time I was already on a weight loss programme and my target BMI was just under 30. In fact I’d already lost 8lb at that point. So after a chat we decided to put my application on hold until I’d lost the weight.

Cathy kept in touch to check how I was getting on. Although I weigh in every Monday, I needed to lose 3 stone, so I agreed to let Cathy know my progress and email when I had a stone left to go. This will allow time to do the tests and match me up with a couple while I lose the remaining weight. The bonus is that it’s good for the family too – I’m trying to get everyone to eat more healthily.

I did worry that they might match me with a couple and the couple would reject me as a donor because of my weight, in case they had an overweight baby. But Cathy said couples want someone to match with them physically and would be impressed by my commitment and altruism.

My son is 16 months old now. I don’t want any more children but I know how much it means to have a child and really want to help someone else. I have 2 stone left to go before I reach a BMI of 30 and I’ve found that aiming to become an egg donor has really improved my motivation. I was losing weight anyway but to have a target and a special reason for doing it really keeps me on track.

Thinking about egg donation? Contact us for a chat on 01969 667875 or email Alison and Cathy

June 30, 2014

Three ways that egg donation is like the Tour de France

Cyclists work hard to even participate in the Tour de France...Here in Yorkshire we’re deep in preparation for the Yorkshire Tour, due to start in Leeds on 5th July. And as the peloton passes by Altrui HQ and the homes of most of our team that weekend, we thought we’d have a bit of fun with it. So sit back and let us tell you how egg donation is like the Tour de France!

1 You need a great team behind you

Every rider needs a great support team and just as Chris Froome will be relying on Team Sky to make sure everything else runs smoothly, you can be sure that we’re there to support you throughout your egg donation journey, whether you’re having treatment or you’re an egg donor.

2 And some of your teammates work just as hard!

Richie Porte will be out there covering Chris Froome’s back every pedal-push of the race. And our amazing Altrui egg donors, who go through intensive preparation, counselling, a drug regime and egg collection, are every bit as committed to helping their couple have the best chance they can of getting pregnant.

3 Timing matters

The closest race victory in the history of the Tour was in 1986 when Greg Lemond beat Laurent Fignon by a mere 8 seconds. While the drug regime and egg collection is a little less rigorous than that, donors have to take their medication around the same time each day for the whole course of treatment and have their egg collection 36 hours after their last injection. All this is carefully scheduled in with the clinic and synched with the receiving couple’s cycle.

It’s a long, tough road, but it’s worth it

Tour de France racers – and their teams – need the stamina to cycle for 3,664km along some of the toughest routes in Europe. Similarly, infertility is one of the hardest things a couple can go through, and being an egg donor is a big commitment too.

It’s a long way to go, but it’s worth it.

Thinking about egg donation? Contact us for a chat on 01969 667875 or email Alison and Cathy

You can watch the first three days of the Tour de France live from locations all over Yorkshire.