Last week we held our first information evening for those who were considering using donor eggs. We suspect that this was also the first event to be held in the UK where such a variety of speakers were on hand to cover every aspect of egg donation, both clinical and personal.
We held it in Central London but did not really know how many people would want to attend and were amazed to have filled the room, which really demonstrated how important it is that this kind of information is available.
We thought long and hard about what would be most helpful for those thinking of going down the egg donation route and put together what we hoped was a comprehensive programme to cover all the different aspects relating to egg donation. We were thrilled to have four excellent guest speakers volunteer their time to give their individual perspectives and take everyone through the whole process from start to finish.
After a description of how we at Altrui can help find donors, one of our donors gave a very open, honest and moving talk about what motivated her to donate. She explained just what it was like to be a donor, going through the treatment cycle and the joy of knowing how she had been able to help a couple start their family.
Dr Marie Wren, the Deputy Director of the Lister Fertility Clinic, whom we were very honoured to have supporting the event, then shed light on exactly what happens in the clinic after donors and recipients are referred through for treatment. She explained the different elements of the donation cycle for the donors and recipients and how these are finely synchronised to achieve the best chances of a pregnancy.
Continuing with the clinical side was Dr Virginia Bolton, Consultant Embryologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ ACU, who gave a fascinating account of the work in the laboratory. Very few of us ever get such an insight into the critical work that goes on behind the scenes to store and nurture the delicate eggs and sperm and how these are brought together to form embryos and blastocysts before being transferred to the recipient.
The talks were brought to a logical conclusion by Altrui’s very first recipient, together with her 4 year old from that first donation! She described very eloquently her long and difficult path to egg donation, which will have resonated with many of those in the room. She recounted the emotional dilemmas that they faced during the 3 years that it took them finally to be comfortable with the idea of egg donation, before sharing her evident joy with their son.
Finally there was an opportunity for open questions followed by a chance to talk to the speakers on an individual basis in order to have their own questions answered.
We would like to take this opportunity to give an enormous thank you to the four excellent speakers who gave so generously of their time and expertise, and also to thank those of you who came to the event and made it such a success.