As an egg donor would you talk about egg donation to friends, and as a recipient of donated eggs would you speak openly in public? The past week has seen two public figures talk openly about needing to find an egg donor to help them have their family: Victoria Macdonald gave her story in a tabloid newspaper a week ago and Jason Durr only yesterday in a popular magazine. Both families have needed an egg donor to help them start a much wanted family and each have said how incredibly kind and fantastic it is that someone is prepared to go that extra mile and help them. How brave and amazing it also is that they have ‘come out’ about egg donation and we at Altrui say, ‘Thank heavens and about time’.
Egg donation is SO badly needed but it is still rarely talked or spoken about. Our experience from recipients is that they find it difficult to admit to needing such help, and donors often say that they don’t tell family or friends that they are becoming a donor, for fear of facing a wall of negativity and being put off. Tales of caution and disapproval are doubtless well intentioned but often also uninformed and misleading, and such comments from people close to you can be extremely hard to resist – so the secrecy continues.
But we are slowly reaching the stage when openness is beginning, and there is a growing awareness that there really are people out there who will help and just as many needing it, and they are people from all walks of life, because infertility doesn’t belong to any class, colour or creed. Being an egg donor is so honourable and demonstrates such compassion and kindness that those who receive donated eggs (or sperm) should feel able to shout about how privileged they are to have received the help of such women, and those who donate should be justifiably proud about what they have done.
If we stopped shrouding egg donation in secrecy, as a society we will come to accept that this is just another way of starting a family. Openness will dispel the myths, openness will reverse the negativity and openness will open up egg donation in the UK.
We would welcome your thoughts and comments either from the standpoint of a donor or a recipient or as a neutral observer.