Gina donated eggs after she became a mum through sperm donation.
We have our children thanks to a very generous sperm donor who donated to us for 2 1/2 years until we finally conceived. My partner is female, so in order to have a family we were always going to need help. So ever since we started thinking about having children ourselves I had it in the back of my mind that once we completed our family, if I could, I’d donate eggs.
We started trying to conceive 8 or 9 years ago when it wasn’t possible to have traceable or ID release donors through a clinic. We knew that we wanted our children to have access to either the donor or a lot more information about the donor than we would get if we went down the clinic route. We didn’t want them to grow up with any mystery about their origins, so really the only option for us was to use a known donor.
In the end we advertised online in a gay parenting forum. The guy who became our donor was a very good fit – we got on well from the outset and the relationship has worked out very well. We email 3-4 times a year and we meet up once a year for a day. The children know him as a family friend; he’s a constant in their lives, albeit very much in the background.
When our younger child was about a year old I contacted Altrui to start exploring the possibility of becoming an egg donor. One of the reasons for choosing Altrui rather than a clinic was that, personally, I didn’t feel comfortable donating anonymously with a minimal level of contact and information exchange. I know it works for some people, it just wasn’t right for me, especially having experienced the benefits of contact with our own donor. So I spoke to Alison and once she found out a little bit about me she immediately said she thought she knew somebody who’d be a good match. It turns out we were well matched in all kinds of ways that I couldn’t have anticipated. We’ve had more contact than a lot of donors and recipients have, because they were of a similar mindset: knowing more about the donor was important for their children as their family grows, and knowing a little more about them was important to me so that I could pass that information on to my own children as they grew older.
I believe they now have a baby, so it worked! I’m really, really glad, it’s a very positive feeling. I just feel glad that someone else had the chance that we were given. I don’t feel anything for that child other than elation that they exist. There’s part of me that’s a little bit curious about them, and maybe one day we’ll meet – I’d be interested to see whether the child looks a bit like my children.
As a recipient myself, I was very comfortable going into the donation. I was doing it for the right reasons, with a suitable level of detachment, and not feeling any sense of ‘ownership’ because we live the reality of having donor-conceived children too. We adore our children, they are absolutely our children, even though half their genetic makeup comes from elsewhere, and I know that makes absolutely no difference.
My recipients and I exchanged emails a few times via Alison at Altrui. In terms of contact with the recipients, in some ways I’ve modelled how I have behaved as a donor on the way my donor has been for us – I know how well that’s worked.
My children know that sometimes people need help from other people in order to have children, and they know that our sperm donor helped us to make them. My younger child is too young to understand but when I was going through the donation process I used to tell my elder child that I was giving some of my eggs to another lady because she needed help to have children just like we needed help to have her. It’s really quite a simple concept when you look at it through the eyes of a child and that’s what makes sense to her right now.
I could never thank my donor enough – it isn’t possible to thank someone enough for your children, because they are so precious, but I felt that if I could donate myself, then at least by giving to someone else, I could properly acknowledge the gift our donor has given us. It’s brought it all full circle.