Guest Blog: How egg donation can really change a life, by Defining Mum
Just a few years ago I never even realised that donating eggs was a thing, I suppose you don’t really give it a second thought when you or no-one you know has faced infertility. I naively assumed my life would work out as I’d always planned, I’d build a good career, I’d meet a man, fall in love, settle down, then get pregnant and have the family I’d dreamed about since playing with my dolls as a little girl. Having met the man I wanted to spend my life with, we started trying to grow our family, unaware of the journey that lay ahead. Just 6 months later I learned that at the age of just 28 my ovaries were already that of someone twice my age, with a diagnosis of Premature Ovarian Insufficiency. Following my diagnosis, with time not on our side, we attempted five rounds of IVF resulting in four failed cycles and a devastating missed miscarriage.
At first, the thought of using someone else’s eggs, mixed with my husband’s sperm, to make a baby that I would carry and give birth to seemed like such an alien concept. Our decision to proceed with egg donation wasn’t an easy one, it followed many sleepless nights and sobbing sessions on the bathroom floor, heartbroken at the prospect of never being a mum.
Infertility for me was all-consuming, it felt completely and utterly life-limiting where I found it hard to picture a future where I would ever feel happy without the fulfilment and purpose of being a mum.
After many months of grieving I started to realise and accept that the path to motherhood I’d always dreamed about would have to change. Rather than thinking about what I would be losing in a genetic connection with my child, I started to consider all of the other connections and experiences that would be enabled through egg donation. I started to redefine what it really meant to me to be a mum. Realising that mothering is an intention, an act, a feeling and not simply a connection through DNA was a huge turning point. It wasn’t just about the societal norm of ‘mum and dad’, who looks most like who and the passing on of legacies solely relating to blood – I’ve learned there is so much more to it. Accepting that my children wouldn’t have my eyes, my dark hair or my teeny-tiny ears, I realised that we would be connected in so many other ways. With this path I’d still get to carry, nurture, grow, birth and feed them, a biological experience I’d always longed for.
Fast forward five years and I’m now a mum to three girls all thanks to the incredible act of egg donation.
It’s impossible to put into words just how grateful I am for this opportunity to mother, with immeasurable thanks to science and overwhelming gratitude for the unknown woman who chose to donate her eggs to help a stranger realise their dream.
There’s nothing quite like raising your children through the laughter, the tears, the firsts and making memories every single day to really prove that being a mum is more than just genetics. Having worried in the past about how I may feel in taking this path I can honestly say that it’s not possible for me to love our girls any more, I wouldn’t change anything that has happened and I wouldn’t change them for the world.
They will always know how grateful we are for them, as well as for the kind act from a special lady who helped to bring them into the world when mummy’s eggs were broken.
I don’t believe there are many other acts in life that are so completely and utterly life-changing for the better. If you’ve thought through what it means to you and are considering donating your eggs to help others build their family, it’s probably hard to even contemplate the sheer magnitude of the impact it may have, not just from the joyous moment they find out they are finally pregnant, but every single second of their life from then on. I still pinch myself regularly now, even during the most mundane of family life moments, in disbelief that I actually get to experience this with the three most precious people in my life. My current favourite is collecting my eldest daughter from school, the rush of love I feel as she runs towards to me at the end of each day joyously shouting “Mummy!” is like no other – an experience that is unimaginable for me to have missed out on.
I want to thank each and every one of you who are choosing to make this possible for another human being, I don’t think it’s even possible to describe it in words other than – you are simply amazing.
We have been working with Becky, also known as Defining Mum, through 2020 to help spread awareness on egg donation. Our joint webinar, Discovering Donation, can be watched on YouTube.