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Being an egg donor

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Ever wondered what it’s like to donate eggs? TFP Fertility Nurse Stacey Rohling and twice egg donor Alex give an inside take on this selfless process with a heart-warming success story.

Choosing to use a donor

According to Stacey, choosing to use a donor – whether that’s eggs, sperm or embryos – is a very big decision for anyone having fertility treatment.


She says, “It’s important that everyone involved, including the donor, knows how it works, especially the rules about anonymity.


We make sure everyone is well prepared for all the possible outcomes.


This is something I feel privileged to help with.”


Stacey comments that once women have donated eggs, and have had a good experience and felt fulfilled, many decide to do it again.


“One woman has donated four times, resulting in six babies being born and two current pregnancies,” says Stacey.

Egg

Making the decision

Alex, 31, is a regular blood donor, seeing this as a way she can support a life-saving service.


She had considered donating her eggs, too. Then, in 2016, she discovered that a friend needed donor eggs to have her own children.


Coincidentally, she also met a woman who was an active egg donor.


“The experiences of my friends helped firm up my decision,” says Alex. “All I needed now was to find the right time to donate.”


During the three years that followed, Alex discussed becoming an egg donor with her family and her new partner, Stuart.


As a scientific lead at a medical communications company, she understood the value of doing her own desk research.


She read as much as she could about the physical, emotional, and legal aspects of egg donation.


Then she felt ready to take the next step.

How does egg donation work?

To donate your eggs, you have treatment similar to IVF, where egg growth and ovulation is stimulated using fertility medicines. These are collected to be fertilised in a lab, before they’re frozen and stored safely to be used in someone else’s fertility treatment, such as IVF.

Alex’s donation journey with TFP Fertility Oxford

Screening

Alex filled out forms on the TFP Fertility portal, giving her genetic and medical history.


These were then assessed by Stacey, who, at that stage, was looking for evidence of genetic disorders or any hereditary conditions.


Once through this initial screening, Alex visited TFP Fertility Oxford for a blood test and scan of her ovaries.


This is when Alex and Stacey met for the first time. Stacey always tries to meet potential donors at this first appointment, to make them feel comfortable with the whole process.


(If donors can’t come to Oxford for this initial appointment, they can visit an Ultrasound Direct clinic at one of the 75 locations across the UK.)


Then it was time for Alex’s first appointment with a doctor and for a session of implications counselling.

Counselling

Alex had been encouraged to watch TFP Fertility videos about the donation process, plus the biological, legal and social considerations of becoming a donor.


She also had a face-to-face counselling session.


She says, “The biggest implication is that any child born from my eggs will be able to find out identifying information about me and who I am.”


Stacy adds, “These days, there are DNA matching websites which encourage people to send off swabs and find out who they’re related to. We always make potential donors aware of these sites.”


“Overall, I thought the counselling was really good,” reflects Alex. “It reassured me that I’d done my own research well enough to know what was going on.”

Medication

Before the medication could begin, Alex had another set of bloods tests to double check for any chromosome abnormalities or sexual health issues.


After these, Alex began her treatment.


Alex’s AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) level was high, indicating that she was making plenty of eggs.


She only needed a short course of medication to stimulate egg production in her ovaries.


“I had 13 days of injections and then a gentle trigger shot to help my ovaries release all the eggs,” says Alex.


“I bloated like a balloon, was tired and had brain fog. It was incredibly helpful that the process only lasted three and a half weeks.”

Egg collection

Alex wasn’t nervous about the first egg collection procedure. She’d had a general anaesthetic several years before, so knew what to expect.


She reported to the clinic at 9am, was screened by the medical team and then went into theatre.


“I hadn’t realised the embryologists would be in the room next to the theatre,” she says. “The eggs were collected from me and immediately taken next door to the lab.”


Reflecting on the experience, she says: “It is intense. You can be wiped out for a couple of days.


“I needed a quiet weekend after the procedure because I felt some discomfort and was tired.”

The outcome

The TFP Oxford Fertility team collected 42 eggs from Alex in November 2022, and another 46 eggs when she repeated the process eight months later. 


Four families have now received her eggs.


Stacey had kept in touch with Alex throughout the process and was delighted when Alex chose to donate a second time.


She says, “Alex is amazing – we are so grateful to her.


All our donors are incredible, altruistic women and they make so much difference to our families.”


Alex says that donating her eggs has felt like a ‘wonderful gift’ to these families.

Is egg donation anonymous?

In the UK, egg donation isn’t anonymous. At age 16, the child can access non-identifying information, such as height and ethnicity. At age 18, they can access the name and last known address of their biological parent.

Alex’s takeaways

Alex believes more people should talk about egg donation to help normalise it.


She says, “For me, a big reason for going through the donation process is that I don’t know if I want children myself.


“I’m possibly not geared for motherhood as much as some. And because there are women who need help creating their own families, this is where I can fit in.


“Do your research and speak to people who have donated and who’ve received eggs. It can be a sensitive topic, but it’s worth it.


“I documented my first donation experience on Instagram and I had such a positive response from so many people. Many opened up about their fertility journeys.”


Alex can be reached via Instagram at @alexewebster92.

“I hope women who read this will be encouraged to donate.”

How do you become an egg donor?

You can donate your eggs to TFP Fertility if you meet the following criteria:


  • Age 21 to 32

  • BMI between 18 to 35

  • Non-smoker for 3 months, including vapes

  • No serious illnesses or infections

  • Able to share your full medical history and that of your immediate relatives


In some cases, we can accept donors outside this age range.


For example, if the donation is for someone you know.

Woman laughing and holding her daughter while talking to a nurse

Are you interested in donating eggs?

If you meet the egg donor criteria and think you could help give someone the gift of parenthood, we’d love to hear from you. We accept egg donors from across the UK and match them with hopeful parents to be.



Meet Stacey Rohling

Stacey is a senior nurse at TFP Fertility, who co-ordinates and advises on egg donation and surrogacy.


Passionate about helping people, she completed her nursing degree alongside being a working mum.


She was then able to devote herself to a series of nursing roles for the TFP Fertility group – a place she calls home.


She describes her current role as ‘the best thing I’ve ever done’ and considers the patients she helps to be like family.


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