When I was eighteen, I was diagnosed with primary ovarian failure. My doctor explained that my body doesn’t produce eggs and so I wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally. He advised that the appropriate fertility treatment including donor eggs isn’t available for NHS patients and incurs long waiting lists. At the time it didn’t bother me – I was young, didn’t have a proper boyfriend and so I didn’t pay it much attention.
But when I met Brian, the impact of my condition became very real. I knew Brian was ‘the one’ I wanted to have children with and dreaded telling him that I couldn’t conceive naturally. After breaking the news, Brian was so supportive and assured me it didn’t matter which was such a relief. However, as it had been more than a decade since my first diagnosis, we thought it would be good to see a GP to find out if things had changed and if we had a chance to have a baby.
A visit to our GP left us thinking that nothing had changed, but then Oxford Fertility got in touch. A letter asked us to make an appointment. I almost ignored this request, thinking there’d been a mistake. Thank goodness I didn’t. I spoke with a nurse at Oxford Fertility who explained that we met NHS criteria for IVF treatment with donor eggs. From then we met with a consultant who after understanding our situation in detail, arranged for us to be added to the egg donor waiting list.
We expected the wait to be long and just over a year later we were called back as donors were available.
First we met with the clinic’s counsellor, who was brilliant. She prompted us to think through every consequence of the procedure. What will you feel? What will you say to the child? I thought I would feel interrogated, under the spotlight, but in fact the process was invaluable.
There were four donors that had been selected as a good match for us. We were given basic information about each and asked to select one. We agreed to count to three and then point to our choice and to our amazement we both picked the same donor. It was decided.
The clinic then made sure my body was prepared for the treatment and we could start. Throughout the process we were constantly updated. The clinic called to let us know when the eggs would be thawed, when they were injected with Brian’s sperm and how they were developing. We were then invited to come back for one embryo to be implanted into my womb. Another embryo would be frozen in case we ever wanted to try again.
We then had to go through the ‘two week wait’ before I could take a pregnancy test. I tried my best to relax and put it out of my mind, but it was so hard. I woke at 4:45 the day I could take the test. I didn’t take one; I took 5! We lined them up on the dresser and chatted about what we would have for tea that day. I then went quiet as, one by one, the tests confirmed we were going to have a baby.
In January this year Betty arrived. She’s amazing. I always thought I would never have children and here I am with a perfect, healthy baby girl. Brian still asks me if I can believe I’m a mum yet.
I would say to anyone considering IVF using donated eggs to do their research. I can’t believe we almost went through life not knowing that we could receive treatment. We are so thankful to Oxford Fertility. The team are wonderful; they are experts who work so hard to help people like me achieve our dreams of having a baby.
We plan to return next year.
To find out more about the services and treatments provided by Oxford Fertility, please contact us.