In my research of London clinics and their treatments, I run into ‘egg sharing IVF’. It’s a lot cheaper than the regular kind of IVF, which is what catches my eye at first. But then when I read more… well, it sounds intriguing.
How it works is that in return for a discount, you donate half of your eggs collected in an IVF cycle to someone who cannot get pregnant with their own eggs. Often these are older women, or someone who has had cancer, or someone with other genetic or fertility issues. Egg sharing is giving someone out there a chance at a deeply wanted baby.
I‘m interested. Especially when I read on and see that the waiting lists in the UK can be years for donor eggs. Someone who has been waiting that long for this could be helped by me. And it would give us access to something that otherwise we would struggle to afford, so it seems like a win-win. Plus I already know I have a lot of eggs in reserve, and I have the right age and BMI for it, so I’m an excellent candidate.
But I have my doubts, too.
Medically first of all. Before we started all of this I had an appointment with a geneticist because I had questions about some of my medical history being passed on. She ordered an extensive DNA screening for me, one I haven’t yet received the results from even though it’s been months by now. I would obviously never want to do this if I am going to give this hypothetical child an illness or disability.
The clinics who offer egg sharing would also test me extensively on every disease and chromosome malformation under the sun of course. They would never allow me to do this if I am likely to pass on anything harmful.
But emotionally then, would I ever regret it?
If I were to do this, those same donor laws that I have spent so long researching would suddenly apply to me. There are open donor laws in the UK, so I would have to deal with the reality that eighteen years after all of this there might be a British teenager on my doorstep with a lot of questions.
I talk about it with Jo, and we discuss the implications endlessly. At heart though, we both quickly agree that it would be wonderful if I could actually help someone.
I spend all summer thinking about it.
I never thought I would do this. Egg donation just for the heck of it is a long and scary process and I’m not that altruistic, I had never even considered it. But now I’m faced with the possibility of doing something utterly life changing for another person I have never met alongside with doing what I would do anyway… I instantly want to. No matter how I weigh the negatives, I can’t help but think it is putting something great out there into the universe, doing a thing like this.
I discuss it with my mother, because these would be her hypothetical genetic grandchildren. She is very hesitant at first, but then she reads some stories of women who used donor eggs and changes her mind to be in favour.
I talk to my friends, and after that I talk about it to everyone who wants to listen. I’m eager to hear all perspectives on this.
My tattoo artist, of all people, says it best. He says it might be a positive thing, but still it is a thing. A positive burden is still a burden. It’s a complication to an already complicated situation.
I would think of that other woman, carrying my tiny bit of genes around. I definitely would request the records and find out whether a child was born from my eggs and whether it was a boy or a girl – something I would be allowed to do as an open donor in the UK. Maybe I would look at my own baby and wonder about their secret half-sibling out there somewhere. What little things do they share? Do they look alike?
Over time I would tell our own child what I did too, of course. They would grow up knowing of that other family out there. So would my mother. So would my friends. I don’t believe in keeping secrets like these.
In the end, Jo and I agree to go ahead with it. It’s worth a try, this.
Nothing might come of it. I honestly don’t know if my genes are up to par or not, and I don’t know whether we will even choose this path if I am accepted. But I know this much…
I want to at least have tried.