I was 39 years old and not in any sort of relationship in which we were planning a future together, and certainly no children were planned. But I did feel that, unless I did something about it soon, I would be spending the rest of my life without achieving the one thing that was most important to me - and that was having a child. Should I be denied a child just because I was single? I felt it was irresponsible to try to get pregnant “by accident”. Besides, how long might it take? I just couldn’t face it. But at 39 it didn’t occur to me that I might be leaving it too late. Little did I know. Despite having a good relationship with my young, open-minded, female GP, I had to pluck up much courage to ask her about fertility treatment for a single woman. I knew it was possible, but it was not common, and certainly not conventional. I was referred to a consultant, who gave me a choice of three fertility clinics known to treat single women. In the end I didn’t make my choice based on statistics or league tables, but more on a gut feeling of how I found the clinic on the phone and how friendly they seemed. It was also important to know of the clinic’s experience, its sperm bank reserves
and the types of treatment offered.
And so my treatment began. Once the tests were completed, I thought that with such good blood results I would soon become pregnant. But after three failed stimulated IUI cycles, my consultant thought it best to try IVF/ICSI. I felt sure that with one I suspect that as early as after my second attempt I should have considered donor eggs. I now knew all about age and reproductive failure, but I was against the idea. Anyway, why shouldn’t my embryos implant? I had plenty of them and they seemed of good quality to the experts. But it wasn’t just that I now had less time on my hands, I also had less money. In fact, it was becoming financially irresponsible to keep trying with my own eggs, so I decided to go on the donor waiting list.
I did think about how I might feel producing a baby which was not genetically mine, but I believed in the nature/nurture argument and felt 100% that I wanted to go ahead. The donor I was offered was of a different nationality from me, and I did debate for a short while about accepting her eggs, but again I returned to the nature-nurture argument and realized that nationality didn’t matter. I had to travel some distance for my embryo transfer, but by then would have travelled across the world to have a baby. With hindsight, I would have stopped treatment with my own eggs after two attempts; starting donor treatment then would have saved me financial and emotional expense.
In the end I was lucky because my attempt with donor eggs was successful and I now have a beautiful baby girl. A young woman shared her eggs with me and I paid for both our treatments. As I sit here trying to share my experience with you, it’s hard to believe that my baby girl is here, after all I went through to get her. But I am so very grateful to the woman who shared her eggs with me. I feel that this may well have been the only way I could ever have had a child, and her egg-sharing was an act of true altruism.