Two weeks gone already; there are now only 50 weeks left for us.
Although, technically speaking, if somebody did respond to our adverts, the whole process would probably take 6 to 8 weeks, so in theory we only have jusst over 10 months left; about 42-44 weeks. But my countdown is from here until the end of the possibility; that final, last day.
A prospective donor would need to make an appointment at the Logan Centre first, and would be sent all the detailed information, so I’ll only outline it here. At the appointment she would be asked for a blood test and a scan. There’s something called CMV, for which people are either positive or negative.
I am negative, which means I can only receive a donation from a CMV negative donor and a positive donor can only donate to a positive woman. However, a negative donor can donate to either a positive or negative recipient; I’ve been a blood donor since the mid 1970s, and am O negative, and can see that the principle is a bit like donating blood even though the procedure is not. Negatives can give to either, but positives can only give to positives.
However, a positive donor for us could still donate to someone else on the waiting list and we would then be given the next negative donor who volunteered. Come to that, anyone could donate to someone else, if they didn’t agree with the fact that I am now 54, but if they felt sorry for us and quoted our number, we would go to the top of the list. That way they would be helping us indirectly, and helping a younger couple directly.
Anyway, after that, she will receive counselling. This is important, because one of the things that she will need to consider is the fact that the HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority) have decided that any babies born as a result of egg donation will, on reaching the age of 18, have the right to know the donor’s name and address at the time of donation.
That fact is now putting lots of potential donors off, and could explain why we had 27 responses to our adverts but only one person went as far as she did, and has now apparently changed her mind. It is a pity, because it is such a wonderful thing to do that I don’t imagine that there would be a need for someone to donate in secret, but everybody’s circumstances are different and it might be that a prospective donor will be worried that an 18-year-old will turn up on the doorstep claiming him/her as his Mum.
In theory, anything could happen in the next 18 years, and the ruling might be successfully challenged so that donors can remain anonymous, but at the moment that is the way it is, and it is better that someone knows this early on, before going too far into the process.
She will then start on two weeks of ‘deregulating’ her hormones with a nasal spray (which could put people off as well! Though I have done it three times now, firstly for the fibroid removal and twice for IVF and it was weird but not unpleasant.
At the same time the Clinic will put me onto something to ensure that my uterus will be receptive to the transfer. The donor will then need a daily injection for 2 weeks, which she can give herself with a little automatic hand-held device.
I did that for my second IVF and it was much easier than having to wait at the doctor’s every day. She will also need two to three scans to check on the process and ensure that everything is progressing well. Her expenses will be paid by us of course, though we are not allowed to pay her for donating. (HFEA regulations again) Then at the end of the month her eggs are collected, sometimes under general anaesthetic and sometimes not – I’ve had it done both ways. After that her involvement ends, though she is informed, if she would like to know, whether or not a baby has been born as a result of her generosity.
Then the eggs are fertilised and when of a suitable size the embryos (only two, under HFEA ruling, to avoid multiple pregnancies) will be transferred to me, and we have to wait for two long and agonising weeks to find out whether or not they have implanted.
So though the ‘medical’ part of the procedure will only be 4 weeks for the donor, the whole process could take a couple of months from the day that a volunteer approaches the Clinic to the embryo transfer to me; hence if nobody has answered our adverts by the middle of May 2007, our chances will be over.
And there is, obviously, much more to it than donating blood and being rewarded with a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit! There’s a lot for a donor to think about, and it isn’t surprising that some change their minds and decide not to go through with it, even though in the end there will be no financial cost to themselves, they have to think of the emotional cost as well. Which is why it is best that they know as much as possible before volunteering.
Still, people DO donate, even knowing all the facts – and some enjoy it and have done it more than once! So there ARE Angels on Earth! And miracles ARE still happening, so you never know…..
So, at the moment, we still have hope……