Egg Donors UK & Abroad – A Complete Guide
Okay, so it’s not at the top of everyone’s wish list. However using egg donors, UK or based abroad to have a baby remains a fulfilling option for couples who want to experience the process of having their own baby.
It’s a choice that’s perhaps still a little taboo, often simply isn’t talked about, and seems to attract more controversy than sperm donation. Still, for women who don’t produce viable eggs, egg donation is the only way for them to carry and give birth to their own child that is genetically their partner’s. In short – you still have to do the hard stuff!
For information on the IVF donor eggs process or IVF donor egg success rates with InterTrust Fertility, see our egg donors UK & abroad page. It describes all your treatment options and costs.
Below you’ll find our complete Egg Donor UK Patient Guide. It’s a very detailed explanation of many of the aspects of receiving female egg donation, including many IVF donor egg success stories, which will probably answer many of your fears and questions.
Unfortunately, egg donors UK wise are rare, making donor eggs UK wide a source of great anguish for women considering this kind of treatment. Consequently more women are seeking IVF donor eggs in Spain or donor eggs in Czech Republic with us than ever before.
PART 1: Thinking about egg donors, UK or Abroad
Deciding egg donation is for you
For any couple, finally deciding to use an egg donor is a life-changing decision – it could well be the biggest one you ever make – and especially for a woman, accepting you’ll never have your own genetic child can be very tough. This seems like a pretty big deal, and it is in a way, but couples perk up when they realise that how they raise their child has just as much effect on him or her than genes do.
Couples often reach this point after several unsuccessful IVF cycles, and can be feeling at pretty low ebb and desperate to hear a string of IVF egg donors, UK wide with success stories. Often, it’s older women that opt for egg donation, or those that have had surgery, chemotherapy or repeated miscarriages. For those seeking IVF donor eggs Spain or in Prague always offer good options for treatment. Although many women prefer egg donors UK based rather than abroad. Unfortunately, there’s a very limited supply of egg donors UK wise.
But before selecting a clinic, there are many conflicting issues to deal with for couples undergoing egg donation. Many couples think seriously about egg donation before eventually deciding that it’s simply not for them. They may have faced up to the fact that if they can’t have a child that’s genetically theirs, they’d rather not have one at all (and spend all that money on luxury holidays instead!), or there may be tricky religious or ethical factors at play. But for anyone considering egg donors UK wide, it’s important to know that your concerns and worries are shared by other couples. It’s important you understand the implications in the UK. Because after doing so you may want to seek IVF donors abroad. Here are some of the common issues that other people in your situation grapple with:
What are the legal rights of our donor?
Couples often worry that their egg donors UK wise, might have a change of heart one day and try to claim their baby as her own. This sounds more like a Stephen King novel than real life, and a lot of this issue is about paranoia. However it is true that your child will gain access to the genetic mother’s details at eighteen. Women who are egg donors, UK based especially are reluctant to give up their eggs. Mainly because of the fear of a ‘stranger’ knocking at the door one day. This is not the case with egg donors in Spain or Czech for example. Where anonymity is guaranteed.
Since 2005, egg donors UK wise agree to be available to be traced by any children they have helped to create. While this might seem a scary idea (especially if you’re planning to tell your child they were conceived using a donor), by the time your child reaches 18, you might also be more curious about this woman than you once were, and might even cherish the chance to thank her. She might be to blame for your son or daughter’s quick temper or inability to tidy their rooms!
What can go wrong?
Sadly, not everything with egg donation can always go according to plan and it’s good to face up to this from the beginning. While in your mind, your donor may be a woman who seems to have it all, she’s not Superwoman. Although she might be younger than you, she may in fact not produce great eggs, or may not respond well to the drug therapy designed to boost her egg production.
Without wanting to worry you excessively, the following list of issues are all very real:
- your donor quitting in the middle of a cycle
- your donor getting pregnant before the cycle starts
- your donor prematurely ovulating
- your donor having few or no eggs or low quality eggs
- the man providing a poor sperm sample
- the eggs don’t fertilise
- your resulting pregnancy ending with a miscarriage
- the woman becoming pregnant with three or more fetuses, meaning she may have to have some of them removed with the risk of losing all the fetuses.
What shall I tell family and friends?
Many parent egg donors, UK particularly have had to endure awkward conversations about family resemblances with their child unknowingly conceived using a donor. Generally donor eggs in Europe are a better physical match. Purely because there are many many more egg donors, UK numbers fade in comparison.
However, many will simply tell you that honesty from the start is the best policy. No one likes to feel something’s been hidden from them, and not telling your child the truth until they’re a teenager or adult can cause long-term damage to the relationship you have with them. Secrecy unconsciously creates distance and adults conceived with donor eggs look back and say they’ve always felt different without knowing why and assuming that they were somehow at fault.
But, it’s entirely up to you who you tell. If you decide it doesn’t matter, then maybe you don’t need to disclose your choice. On the other hand, you might be happy to be open about it – if you’re the outgoing sort, perhaps you’ll want to have a street party or a banner outside your house so that it’s all out from the start! Whatever you decide, this has got to be something that you both agree upon together. One simple rule helps: If you never plan to tell your child they were conceived using egg donation then you should never tell anyone else either. Otherwise, you can expect some awkward family parties. You might be amazed many couples opt for IVF donor eggs Barcelona style. Well it’s not lying, the baby was conceived in Spain!
Does anyone regret using an egg donor? Are other egg recipients always able to love their baby? How will this decision affect our relationship with each other?
Practical queries aside, all couples seriously thinking about egg donation ask questions of this nature. At the heart of these questions, couples want to know about other people who have made the same choice as them, and be reassured that it was the right thing to do for them and their relationship.
You probably don’t know anyone else who has gone through the same decision, and it may not be a subject that you can chat about with your mates down at the pub, so it can all feel quite lonely. One thing that can be reassuring is making a comparison between yourselves and other couples who typically go through egg donation to help you see how you fit in. Let’s look at that now…
Who’s in the same boat as you?
Everyone feels better from a bit of sharing. If you’re thinking about having egg donors UK or based abroad, you’ll want to know what other people in your situation feel and do. Even if you end up choosing a completely different path for yourselves. Where do you fit amongst these typical types of couples going through the process?
Couple in which the woman has a child from a previous relationship
In these circumstances, the woman is usually older than most mothers-to-be and this often attracts criticism, even from friends and family. If you’re in this group, you probably realise that the choice you’re making is quite different from most people’s ideas of how life should be and others may consider you to be acting unusually. But you’re not crazy, you just want another baby with your current partner! It’s actually quite common for women in this group to pretend even to the people closest to them that they fell pregnant again by accident.
With so little support from those around you, committing to egg donation can take a long time, be anxiety-ridden and you may find reason upon reason not to accept various donors presented to you. Although some women in this situation go the other way entirely, don’t wish to make a decision at all and will take any egg that is thrown at them!
Couple in which the husband is older and has children from a previous relationship
Much like the last group, this one can be subject to the same prejudices. The men in this group may be less keen than his partner to have children, with an exhausting sense of ‘been there, done that’. They thought the days of clearing up vomit and acting as taxi driver were over. If his existing children are old enough, they may well have strong opposition to the idea too – let’s hope in your case they’re not stroppy teenagers! No one said it was easy being a step mum.
So, it’s a tough situation for women like this. As an older woman, many of her own friends and family probably thought she was a career woman who’d never settle down. A lot of women in this particular situation try to keep everything as secretive as possible and because they may feel ‘alone’ in their decision, often form a bond with their donor. Nothing wrong with that, of course.
Couples who already have one child or more but are experiencing infertility
Couples in this category often find they get more support. Often, they have one child and really want them to have a sibling. Perhaps because of that, it’s seen more as a selfless act. They may feel a little guilty about having fertility treatment when they already have their own child, and like the last two types of couple, may also choose to keep their decision to have egg donation to themselves, if for different reasons. For example, they might worry that the baby born from egg donation will be seen differently to their first child.
Older couple with no previous children
While your mates were settling down and having kids, you were still looking for ‘the one’, or travelling the world, or working hard at your career, or anything else that seemed more fun than changing nappies and sleepless nights. So although couples in this group aren’t especially old to be considering having children, they are older than their peers. They will get tons of support from the friends and family who’ve been hoping they’d one day ‘join the club’ and be like them. But at the same time, they are more likely to wish they could have done without using a donor and feel a sense of failure.
Typically, people in this group are keen for their children to be as much like them as possible. The women are often seeking an egg donor who will give their baby the same characteristics they themselves would hope to pass on.
Younger couple with repeated unsuccessful fertility treatment attempts
You got together, maybe got married, around the same time as your friends, or even before them. Perhaps you started trying for a baby fairly early on without success. You’re young enough for the apparent need for fertility treatment to come as a surprise. Couples in this group try, try and try again without luck. Not to say they haven’t had fun in the process, but egg donation has slowly emerged as the only option left. It may be even harder for these men and women, because their peers may be having children around them, only serving to put their infertility right in front of their noses.
Younger couple with infertility
This group are similar to the last type of couple, except that they have a particular problem related to the woman’s eggs, such as them being of poor quality, or of the woman going through early menopause. If you’re in one of these couples, be pleased that they tend to be particularly successful with egg donation and get lots of support from friends and family who feel they don’t deserve to be in the situation they’re in.
Medically infertile couple
These couples tend to know before they decided to settle down together that for one reason or another, they couldn’t have children of their own. This may be something like being born without ovaries, or cancer treatment that’s left one or the other sterile. These couples are usually emotionally stable and are starting egg donation as an alternative to adopting or not having a family at all. For many of them, the concept of egg donation may come as a surprise option and so they will be very excited by the idea.
Maybe you feel you belong in one of these groups or not. But either way, be reassured: couples who have children through egg donation always fall desperately in love with their baby, no one regrets the decision, and certainly, no one wants to give them back! In fact, the pained decisions and issues that once seemed a huge worry will fade as you’re hit with the joy of becoming parents after such a tough journey. This often means you’ll be crazy about your child (or children) and other parents will be amazed that the excitement takes so long to wear off!
PART 2: So what’s it like actually going through egg donation
How it feels to be an egg recipient
The great thing about using egg donation – unlike other fertility treatments – is that there’s no rush once the decision has been made. The woman can get a year or two years older, or even more – the biological clock is no longer ticking. Even if your periods have stopped and you’ve gone through the menopause, as long as your womb is healthy, it’s only the age of your donor that matters. Clever, isn’t it? So, although you’re probably very eager for a baby, the process can be as calm and as gradual as you want it to be. Many women find the lack of time pressure really liberating.
Unlike adoption, using a donor egg still allows the woman to carry and give birth to her child and go through the bonding processes of pregnancy and breast-feeding. Besides, many women at the stage of committing to egg donation may be considered too old for adoption. You’ll feel the magic of the first kick and will give life to your baby through the hormones and nourishment your body provides while he or she is in your womb.
Despite the fantastic experience that being an egg recipient can offer, it can be a deeply unsettling time with strong emotions and a a huge psychological impact. The following feelings and situations are very common:
Sharing your baby with a stranger
Many men can feel uncomfortable with the idea of the process, particularly the idea of their sperm fertilising the egg of a woman they’ve never even met. There can be a strong sense of a loss of control.
A feeling of loss for ‘what might have been’
Couples go through a grieving process for the lost opportunity of having their own genetic children, and many couples change their minds at this point about going through with egg donation. Women may feel a loss of ‘womanliness’ and a sense of failure. Your counsellor will probably try to get you to look into the future and imagine how you would feel in five years’ time. Would you wish you’d tried one last cycle of IVF? Or would you just be happy to finally have a family running and yelling around you?
Overcoming the fact that the child is genetically the man’s but not the woman’s
Many women aren’t actually concerned that the child will, in a genetic sense, belong to her partner and not her. After thinking it through, you’ll probably feel that carrying and giving birth to your child is in many ways, an equal (if not a bigger!) contribution. After all, he hasn’t really had to do much, has he?
Other women worry in advance that it will seem strange to carry ‘another woman’s’ baby but this is almost always pushed into the background when they actually become pregnant.
Trying to imagine your baby
Everyone expecting a baby wonders whose eyes it will have, or whose hair, and whether it will be unlucky enough to have Dad’s oddly-shaped nose or Mum’s big feet. Before going through with egg donation, your counsellor will talk to you about how you’d like your baby to be and how you imagine him or her.
Religious and ethical issues
Catholic teachings don’t support egg donation and IVF therapies, as they see it as compromising the family bond. Sunni Muslims do not see egg (or sperm) donation as acceptable, but Shi’ite Muslims do allow this. For a Jewish couple, it will be a rabbi who will listen to their circumstances and make a suggestion as to what is considered acceptable by the laws of Judaism. More orthodox Jews may want to look for a Jewish donor. Complicated, eh?
Here in the UK, donors cannot be paid for their eggs. However, in other countries, they can receive thousands of pounds and it is this that becomes their driving force to donate. Depending on where you want to source your donor from, you will need to think about this tricky issue and decide if cash for eggs is acceptable.
Egg Donors UK Guide : The process
So where does this mystery egg come from? And does it end up inside your womb? Well, your kindly donated egg will usually come from a woman under the age of 35 whose ovaries have been stimulated to produce 10-15 eggs for collection. And for her, that’s the end of the road: the rest is up to you.
Your cycle will be synchronised in with hers using hormonal drugs so your womb is ready to accept the donor’s egg. The donated eggs are fertilised with your partner’s sperm in the lab and ta-da! You suddenly have an embryo or two to be transferred to your womb.
Most egg donation proceeds down similar time lines and courses of treatment. Let’s outline them here so you’ve got an idea of what you’d be letting yourself in for.
You and your partner would come in to the clinic to talk to your specialist about egg donation in more detail. A counsellor can also be present. Just like sex education at school, this is your rare chance to ask absolutely anything you want, whether it’s about success rates or the emotional aspects of being an egg recipient.
If you don’t meet a counsellor in your initial meeting, you can (and should) see after shortly afterwards. It can be pretty odd if you’ve never done anything like this before – opening up isn’t for everyone but soon they’ll be dragging you off the couch! Your counsellor will probably talk to you about what your images of your baby are, and figure out how you feel about everything.
Selecting egg donors, UK, Czech & Spanish Process
You will sit down with your specialist and talk through what you’re looking for in an egg donor. This can be difficult for the woman as she thinks about the biological things that she wishes she could pass on to her child. Since 2004, all donors in the UK have been required to provide some background information about themselves, including details of their religion, job, hobbies and interests, their reason for donating, as well as their physical characteristics.
When it comes selecting InterTrust Fertility for you IVF donor eggs Czech Republic and Spain law will provide you with total anonymity and you can choose the physical characteristics that closest resemble you. Here they are better regulated & screened than donor eggs Cyprus or in other non EEA registered countries.
It’s quite different in the UK where all in all, it’s not that different to buying a house: Egg donors are highly in demand and you’ll never find everything that you want, so you might have to decide what the really critical qualities you’re looking for are. You will have to join a waiting list that could be as long as two years. Waiting for the ‘perfect’ donor consumes time you may not have and of course, you may never find her.
At InterTrust Fertility, we provide the UK’s broadest range of donor eggs IVF programmes in Barcelona & Prague, with refund options as well as ‘regular’ cycles of treatment. We’ll offer you all the support services you will need and we are proud of our commitment to helping couples have a child of their own, whoever they are and whatever their situation.
Topic: IVF Egg Donors UK & Abroad