Or perhaps you don’t. Perhaps, like most of us, you’ve never even thought about being an egg donor.
On behalf of the thousands of women out there who long to become mothers and the thousands of men out there who yearn to become fathers, I ask you now to consider.
There are many reasons why women don’t have children:
- They don’t want kids.
- They want to build their career.
- They think they have plenty of time.
- They don’t want to do it on their own, and Mr Right is running late.
- Their physical condition or illness prevents them from conceiving or carrying to term.
- They have tried – and tried – without success.
Unfortunately, many women discover too late that they have waited too long. Others discover that no matter how early they start, they have very little chance of conceiving.
The numbers game
Generally, from the age of 32, women’s fertility takes a sharp nose dive. Five years later and their chances of naturally conceiving a child are halved. At age 30, women’s chances of falling pregnant naturally are 20%.
At age 40, their chances are 5%. After 40, they are fighting the clock every step of the way.
But the age of 40 isn’t that old in today’s society. What with schooling, finding the right career and then clawing your way up the ladder, you can easily reach your thirties or forties without having the luxury of time for children.
When your eggs just won’t do (or in the case of fathers, if you don’t have eggs at all), your only hope is to seek out someone to donate.
Egg donation is the only legal means of obtaining eggs in Australia. In the US and other countries, you can purchase eggs online or from clinics. Here, altruistic donations are the only option. That’s a problem.
Because very few women even think about donating eggs, just as very few men think about donating sperm.
There are no great ad campaigns about ‘rolling up your sleeves’ for egg and sperm donation. It just doesn’t have the same heft as blood donation, or even organ donation.
It’s a sacrifice
For women, donating eggs is quite an undertaking. You have to have blood tests and scans to ensure you’re healthy. Then you have to take daily, self-administered injections to boost egg production. Finally, you have to undergo general anaesthetic while your eggs are harvested in a day surgery.
It’s much easier for men, but no less kind. If not for a kind and generous man whose name I may never know, I would not be a parent today.
If you are under 35 (mid twenties is best), have had all the children you want to have, and want to give something to a person who will never be able to adequately express their gratitude to you for changing their lives, then consider donating eggs.
A noble gift
People bare their hearts, lives and souls to you in the hope that you will be touched by their story and pick them.
You can ask for updates on your biological offspring’s life, photos, even relationships (though there is no legal relationship between you and the offspring from a donated egg). Lifelong friendships form.
Women and men who seek egg donors come from varied backgrounds. They all have a different story, many of them heartbreaking in their attempts to have a family. Some are single, some are married, some are straight, some are gay. Some are rich, some are ordinary, everyday hard workers.
All are united in a longing to become parents. They are all determined and relentlessly optimistic in the face of tiny supply, huge costs and small chance of success.
Even with a healthy donor egg, the chances of conception using IVF are still miniscule, but they persevere. These are worthy people.
If you can recall that joyous moment when you first held your child in your arms, or first recognised that immense responsibility for another life and your heart lifted rather than sank under the burden, then you will understand what drives these hardy souls.
Perhaps it will even spur you on to make the ultimate gift to another person: the gift of life.
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