Deciding to use a donor – Mairead’s story

This personal story was written by Mairead* in 2018.

After 4 years of trying to conceive, I found myself yet again in another obstetrician’s waiting room. I had suffered another miscarriage and needed to see a new doctor about a minor hospital procedure. We had reached the end of our journey trying to have a child. I was 42 now, and though I had never tried regular IVF because of my age, I had tried everything else, or so I thought.

The doctor I saw that morning was an older doctor, nearing retirement, similar to my own father, traditional and old school. He spent a long time talking to me, empathising with me, and listening to me. After some time, he said that regular IVF was not an option for me, though he knew some clinics would be happy to treat me. I knew this already and explained to him that I knew that this was now the end of the line and that this latest miscarriage just felt like a cruel blow. Out of the blue, he said to me that there was only one thing for it, a donor egg from a clinic in Spain that he had been working with (donor egg conception in the form that had the best result was not possible in Ireland at that time). I’m not joking when I say I nearly fell out of the chair! I had thought I needed a relative to help me, possibly hours on the internet to some far off place in America looking to buy an egg, parting with huge sums of cash that I’d never see again. Despite the fact that I had spent 4 long years trying to conceive, nobody had ever suggested or explained what receiving a donor egg was and how it was the most likely way of me getting pregnant.

I am a very open minded person (or so I thought), but to me donor conception was something way too strange and alternative to consider. Possibly, the fact that someone who reminded me of my father was suggesting it, made it normal and okay. I remember explaining it to my husband on the phone that evening. He was on a business trip to Canada. By that evening my mind was made up. So was his (well, it was, once I assured him I hadn’t lost my mind). Barcelona here we come!

We spent the next few months having tests and doctors in the clinic in Spain said I had a 75% chance of getting pregnant. My chance of getting pregnant with regular IVF was 2%. Our first attempt failed and despite promising I would never do it again, I did. I got pregnant on the second attempt and believe you me, every time I look at my beautiful 3 year old girl, I know that it was the best decision I ever made.

*Name has been changed.

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