Claire’s story: Egg-sharing helped reduce the cost of treatment
Posted on 15.12.14
Claire Coombs, 30, and her husband Ricky, 38, from South Wales were keen to start a family, but Richy needed an expensive procedure following a vasectomy. Claire explains how they reduced the cost of their treatment by opting for egg-sharing.
"Richy had a vasectomy 12 years ago after having two children with a previous partner. A solution seemed simple - a small operation to reverse the vasectomy - but it turned out that it was more complicated. The consultant at the London Women's Clinc Wales, told us the best solution would be a procedure called TESE in which sperm is extracted surgically from the testicles, and that egg-sharing might help with the cost of the IVF treatment we needed to have using the extracted sperm.
I'd not heard of egg-sharing before and at first I was a bit hesitant with so many factors to consider. What if the woman receiving my eggs gets pregnant and I don't? What if I don't produce enough eggs? How do I feel about another woman sharing my eggs with me?
But quite quickly I realised that this was a very special opportunity for me and another woman to realise what we both wanted so much.
"The fact that I could help someone else get pregnant really spurred me on."
All our friends seemed in favour, and we had our first appointment at the clinic in April 2010. It only took a couple of months after the first blood tests to find a recipient, and so we were ready to go. After the stimulation cycle and egg collection, I produced a total of 27 eggs, 13 of which were allocated to the recipient. With my remaining 14 eggs and the defrosted sperm retrieved in Richy's TESE operation, we went on to produce two good quality embryos and one was implanted into my womb.
It was a strange time. While our close family and friends were aware of what we were going through, work colleagues and other people had no idea. But we knew that the best possible thing was to continue with our lives as normal and take each day as it came.
And so we waited...and in September I found I was pregnant. It was the most wonderful feeling, but even at that point there was still one nag at the back of my mind - had it been successful for the other woman? I rang the nurse at the LWC and was told that the recipient was also pregnant, which made me doubly happy.
After a relatively straightforward pregnancy, Jasmyn was born in May. She was beautiful and I couldn't have been happier. When it came to choosing a middle name, we had to call her Faith! It truly represented the journey we had been on to get to that day.
It is now almost a year on and I often wonder how the other woman is getting on with her baby. I've always believed that everyone has the right to have a child and I am very proud to have shared something so special with someone else, even though she will always remain a stranger to me.
The experience had its highs and lows along the way of course. Richy and I have learnt valuable lessons in how to support each other and stay really positive. The big high is getting to see Jasmyn wake up every day. And when she is old enough to understand, we'll tell her the truth, and how special her arrival into this world has been."
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