We are often asked by patients ‘what prompted the egg donors to act?’. Every individual’s reasons vary, but one thing which binds them all is a motivation to help others and to offer a chance at starting a family to those who desperately want it. Over the years, we have collected countless notes and letters from our egg donors to give to the families and subsequent children created through their kindness. Here are some of their messages:
“I want you to know you are a very special child and are lucky to have parents who wanted you so much that they were willing to go to great lengths for you. I am happy that I was able to give your parents a gift to help them experience the joy of bringing you into the world. We hope that you have had a happy and fulfilled life and if you ever wish to contact us in the future, we would be more than happy.”
“I gave your mum a tiny egg that she nurtured and made you, how brilliant is that? I hope how you came into this world will show you how wanted you were by your mum and dad and just how cherished you will always be no matter where you come from.”
“My decision to be a donor came from my understanding of the need to become a mother. Something I am unable to achieve naturally. I wanted to give another woman in my position the opportunity to experience the greatest gift that God can give – to be your mother.”
Every note we receive from donors is written with such warmth, generosity and hope for the future child that may read their letter one day. Many have witnessed infertility through friends and family, and all recognise that often women feel a deep sense of longing for a child of their own and feel strongly about helping them on this journey.
Britain has long been regarded as altruistic in our approach to healthcare, with access to free healthcare for all via the National Health Service being a prime example. In 1970, LSE Professor Richard Titmuss published a ground-breaking study, ‘The Gift Relationship’, looking at the relationship between voluntary blood donors and their recipients, calling this cycle ‘the gift of life’. Studying the UK (where blood donations were voluntary and free) and the USA (where donors were paid), Titmuss concluded that the quality of donor blood was better when the transaction was from a volunteer.
The same benevolent approach seems to apply in the UK with regards to egg donation. Here, women cannot be financially compensated for their eggs, other than a sum of £750 to contribute towards expenses - a stark contrast to countries like the United States, where women (often young students or those needing money) will donate eggs for large financial sums. No financial boost or significant monetary benefits to gain means that British egg donors are acting out of love, out of kindness and out of the wish to see others fulfil their dreams of having a child.
London Egg Bank would not be here without our donors. It is through their continued support, generosity and willingness to share their eggs that we find ourselves the largest egg bank in the country with almost 5,000 eggs currently waiting to be donated. Our donors inspire all within the clinic on a daily basis – it is their upbeat, optimistic and hopeful attitudes that reminds us what an amazing gift it is these women are giving, and what a wonderful process we are all working towards in order to help someone begin the journey towards starting a family.