A mum from Cornwall helped another couple have a baby and slashed the costs of her own IVF treatment by doing so.
Stacey Roberts, a 35-year-old accountant, told how she had been trying to conceive a baby with her husband for “a couple of years”, but it just “wasn’t happening” for them.
Both Stacey, from St Austell, and her husband have one child from previous relationships, and now have a two-year-old baby together thanks to IVF.
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Many couples often consider the treatment, which sees an egg removed from a woman’s ovaries and fertilised manually – in vitro – in a lab. Once the egg has become an embryo it is placed back into the womb, where it has the opportunity to develop. However, this option can often feel impossible due to the costs involved.
This is why increasing numbers of people are choosing to share their eggs in order to receive discounts on their treatment. Egg sharing is a process whereby someone who is having IVF donates some of their eggs to the clinic where they’re receiving treatment.
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These eggs are offered to a couple who would not be able to conceive without them. While you will not be able to meet the patient receiving your eggs, you will know that you’ve helped someone else to have a family while going through the process to build your own.
Explaining the process, Stacey said: “My husband and I had been trying for a couple of years to conceive but it wasn’t happening for us even though we both have one child from previous relationships. We looked at adoption, fostering and IVF and decided to try IVF. I looked up several different clinics to get an idea on price and even looked abroad as the costs really vary across the country even just hours apart.
“I ultimately always wanted to donate my eggs though. I saw a documentary as a teenager about it in America and it really stuck with me which is why it was really the first thing I looked at when we found we needed IVF.
“The cost reduction wasn’t actually something I knew about until after doing the research into UK egg sharing.”
Stacey had one collection and had two lots of eggs put back. If the pair had paid for the treatments in full, it could have cost between £6,000 and £8,000, but due to sharing the eggs, it cost them £2,000.
The receiving pair had to travel from their home to Wales, which also added to the costs.
“We live in Cornwall and chose a clinic in Wales so had a fair amount of travel costs, which would have been a lot less had we lived closer, but the overall saving was still huge,” she said. “While the couple we helped out by sharing my eggs had not used their frozen eggs as of 18 months ago, when I last checked, I would happily donate my eggs again.
“I am unfortunately now too old to donate as the cut-off is 35, but I do wish I had donated altruistically in order to help another couple when I was younger. As my husband and I each already had a child, we were very open going into the process.
“We knew that if we didn’t end up with a child we were already fortunate. It is obviously a possibility that the people you donate to end up with a child but you don’t and I can understand that this is too much for some people to cope with.
“All the IVF clinics offer counselling and I would definitely recommend really talking everything through with them. It’s not the right path for everyone but it’s so rewarding and can make an awful situation feel a little better.
“Knowing I’ve been able to help someone else really helped me come to terms with maybe not getting another child of my own – but now I have a little two-year-old running around whom I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to have naturally.”