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Holly's story

ICSI gave Holly and her husband the baby they always wanted. During the treatment process, she decided to donate eggs to another person through egg sharing and to research. Read her story:

My husband and I started trying for a baby soon after getting married. We were both young, and whilst I did become pregnant I sadly miscarried. After 18 months I went to my GP, however he was dismissive because I was in my early 20s.

For another three years we kept trying to conceive naturally. I was willing to do anything I could to increase my chances - aromatherapy, checking my body temperature, ovulation tracking - but nothing worked and I became really down. I was obsessed with becoming pregnant, spending hours on the internet, and it put a strain on our relationship.

At this point we went to a different GP who listened and took us seriously, it was such a relief. We were referred and went on to have NHS-funded ICSI as my husband has a low sperm count.

Before treatment started there was a lot of paperwork to complete. There’s a form for everything. It was at this point we were asked whether we would consent for eggs or embryos unsuitable for treatment to be donated for research.

It was a difficult decision at first, as in a way we saw them as potential children. But knowing that they would just be disposed of otherwise made it a no-brainer for us. My husband and I were both on-board for donating to research. We thought that if people in the past hadn’t donated then these fertility treatments wouldn’t exist - we could have lost our chance at having a family. 

Person looking out over a misty landscape

By donating we felt we could give something back

As we were receiving treatment at a teaching hospital, they mentioned certain studies they were working on and we were happy for our eggs and embryos to be used in any way they could help. Doing our part to push research forward felt right. No counselling was offered, but for us this didn’t matter as we wouldn’t have wanted it anyway. We were completely open about our situation and were lucky enough to have great support from our friends and family.

Our first round of ICSI failed but our second was successful. We now have the most beautiful daughter and feel so lucky.  

I donated half my eggs through egg sharing

We hope to have more children and we’ve started treatment again. I was thinking about egg sharing for almost a year and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. The process of IVF is hard enough and I kept on thinking about what it would be like if you can’t use your own eggs. The thought that I could help someone have the baby they long for was so motivational.

The biggest thing to consider was how to bring it up with my husband because I wasn’t sure how he was going to react. If a child was born and they wanted to contact us 20 years down the line, how would it affect us? It wasn’t just a decision for me, but for the whole family. But he was actually really happy with the idea and we spent time talking it through and there were lots of questions to ask ourselves.

I donated half my eggs and from my half two embryos were created. I had one embryo transferred but sadly it was a negative result. It was a massive blow and a really difficult time. We decided to go on holiday and wait until after that to try again.

We’re now about to get the next embryo transferred and it got me thinking about what had happened to the person I shared my eggs with. I can’t tell you how absolutely amazing it was to hear that a baby girl had been born. It really lessened the blow for me. We’ve got a daughter, an embryo sat waiting for us and someone else has got the baby they’ve longed for. It made all the tough times worthwhile.

Review date: 6 November 2021