I met my husband *John late in life – I was 36 years old when we married and lived in the UK. We started trying for a baby in 2003. When it hadn’t happened after about 12 months we had fertility tests, which showed that my tubes were blocked. I had them cleared and soon afterwards I was pregnant, only to miscarry a couple of months later.
We struggled to get pregnant again and eventually decided to try IVF. I was already too old to have IVF with the NHS. We had one round of IVF at a clinic in London, which sadly didn’t work. After that, John and I went through a really bad patch and even though we had frozen embryos, we decided not to try again immediately. It’s a very hard thing, IVF. A lot of women don’t realise how emotionally draining it is and it can tear your relationship apart, not to mention the huge financial burden that runs alongside.
I decided to take a year out in my home country South Africa, and during a visit from John, he mentioned that he wanted us to try for a baby again, using our frozen embryos. I stayed on in South Africa and went to a fertility clinic in Cape Town for my drugs and injections, then flew back to London for the embryo transfer. It didn’t work, and my doctor in South Africa had already told me that if it didn’t work, I was too old to go through the full IVF procedure again.
He suggested we consider using an egg donor, which John and I were happy to do. I asked for more information and our consultant sent me links to two egg donation websites, one of which was Nurture. I loved everything about their website and contacted them.
Tertia, founder of Nurture, introduced me to their donor database. My husband was going for all the six-foot blondes, but I was having none of it! I eventually ended up with a shortlist of three donors who closely matched my colouring, height and so on.
I sent a photo of myself to Tertia and asked her which of the three was most similar in looks to me. I was so pleased when she suggested the one that I happened to like best, so that was that, decision made. I had all my preliminary tests, drugs and injections in England, while our egg donor went through the IVF procedure in Cape Town. When the time was right, John and I travelled to South Africa where two embryos were transferred.
It wasn’t an easy process. After the embryo transfer I had to have daily injections in the backside, which was mainly administered by John. Then, a few days later I started bleeding. I thought, ‘Here we go. Once again I’m going to lose one or both of our babies.’ I remember sitting in the bathroom with tears pouring down my face, praying like mad that at least one of them would survive.
I did a pregnancy test after two weeks. It was a blood test and had to be sent off to my doctor. He then phoned us with the result, but I was so scared of the answer so I made John take the phone call. After a short conversation with the doctor he handed me the phone so that I could be told that I was pregnant. I was on cloud nine, I just couldn’t believe it!”
We returned to England but the bleeding started again around six weeks. I was really concerned, so I did some online research and contacted a private clinic in Sevenoaks. The doctor suggested I go in for a scan immediately. The scan picked up the baby’s heartbeat straightaway. What an amazing moment! Then, at 16 weeks, we found out we were having a little girl.
The first 12 weeks of pregnancy were difficult, as I was still having the daily injections, but thereafter I had a wonderful pregnancy, and I was determined to enjoy every moment of it. On my doctor’s advice, I was booked in for a caesarean, but about two weeks before I was due to go into hospital, my waters broke at 4am in the morning. My contractions started a few minutes later and I remember running around the house with a list of things that I needed to pack for the hospital. Half an hour later we headed for the hospital.
The doctor held *Megan up to me the moment she was born, a memory that will stay with me forever. She was whisked off to an incubator because they said she was too cold, my husband followed closely. Eventually they brought her back and I wouldn’t let her out of my sight. I lay there holding her all night, too afraid to sleep in case I dropped her. We finally had our baby and it was just overwhelming.
Megan was a happy, healthy baby. She is two now and we are incredibly blessed to have her. She has a wonderful personality, a very determined and intelligent little person who is so proud of anything that she manages to do on her own. When she was born, so many people said that she looked just like me, but now she is the spitting image of her father. They’re like two peas in a pod.
When the time is right we will definitely tell Megan how she was born. We’re hoping it won’t be an issue for her. She’s very much loved and she knows it. Her donor has said that she is open to communication so we have sent some photos via Nurture and who knows, maybe one day Megan will meet her.
We are just so lucky that another woman donated her eggs to us. People say it’s about money, but if you understand the process these egg donors have to go through, all the medication, the injections and egg collection and then know there is a child out there carrying your genes, it’s not about the money – it’s about giving.”