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Patient Story

Charlotte’s solo journey to motherhood

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Charlotte’s best chance to get pregnant was to use donor eggs. She came to the UK from France to ensure the donor could be identified.

 

Time passes so fast. I didn’t realise just how fast the time had passed. I was a student for a long time, I worked hard and long hours in a job that interested me, and I spent time outside work pursuing my hobbies, until suddenly - it seemed - I was in my 40s, and I wasn’t sure quite how that had happened.

I started to think long and hard about where I found myself in my life, and about what I had in my mind for many years - having a child, a husband, and a family of my own.

I was single at the time, and the prospect of finding a husband first, then having a child, seemed too much of an obstacle for my ticking biological clock. Instead of heading down this route, I started to focus on what was my priority, which was having a baby.

 

Researching my options

I conducted a lot of research into assisted reproduction (we call it PMA or procreation médicalement assistée in France). In particular, one area took my attention, over the anonymity of donors. There are still strict anonymity laws in most of Europe, including France, although that may now be changing. I wasn’t aware of other French women who were in the same position as me, who had planned to go to England for treatment, even though it seems there is a shortage of available donors in France.

“The most important point for me was the non-anonymity of the donor, which was a major reason I chose to come to England for treatment"

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This was essential to me because I believe the child has the right to know his biological background if he wants to when he grows old enough to understand; just being able to give him the choice was critical to me, and of course, eventually, it may be important to him.

I thought a lot about this way of having a child, I didn’t want to get into something so important without fully researching it first, I wanted to think of everything before committing to it.

Of course, it’s impossible to think of everything, especially in such a special and important adventure, but I put myself in the child’s place to try to answer all the questions he or she might ask one day. I took quite a long time to think of all aspects before I got started trying to have a baby with my own eggs and a sperm donor.

 

An unsuccessful start and a further option

After a few failed stimulated IUI cycles, considering my age my doctor suggested I consider another strategy and think about moving forward with an egg donor.

I had never imagined in my life, that I would need an egg donor, so it took me more time again to get used to this fact. Fortunately, at the same time, I met a man who helped me a lot; he was very supportive and motivated me a lot and made me see that I could accept using an egg donor. He was also prepared to be the sperm donor; he wanted to support me so that I would be successful in this marvellous project of having a child. 

 

Finding the perfect donor

In looking for the perfect donor, the first thing that was important to me was a physical resemblance. I wanted to choose the same phenotype (a person’s observable traits, such as height, eye colour, and blood type), but that wasn’t the only criteria. The staff at LEB helped me a lot with this, especially Mimi, who was always a very kind and caring person, as was everyone that I met there.

I was interested to understand the donor’s motivation and personality. She wrote a letter describing her family, her study, and hobbies, and her outlook on life, and added few words for the child, which were very kind, sensible, and mature. It was a very interesting and sensitive letter and resonated very deeply with me.

 

Bonding through pregnancy

When I became pregnant it was very emotional, I thought of the egg donor a lot. I tried to imagine my baby before his birth, and the part the donor had played, and slowly she became ‘familiar’ to me, it was like she was a part of my family. Accepting the route forward by using an egg donor had not been an obvious one for me, so it was comforting to know a few details about her, and that this gift did not come out of the blue. 

 

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