It was about twelve years ago that I made the decision that I wanted to donate my eggs.
Maya, our youngest, was about six months old. I remember her in the pram when we had our first visit to the IVF clinic. Eden was four, Kobi was two and then little Maya. When Maya came along I knew our family was complete. I was so blessed with my pregnancies. Each time we decided to try for another baby I would fall within that first month. It's not something that I took for granted. Some very close friends were trying to start a family around the same time. They had spent years and years trying. To watch their heartache month after month. To try and understand what they were going through. It was heartbreaking. Finally after 5 years, and the support of IVF, my friends had a baby boy who was born six weeks before Maya. Being so close to these friends and realising how lucky we were I wanted to help someone in similar circumstances to what my friends had gone through.
It's completely bizarre, or maybe not, how the universe works sometimes. I remember driving to my GP to talk to her about donating my eggs and getting a referral to the local IVF clinic and on the radio there was a program that was talking about egg and sperm donations and the impact anonymous donations have on families and children. I remember a young lady who was conceived through an anonymous sperm donation speaking about the wish to know where she genetically came from. She said she would sit on the train and look at all these men and wonder if they were her Dad. I decided at that moment that if I was going to donate my eggs that the child or children needed to have the right to know who I was. Where they genetically came from. I believe it is everyone's right.
A couple of months later we visited the local IVF clinic and began the first step of the process which is counselling. At this time we were living on the Gold Coast and the counsellor at the clinic was filling in from the Melbourne clinic. The counsellor suggested that we might like to consider to donate our eggs to a couple in Melbourne. Although I wanted complete transparency, I also felt it was important that we had our own lives and weren't continually bumping into each other. So that's what happened. The counsellor went back to Melbourne and looked at her list...her list.
Breaks my heart.
We were introduced to a couple Wayne and Cynthia, who had a devastating story. They are a open, warm, honest, down to earth, loving couple. We connected immediately. Fortunately they were completely comfortable with my request for transparency, so I started hormone therapy. We made several trips to Melbourne over the next few months and Cynthia and Wayne's baby girl was born the following year. Olivia.
Not only did I want openness and honesty for Olivia but I also made sure that my children knew everything from the beginning, or as soon as they were old enough to understand.
Over the years we have had family gatherings at each other homes, (Wayne cooks a mean pork roast) exchanged photos and Christmas cards. We have stayed in each others lives but still had our own.
Last Sunday I went to visit Olivia and Cynthia (Wayne is overseas at the moment).
Olivia is ten now. A beautiful, warm, confident, funny, affectionate, polite young lady. She gave me a tour of their new house, I watched her play tennis against the wall and chat to her Dad on Skype, she told me all about school and her favourite subjects, showed me photos of their recent family holiday, and watched as she performed a dance show for Cynthia and I after dinner.
At the end of the evening I asked Cynthia if it was ok with her if I wrote our story here.
"Of course!", she said. She then went on to tell me that they regularly talked with Olivia about me and how I helped them by "giving them an egg and then with Daddy's help she grew in Mummy's tummy". Up until this point I hadn't been sure if they had told Olivia.
It means everything to me.
I could not have asked for more regarding this chapter of my life. Olivia knowing me and my family and knowing that we are always here. Seeing this beautiful, beautiful girl loving life and seeing the deep love and connection she has with her family.
I am so proud. I am so happy.