Their Eggs, Our Basketby Michael Johnson-Ellis
As a gay couple embarking on fertility treatment there are so many factors to consider and questions to ask. There’s the initial task of finding a clinic that you feel comfortable with both clinically (also check the HFEA’s website to check your clinic's results) and how they feel personally is so important. It was also vital for us that the clinics we’ve used for both our pregnancies knew how to deal with Intended Fathers and understanding how our treatment plan differs to heterosexual couples and obviously had experience with Surrogacy.
So once the clinic is chosen one of your next dilemmas is Eggs.
What shocked me is how expensive Eggs are in comparison to Sperm, and there’s no guarantee your eggs will be viable embryos, so its a daunting purchase too.
Sperm can be purchased on average for around £850 - £2k, for which will buy you around 1-2 ampoules or straws. It can be bought through a clinic or via a UK or International Sperm Bank, such as organisations like Pride Angels or Semovo. Due to HFEA regulations, the UK is strictly anonymous donation only (eggs and sperm) a basic profile is all you’ll receive, (until the child turns 18 then full disclosure can be requested) there are no catalogues, baby photographs or Instagram style beach poses when buying eggs and sperm in the UK. Whereas internationally you get to pick your donor through gorgeous glossy profiles detailing their achievements, their vital statistics and their reasons for wanting to donate. It’s all super fancy, and rather interesting. In comparison to Sperm, Eggs, on the other hand, are pricey, £6-£8k (we paid £8k) - rising upwards to £15k - £20k if you use a US Egg Bank that can find you female astronauts and brain surgeons - some of the criteria justifying prices is crazy.
We opted to use our clinics Egg Donation bank facility as it was easy and meant they could own the process, our criteria were fairly straightforward. If Wes and I could have children naturally what would our children look like? Well, I’m olive-skinned, black hair, black beard, and hazel eyes, and Wes is fair-skinned, blue-eyed and dark blonde hair - possible a little ginger in there too for good measure. So we asked our clinic to find us a donor that matched our needs for example if we were using my sperm we’d want a blue blond donor, and for Wes’ sperm, we’d like a donor that matched my characteristics (also with known and proven fertility - as we’ve discovered this is so important). The search took 3-4 months - our donor was found, and whilst she didn’t produce many Eggs as we were advised (most women produce 10-15), she would produce around 4-5 but all are excellent in quality. Straight in our basket!
Egg retrieval day arrived too, 5 retrieved, spot on - 4 viable and all fertilised and graded excellent thankfully.
We transferred one of our fresh Blastocyst’s and froze the rest - and following a 2WW (Two Week Wait) we got the positive result we yearned for. 16th October 2016 - cue Talulah - simply perfect, healthy, blonde, huge blue eyes and gorgeous olive skin.
She was just as dreamt. All ours, and whilst the small unimportant factor of biology may be linked to only one of us, Talulah is often assumed to be biologically linked to the non-biological Daddy. Perfect, all thanks to modern science and amazing surrogates and egg donors :)