Thursday, May 10, 2007

Woman left infertile after donating eggs

I donated eggs to friends... now I've been left infertileby CHRIS BROOKE -

A woman who gave her eggs to help two childless friends fears she has been left infertile by her act of kindness.
Donna Stickels, 26, revealed her personal ordeal to warn other women about the potential dangers of egg donation.
Her story began seven years ago when she offered to help a married friend who was desperate to start a family after years of failed fertility treatment.
Donna's generosity resulted in the delighted woman giving birth to twin boys and she later became their godmother.
A second donation of eggs to another friend failed to result in a pregnancy, but the woman later conceived naturally.
Although both childless women realised their dream of becoming mothers, the fertility treatment appears to have had tragic implications for Donna.
The single mother of a young boy, Donna began trying for a baby with her new partner and discovered gynaecological problems which were stopping her from conceiving this time.
She underwent two operations on an ovary and her Fallopian tubes, but was told in February the surgery had failed and she would never be able to conceive naturally.
Although the doctors would not make a definitive link with the treatment she had in donating eggs, one gynaecologist admitted: 'It could be scar tissue from the procedures.'
Donna, a nanny, said: 'When I read recently how long waiting lists are forcing infertile women to turn to friends and family for donor eggs, alarm bells started ringing in my head. Giving another couple the chance to have a baby is a fantastic feeling, but I'd urge any woman to read my story before making such a huge decision.'
Donna was aged 18 and the working mother of one-year-old Maxwell when she struck of a friendship with Victoria, a married woman in her 30s, through a charity they had volunteered to work for.
She recalled: 'One day, she was sitting on a step outside work, looking sad. We started chatting and she began to pour her heart out about her childlessness. Victoria's last remaining chance of getting pregnant was through donor eggs - though her sister had offered, she had pulled out at the last minute. I was moved by her story, so I didn't think twice and said "I'll do it for you."
'Victoria spent the next few weeks asking whether I was sure: I was. I understood the implications of a woman giving birth to a child who was genetically half mine, but it didn’t bother me - I'd been brought up by my stepfather, and, to me, nurture not nature is what makes a family.'
The clinic tried to dissuade her from going ahead because the women knew each other, but Donna insisted. After blood tests, scans and internal examinations, Donna was given fertility-boosting hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs.
Eight eggs were late removed in hospital and Victoria - not her real name - had three embryos implanted.
'Ten nerve-racking days later, she phoned me and I just managed to make out through the delighted screams that the procedure had worked. She was pregnant, with twins.'
The boys were born in October 2001. 'I was full of pride that I’d helped two little lives into the world,' she said.
Several months later another friend Gina, who knew about Donna's egg donation, revealed she had been trying for a baby for six months and had been diagnosed with premature menopause.
She asked Donna if she would donate eggs and she agreed. 'I just didn't have it in me to say no. I didn’t want to be the person responsible for her being childless.'
In order for Gina to jump the waiting list she had to give eggs to an anonymous recipient as well. It meant a higher dose of hormones and 20 eggs were retrieved.
Gina did not get pregnant from the donation, but got pregnant the following month naturally, said Donna.
Then in 2005 Donna was referred to a gynaecologist after suffering intense pain while trying for a baby with new partner Dan.
'The doctor told me that I had burst cysts on my ovary and adhesions on my Fallopian tubes which were stopping me conceiving,' she said. Surgeons removed her right ovary and tried to clear her Fallopian tubes. The day after her second operation Donna was told she could never have more children.
'I burst into tears,' 'It was as if a door had been shut in my face.' Donna said she had split from Dan under the stress of her infertility. Adding:'When I see Victoria and her boys playing in the park, my heart bursts with happiness at what I was able to do for her. But I do wish I’d been more aware of what risks were involved.'

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