When egg sharing goes wrong for the donor

By Nina Steele 

Technically, egg sharing is a brilliant idea. In case you have never heard of it, it is a process in which a woman with healthy eggs but not much money, agrees to share her eggs with another woman, who does have the money but has no eggs.

As anyone who has tried IVF knows, it can be a very costly process. There have been many stories of couples running up huge debts trying to conceive, with some going as far as remortgaging their home. So you can imagine the appeal of egg sharing. But what happens when the donor fails to become pregnant, while the recipient of her eggs is successful?

That is exactly what happened to Emma Aguado. She had healthy eggs, but her limited finances meant that she saw egg sharing as her only viable chance of becoming a mother. You can then imagine her pain when she failed to become pregnant, while the recipient of her eggs had a successful pregnancy.

This is one of those cruel twists in life, when you wish you could take something back. I think it is fair to say that most people in her situation would feel bitter too. She is now clinging to the hope that the child may seek her out when he turns 18.

Her story made me both sad and angry. Angry because of a society which is close minded enough to make you believe that you can never be fulfilled until you become a parent. Of course, no one is being forced to go through all this, but equally, it is not easy to break free from a desire as deeply rooted as this one is. That Emma is willing to take on the challenge that comes with being a single mother, goes to show how corrosive this whole parenthood issue can be.

Should egg sharing be made illegal because of the potential damage it can do to donors when things go wrong? I would say no. Of course it has major ethical issues, since to start with, the donors are doing so purely so they can get a free cycle of IVF. But what is the alternative for these women when many health authorities are strapped for cash and only offering one cycle of IVF?

What are your views on egg sharing? Would you consider it if you had the chance? What do you think of the ethical side of it?


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