* Author Topic: Your opinion - Information about our donor  (Read 798 times)

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Offline Chocchipcookie

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Your opinion - Information about our donor
« on: 13/11/18, 12:23 »
Hi all, we are a female couple - I am the one undergoing treatment as my partner has a health condition. I'm being treated on the NHS as I have fertility issues and the clinic we are at is very restrictive over the donor we can use. They stipulate that it must be from a UK bank (so they have less paperwork do do our nurse said!) but I've always felt it is really important to be able to give any resulting children enough info that there doesn't feel like there is a 'gap'. Extended profiles from banks like Cryos and ESB would provide this, and we could then store it away ready for if they want to know more. We still feel weird about having to find a donor in the first place but have accepted that this is the way it is, and not having hardly any info or choice (I'm CMV negative) makes it even worse.

We have a donor that has been recommended for us from a UK bank but only know height, weight, etc, plus occupation and interests (gardening and sport). The only other thing we know is that he opted not to write a message for parents/offspring :-( This seems like it might feel worse for a child that just not having a letter - having a sheet of A4 that says he effectively opted not to bother.

I wondered what your thoughts were on how much information is right so that a child can grow up without that 'void' (we have an adopted family member who has not coped well with lack of info, which is why I feel strongly about this). Maybe I'm massively over thinking it but it feels like such a big decision to find the right person and then to handle what comes afterwards well. However the clinic and bank staff just seem to think nothing of it, probably because they do it all day every day.

Thanks for reading - any thoughts appreciated x

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    Offline Pognut

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    Your opinion - Information about our donor
    « Reply #1 on: 13/11/18, 17:39 »
    It's difficult, isn't it. We were in the same position - same sex couple, and both CMV negative, so v limited choice. Our clinic said that they'd offer us two donors but no more. We weren't keen on the first one for various reasons so went with the second, who we felt more comfortable with, but like you we only have a limited amount of info, nothing like the amount you'd get from Cryos etc. We asked and were told we couldn't use sperm from a private bank as you can't combine NHS treatment and private funding, though it might be worth checking if this is still the case.

    One thing that made a difference with us was that my partner became CMV positive while we were waiting for the cycle, which meant they were happy for me to have a positive donor (despite my still being negative) as they thought it was very likely I'd get it from her (I still haven't, four years later!). So maybe, if your partner is positive, there might be room for more choice? It doesn't solve your worries about the lack of info, though. Have you been in touch with the Donor Conception Network? They have a lot of resources for people with donor conceived families. Best of luck.

    Offline Chocchipcookie

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    Your opinion - Information about our donor
    « Reply #2 on: 13/11/18, 18:18 »
    Thanks Pognut, that's really helpful. I'll head over to the Donor Conception Network as suggested. Unfortunately we are both CMV negative and our clinic say that in addition to overseas banks costing more (not sure if this is true or not), they wont do it because they can't guarantee the info sent is actually genuine.

    Do you have a plan for if your little one/s asks about their donor? I am just concerned that they might ask what he looks like or something like that and we be able to hardly any info at all. I found of all the UK banks, the one I first tried gave the least info and the others do at least provide a staff impression and pen sketch. Maybe we will have to be content with that.

    The other option is that we go down the egg share route to help us go privately (I am just about OK to be accepted to one or two clinics - my age and severity of my fertility conditions put me on the limit) and they seem more flexible on donor choice, but even with free/low-cost ivf, the extra things still cost (mostly the sperm - it's sooo expensive!).

    The choice seems to be limited (but trustworthy) info from very few donors vs. much more choice abroad but the issues/risks of overseas donors (and expense of going privately).... it's a minefield!

    Offline Me, Myself and I

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    Your opinion - Information about our donor
    « Reply #3 on: 13/11/18, 19:35 »
    Personally, I would challenge the no overseas ds bank issue and ask where this is written as NHS treatment protocol. I've known women to have NHS treatment using overseas banks. One had to provide the "top up fees" for additional costs though.

    When I had treatment, the clinic tried to coerce me into using one of their donors. As you've said the info is scant - I struggled as looks as a child not necessarily baby were important, in terms of I wished similar colouring etc to me and the rest of my family. I also wanted more health history in addition to background information about his education, aspirations, career and family etc. You know a bit more a fuller picture.


    Given that you have a choice of really nothing versus this, I would push for it as it is as much for you as it your potential baby.


    My situation is slightly different as a lone mum and having chosen an anonymous donor in the end as I decided for my own reasons at the time that this could be better for my child. But I am so grateful to Cryos for all of the information I have and would have almost felt duped into accepting an in reality totally anonymous donor via the clinic - until if my child had traced him...


    I also disliked that certainly at my clinic, it seemed as though some men were almost coerced into donating for either cheaper treatment or to show their gratitude. And call me a cynic, but I was worried that given the couple were at a fertility clinic, that the sperm could equally be problematic, even if it was the woman with the issues.

    Offline hannahdaisy

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    Your opinion - Information about our donor
    « Reply #4 on: 13/11/18, 21:41 »
    Hi, we're also a female couple. We didn't have NHS treatment but did choose to use a UK donor. We were given lots of information about him from our sperm bank though, we were sent 6 different PDFs in the end! Think it maybe depends which UK sperm bank you use.

    Offline BEmama

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    « Reply #5 on: 13/11/18, 22:25 »
    I am also CMV negative, we wanted to use a CMV positive donor, and (after insisting that we were aware of the risks) our clinic let us sign a form stating that and we were allowed to use the donor. It IS a rule that can be circumvented, don't let them tell you otherwise. 

    Offline Pognut

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    « Reply #6 on: 13/11/18, 22:40 »
    ^ that depends a lot on the clinic. Our NHS clinic absolutely refused flat out and at one point a consultant actually had a go at us at wanting to endanger our future child (this at the point when we'd moved on to donor eggs, my CMV+ sister had offered, and they were saying no despite there being no recorded instances of CMV being transmitted by donor egg, as it's carried in white blood cells and eggs don't have any...). Once one of us was CMV+ it all changed, but they did tell us that had that not happened they wouldn't have let us go ahead. Once we went private, they were much more relaxed - gave us the warning talk but let us sign the waiver and that was fine. They also acknowledged that there was no chance of transmission from donor eggs...  ::)

    We joined the Donor Conception Network, and there are a lot of useful resources there about talking to your children about being donor conceived - we are in a slightly weird position in having my sister as our egg donor and an ID-release NHS sperm donor, and yes, I have worried about what that might be like for them, having one donor in their lives and a very short list of characteristics about the other. I wish we had more information about the sperm donor, but we didn't have any choice (or so I thought!!). I've got quite a lot of lesbian friends with donor conceived children and have talked to them about it a lot. It's far from ideal and I do feel quite conflicted about it, but my friends seem to be managing fine and have raised lovely, happy and well-balanced kids who seem ok about it all (ages range from babies to twenties plus). Sorry, not sure how much help that ramble is!

    Offline Chocchipcookie

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    Your opinion - Information about our donor
    « Reply #7 on: 14/11/18, 14:34 »
    Thanks everyone for your input. It kind of confirms my gut feeling which is that we need more information and it sounds like we need to stand up to our clinic as they may not be providing as many options as they are legally allowed to do. We don't want to battle them but it seems like we might have to, as this feels really important.

    @BEmama - yes I know other clinics will let you sign or don;t even care at all - just our luck that we end up at this one :-S

    @hannahdaisy - that is interesting - which bank did they say you could use? Was it ESB?

    I'm increasingly thinking that non-NHS clinics are much more flexible generally.

    Offline hannahdaisy

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    Your opinion - Information about our donor
    « Reply #8 on: 14/11/18, 18:35 »
    Chocchip - we used Brighton Fertility Associates. We paid a little bit more for some extras like matching my photograph to the donor, was nice to have those options.

    Offline BEmama

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    « Reply #9 on: 14/11/18, 20:38 »
    It sounds like other clinics are more flexible indeed, I hope you can find a donor you feel comfortable with... We changed treatment countries because of the donor laws (anonymous in Belgium vs open and detailed profile from Cryos in a clinic in the UK) so I completely understand your thoughts about this, for us it was such a deal breaker we are now spending a ton more money just to be able to choose our own donor and to have detailed information about him. Good luck!