1998 was a special year for me. It’s the birth year of my twins and the founding year of the National Gamete Donation Trust; all very close to my heart.
But where later this year we’ll be celebrating my children’s 20th birthday and raise a glass to hopefully many more years to come, possibly the same can’t be said and done for the NGDT. Through lack of funding, soon there might not be an independent body dealing with egg and sperm donors.
When I left the NGDT as its Chief Exec in 2016 after 13 years involvement, I did so with a heavy heart. After all, I started off being an egg donor who just wanted to help others even further than my own donation could ever do. When you do a job out of dedication and passion, you can leave the job but you can’t leave the passion.
And, as Vera Wang award winner US designer says,
When you have a passion for something then you tend to not only be better at it, but you work harder at it too.
Since then, I’ve been quietly observing what was happening in the field of assisted reproduction, and especially in egg donation. And a lot is happening. The NHS continues to reduce funding for IVF cycles, more patients are going abroad for treatment, more UK clinics refer to their foreign partners for egg donation without being totally transparent (because there are UK donors!) and the list goes on.
As the need for egg and sperm donors in the ‘making babies industry’ is growing, patients and donors need more transparent, clear and objective information, not less. Worryingly, the commodification of donors has a significant impact on how donation is being dealt with and it’s not always in the best interests of patients, donor-conceived people and donors.
That is concerning and I think something needs to be done about it.
So, new year, new beginnings: As of now, I will go back to doing my utmost to support egg donation in the UK and to also ensure donors and patients will have the best possible information and treatment available and suitable for them. I’ll be using my knowledge and expertise gathered during the 13 years with the leading national organisation, but it won’t be a NGDT 2.0.
Although there’s also a need for the same support in sperm donation, for the time being that’s not where my focus will be. There’s too much to do for egg donation!
The website, although for the time being only holding page, can be found on www.eggdonormatters.co.uk