In a selfless act of kindness, a 22-year-old woman from Cheshire has decided to donate her eggs, helping women with fertility issues to start families of their own
Emma Winstanley has long been passionate about helping women to achieve their dreams of starting a family, having heard many tales of infertility heartbreak from family members and older friends.
Knowing just how devastating infertility issues can be for those longing for children of their own, Emma, from Chester, also understood that women who donate their eggs can make a powerful and life-changing difference.
Having no plans to start a family of her own anytime soon, the 22-year-old hairdresser decided to take the leap and first donated her eggs in November.
She intends to repeat the same process once again this year to help others.
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Emma said: “I’m only 22 and not in a relationship, so I’m not in any rush to have children. I feel like it’s a waste if I’m not going to have them. I try and see it as if I’m donating blood and I plan on starting the donation process again in February this year”.
Thankfully, Emma’s friends and family have been “really supportive” about her kindhearted decision, although her mum did initially have concerns that it would affect her fertility in the long run.
Once she realized there weren’t any long-term effects, Emma says she was “really proud of me”.
Although some may think this is a big decision for such a young woman, this is something Emma has planned to do since turning 18, having witnessed first-hand the pain of family members going through IVF.
She first applied to be a donor in February last year, making inquiries at the Chester-based Care Fertility, where she underwent psychiatric testing and blood tests.
Emma continued: “I had my blood taken first to check my egg bank and tests to check for any underlying disease or issues – it was like an all-over body M.O.T. It was quite invasive, however, each appointment was spread out over nine months, and I only attended about one a month which made it less stressful. My first appointment was in February, and I had my eggs collected in November”.
Procedure aside, Emma also received legal information about the legal side of donating her eggs, which she was told “were my property until they were in the test tube”.
She was also surprised to learn that she had the option to write a letter to the families she was hoping to help.
According to Emma: “I was also given the opportunity to give a message to whoever is born from the egg for when they turn 18. I thought that was an important part of the process because it’s something you write personally – it can’t be too personal though as I can’t give away my identity at the same time. I tried to write something inspirational for them”.
For each donation cycle, Emma receives £750, a sum which covers the costs of her travel and expenses. During her first procedure, doctors were able to successfully collect 46 eggs. Being very open about her own decision to donate, Emma is now encouraging other young women to consider egg donation.
Emma said: “I personally don’t know anyone else who has done this but I don’t feel like I’m too young. There are a few people who have been quite negative and told me that I’m now a mother. I don’t agree with this, I’m just a donor. The people who raise them are their families. Other girls my age have asked if they should do it too – I told them to do their own research and speak to a clinic. It’s completely your own choice, but I don’t regret mine”.
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