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Manchester Couples in Need of Egg Donors

There are currently over 300 couples in the Manchester region who need the help of an egg donor to start a family, but the wait can be up to ten years’ long. Saint Mary’s Hospital’s Give Hope, Give Life appeal launched in Manchester yesterday (15th October 2008) and aims to raise awareness of egg donation and address the major shortage of available eggs. Research reveals that Manchester women are in the dark about the need for donors. Three quarters (73%) of women aged 18-35 in the region underestimate the number of couples (1 in 6) who have fertility problems and eight out of ten (78%) do not realise the extent of the waiting time for eggs. Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Dr Cheryl Fitzgerald, Director of the Infertility Unit at Saint Mary’s Hospital: “Like many areas, in Manchester and the wider North West there’s lack of awareness that there is a donor shortage. We desperately need women who think they could help to pick up the phone to us. Many women simply don’t realise that donors are needed or that they themselves could become a donor. The Give Hope, Give Life appeal aims to address this problem and hopefully boost the number of donors in the Manchester region.” Give Hope, Give Life Saint Mary’s Hospital’s Give Hope, Give Life appeal is seeking donors from all walks of life. They are looking for donors of any ethnicity, aged 23-35 and with or without children. Those interested in finding out more about egg donation are encouraged to call the clinic on 0161 901 2708 or visit www.ngdt.co.uk. Local Case Studies Gillian, 39 years old, found out she had experienced a premature menopause aged 20. In 1995 she joined the waiting list at Saint Mary’s. After a few years, a known donor came forward but unfortunately the resulting pregnancy was ectopic. Then in 2005 (ten years’ later) Gillian received a call out of the blue to say she'd reached the top of the waiting list at Saint Mary’s and they had an altruistic egg donor for her. Gillian and her partner Robert now have an 18 month old girl called Rebecca through egg donation and also a four year old, Bethany through adoption. Gillian says: “I am so happy that I have a complete family after such a long and painful wait. I am so thankful that someone gave me the chance to experience motherhood – all I’ve ever wanted is a normal life like everybody else, with a husband and children, and I have that now.” Amy, 32 years old, lives near Chester. Amy is a mother herself, with 28 month old twins and is about to donate eggs altruistically for the first time, with the process beginning on 4th November. Amy says: “I started thinking about egg donation in my late 20s as a number of friends had gone through fertility treatments in various guises and I really wanted to help others like them. When I felt ready I contacted Saint Mary’s to start going through the process. I feel so very strongly that I want to help give other people the chance of motherhood, and put my ‘resources’ to good use - without having more kids of my own!” Rebecca, 25, and her husband Andy live in Eccles in Manchester and are recipients of an egg donor. They now have a 16 month old daughter named Jessica. Rebecca says: “I was on the waiting list at Saint Mary’s for four years, after findings out that egg donation would be my only chance of having children. After the long and agonising wait we eventually found a friend of a friend who felt very strongly that they’d like to help us and from there we went through the necessary tests and counselling. There isn’t a day that goes by where me and my husband don’t think about and thank the woman who donated her eggs, allowing us to have a family of our own. I feel very strongly that it’s important to raise the level of awareness about egg donation both in Manchester and the UK. Some people aren’t lucky enough to find their own donor and need to rely on the kindness of strangers.” What is egg donation? Some couples fail to achieve a pregnancy because the female partner may have suffered a premature menopause. Other women may have lost the use of their ovaries due to disease, surgery or the treatment of cancer, whilst some women carry inherited genetic diseases and are thus seeking donated eggs so as not to transmit the disease to their children. In these cases, if a donor becomes available, an egg is donated, fertilised by the father’s sperm and then implanted into the mother, who carries the child. -Ends- Notes The survey was conducted by YouGov among 1,598 UK women aged 18-35 between 22nd – 29th May 2008.