A couple who have decided they don't want children are instead donating their eggs and sperm and have already helped 16 others start a family.
Nay Chadbourne, 33, and her husband Luke, 37, from Banbury, Oxfordshire, who are both paramedics, always thought they would have kids, but changed their minds as time went on, partly due to their intensive jobs.
After seeing friends struggle to conceive and have miscarriages, the couple decided to try to help others struggling to conceive.
Since signing up with a private fertility clinic in April 2022, Luke has donated sperm to help 10 families and Nay has donated 84 eggs, helping six families.
"When you get married, the next question is always 'when are you having children?'," Nay explains.
"We still get that a lot, and we have been married four years."
Opening up a little more on the couple's decision not to start a family Nay explains: "I don't want people to think I don't want them because I hate children.
"We just really don't want our own. We have very busy lives – we work as paramedics and are part of a non-profit organisation that responds to natural disasters so can be asked to up and leave the country with short notice."
Nay says the motivation for donating their eggs and sperm was inspired by seeing their friends going through the IVF process and others go through miscarriages, which they describe as "heartbreaking".
"If someone else can make use of my eggs and Luke's sperm, then we want to help them in the same way that we give blood and are on the stem cell register," Nay explains.
The couple met in 2016 when they were getting a hepatitis B vaccine for work with Nay describing the moment as "love at first sight".
Nay first started thinking about egg donation when she was 27, around the same time she decided she didn't want a family of her own.
Having contacted TFP Oxford Fertility, part of TFP Fertility UK, the couple were accepted to become donors.
Explaining the egg donation process, Nay says that initially donors have to inject themselves for 14 days to suppress their natural hormone production.
Then they will have a scan to check that their natural cycle is fully suppressed.
A day or two before the eggs are collected, donors receive a hormone injection to help the eggs mature and then the eggs are collected during a small procedure.
"The first time I did it, I grew 39 eggs," she adds.
"My friend took me to the surgery, which took a few hours and everything was fine."
After donating her eggs, Nay recovered quickly and was back running within three days.
When she first told her family about her plans to donate her eggs, Nay says her family were initially a little worried.
"I think it is more because they have nieces and nephews, we are all on ancestry websites and we know that if one of my donor children went on to that they would link," she explains.
"It's difficult to imagine having a biological link to someone you have no contact with."
Having donated for the first time, which she found a little difficult to fit into her work schedule, Nay says she wasn't sure if she was going to donate again.
But after returning from a few months abroad, the couple decided to go self-employed and Nay decided to donate again.
"This year I have done two donations and I did them pretty much back to back," she says.
"Each donation helps two couples, so that is potentially six babies.
"But I don't think I will donate again [something she is more sure of this time], the only exception would be if I had one of my friends who needed eggs and wanted to use mine.
"Also, my egg count has gone down hugely since I first did it. I have gone from growing 39 to growing 17.
"Although 17 is still a good number, I wouldn't want a couple to be relying on me as a donor and not give them many to work with."
Watch: Fertility inequality: How single women are facing IVF discrimination and financial strain
Egg and sperm donation: the facts
The trends in Egg, Sperm and Embryo Donation report from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), reveals a dramatic increase in children born through egg, sperm and embryo donation over time.
The report shows that the number of children born with the help of a donor has risen considerably since the 1990s with over 4,100 children born in 2019 compared to around 2,500 in 1993.
Egg, sperm and embryo donation accounts for one in 170 of all births and for one in 6 births using IVF in the UK.
The HFEA defines egg donation as a woman going through part of the IVF process in order to have some of her eggs collected, which she can then donate to someone else's treatment, fertility research or training.
Women usually need to be between the ages of 18 and 35 to donate their eggs, although clinics may only allow eggs from an older woman to be used in exceptional circumstances, such as if you’re donating to a family member.
Before donation a woman will need to undergo certain health tests to ensure they don't pass on any serious diseases or medical conditions to the baby or mother. Some clinics also set additional eligibility criteria, including minimum and maximum Body Mass Indexes (BMIs), but it is advised to talk the fertility clinic about their process.
It's illegal to pay for either egg or sperm donation in the UK, but egg donors can receive compensation of up to £750 per donation 'cycle' to cover their costs.
Sperm donors can receive up to £35 per clinic visit to cover their expenses.
However, egg and sperm donors can claim more if their expenses for things like travel, accommodation and childcare are higher than this.
Neither egg or sperm donors will have any legal rights or responsibilities to children born from their donation and won’t be required to pay anything towards their care.
However, children born from donations will be able access identifying details which can allow them to contact the donor in the future. If they do choose to make contact, it’s up to both the donor-conceived individual and the donor to decide if they want to have any kind of relationship.
If you are struggling with fertility, speak to your doctor about what options there are for you.
Additional reporting SWNS.
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