Woman who doesn’t want kids donates 88 eggs to help strangers

Alex Webster, who has donated her eggs. (SWNS)
Alex Webster has donated her eggs to help others have families. (SWNS)

A woman who doesn't want children has donated 88 eggs to help strangers have families.

When Alex Webster, 31, a medical writer from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, discovered her friend would need donor eggs to have her own children, she felt inspired to want to help other women in the same situation.

Feeling inspired and wanting to help other women in the same situation she contacted a private fertility clinic in May 2020.

Since agreeing to be an egg donor, Webster has donated 88 eggs which has helped four families with their fertility journey.

"I’m possibly not geared for motherhood as much as some," Webster says of her reasons for becoming a donor.

"Because there are women who need help creating their own families, this is where I can fit in.

"It seemed like a waste to me that I have these eggs while there are lots of women who want to start families but can't.

"I can help them and I want to be able to help them if that means they can start the family they want."

Alex Webster has now donated 88 eggs to help other families with their fertility journey. (TFP Oxford Fertility/SWNS)
Alex Webster has now donated 88 eggs to help other families with their fertility journey. (TFP Oxford Fertility/SWNS)

In 2016, Webster discovered that one of her friends needed an egg donor to be able to have a child on her own.

It was a trigger for her to start looking into egg donation and having contacted TFP Oxford Fertility, part of TFP Fertility UK - IVF and fertility specialists - she was accepted to become a donor

"The experiences of my friends helped firm up my decision, all I needed then was to find the right time to donate," Webster explains.

First donors have to inject themselves for 14 days to suppress their natural hormone production.

One injection is to suppress the natural cycle and two days later the donor starts a second set of injections to stimulate follicle production.

They will then 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 before the eggs are collected during a small procedure.

Webster describes the process as being "intense" explaining that she can feel wiped out for a few days.

"I needed a quiet weekend after the procedure because I felt some discomfort and was tired," she explains.

"The process is three weeks long but the long-term implications of a family being able to have a child is worth it."

Developing follicles in Alex Webster's ovaries. (TFP Oxford Fertility/SWNS)
Developing follicles in Alex Webster's ovaries. (TFP Oxford Fertility/SWNS)

Despite finding her first round a bit tiring, she returned eight months later to donate again.

The TFP Oxford Fertility team collected 42 eggs from Alex in November 2022 and then 46 eggs when she repeated the process eight months later.

She has been told this has helped four families who have now received her eggs.

"I don't have the option to know the families I am helping," she explains.

"Once the children reach 16 they will be allowed to get a little bit of information and then when they reach 18 they are allowed to get identifying information.

"There is the potential that they will be able to get in contact with me."

As part of the preparation to donate, Webster underwent counselling to understand the implications of egg donation.

"I also had to write a letter to be shared with the parents who will receive my eggs," she continues.

While Webster is unsure if she will donate eggs again in the future, it is something she hasn't ruled out.

"I am thinking about it at the moment," she explains.

"For me, the consideration is that I have already helped four families and I don't know how many more I would like to help."

Webster hopes that by sharing her story she will help raise awareness about the process of egg donation.

"I hope women who read this will be encouraged to donate or contact the fertility clinic to find out more about how they can help," she adds.

The medication Alex Webster had to take for the egg donation process. (TFP Oxford Fertility/SWNS)
The medication Alex Webster had to take for the egg donation process. (TFP Oxford Fertility/SWNS)

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.

According to HFEA guidelines, when an egg and/or sperm donation is made in the UK, clinics should ensure they are only used to create up to a maximum of 10 families.

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.

For more information about egg donation including the criteria to donate visit TFP Fertility UK.

Fertility: Read more

Additional reporting SWNS.

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