Couple overwhelmed by offers of egg donation

Sophie Jennison with her husband Simon Ngui.
Sophie Jennison with her husband Simon Ngui. 

When Sophie Jennison went public with her fertility struggles, she expected a positive response from friends and family. 

Little did the 35-year-old know her story would be seen by thousands of people and she would be inundated with messages from women around Australia offering to donate their eggs.

Sophie had only been married to husband Simon Ngui for six months when she was diagnosed with early menopause and underwent tests which revealed she had no eggs of her own left.

"I chatted to a fertility clinic who told me often friends and family offer (to donate eggs)," Sophie told Essential Baby.

"I decided to go public on my (Facebook) page - I thought i'd get two likes, one share, a comment saying good luck."

Sophie's post received more than 80 shares, but it was when her story was shared by blogger Constance Hall that her search for an egg donor went viral. 

Constance's post about Sophie's search for an egg donor was shared by more than 340 people and attracted 8,000 comments. 

Miracle stories and photos of egg donor conceived children started to flood Sophie's inbox, with messages of support telling her not to give up. Alongside the success stories were messages from women offering to donate their own eggs in the hope of helping Sophie and Simon become parents.

"Offers are still coming in through my email. About 200 have arrived so far," Sophie said.

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Sophie, from South Australia, is sharing her story as she does not want others to be put off seeking out egg donors to fulfil their dream of motherhood.

"I don't want women to be told by fertility clinics how rare and unlikely it is they can find an egg donor," she said.

"It is absolutely shattering when you've been given this lifeline of, look, you can have a baby, it's called egg donation!

"Then you look into it and see it's lengthy, expensive, unlikely.. having it snatched away is just one cruel blow after another."

Sophie's early menopause diagnosis came after a long search for answers after she developed a range of worrying symptoms. Two years ago, she went to a doctor for hot flushes and excessive weight gain.

He took bloods and when he got the results, he had his suspicions she was going through menopause. He referred her to a specialist who misdiagnosed her.

"I believed him, but at the back of my mind I wondered," Sophie said.

She kept researching her symptoms and 'Premature menopause' came up over and over. About three months ago, a doctor checked her fertility levels and ordered a blood test which measures a woman's ovarian reserve.  

"My gynaecologist took one look at the results and asked, 'Have you got any family history of premature menopause?' That's when I just broke down," Sophie explained.

Despite her devastation, Sophie is now hopeful egg donation will help her become a mother. Although she is very new on the path of egg donation, Sophie's feelings are her egg donor will be treated like part of her family.

Australian legislation means donors sign over all legal rights to the recipient parent, and have no financial obligation to support donor conceived children. Egg donation is altruistic in Australia, meaning a person cannot profit from donating. However, their out of pocket costs during the cycle are covered by the recipient parents including any lost wages.

"These days, finding a wonderful person to help others start a family by donating eggs is very possible," Mel Holman, founder of Egg Donation Australia told Essential Baby.

"Anyone who might be considering giving this gift of hope can talk to other donors, find information about the donation process and find people looking for a donor or to donate their eggs."

Learn more about egg donation at Egg Donation Australia or heading to the Essential Baby forum.


Kat Abianac is a writer and parent of two who likes nice comments on her articles over at Hack Your Family. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.