GIVING the gift of hope is what drives Laura Hannan to donate her eggs to women who are unable to conceive using their own.
The Orange mother of five hopes to reduce the shortage of donors in Australia. She is a member of the website eggdonationaustralia.com.au, an online community of donors and recipients that has 1000 members, only 150 of whom are donors.
Ms Hannan is one of two central west donors registered on the website. She said she wanted to raise awareness about the process to encourage more women to take part.
“Nothing can compare to receiving a phone call from a couple you have helped out letting you know they are pregnant. It is the most beautiful and humbling thing,” Ms Hannan said.
“It’s no different from donating blood. There are many people who need blood, and there are many people who need eggs to have a baby.”
Ms Hannan has donated four eggs since 2013, and has seen two babies born from those donations.
She said the realisation that egg donation was something she wanted to do dawned on her when she watched a documentary on IVF in 2012.
“I sat back and looked at my five kids and thought how blessed I was to have these children in my life, and what it would be like not to have them,” she said. “I knew it was something I wanted to do.”
During her research into IVF and egg donation, Ms Hannan stumbled upon the website, one of the few that were available at the time.
Through the website, Ms Hannan viewed advertisements from possible recipients and made a choice on those who best fitted her personality.
While Ms Hannan said the decision to give eggs was a huge one, the physical process that began with genetic screening, counselling, medical appointments and hormone injections every day for four weeks, and ended with a mildly uncomfortable procedure to retrieve the eggs, was easy to fit around her children and her work.
“I just fit it in with my life,” she said. “Ultimately it’s only a few weeks of my life that hopefully creates a lifelong journey for somebody else.”
Ms Hannan offered to act as a point of contact for women considering egg donation and said people could get in touch with her by searching her name on Facebook.
“Egg donation is not offering you a baby, it’s offering you hope.”