Worried that time was running out, Ali Maclain froze her eggs in 2007 when she was 41. Five years on, having still not met Mr Right, she decided to thaw her eggs. Here Ali tells her story.
"I always thought that I would be a mum one day but for various reasons I got to 40 and it hadn't happened. I realised that even if I did meet someone new we wouldn't rush into having children - and I also knew that my eggs were ageing by the day. So, if I wanted biological children in the future, I realised I had to take action.
This was in 2007 and at that time egg freezing was really in its infancy. Traditionally slow freezing techniques had not been very succesful and were being replaced with a new 'fast-freeze' technique of vitrification, which the Bridge had introduced in the UK. There it was made very clear to me that freezing my eggs would only give me the possibility of having children in the future, not the likelihood.
At the time we discussed using my fresh eggs and donor sperm and freezing the resulting embryos. But I still thought that I might meet someone who would want his own children, so I decided to go ahead with egg freezing. I didn't mind the stimulation injections and the only side effect was that my ovaries felt heavy - not surprisingly as 27 eggs were harvested!
After freezing the eggs I got on with my life and waited for 'Mr Right'. However, things changed as I approached my 47th birthday. I knew that I wanted a child and it was now or never. I realised that with so many different types of family out there having a donor as a dad was just part of the mix. So, with advice from the Donor Conception Network, in 2012, I decided to use my frozen eggs to get pregnant. I discussed this with the Bridge how many eggs to thaw and decided to use nine of them, which would still hopefully provide a selection of embryos to choose from. However, three days after fertilisation only two of the embryos had survived - and both of them had chromosome abnormalities related to age. It was likely that most of the frozen eggs would have the same chromosomal problems. I was devastated.
I was also uncertain about what to do. I even tried to get pregnant using intrauterine insemination (IUI) and a fresh IVF cycle, but neither worked and I came back to the idea of using the frozen eggs. After discussions to again test for chromosomal abnormalities, the Bridge recommended using all 18 remaining eggs.
The process is hard. You get called to say how many eggs have survived the thawing and have fertilised, and then how many have survived and are dividing well. But for me it wasn't looking good. Out of the 18 only three made it to the fifth day, but they weren't dividing fast enough for biopsy and testing. So I decided to leave it up to nature and, because of my age, was allowed to have all three surviving embryos transferred. The likelihood of having multiple births at my age was extremely small.
I was ecstatic when my pregnancy test was positive. However, when I started bleeding I was devastated and certain that I had lost the pregnancy. But a scan revealed two 'jelly babies', I was pregnant with twins!
My beautiful twins - Molly and Finlay were delivered on 6th February 2014. They were born at 35 weeks and struggled a bit at first. But every day I am amazed that they are here. They are my miracles. Born from frozen eggs and to a 47 year old! I'm also glad I made the decision to freeze my eggs and am so grateful to their donor dad and all the people who helped me have a family."
If you would like to find out more about egg freezing please contact us on 020 3819 3282 or email email@example.com.
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