London - Convinced she would never find the right man to settle down and have children with, Jo Stretton donated her eggs in a selfless act of generosity to help infertile women.
Following a break-up from a boyfriend of seven years, she feared she might never become a mother and at the age of 30 decided to give away her eggs because she wanted “a part of me out there”.
However, five years later, Miss Stretton met her partner Mark Fenton – and in a distressing turn of events found herself needing fertility treatment after discovering they were unable to conceive.
Hoping for the best, the couple underwent two rounds of intracytoplasmic sperm injection treatment (ICSI) at a cost of £6 000 (about R108 000) a time, and moved from their two-bedroom flat to a large family home on a new estate with good primary schools nearby.
Miss Stretton also reduced her hours as an accountant, while cutting back on alcohol and eating foods rich in zinc and iron.
Speaking from her Bristol home, she said: “Basically I just relaxed. I became more content and went more with the flow and I was happier in our new surroundings. I’d reached that point where I was no longer fighting my way up the career ladder and I was a lot more calm.”
Fortunately for the couple, both ICSI rounds were successful and they are now parents to Finlay, two, and Sullivan, four months – whose birth was filmed for a forthcoming episode of the Channel 4 programme One Born Every Minute.
But as she plays with her two boys, satisfied her family is now complete, Miss Stretton is only too aware that in around eight years’ time there could be a third child arriving on her doorstep. For Miss Stretton has learnt that one of the eggs she donated conceived a child – a daughter who is now ten.
Changes in the law, which took place just before Miss Stretton donated, mean that children produced as the result of donated eggs or sperm can contact the donor once they have reached 18.
And Miss Stretton and Mr Fenton, 38, who are due to marry this May, have had to prepare themselves for the possibility.
Speaking about her unusual family situation, Miss Stretton said that far from resenting her donation, she sought comfort in the knowledge that she had at one stage helped to produce a child.
She added: “I don’t want to make contact but I’m quite happy for the child to. That’s up to them.”
Laura Witjens, chairman of the National Gamete Donation Trust, agreed that Miss Stretton’s situation was unusual.
She said: “The vast majority of women who donate their eggs have had their family already, for precisely this reason.”
However, Miss Stretton has admitted she is quite excited at the prospect of her daughter arriving. She said: “Every now and again I think ‘one day I could have a random person turn up at my door’.” - Daily Mail