One undertaker has given the gift of life three times – by donating her eggs.
Mom of two, Leanne Armstrong heard an ad on the radio in late 2009 calling for egg donors as she drove to work and immediately volunteered to appreciate the meaning of life through her dealings with grieving families.
Six months later, she had her first treatment and has now donated her eggs half a dozen times in six years.
Leanne, 39, says the kids she helped create can expect a hero’s welcome if they ever get to their door.
She said, “I would say to them,” Yes, come and find me – knock on the door. “
“I’m pretty curious to know what they look like and if they’re okay, but I’m more fascinated by the recipients. I’d love to hear their stories.”
Leanne is now considered too old to donate as the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) regulations limit donors to women between the ages of 18 and 35, except in exceptional cases.
Instead, she waits in eager anticipation for one of the children produced by her eggs to track her down.
Leanne, whose children Elise, 16) and Nyle, 11 are from a previous relationship and are now engaged to Dan, 53, said she had no idea egg donation was possible until she heard the radio ad.
For the past two years she has volunteered as an ambassador to raise awareness about the process.
Altrui, part of Apricity, specialize in finding, matching, and caring for altruistic egg donors with anonymous one-on-one donation.
She said, “I’ve never heard of egg donation before listening to the ad, but when you work in my industry and deal with death, you value life so much that it goes down really well.”
“I can’t imagine wanting to start a family and never being able to.
“And now that I can’t donate eggs myself, I spend a lot of time helping other potential donors.”
Leanne of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire continued, “It is one thing to read a fact box about egg donation, it is another to hear it from people who have firsthand experience with it.”
Within three months of giving her name, Leanne did a series of blood tests, her egg counts, and she had several consultations.
Given the green light for 2010, it was her daughter Elise who helped her inject hormonal treatments for 10 days to stimulate her egg growth before they were harvested.
Within two weeks, Leanne received a call from the clinic saying that her egg had resulted in a positive pregnancy test for the recipient, but sadly they miscarried later.
She said it only made her donate again, so six months later she did just that.
She donated her eggs four more times over the next five years, and was delighted to find that three of the four attempts resulted in successful pregnancy and childbirth.
As it is illegal in the UK for egg donors to receive anything more than expenses, which can be up to £ 750, it is a purely altruistic act.
Leanne said, “I covered the cost of childcare and the ticket to the clinic.
“It’s not about financial gain, however, but about helping people who are dying to have a family in order to achieve their dream.”
All Leanne knows about the kids she made possible is that two boys and one is a girl.
All of them could one day be revealed, as HFEA rules changed in April 2005 so people conceived by egg donation can find out their donor’s full name, date of birth, and current address when they turn 18.
Leanne said, “I always knew that one day they would find me, and that’s fine.
“Of course I would be interested in who you are and to know that you are doing well, but most of all I find it a great honor to be able to help another woman raise a family.
“My main goal is to create as much awareness as possible about egg donation – it really is one of the best things I have ever done.”