WHEN Lisa Oldfield helped her best friend fall pregnant by providing her with eggs, she didn’t realise how difficult the process would be.
“She was 41 and assumed she could use IVF to get pregnant but her eggs weren’t viable and I had two healthy beautiful boys, so I said why don’t you have my eggs,” she said.
“I was sick, the procedure was painful, and the legalities were complex. We didn’t really have any guidance so a lot of it we had to investigate ourselves.
“I’m ashamed to say a couple of times I felt like giving up, but I knew how important it was for her to have a child.”
She believes the lack of awareness and confusion around this area is quite omnipresent.
Another one of Oldfield’s dearest friends David is gearing to marry his male partner, and the pair are looking to have children but aren’t sure what their options are.
As queer couples often have to navigate alternative methods of starting families, Oldfield believes it’s important for them to have services and guidance available to help them through the process.
“If someone was there to hold our hands it would’ve been easier,” she said.
Inspired to get involved, Oldfield has now teamed up with Australian Egg Bank to help raise awareness around its concierge service in helping both straight and gay couples navigate the often difficult journey through donating and using eggs.
The Australian Egg Bank aims to assist families struggling with infertility through providing the option of using donor eggs sourced in Australia.
It also aims to offer young Australian women the choice of freezing their eggs during their peak fertility years to use or donate later in life.
Managing Director of the Australian Egg Bank, Rob Bruce, says the service they provide helps to match people together, gay couples looking for chidren with viable eggs.
Women can store their eggs in their mid-20s when they’re at their most fertile, and come back to collect them in their mid-40s and have a greater chance at conceiving.
“What that means is lesbians looking to have children later can put their eggs in storage, and have it all locked away to use for a later time,” he said.
“And we can match donated eggs with gay men, who tend to approach the idea of IVF earlier when they’re in committed relationships and want children.”
Bruce added that having people at the Australian Egg Bank to talk you through the process for guidance can make a world of difference.
“Talking people through the process makes it far more achievable, as opposed to forcing gay men to search the internet for all the tricky information.
By signing up to the brokerage service gay and lesbian couples can take action with donated eggs, as opposed to trying to access IVF or eggs through a friend or elsewhere where complications can arise.
Lisa Oldfield says it’s such a stressful and emotional experience and to have someone that’s been through it before guide you can make a world of difference.
She added that while marriage equality still needs to be won in Australia, the changing shape of rainbow families will be the next frontier.
“Every other first world nation has set the precedent for marriage equality but this is the next battle,” she said.
“When I sat down with my friend David and chatted with him about it he said maybe it’s too hard, but it isn’t as long as you have the concierge service to hold your hand.”
For more information about the Australian Egg Bank visit: www.australianeggbank.com