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The First Altrui Baby Arrives

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Alison Bagshawe

This is the true story of how Altrui began and what we are all about.

Whilst working in the NHS fertility unit I supported Fran & Joe (names changed) through many cycles of IVF. Each time Fran was distraught when the cycle didn’t work, believing she would never be a mum, but after four cycles the consultant said that she could have one final go and – surprise all round – the last cycle worked! It was about two years ago and the clinical team were so excited, we kept fingers and toes crossed for the scan which showed a little heartbeat.

Several weeks went by and I couldn’t believe it, but once again Fran’s name was on my appointments list. She had lost the baby. That cycle was her last attempt because, for medical reasons, she could no longer keep trying. Her doctor explained that an egg donor was her only hope of having a baby.

Fran struggled to come to terms with what this all meant and finally, after some time, she reached that point where most couples, who long for a family, get to in this situation - a realisation that they need to move on, to put this behind them and try and find someone to help.

After several attempts at writing an appeal, we placed something we were happy with in the Guardian newspaper on the Saturday before Mother’s Day last year. We had no idea that of all the people who read the paper, one really really important person was to call – Jilly – asking to know more about the advert for an egg donor and what was involved with the donation process.

For me what was so incredibly amazing and mind blowing was that on paper Jilly was physically so similar to Fran - same hair colour, height, weight, and what became almost ‘spooky’ was that they had the same taste in music, liked cats and had other interests in common. (I think Jilly’s husband was a bit worried that this was some scam as it looked pretty concocted!!)

So what started out as an advert, for me became one the most important connections I think I will ever make in my life. Waiting for Jilly’s call to say that she wanted to go ahead and help Fran and Joe, took me right back to waiting for boyfriends to call – but far far worse as someone else's dreams and happiness were hanging in the balance. I was in a fever of anticipation and on a walk with my husband kept repeating, like a mantra, “please make Jilly call, please make Jilly call”. He turned to me and stated the obvious about how important Jilly’s decision to help Fran was to me. Agreeing with him, he followed this by asking, “What happens to people who don’t have you to help them find a donor?” “Well nothing” I said.

His next comment was to change my world: “Then you should do this with your life – help people find a donor.”

And in that one day Jilly called and Altrui was born.

Jilly’s story is on our blog (http://www.altrui.co.uk/author/jilly ) and, being the most amazing woman that she is, she helped make the first Altrui baby who came into the world a month ago. All the hard work that Altrui demands; the sense of responsibility to couples wanting my help; the juggling act of speaking with couples desperate for good news and the disappointments when, for whatever reason, donors are unable to continue helping; it’s all worth every second of the hard work to hear those tears and smiles on the phone when Fran said “He’s so beautiful, I just can’t believe it”. I know all that she has been through to have her precious and much cherished son and, without Jilly, there would be no Altrui and no beautiful baby who will totally change Fran and Joe’s life.


RED Magazine gives the thumbs up to Altrui

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For anyone who is still thinking about becoming an egg donor, there is a great article in the August copy of RED magazine with a little mention about Altrui.

Do YOU know how really straightforward egg donation is?

You need to find out!

I thought it would be helpful to put a link to the article on this newsletter, but when I typed in ‘egg donation’ on their website, what came up in the search was: “Donate From Your Trolley”!!!! Sounds like being off your trolley, but hey, being an egg donor is far from that.

Egg donation is an amazing way to help someone else and this article talks of the process in a very straightforward way. If you’d like to look at the article but don’t want to buy the mag, get in touch and we’ll forward you a copy. Better still, show it to your friends and say you know about this and about us. That way the word reaches further and more women think about helping.


A MASSIVE thanks to:

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Amy, Lucy, Fran P and J (two of them) Charlie, Emma, Kerrie, Willow, Jess, Kirsty, Christine, Ange, Leanne, Becki, Tina, Lisa, Carly, Paivi and Emily and just this minute another EMMA!!.

You are all really really fab donors and without you NOTHING would have happened for the couples you are helping. Giving them this chance is without doubt the most generous gift you will ever give anyone. And also thanks to the men in your lives and your families for thinking it through and being SO supportive. I know that Tom stoically held the fort whilst Amy buzzed back and forth from London.

………………….. and Officially:

As you all know we are working with Guy’s & St Thomas’ Assisted Conception Unit, The Lister Hospital and soon King’s College London. Apparently word in the clinics is that the Altrui donors are really special and different. You all seem to know what’s what and are such super lovely women. You have lots of admirers from the staff at these units for what you are doing and one consultant said to me: “Yes we saw (x), she’s such a great donor and she’s SOOOO nice. Where do you find people like this?” Where indeed? ...... Lots of places is the answer! So if you’re still only thinking about becoming a donor, why not get in touch with me at Altrui, have any niggling questions answered, and join this elite group of totally awesome and amazing women? ...... We’d love to hear from you.



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This is a major appeal

PLEASE would you ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Family, friends, friends of friends and even more friends will hear about us and maybe consider making a couple's dreams come true. Our biggest challenge is getting the word out there and getting women talking about helping ... and you can make a big difference to that.

Click on this link, or paste it into your browser, for a direct way to access our page: