A woman struggling with fertility issues has revealed how she became best friends with a generous egg donor she met online.
Holly Liddington, 46, of Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia, explained how she met her now best friend Tianni Becker, 40, while seeking egg donor after several failed IVF rounds that made her AUS $ 40,000 (£ 21,440) costs.
Miraculously, Holly got pregnant before Tianni, the mother of two children, would donate the eggs, but the duo decided to continue the donation because of Holly’s history of miscarriages.
Eleven months after Oscar’s birth, now two, Holly was inseminated with Tianni’s egg and welcomed baby daughter Poppy, now nine months old.
Holly Liddington, 46, of Lake Macquarie, revealed how she became best friends with a woman who offered to donate her eggs so that Holly, who was desperate to start a family, could become a mother (Photo: Holly during her first pregnancy)
Holly and Tianni met via Facebook and immediately caught on, with her new friend wanting to donate her eggs to help Holly become a mother (pictured after Poppy was born)
Holly became pregnant with Oscar, two of course, and 11 months later she was inseminated with Tianni’s egg and became pregnant with Poppy, nine months old
Holly said, “My husband Simon, who is a software engineer and I, never intended to have children – we were both career-driven and loved freedom.
“We quit our job in 2012 and spent a year traveling the world. We went to the Caribbean, India, Southeast Asia and Europe – it was incredible!
“When we returned to Australia, we moved to a family-oriented neighborhood, we got a kitten named Zucchini, and my maternal instinct suddenly turned on and I wanted to be a mother for the first time in my life.
However, it was easier said than done at age 40 and after ten months of trying to conceive, of course, we went the IVF route. It failed every time and I miscarried in between.
Holly said she had been focused on work and travel when she was in her early thirties before her ‘maternal instinct’ caught on
Holly, pictured with baby Oscar, had wanted to become a mother before her 40th birthday, but was unable to conceive
After Holly became pregnant with her first son Oscar, Tianni said she was overjoyed for her new boyfriend (pictured, Tianni with Oscar)
Tianni went on to donate her eggs to Holly, with the mother of one who became pregnant with her daughter, Poppy (pictured, Holly while pregnant with Poppy, with her son Oscar)
“We were devastated, but we were determined and giving up was not an option, even though it meant that I had to use an egg donor because my old eggs didn’t work – wish I had known that your egg quality plummeted in the late 1930s. ‘
Egg donation in the UK
Egg donation is when a woman goes through part of the IVF process to have some of her eggs collected, which she can then donate to someone else’s treatment, fertility study, or training.
In many cases, women donate to someone they know, such as a family member who may not be able to use her own eggs. Others donate because they can help someone they don’t know has a much-needed baby.
Usually, women between the ages of 18 and 35 must be able to donate their eggs to someone’s treatment.
Clinics should only allow eggs from an older woman to be used in exceptional circumstances, such as when you donate to a family member.
Before you donate, you should undergo certain health tests to ensure that you are not passing any serious illnesses or medical conditions to the baby or mother.
You should tell your clinic about any hereditary diseases in your family.
In the UK it is illegal to pay for egg donation.
Egg donors can receive compensation of up to £ 750 per donation cycle to cover their costs (a donation cycle is a full round of treatment, after which the eggs are collected and donated).
However, you can declare more if your expenses for things like travel, accommodation and childcare are higher.
Egg donors have no legal rights or responsibilities to children born from your donation.
In Australia, it is illegal to buy or sell eggs, which means Tianni did it from the ‘goodness of her heart’.
Mother of two, Tianni said, “I knew from an early age that I wanted to donate my eggs.
“I’ve always found it fascinating that we let our eggs go to waste when they stop using us, when there are so many people who need them.”
The pair met on a Facebook group for hopeful parents and generous donors.
They spoke for months before eating where they first saw each other.
Tianni said, ‘The Facebook group is a bit like dating and I had yet to find the perfect match – you have to have the same beliefs and want the same as the intended parents or it won’t work.
“I knew I wanted to have some involvement with the child because it was important for my daughter Anastasia, 15, to know – even if it was just an update every year on their birthday.
“Holly and I are very similar and she was open to the idea – when we first met, hugged and cried – it was like we had known each other for a long time.”
But the duo was amazed when Holly conceived naturally, and Tianni revealed: ‘I was overjoyed for Holly when she conceived naturally, it made our friendship feel like it was meant to be because she didn’t even get my eggs needed .
“We certainly came across a reason.”
Meanwhile, Holly said, “I couldn’t believe my luck when the pregnancy test revealed two lines – the day before Tianni’s egg collection, but I didn’t think I would carry the full term, so we kept going.
Simon’s sperm was used by the embryologist to fertilize the found eggs, and only one embryo survived to be frozen.
Holly revealed she ‘couldn’t believe her luck’ when she got a ‘pregnancy test revealed two lines’ when she got pregnant with son Oscar
Simon’s sperm was used by the embryologist to fertilize Tianni’s eggs, leaving only one embryo to be frozen
The families meet five times a year and admit that people are curious about Tianni’s feelings for Poppy (Tianni’s children Anastasia, 15, and Cylas, seven, with Oscar)
“I used to joke and said I have a baby in the oven and another in the freezer.”
Holly feels “incredibly happy” that she met Tianni and plans to train Poppy as soon as she learns more about her birth.
She said, “I think it’s important that we are close by because she was so generous to us. She will always be a good friend.
“We both know she only gave us cells – I grew Poppy in my body and breastfed her.
Holly said she thanked Tianni for giving birth to her ‘miracle daughter’ (Oscar and Simon visited Holly and Poppy in the hospital after the baby was born in 2019)
“Tianni actually knows more about IVF than I do, because she has a scientific background that helps a lot – I would never have used a donor who would have some weird emotional attachment.”
“Poppy will always know the science of how she came to be and the gift of that magical egg Tianni gave us.”
The families meet five times a year and say that people are curious about Tianni’s feelings for Poppy.
She adds, “People have said that I gave away a baby, but that’s just not the case – my eggs have been donated, but if left alone with fertilization and maturation – it just wouldn’t be anything. It took Simon’s sperm and Holly’s body to grow.
“I don’t feel any biological connection to Poppy and I don’t think she looks like me at all – you can see Oscar is her brother – they look alike and have the same ways.
“Anastasia and her brother Cylas, seven, absolutely love both!”
Tianni said she felt her friendship with Holly was meant because she no longer needed her eggs but decided to give it to her anyway
Grateful Holly said it was important for her to stay close to Tianni because she had been so generous (photo Holly with Poppy)
Holly revealed that she would tell her daughter more about her birth in time and said she was a ‘gift from a magic egg’