Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Gift of Life Is Running Low

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Gift of Life Is Running Low

Article excerpt

Byline: By Louise Redvers

A campaign has been launched to get more people to donate egg and sperm to help other people have babies. Louise Redvers looked at the issues at stake

note to sub: have asked for familys surname

A new child brings hope and joy to any family, but little Cerys was extra special.

Her parents Michele and Robert thought they would never have a baby after years of trying and then fertility treatment.

But their perseverance paid off and the couple from Lobley Hill in Gateshead are enjoying every minute of parenthood with Cerys, two.

"She's the best thing that ever happened to us," Michele, 42, said proudly, "I know everyone says their child is beautiful but Cerys really is smashing, she's into everything and is so lovely."

Because of fertility problems, Michele needed IVF to help her conceive and, to make things even more complicated, she also needed an egg donor.

Fortunately for Michele, her sister Andrea, then 37, agreed to be that donor and on July 2, 2002, Cerys came into the world at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Housewife Michele said: "It's meant so much to me to be able to have a baby and I think more people should donate eggs and sperm.

"I definitely back any campaign to get more people to be donors, I think it's a really good idea.

"People underestimate how much not being able to have a child affects someone. If you've not been in that position, you can't understand how hard it is."

Last week the Department of Health launched their Give Life, Give Hope campaign to encourage more people to come forward as donors and help the thousands of couples around Britain who have fertility problems.

Around one in seven couples in the UK have fertility problems but thanks to donated eggs, sperm and embryos, each year some 7,000 couples are given a chance of children.

Since current records began, in 1990, more than 25,000 people have been born as a result of treatment with donated sperm, eggs or embryos.

At the moment around 250 men and 1,100 women donate sperm and eggs but many more are needed to help the growing number of people who can't conceive naturally.

A survey carried out by the Department of Health revealed there is a large pool of potential donors out there.

Almost half of those interviewed for the research showed positive attitudes towards donation, while 12% of respondents said they would definitely consider donating and 31% said they may consider it.

And they hope this new campaign will tap into this resource.

Public Health Minister Melanie Johnson said: "This campaign will raise awareness of the huge benefits that donation can bring to those with fertility problems.

"As well as boosting the number of egg and sperm donors we want to encourage people to see the value of donating and to realise what it really means to the recipients, that they are giving families hope and the possibility of a new life. …

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