“I can’t believe there will be someone in the world that looks like me – my first grandchild from you that I will never know nor meet,” my mother woefully says, as I look on ready to interject and correct her at any given moment. The complexity of this awkward conversation is why the decision to become an egg donor at 29 is one that has taken me over ten years to commit to.
Growing up in a multi-generational West Indian home at my grandparents, I always had the pleasure of meeting the newest addition to our family, given everyone’s eagerness to visit Granny’s ahead of taking their baby home from the hospital. It never occurred to me in my younger years that such a joyous occasion is not a given for all. In fact, Black women are twice as likely as white women to have fertility issues, according to studies by American researchers, but despite this, infertility remains somewhat of a taboo topic within the Black community.
I come from a lineage of women who ‘ah gwan good’ – as my granddad would have said when congratulating those who were able to conceive multiple times – some with more traumatic experiences than others, including absence of pain relief and life-threatening complications such as haemorrhaging. In my very own liberal family, we’ve had talks about stillbirths, early menopause, fibroids, teen pregnancies, having one child, having a big family, not wanting children or beginning parenthood later in life – especially, as the average age of a UK first time mother is 30.6 years old and continues to rise, according to the Office for National Statistics in 2019.