Real Life

Meet our egg donor baby

The moment that new mum Donna Postlewaight held little Lorelai in her arms, any fears she had about bonding with her new baby completely vanished. It was love at first sight for Donna and her husband Erich, who had been battling infertility for years before a kind-hearted workmate agreed to give Donna one of her own eggs. During her pregnancy, which featured in New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, Donna agonised over how she would bond with a child who did not share any of her own genetic material.

But she needn’t have worried.  The tender look on Donna’s face as she looks at her daughter says it all – Lorelai is a cherished addition to the family. “I absolutely adore her! I’m going back to work in a few weeks and I just can’t stand the thought of missing out on her,” Donna says. Donna (46) had thought her child-rearing days were over before meeting, Erich (32).

She already had two grown children, Morgan (20) and Sarah (23), and she was so sure she wouldn’t be adding to her family that she’d had her tubes tied. But when Donna fell in love with Erich and he told her of his wish to become a father, she didn’t want to disappoint him and, although she was in her mid-forties, she decided to try again.

Doctors ruled out the possibility of reattaching Donna’s fallopian tubes so the couple had to save $12,000 for private IVF treatment. Because of Donna’s age and having voluntarily had her tubes tied, they did not quality for government funded treatment.

Sadly, the eggs Donna produced were not healthy enough to be fertilised. Although they could have paid for another cycle of IVF treatment, fertility specialists warned them there was just a three percent chance of it working at her age – but that a donor egg would give them a 50/50 chance.

Wanting an egg donor who looked similar to herself, Donna realised a workmate bore a strong resemblance and plucked up the courage to ask her the ultimate question – “Can I have one of your eggs?” The workmate, who had never wanted her own children, agreed to Donna’s request and the first attempt at IVF using her workmate’s egg was successful.

The women and their husbands have become friends since they embarked on their journey. In fact, one of Lorelai’s fi rst visitors was the egg donor, who wishes to remain anonymous. “She came to the hospital and held Lorelai. She was really happy for us.” So far Donna and Erich haven’t noticed a resemblance between baby Lorelai and the egg donor. “A couple of people have said Lorelai looks like Erich and a few people even think she’s got my eyes!

She does have Erich’s chin dimple, which I think is cute,” says Donna. Donna says there’s no jealousy when she watches her friend with her baby daughter – just immense gratitude. “I’m so lucky,” she says, while new dad Erich adds, “I couldn’t be happier.”

Little Lorelai arrived after a one hour and 40 minute labour, weighing 3.17kg (7lb 10oz). The birth had to be induced because the obstetrician wasn’t prepared to take any chances due to Donna’s age.

“It was awesome because nowadays they stick the baby straight on your chest, with the cord still attached,” marvels Donna. “Erich was amazed because she came out blue, but as soon as she took her fi rst breath there was this complete transformation from blue to pink.” “I’d never heard about babies coming out blue,” Erich muses. “When I saw the colour coming into her lips, that was the most amazing thing.”

They named their brand-new daughter Lorelai Ponga Postlewaight: Lorelai after a character from Gilmore Girls, a TV series Donna and Erich got hooked on during their efforts to conceive, and Ponga after Erich’s grandmother.

“There was no hesitation in calling her Lorelai. It wasn’t like we looked at her and thought, ‘Umm’,” Donna explains. “It’s not in the top-10 list and although people aren’t used to hearing it, they say it’s a lovely name.” “That was one of the prerequisites actually,” Erich adds. “We didn’t want anything too popular.” “And I didn’t want anything that could be shortened,” says Donna. With more than 20 years since her last pregnancy,

Donna has noticed a few differences in her approach to mothering this time round. “I’m defi nitely more relaxed if the housework isn’t done,” she smiles. “We can both spend hours and hours looking at her and then wonder where the day has gone.”

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