Woman, 46, with fertility issues who defied the odds to conceive her first child without treatment tells how she had her second thanks to an egg donor she met on Facebook – and now the pair are best friends
- Holly Liddington, 46, from Lake Macquarie, spoke about journey to motherhood
- She explained she went through several failed IVF treatments aged 40
- Met with Tianni Becker, 40, who wanted to donate her egg ‘out of goodness’
- They became fast friends and Holly got pregnant before Tianni donated eggs
- Holly is now mother to adorable Oscar, two and Poppy, nine-months old
A woman who struggled with fertility issues has revealed how she became best friends with a generous egg donor she met online.
Holly Liddington, 46, from Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia explained how she met her now best-friend Tianni Becker, 40, while looking for egg donor after several failed rounds of IVF which cost her AUS$40,000 (£21,440).
Miraculously, Holly fell pregnant before mother-of-two Tianni was due to donate the eggs, but the duo decided to go ahead with the donation because of Holly’s history of miscarriages.
Eleven months on from giving birth to Oscar, now two,Holly went on to be inseminated with Tianni’s egg and welcomed baby daughter Poppy, now nine-months-old.
Holly Liddington, 46, from Lake Macquarie, has 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 (pictured: Holly during her first pregnancy)
Holly and Tianni met through Facebook and hit it off immediately, with her new friend offering to donate her eggs to help Holly become a mother (pictured after Poppy’s birth)
Holly fell pregnant with Oscar, two, naturally and, 11 months later, she was inseminated with Tianni’s egg and fell pregnant with Poppy, nine-months-old
Holly said: ‘My husband Simon, who is a software engineer and I, had never planned on having children – we were both career driven and loved the freedom.
‘We quit our jobs in 2012 and spent a year travelling the world. We went to the Caribbean, India, South East Asia and Europe – it was incredible!
‘When we returned back to Australia, we moved to a family orientated neighbourhood, we got a kitten called Zucchini and my maternal instincts just suddenly switched on and I wanted to become a mum for the first time in my life.
‘However, it was easier said than done at 40 and after ten months of naturally trying to conceive we went down the IVF route. It failed every time and I suffered a miscarriage in between.
Holly said she had been focused on working and travelling throughout her early 30s, before her ‘maternal instincts’ switched on
Holly, pictured napping with baby Oscar, had wanted to be a mother since before her 40th birthday but could not get pregnant
After Holly fell pregnant with her first son Oscar, Tianni said she was overjoyed for her new friend (pictured, Tianni with Oscar)
Tianni went on to donate her eggs to Holly, with the mother-of-one falling pregnant with her daughter, Poppy (pictured, Holly while pregnant with Poppy, carrying her son Oscar)
‘We were devastated but we were determined and giving up wasn’t an option, even if it meant using an egg donor as my old eggs weren’t doing it – I wish I had known that your egg quality plummet in your late 30’s.’
Egg donation in the UK
Egg donation is when a woman goes through part of the IVF process in order to have some of her eggs collected, which she can then donate to someone else’s treatment, fertility research or training.
In many cases women donate to someone they know, such as a family member who may be unable to use her own eggs. Others donate for the pleasure of being able to help someone they don’t know have a much-wanted baby.
Usually women need to be between the ages of 18 and 35 to donate their eggs to someone’s treatment.
Clinics may only allow eggs from an older woman to be used in exceptional circumstances, such as if you’re donating to a family member.
Before you donate, you’ll need to have certain health tests to ensure you don’t pass on any serious diseases or medical conditions to the baby or mother.
You should tell your clinic about any inheritable diseases in your family.
It’s illegal to pay for egg donation in the UK.
Egg donors can receive compensation of up to £750 per donation ‘cycle’ to cover their costs (a donation cycle is one complete round of treatment, at the end of which the eggs are collected and donated).
However, you can claim more if your expenses for things like travel, accommodation and childcare are higher than this.
Egg donors have no legal rights or responsibilities to children born from your donation.
In Australia, it is illegal to buy or sell eggs meaning Tianni was doing it from the ‘goodness of her heart’.
Mother-of-two, Tianni said: ‘I knew from a young age that I wanted to donate my eggs.
‘I have always found it fascinating that we allow our eggs go to waste when they are no longer of use to us when there’s so many people that need them.’
The pair met on a Facebook group for hopeful parents and generous donors.
They spent months speaking before going for dinner where they saw each other for the first time.
Tianni said: ‘The Facebook group is kind of like dating and I was yet to find the perfect match – you have to have the same beliefs and want the same thing as the intended parents for it to work.
‘I knew I wanted to have some involvement with the child as it was important to my daughter Anastasia, 15, to know – even if it was just an update every year on their birthday.
‘Holly and I are massively alike and she was open to the idea – when we first met, we hugged and cried – it was like we had known each other for a long time.’
But the duo were amazed when Holly fell pregnant naturally, with Tianni revealing: ‘I was over the moon for Holly when she fell pregnant naturally, it made our friendship feel like it was meant to be as she didn’t even need my eggs anymore.
‘We definitely crossed paths for 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’d carry full term so we went ahead with it anyway.
‘Simon’s sperm was used by the embryologist to fertilise the eggs retrieved and just one embryo survived to be frozen.
Holly revealed she ‘couldn’t believe her luck’ when she took a ‘pregnancy test revealed two lines’ when she fell pregnant with son Oscar
Simon’s sperm was used by the embryologist to fertilise Tianni’s eggs, with just one embryo surviving to be frozen
The families meet up five times a year, and admit that people are inquisitive about Tianni’s feelings towards Poppy (Tianni’s children Anastasia, 15 and Cylas, seven, with Oscar)
‘I used to joke and say I’ve got one baby in the oven and another in the freezer.’
Holly feels ‘incredibly lucky’ to have met Tianni and plans on educating Poppy as soon as she can understand more about her birth.
She said: ‘It’s important to me that we are close because she was so generous to us. She will always be a dear friend.
‘We both know that all she gave us is cells – I grew Poppy inside me with my body and I breastfed her.
Holly said she had Tianni to thank for the birth of her ‘miracle’ daughter (Oscar and Simon visited Holly and Poppy in hospital after the baby’s birth in 2019)
‘Tianni in fact knows more about IVF than me as she has a science background which helps a lot – I would never have used a donor who was going to have some kind of weird emotional attachment.’
‘Poppy will always know the science of how she came to be and the gift of that magic egg that Tianni gave us.’
The families meet up five times a year and say people are inquisitive about Tianni’s feelings towards Poppy.
She adds: ‘People have said I have given a baby away but that is simply not the case – my eggs were donated but if it was left on it’s own with being fertilised and matured – then it would simply be nothing. It needed Simon’s sperm and Holly’s body to grow.
‘I don’t feel any biological connection towards Poppy and I don’t think she looks like me at all – you can tell that Oscar is her brother – they look alike and have the same mannerisms.
‘Anastasia and her brother Cylas, seven, absolutely love them both!’
Tianni said she felt her friendship with Holly was meant to be because she did not need her eggs anymore, but decided to give them to her anyways
Grateful Holly said it was important for her to remain close to Tianni, because of how generous she had been (pictured, Holly with Poppy)
Holly revealed she would tell her daughter more about her birth in time, saying she was a ‘gift from a magic egg’
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