A mum selflessly donated her eggs to a blogger she’d never met after reading about her failed IVF attempts.
Blogger Jules Furness, 35, shared the heartbreak of a second failed IVF in an online vlog watched by thousands.
The clip was seen by mum-of-four Amber Wilde, 28, who felt an instant connection to the family, having had four kids with the help of a sperm donor.
She immediately contacted Jules via Facebook messenger and offered to donate her eggs – despite never having met her or spoke on the phone.
A year on, Wilde’s eggs were artificially combined with Furness’s husband Steven’s sperm at a clinic, producing two healthy embryos in November 2017. At least one of the eggs is due to be transferred to Jules in January 2018.
Furness, from Ipswich, Suffolk, said: “It was just an incredible thing for someone to offer. We wondered if it was really real, because it was just such a fairytale.”
Wilde, who has four children with partner Kirsty, 28, explained: “I had been following Furness’ IVF journey for a number of years [online] and like so many others had watched her videos.
“When her last round of IVF failed I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who wished they could help or do something to make it better.
“But I knew I could so something. I had done IVF before and while I knew it wasn’t easy, I know what to expect, know my body reacts well to it, and it seemed like the natural thing to do.”
Furness has premature ovarian failure which means her ovaries don’t release eggs.
She and her husband Steven, 34, an airport technician, were accepted onto the NHS donor egg list in 2010 and got to the top of the list after a year and a half wait.
An anonymous donor gave two eggs, which were transferred to Furness in 2012, but it was not successful.
“Sadly the eggs were not high quality but you just have to take what you are given,” said Furness, a blogger for Channel Mum.
“We didn’t get pregnant. We felt like that was the end of the road for us.”
The couple turned to adoption and were matched with their son, who joined the family as a baby and is now a toddler.
A year ago they started thinking about increasing their family but couldn’t have NHS-funded IVF due to already having a child. Faced with a £10,000 bill to go private in the UK, they paid £3,500 to try IVF in Prague in October 2016.
Sadly two implanted eggs failed and Furness recorded a video documenting the negative test weeks later online.
“I wanted people to see the real face of what IVF can look like,” she said.
“It was a hard decision to make but we felt it was important for people to see that it doesn’t always work and that if that happens to them they aren’t the only ones.”
Wilde, a fellow video blogger for Channel Mum, spotted the video due to their link via the same blog. She has twin girls, aged one, and twin boys aged three, with partner Kirsty, a full-time mum, thanks to the help from a single sperm donor.
Without hesitation, Wilde fired off a message to Jules offering to help her out by donating eggs.
She wrote: “This might be wildly inappropriate and please accept my apologies if so, but if altruistic egg donation would make IVF more affordable to you and you’re not horrified by my weirdo genetics I’d donate in a heartbeat.”
“While I was pretty spontaneous with my offer we definitely both gave it much more thought over the coming months,” said Wilde.
Furness explained: “At first I couldn’t really take it in but then we started messaging back and forth about the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘are you sures’.”
The pair exchanged messages and phone calls before thye met up for the first time at Amber’s home for a picnic in London in May 2017.
It was the first time their “other halves” had spoken and the family hit it off straight away, recording a video that was posted to Channel Mum.
After six months of appointments and counselling, ten of Wilde’s eggs were retrieved, seven were fertilised and two healthy “perfect” embryos were produced.
They will be tested further over the coming weeks and the plan is for at least one to be transferred to Jules in January 2018.
The process is being funded by the Furness family and costs £13,000 for up to three attempts – which is refunded if none are successful.
Amber joked: “It will be up to Jules of course but in my head I only produce twins so I’m sort of wishing twins on her.
“I feel hugely positive about it.”