6 Oct 2019

Call for more women to donate eggs

9:40 pm on 6 October 2019

A breast cancer survivor is calling for more women to consider donating their eggs.

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Photo: 123rf

Queenstown resident Juliana Costa found out she had cancer two days before her wedding in February last year.

She started chemotherapy the next week.

The 38-year-old finished her treatment in March, but has been told the wait list for eggs is about six months.

Mrs Costa said donating eggs could make a huge difference for people who cannot conceive without the extra help.

"It's important in my case. I don't have periods since I started my chemotherapy. I don't know if it's possible to get pregnant by myself, probably I need help from another woman," she said.

The cancer diagnosis came as a shock to the Brazilian-born woman.

"It was terrible because I was so nervous and I didn't have time to process this kind of information," Mrs Costa said.

"I could not believe when I discovered it because I was starting my life with my husband. We had a lot of plans ... especially about having a baby."

But when she spoke to her doctor there was more bad news.

"He said you don't have time to freeze your eggs and I don't know about your fertility. Probably your body will stop producing eggs and I don't know how your body will work with the chemotherapy and radiotherapy."

By November, she was part way through her treatment and had started reapplying for her Work Visa.

It was declined. Mrs Costa was told she needed to leave the country - initially she was asked to leave during her treatment, but the deadline was pushed back until after it had finished, she said.

But in the background, a petition was started to plead her case to Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway and ground support grew to help her get a partner visa.

She flew to Brazil in April, unsure whether she could return.

For three months, Mrs Costa waited.

In July, her reprieve came and she was granted a two year partner visa, returning back to her life in Queenstown the next month.

While Mrs Costa said she has been getting stronger and healthier, her dream of a baby hasn't gone away.

"Every month a woman produces eggs ... If you want to do something important for another woman, you can donate your eggs," she said.

Egg donors generally need to be between 20 and 37, be a non-smoker, and agree to release identifying information about themselves to any children conceived using their eggs.

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