Saturday, March 29, 2008

This Guy is Too Old

Childless couple dedicate lives to helping others have families
Email Printer friendly version Normal font Large font Louise Hall Health ReporteR
March 30, 2008

Happy donors ... Faith Haugh and partner Glenn Watson Shannon.

BETWEEN them, Faith Haugh and her partner Glenn Watson have made 20 babies.

As an egg donor, Ms Haugh is the biological mother of 17 children - 10 girls and seven boys. She has also raised a 19-year-old daughter, Ashlyn, from a previous marriage.

Mr Watson, 44, has one toddler and another baby on the way through sperm donation.

This remarkable couple have dedicated their lives to helping infertile men and women start a family, and many of the donor children form a large, loosely extended family.

But the couple's desire to have a baby of their own has been dashed, as Ms Haugh was recently diagnosed with liver cancer.

The 37-year-old office worker is now freezing her own eggs to prevent her ending up in the same heartbreaking situation as the infertile women she has helped.

"Once I get through this cancer the first thing I'm going to do is try to get pregnant," she said. "But I'm going to freeze an embryo, just in case."

Ms Haugh's decision to become an egg donor first occurred 15 years ago, when she saw an ad in The Age newspaper placed by an infertile couple. Through an IVF clinic at a public hospital she anonymously donated her eggs to them, which led to the birth of twin girls.

Further donations - each requiring her to undergo hormone injections and a stint in hospital - resulted in a second set of twins to another couple, followed by three more babies.

While the donations were to unidentified couples, Ms Haugh is prepared for the donor children to contact her once they turn 18 as her details were recorded on a central register.

These offspring would join the 10 children Ms Haugh has helped procreate to couples she met through classified ads and online infertility networks.

Mr Watson and Ms Haugh have signed agreements with each of the couples they donate to absolving themselves from child support payments or other legal responsibilities.

Ms Haugh's 13-centimetre tumour was discovered by accident while she was undergoing tests to prepare for her next altruistic deed - donating a kidney to a stranger.

As she has successfully donated to 10 different families, the law prevents her from donating any more so she has turned her efforts towards raising awareness about egg donation and linking up potential donors and recipient couples - and hopefully, becoming pregnant herself.

"Glenn says he doesn't mind if we don't have a baby together but I know he'd really like to. He just says we'll get a dog or go overseas," she said.



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