So who saw How Sex Works last night on BBC3? Tipped off by Laura Witjens of National Gamete Donation Trust http://www.ngdt.co.uk I decided to watch as she said it would include something about egg donation. The trailer in the Guardian said the programme was about maintaining intimacy during pregnancy, but we saw little of this and quite a lot of a young couple needing a donor egg to create their family because she had experienced a premature menopause. Also a single woman of 33 having her fertility tested because she had big plans for what she wanted to do with her life for the next five or six years that did not include having a baby. She discovered that her ovarian reserve is low and that if she wants her future to include biological children she needs to get on with trying to conceive…or freeze her eggs. It was clear that this was difficult news for her, but a wake-up call perhaps for many women who think they have plenty of time in which to start a family and/or that IVF will fix it for them if they leave it too late. This is something IVF alone cannot do. Egg donation can, but so many women, particularly those in the public eye, will not admit to having used a donor. No problem about owning the need for a donor for the woman with POF (premature ovarian failure). Her cousin happily talked about donating eggs to her, but I knew the writing was on the wall when only one of seven eggs fertilised leaving one embryo to be replaced. Sadly, no BFP (big fat positive) for them. Back to the drawing board. It’s enormously sad but in statistical terms, a positive pregnancy test on the first try is unlikely, so reflected the experience of many, many people.
My anxiety about watching the programme in the first place was that BBC3’s output is aimed at a younger audience and often goes in for flashy presentation and sick-making camera angles. But in this case, and with the exception of the taxi driver who had himself fitted with a pump in order to get an erection, the case studies felt as if they were reflecting the concerns and realities of many peoples lives. I might even watch it next week too. If you are in the UK you can catch the programme on iPlayer for the next week.