A woman who found out she was conceived at a Bristol fertility clinic is searching for her half brother after meeting her egg donor.
Robyn Ranford, 22, who now lives in London, whilst studying as a postgraduate research student, met the egg donor who helped her parents conceive in 2018.
Robyn found out that she was conceived from an egg donor aged 16, after her mother passed away from breast cancer.
Scared that she may be genetically predisposed to the disease, she decided to tell her father about her worries – at which point he told her that she had been conceived by via IVF at the Bristol Fertility Clinic.
In addition to the shocking revelation, Robyn also discovered that she wasn’t biologically related to her half sister.
(Image: Robyn Ranford)
Grieving over the loss of her mother and dealing with the complex emotions associated with finding out that she was not biologically related to her mum and sister, Robyn waited four years before deciding to try and find the woman who had donated her eggs to the clinic.
“It was an incredibly complex thing to deal with,” Robyn explained. “I was processing the loss of my mum and also suddenly felt as though I wasn’t sure of half of myself.
“That feeling lasted for four years, but for a long time I tried to push that curiosity away as much as possible and just get on with life.”
It wasn’t until 2017 that Robyn decided to reach out to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) – the regulating body for egg donation in the UK – who hold records on the identity of donors.
The laws about the anonymity of egg donors changed in 2005, after which point some donors – including Robyn’s biological mother – decided to consent to allowing their name and contact details to be held.
Later that year, Robyn was given the contact details for Angie, the egg donor that helped her parents to concieve.
It was six months before she got in contact, but in February 2018 she decided to take the plunge and reach out to Angie via email.
(Image: Robyn Ranford)
“It must have been really strange for her, to just be going about her day and then suddenly get this email from someone who is essentially her biological daughter – someone she didn’t even know really existed.
“It was quite a long time before I was ready to reach out, but I’m really glad I did – we met in the May and have stayed in contact ever since.
“When you go into something like this you have no idea what to expect, and even though I felt like I was fully ready before the meeting and had seen pictures of her it was still quite a shock to come face to face with someone that looks just like you and even has similar mannerisms.
“It’s a very complex, pretty weird situation but I do think it’s put my mind at rest a bit because it’s answered so many questions I had. I feel like there’s a part of myself that I know much better than I did before.”
Whilst contacting the HFEA Robyn was also given the option to find out if she had any half-siblings from the donation at the fertility clinic. She took the opportunity, and discovered that she had a half-brother who was born in 1996.
Beyond the year of his birth, she has no details at all about his identity however has since started researching to try and find him.
“It’s really difficult because he may not even know that he was born as a result of an egg donor – I don’t think I would have found out either unless I had been in that particular circumstance.
“There are so many situations that could arise – he could know and not be bothered about finding out the identity of the egg donor, or he might actually want to get in touch.
“I’d love to meet him as I don’t know anybody in the same situation as me, and it would be great to have someone to speak to who understands exactly what it’s like.
“Since losing my mum I have met other people my age who have been through the loss of a parent, but this is something completely different.
“It’s so strange to know that I’m related to someone who could realistically be anywhere in the world, in any situation. I have no idea what could happen, but I’d love to meet them.”
If you think you have any details that could help Robyn with her search, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.