Jemma Bacon donates eggs to give gift of life to couples
YEPPOON'S Jemma Bacon was 20-years-old, pregnant and unwed when she conceived a plan to help struggling couples fall pregnant.
"I didn't know how I was going to cope and from the second I had him I knew that I had to give back," the now 26-year-old said.
"How was it fair that I, an unmarried woman with an unplanned pregnancy, could have a baby when there are others who can't and would provide better than I could?"
But it wasn't until a visit to her aunt's home, and a chance glimpse inside a magazine, that Jemma discovered Egg Donation Australia.
The organisation is an "altruistic", no money exchanged group dedicated to partnering intended parents with donors and surrogates.
Since viewing the ad, Jemma has donated eggs six times and is the genetic donor to three new babies.
"After seeing the ad it just clicked that it was something that I could do to give back. I joined Egg Donations Australia right then and there and had my first recipient a week later," she said.
"Giving away some cells is really nothing. And yet that nothing can change someone's life.
"People have these profiles and you look at these beautiful stories of heartbreak and hope and you feel so compelled ... I am a bleeding heart as it is."
The process in donating eggs is extensive and involved, and saw Jemma undergo blood tests for genetic disorders, counselling, legalities, ovarian stimulation and surgical egg extraction under general anaesthetic.
The side effects were unpleasant, but the moment Jemma saw the first child born from her donation - with help from a surrogate - was one she would never forget.
" The mother had cardiomyopathy ... I flew from Yeppoon to Sydney to meet (the baby) Harrison, and as I came up the escalator I saw her standing there with this little baby boy ... I just welled up," she said.
"Seeing Harrison for the first time, you immediately love them ... but at the same time, it is sort of like the Aunty relationship over any sort of genetic pull to the child.
"To see their family complete. That was the most amazing experience."
Though she initially kept her donor status a secret, seeing EDA's Melissa Holman on television one day changed her mind on telling her story.
"I thought, 'Why should I be ashamed? Why should I hide it?'," Jemma said.
"It's not about changing everybody's opinion but if you make a difference in one person's life you have done the job."
Jemma, who is currently studying aged care and looking after her own son Cooper, said she was considering donating again sometime in the near future.