A Wonderful Life Experience: What Made Me Donate My Eggs
I still remember the day I saw the advertisement for Elite Fertility Solutions in my university’s newspaper; they were looking for young women to participate in an egg donation program. I had recently learned that some family friends were having difficulties conceiving, so with them in my mind I felt a strong pull to explore becoming a donor. Being an egg donor was never on my bucket list, but now it’s one of the life experiences that I hold most dear.
After contacting their coordinator, she explained the nature of the program in great detail.
My healthy eggs would be retrieved and fertilized in a laboratory setting (in vitro fertilization), which would create viable embryos. Then, the embryos would be implanted into the uterus of the intended mother in hopes of producing a successful pregnancy, gestation, and childbirth. She further explained the many reasons women use egg donors such as lack of ovaries, diminished ovarian function, menopause, chemotherapy treatments, habitual miscarriage, and certain genetic conditions. I had no idea how many factors could prevent a woman from having one of the most natural and powerful experiences she could have, and I knew I wanted to help make that happen for someone. The financial compensation, though generous, was never a large deciding factor – I actually felt on a deep level that this would be a meaningful and profound experience.
During my time with Elite Fertility Solutions, everybody I interacted with was supportive, intelligent, and compassionate.
It was clear they were experts in their field as well as wonderful people. The actual process itself was surprisingly easy. I began by filling out extensive paperwork where I gave information about my physical health, personality, goals, and even my spiritual beliefs followed by an interview with the coordinator so she could get to know me. It was obvious to me that they maintained an incredibly high standard for selecting donors to ensure that they were not only physically healthy, but committed and responsible individuals. After my paperwork and interview, I was informed that my anonymous application and a photograph would be placed into a pool of potential donors to await selection. Usually, donors wait an average of 6 months before being selected, but as it happens I was selected immediately.
My first medical appointment included a complete physical and psychological evaluation to confirm that I was physically and emotionally capable of fulfilling the responsibilities of being an egg donor. Then, I was provided with a phone consultation with an infertility lawyer where the legalities were presented in a way that was thorough and straightforward, followed by the signing of a contract with the company and the intended parents. As an egg donor, I would be providing them with eggs anonymously and would have no legal ties to the child. However, there was the option to make my information available in the event that the child may one day want to know who I was or need important medical information. Once this was accomplished I came in for my first appointment where I was put on oral contraceptives so they could sync my cycle with the intended mother. After a week, I was given Lupron, which is a medication that helps control the timing of ovulation to make the retrieval possible. I was instructed to inject the Lupron into my thigh (which really didn’t hurt!) I was also given a medication that was to help encourage the stimulation of follicles so I would produce enough eggs for retrieval. Throughout the cycle I went in for monitoring appointments where I received blood work and ultrasounds to make sure that my body was responding appropriately. They were specifically looking for the amount, size, and shape of the follicles I was producing on my ovaries, which are the sacs that contain the eggs. After the cycle was close to completion I was given a final injection, which would complete the maturation of my eggs. 35hours later, I arrived at the medical center ready for the retrieval, which was an easy non-invasive 30min procedure; there were no incisions or stitches, and I was put under a light anesthesia. I woke up feeling a little groggy and was taken home to rest for the remainder of the day. The recovery process was very quick and I was back to normal after a few days. About a week after the retrieval, I returned for my follow-up appointment to ensure everything was returning to normal. I also received my compensation check and a beautiful note and gift from the intended parents. The note is something I still keep in my heirloom box to this day, and I hope with all my heart that the pregnancy was successful.
What I really appreciated about the entire process was its humanity. I think it’s really easy for people to become overwhelmed or nervous when it comes to using this kind of medicine for reproduction, and for the donors to feel like anonymous subjects; but not here. I always knew I was in good hands and I always felt comfortable to come to them with any questions or concerns I had. The administrative staff was friendly and warm, and the medical team was equally compassionate and supportive – not to mention their evident level of skill.
I will hold this experience close to my heart for the rest of my life, and I can’t express enough how much it meant to me to be part of this. I can only hope that there are now two more parents out there with a child of their own.