Egg donation. You often read stories about women whose dreams of motherhood have finally been realised thanks to donor eggs, but what you don’t tend to read is stories about women who donated those eggs, and why.
Today I’m bringing you a guest post from one such woman – Dawn, 26 – who wants to remain anonymous apart from her first name and age about why she made the decision to donate her eggs. Initially a financial move, she quickly discovered that donating her eggs to a childless couple was in fact priceless. Here’s why.
‘Why I became an egg donor’
“The decision to become an egg donor is something that has weighed on me significantly throughout my life. Even now I have brief moments where I wonder whether I made the right decision. Was it worth the time, the medical interventions, the lifetime of knowing you may have genetic offspring wandering around?
Yes, it absolutely was.
When I think about the infertile couples in need that my donated eggs have helped, I feel nothing but satisfaction.
A reflection of my younger self
Fresh out of college, I was just like most post-graduates – buried in student loans and struggling to find my dream job.
Still working in the part-time job I’d had in college, except on a more full-time basis, I could never seem to make ends meet. My studio apartment was nothing special, but the costs to keep the landlord happy and utilities running were a monthly struggle. Too proud to move back in with my parents, I began looking into alternative ways to make some extra money.
Throughout my search, ads for egg donation kept popping up. At first, I didn’t even offer them a passing glance, but soon I began wondering if this was in fact a viable option.
A cursory look made the process seem like a no-brainer. All I had to do was give up a few eggs (it wasn’t like I needed them at the moment) and I’d be helping couples that wanted nothing more than to have a child. I called a donation clinic and set up a consultation with one of their doctors.
Making the decision to donate my eggs
At my first appointment with my fertility specialist, I couldn’t help but feel a little overwhelmed as she gave me a run-through of the process. Background screenings, ultrasounds, blood work, and a wide array of needles sounded a lot more complicated than just handing over some eggs.
Before I left the office that day she showed me some photos of families conceived with donor eggs. I looked at these sweet little babies and felt an internal tugging at the thought that I could have biological children in the world that I would have no connection to. It was a complex idea to grasp.
She told me stories of the parents and the hardships they faced to get pregnant. Miscarriages, failed adoptions, negative IVF cycles – it was heartbreaking. Just before I stood up to leave she looked at me and said:
‘I know this is a heavy thing to consider, but just know that if you choose yes, you will be making so many dreams come true.’
I let that sink in. Before I reached the car park that day I knew I would be following through with the procedure.
My donation cycle
After taking a little time to come to terms with my decision, I made the appointment to start the donation process.
Before anything could actually begin, I would have to pass the donor qualification screening. This meant undergoing background checks, medical history screenings, psychological examinations, and even interviews that discussed my educational and professional history. As I manoeuvred through the process, I thought about the ways my answers and results might resonate with a hopeful couple.
Upon the completion of these screenings, I underwent several preliminary tests to look at my own ovarian reserves. There was blood work and various physical examinations – each of which helped my doctor determine that I was the picture of ideal reproductive health. My donation cycle could finally begin.
Thankfully, my decision to have my eggs frozen rather than become a fresh donor eliminated the need to sync up my cycle with the recipients; but it was a difficult few weeks regardless.
The cycle began with a couple weeks of birth control pills to regulate my system and get my body ready for the egg retrieval. At the end of those weeks came the stimulation drugs.
I spent my evenings giving myself scheduled shots and would show up every few days for blood work and ultrasounds to see how my body was progressing. While this part of the procedure was slightly uncomfortable, it was not unbearable by any means. When I was finally given the green light and told that I was ready, I took what is called a trigger shot that would prepare me for the upcoming egg retrieval surgery.
The egg retrieval process happened at the clinic’s on-site outpatient surgery center. I was put to sleep and the surgeon extracted each developed egg from its follicle. The procedure took less than 45 minutes and a couple of hours later I was on my way.
My part of the process was over. I had officially donated my eggs.
My post-donation mindset
In the days that followed my egg retrieval, the gentle ache in my abdomen was a reminder of what I’d given up. But my moments of uncertainty were quickly surpassed by feelings of pride and self-confidence. When I would feel myself wavering on my decision, I thought about the woman who was about to receive my eggs.
The moment she would walk into her own fertility clinic and see them transferred into her uterus. The stressful, yet hopeful, two weeks she would nervously wait before her pregnancy test. The precise second she would get a call telling her she was pregnant. The kicks and hiccups in her belly and the feeling of holding her child for the very first time.
The joy I feel at these thoughts will always replace any self-doubt I encounter. And although I still find myself searching the faces of children I see from time to time, looking for my traits in their own, I revel in the thought that this child I helped create was so wanted and will be so loved for all of their days.
Donating my eggs may have started as a way to make a little extra money, but it became a part of myself that instilled such hope for my own future and a renewed sense of purpose for my life.”
I think you’ll agree Dawn’s story is a powerful one! Would you consider donating your eggs to an egg bank? Do you know anyone who has had a baby thanks to an egg donor?
This is a collaborative post.
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