When it comes to having children, some women are blessed with the ability to produce offspring with no issues. However, there are those in life who cannot conceive children and instead, look to science for help in starting a family. While we’ve progressed as a society overall, science has come up with new ways to help women conceive when they cannot do so on their own. This, often times, is where donors come into play. Donating one’s eggs may seem controversial to some – but it has become a new normal for those who wish to help better someone else’s life or, who need financial help on their own. For whatever reason donors choose – they decide to embark on the journey of becoming egg donors. But, what is it actually like to donate your eggs as a woman? What does it entail and how is the emotional and physical impact vital in understanding the process? Well – these women shared just how they decided to do it and why – and it’s enlightening and informative, to say the least.
I very recently (June ’17) donated my eggs to a family. I started the process in October ’16 by filling out some light paperwork online for the nearby big city clinic. December they responded and wanted me to come in to do blood work, urin test (drug test?) and more paperwork etc. They got a hold of me again in January and said everything looked good and advanced me to the next stage.
April they sent out a final packet questionnaire which included extensive background info on my parents, grandparents, siblings etc. They had me book an appointment to see a therapist they referred, to get a psych eval to make sure I was mentally stable. She asked me things like..
“what happens if the kid seeks out their bio ‘mom’ ?” ( I didnt really care that much. I wouldn’t be their mother, just someone who donated some genes. In no way would I consider this making me a mom).
“Why are you donating?” (I want to be able to give a gift that can never be repaid… The money was just a bonus in my eyes)
“what do your parents think?” ( They weren’t exactly over the moon since they want my husband and I to have kids of our own but they were okay with it.)
After the eval in April, I submitted my questionnaire and profile to the clinic with about 20 pictures of me aged 0-15 and waited. I got a call in May that a patient had selected my profile and they wanted me to come in and get things started. It moved fairly quickly after that.
We decided that June is a good month for me and the patient. She requested I get a DNA test and I had no problem. ( This isn’t with every case, but she wanted it and I didn’t care. After all, they’re paying for it and I get a copy so yay.)
I get my fertility meds and it’s 1-2 shots every night for like 15+/- nights. I was terrified but actually turned out to not be bad at all. My husband was a huge help with giving me the shots in my belly. They’re just tiny tiny insulin needles. I do the shots and have to report back to the office about 3 times a week for the first two weeks with blood work to test my level, ultrasounds etc.
Finally it’s coming on the 3rd week and we’re approaching retrival day. My belly is bloated AF and I’m a little tender but no biggie, I feel fine. They take me back to my own little private room to relax. The doctor, nurse and anesthesiologist all come in and explain what’s going on. This is when I first get nervous because I was about to go under and since they’re telling me everything, it was a little overwhelming. Then I think about the patient and her husband and think how all they want in life is a baby and I can give them that. It was comforting and reassuring and gave me the courage to continue. Then they handed me my $5,000 check. Woo! 🙂
Finally it’s time. They take me back to the “throne” and put heated blankets on me and make me very comfortable. The anesthesiologist lady is holding my hand as I go under and it was very comforting.
Literally 15 mins later they wake me up and I’m totally fine. I was never, ever sore or anything. They retrived 24 eggs total but won’t be able to use all. I think they pick the best and try to go from there, I’m not 100% sure. I’ll never know if my eggs worked or if she backed out or anything. We both signed papers saying once they’re out of my body they are no longer mine. Also, our identities will remain anonymous. I’m just known as Donor #1234.
The process of donating eggs is never easy – it’s not just a quick sign-up and acceptance. There is a lot of detailed evaluations and procedures that need to occur before you donate. As well, many women decide not to donate with the reasoning being they are unsure if they want to go through the entire process.
So my situation is a little different than most, because I donated to a family member. There were good, and bad things about it.
Going through the whole process was very interesting, as I had never given myself an injection before, and suddenly I was doing it 2-3 times a day. When it came time for “harvest day,” as we liked to call it, I was totally fine.
I separated myself from the idea of it being “my” child, and that helped tremendously. My boyfriend at the time couldn’t get over it though.
The positive and negative of the experience both stemmed from the same place: knowing what happened after. I knew how many eggs they got, how many they fertilized, and how many were viable. I was also the first to know when they got pregnant. And the first to know when they lost the twins.
I feel everything would have been easier if I had donated to someone I didn’t know, because knowing that my aunt had lost the babies that she had worked so hard to create devastated me.
Some women believe it’s best to remain anonymous, or “just a donor” to the people they are donating to, in order to save themselves from the trauma or the emotional connection to the parents or future children. Others wish to have an open communication with the family at hand.
I donated eggs in 2015. I was initially motivated by the money (doing so allowed me to buy my first home) but it quickly became about helping a couple become a family.
It’s certainly very extensive, very invasive. It involves a lot of time in doctors offices and self-administering multiple shots over a period of time. The procedure itself wasn’t painful, you’re completely out for it.
Women who decide to go into donating their eggs are often times aware that there is a large financial compensation for donating. Some women look at is as a way to help themselves financially, while also helping another person as well.
I looked into it — I applied to be put on the registry near me, but was denied for being honest (I put on the application that I had tried marijuana at least once in my life but did not currently use it). Er, okay. Ah well.
I don’t actually think it would have had any emotional repercussions for me, so that wasn’t really a concern.
I’m turning 30 soon so I’ve just kind of given up on doing it anymore, which is a shame, since I never planned (and still don’t plan) to have any kids of my own but I think I have good genes.
The process to be accepted to donate is very intense – any drug use of any kind can automatically mean you are rejected as a donor. The registries and services that screen people are usually looking for ways to prevent any issues with the pregnancy process.
I donated in 2015 and I have absolutely zero regrets. The process was relatively painless for me (although they told me about 1/3 of women who donate experience at least mild OHSS). I gained around 10 lbs of water weight which was a tad uncomfortable but not painful in any way. There was some painful cramping when I woke up from the retrieval surgery but it only lasted around a half hour. Totally worth it. I haven’t experienced any emotional repercussions. I may be in a minority here, but honestly I don’t think about it much. I thought I would but I don’t. Occasionally it crosses my mind, and it just makes me happy that I could do that for someone. I don’t wonder about it beyond that. The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was that the clinic I donated to did things completely anonymously. I don’t know who the eggs went to and they didn’t even so much as see a picture of me. I think it would be kind of cool to meet the kid when he/she turns 18. It doesn’t bother me that I won’t be able to but I think it would have been neat. I am extremely happy I did it and I would do it again. I did a good thing for a couple and the money allowed me to move to a new country and set up a life. My advice would be to trust your instinct. If you think it will constantly be on your mind and that you’ll obsess over it then maybe don’t do it. But if you think it won’t bother you then you are probably right. Good luck and if you have any other questions please feel free to reach out!
Some women decide they do not wish to donate their eggs because they will always be wondering about the children that were birthed from their own DNA and – do not wish to have that unconscious wondering for the rest of their lives. The emotional turmoil of donating can sometimes outweigh the physical.
Not exactly the same, but I donated 8 embryos left over from an IVF cycle after I gave birth to twins. I love the idea that I may have other children out there – the three I have are amazing and the world needs more amazing people.
Those who have struggled with their own pregnancies are often times the ones who understand the difficulties and the need to donate the most.
I actually have a lot of experience with this! I’ve donated eggs 6 times, the maximum number of times the FDA allows. I personally don’t love that they cap the number of donations, since the age window in which you can donate is so narrow (21-30), but they’re concerned about early menopause so I respect it.
The process is different at every place that does it. I donated through two different places, and things like the medications they have you take, the psychological eval, and the checklist going into and out of the operating room different. Please check in on the place you’re looking at going to, see if you can talk to people who donated there.
I’ll also say, egg donation is wildly different for every person who does it. Some people have horrible experiences; lots of cramping, bloating, terrible discomfort, they have to inject for a long time to get eggs up to size, etc. I, personally, had a very easy time. I’ve only had to do injections for max about a week and a half, and I experienced little to no bloating or pain. The best way I can describe it is if your period cycle is intense and painful, don’t do egg donation. The hormones you inject to grow eggs create basically a really, really intense version of what you body goes through leading up to your period.
As far as the emotional drain, that is also very personal. How your body handles the hormones and the stress of doing this is completely unique. That said, I never had any issues. They’re very careful during the psychological evaluation to make sure that you’re not going to be distressed at the idea of “giving up a kid”. I always looked at it as giving up a cell. It’s something I flush down the toilet or throw away in a pad/tampon every month, why not give it to someone who needs it instead and make some money?
As far as how I feel about having kids out there: I don’t know. I don’t think about it all that often. I’ve always considered parenting to be more about who does it than whose genes are involved, so I don’t consider myself a parent even though I guess I technically am. It helps that all the donations I did were anonymous, so I don’t know the kids or anything, but I just view myself as a step in the procedure. It’d be kinda cool to see what they turned out like in a few years, or to meet them if they want to know why their eyes look a certain way or why the really like this one food no one else does, but other than that, I don’t feel any connection to “my children”. Might also help that I definitely don’t want kids of my own, so I’m already very emotionally removed from the idea of “my kids”.
Every person’s body is completely different – which means everyone will react to things different ways. For example, people are allergic to peanuts, while others aren’t. That means everyone’s body will react differently to the hormones and other things used in the donation process. As well, emotional reactions differ between individuals, too. It’s important to speak with your doctors before you decide to go forward, for anything that may happen to your body overall.
I looked into it when I was 30, which was too late. They won’t take them after 29.
I am not going to have kids, and I’d be happy to donate my eggs, but apparently they’re worthless at my age.
Which I understand, because it costs so much to implant them, they want to make it as likely as possible it takes.
There is an age cap put on donating eggs for the reason that after 29-years-old, eggs begin to become less fertile and do not take to sperm as easily as those from younger women. As women get older, their hormones begin to change and ready themselves for menopause, rather than pregnancy. This is not to say that women cannot get pregnant after 29, it’s just easier for younger eggs and because the process is so expensive and time-consuming – doctors would like to ensure a positive outcome.
I’ve looked into it before and had been put on a registry through a local fertility clinic but was never chosen. This was about 4 years ago. Once they did my genetic tests they had mentioned that everything looked good except that I’m a carrier for cystic fibrosis. So I pretty much knew no one was going to pick me after that. But I’m not gonna lie, my main motivation at the time was the money because, well, life isn’t free.
I’m kind of glad I didn’t get picked because the realization of kids possibly looking like me out in the world that I would never meet made me feel uncomfortable and sad. It felt a bit surreal.
Women who have any family history of a disease or genetic disorders in their family may have a harder time being accepted into a donation program, or, may never be chosen by a family. Some women can be accepted into a program, donate and yet never be chosen.
I’m currently on my second donation. My first one was in Portland, Oregon about 5 months ago. It went amazing! It was tons of fun, I loved the travel, and the clinic I worked with was really great. I thought a second cycle would be the same, but it’s been a little difficult. Just more physical pain and a bit more uncomfortable in general.
I’m so glad I did it the first time, and I’m happy to be doing it again. I get to travel, experience new cities, and I’m at the point in my life where I can drop everything and go. I know my boyfriend doesn’t love it, but he’s been supportive and has enjoyed accompanying me. I’m exhausted, but I’m not cranky. The fertility meds don’t affect my mood like they do a lot of women. Although, this morning I threw up and passed out from dehydration. It was from my own neglect and stupidity, but that’s shit that I hate. I don’t like not being able to just ride a bike around and be fine, you kind of give that up for 2 weeks.
In terms of a long term thing, I really don’t feel attached at all to my DNA. It’d be just like having an identical twin who has a baby. It has half of your DNA, but you’re not the mom. IDK, I know it’s weird for some people, I really couldn’t care less about that aspect. I’m excited to have my own kids one day, to carry them and raise them, I feel zero attachment to these lil eggies!!
Although your body may react one way to hormone treatment at a certain time, it can react a different way later in life. It’s important to consult a physician about anything you decide to put into your body – even natural things.