Egg Donation- Think it Ovary First!

Egg Donation- Think it Ovary First!

I always considered myself a pretty selfless person: I donate blood, I'm on the bone marrow registry, and so donating eggs just always seemed like the next logical step for me. It wasn't something that I'd heard a lot of people talk about, and so I turned to the internet for information. A quick search turned up a local company and so it would be with them that I would gain the majority of my information and who I dealt with in the future. On their website they had information about donating eggs, what to expect, and what sorts of women would be eligible to donate, so first things first, I wanted to make sure that I would be allowed to donate.

The first part of the selection process was really simple, just a few questions to start with: age, height, weight, and some basic health questions. I discovered that you had to be generally healthy, at a healthy weight, at least 21 years of age, and a nonsmoker, and since all of these things applied to me, I filled out the form and sent it in. Of course there were certain things that were in demand more than others: certain levels of education, certain races and just general attractiveness were more likely to be chosen, but I figured I had a pretty good shot.

Within a few days I had an email telling me that I qualified for the barest minimum that they required of their donors, but I wasn't in the clear yet; only 3% of women that apply to be donors actually make it to the end of the process, and I had a few more steps ahead of me. After the questionnaire, I had to drive to one of their offices for the next stage of the screening: bloodwork and an ultrasound. At the office I had a large amount of blood drawn to screen for diseases and general health, and I also had to give a large quantity of saliva (as gross as it sounds) in order to screen for various genetic diseases.

Egg Donation- Think it Ovary First!

After that was done, I had to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound done so a doctor could view my ovaries and other reproductive structures to ensure that everything was as it should be.

Egg Donation- Think it Ovary First!

I had never had a trans-vaginal ultrasound before, and it was admittedly a little uncomfortable, but not painful; they take the probe (about the size of a tampon, but longer), put a condom on it (I thought that was hilarious), use plenty of lubrication and then insert it into the vagina. The discomfort comes in when they press it against the sides or push down in order to get the best view; at times it felt like he was sword-fighting in there! That portion checked out, so I would simply have to wait for the results of my blood and genetic testing to see if I was clear to go onto the next step.

I was nervous, but not just about donating: I was about to find out if I was a carrier for any genetic diseases that may impact my own ability to have a child in the future.

Everything came back clear, and it was a huge weight off my shoulders; I could continue with the last stage of testing.

I then had to fill out a questionnaire and medical history form, much more extensive than the previous one. I had to express in detail my own medical history and the medical history of my mother, father, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles; there are certain things that can't be caught by screening and yet run in families, so I had to be pretty detailed. It was during this step that I also had to meet with a psychiatrist and take a test that evaluated my personality called the MMPI; this is the weird test that asks you if you like hopscotch and if you've ever wanted to be a florist. The psychiatrist then evaluates you by asking you questions and talking to you, to make sure that you're not too crazy and that you are mentally equipped to deal with donating your eggs.

They want to ensure that you're okay with having biological children that you'll never meet, and they also ask if you're okay with the children seeking you out in the future, if they have any questions or problems. I was fine with both of these things as I didn't really see myself as giving up children, instead I saw it as simply giving someone the opportunity to have a child; I wasn't putting a child up for adoption, I was simply giving away my genetic material, something that I didn't really have any attachment to.

Egg Donation- Think it Ovary First!

And that's it, it was done. I simply had to wait for the results of the MMPI and the psychiatrist to see if I would be allowed to donate.

I got the all clear email a week or so later and my profile was now on their website for selection; all in all the screening process had taken about a month of my time. The next thing I had to do was attend a quick class on giving myself injections and what exactly the whole process would be. I learned how to give myself subcutaneous (in the fat) injections in my stomach, and that my hormone levels would be monitored throughout the entire process; how my body reacted to the artificial hormones I would be injecting myself with, decided how much and how often I would be giving them. I wasn't exactly thrilled at the idea of giving myself shots in my stomach, but it was a necessary evil and the thought that I would be helping women have children erased any fear I might have had.

Now that my profile was on their website, I had to wait to be selected by three different women (some companies do 1 on 1 donations, but the company I used does 3 on 1 because it's cheaper for the potential parents to share the costs) to be their donor. This was pretty stressful in itself: would anybody pick me? Turns out I was worried for no reason, as within a week three women wanted my eggs and the donation cycle could begin. The first step was getting all of our cycles regulated, and that meant we were all taking the exact same birth control at the exact same time, once we had become regulated, the real fun began- the shots.

Egg Donation- Think it Ovary First!

I was giving myself three shots a day, one twice a day and the other once, using an alarm to ensure that I was giving them at the exact same time, and boy did one of them burn pretty badly! Now that the injections had started, the monitoring began, and for me that meant driving 45 minutes to their clinic every day, for bloodwork and a trans-vaginal ultrasound. The ultrasound was monitoring the growth of the eggs, and the bloodwork was making sure my hormone levels were adequate enough to be effective. This went on for a few weeks, and by the final day my arms and stomach were one big bruise from all the blood draws and injections.

On the final day, my nurse called me and instructed me to give myself the “trigger” shot, at a specific time. This is the final injection of a hormone called HCG, to be given intra-muscularly, and that would trigger my body to release the eggs so that they could be collected for the retrieval process exactly 36 hours after the shot. The injection had to be given in the muscle of my butt-cheek, and that required me leaning over my washing machine while my sister screamed and stabbed me in the butt. That was by far the most painful injection, and felt like someone had run by and punched me in the bum as hard as they possibly could, but now the easy part was done.

The surgery was next.

Egg Donation- Think it Ovary First!

36 hours after the butt-shot, my mother drove me an hour and a half to their actual surgical building; it was an outpatient procedure so I would be leaving the same day, but needed someone to drive me home due to the anesthesia. I was given an IV and anesthetic drugs and wheeled into the surgical suite where I was told to put my legs in the stirrups (think a OBGYN visit) and start counting backwards, and that was the last thing that I remember. During the procedure I was unconscious, but the doctor takes a needle, goes through the wall of the vagina and removes all of the eggs, which are immediately inspected for viability, distributed, fertilized and then inserted into the respective recipients, all in the same day. I had 33 eggs retrieved (during the average ovulation cycle you'll produce 1), and woke up as if nothing had happened, buried under a pile of blankets and a little groggy, but other than that fine. Once I was coherent, I received my monetary compensation of $6500 and a box of chocolates, which I thought was very nice.

Egg Donation- Think it Ovary First!

After the nurse had witnessed me up and moving and going to the bathroom, I was free to go, and discharged with pain medication and instructions to drink tons of Gatorade and rest.

The days after the retrieval, I felt a lot like I had before it: the hormones had caused me to become very bloated, and I was still bloated, but now also in some pain, and I discovered that I hadn't pooped since before the procedure. When my nurse called to check on me, I told her these things and she advised that I go to the monitoring clinic immediately, which understandably had me a little freaked out. When I started the cycle I had signed a waiver stating that I knew and accepted the risk of side effects, but I certainly wasn't thinking that I would suffer any!

So I arrived at the clinic and they immediately took me back and gave me yet another trans-vaginal ultrasound, it was then that they discovered that I was suffering from OHSS or Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome. This occurs when the body becomes effectively overdosed from the hormone injections, and the ovaries don't want to “turn-off” so to speak, and become very swollen. I had gained a large amount of weight in a short period of time because my abdomen was filled with free floating fluid (called ascites), and this was putting pressure on my organs and causing pain. They agreed that I needed to have the fluid removed before things got worse, and so told me that I had to go back to the surgical clinic (1.5 hours away) in order to get the procedure done.

Egg Donation- Think it Ovary First!

I was rapidly becoming worse however, and now struggled to remain conscious when I was standing as the pain was quite intense. I passed out at the monitoring clinic, and instead of admitting me to the adjoining hospital, they made sure I was conscious and then told me to go. So I drove to my mother's house where she was witness to the immense discomfort I was in, crying and weak and barely able to stand, and she immediately put me in the car to drive me to the surgical clinic. In the backseat I was slipping in and out of consciousness, and so she made the elective decision to take me to a local hospital instead.

Egg Donation- Think it Ovary First!

There they stabilized me with fluids (I was severely dehydrated and low on sodium because of the fluid accumulating in my abdomen) and pain medications, but would not interfere with another surgeons procedure, and told me to go the the other clinic as well. So the next day, equipped with better pain medications, we made the long drive where I could finally get the second surgery I needed, the drainage of the fluid that was putting pressure on my diaphragm and other internal structures. The procedure was pretty similar the second time around: I was given an IV, told to count backwards, and woke up covered in blankets, only this time instead of retrieving eggs, they had collected over 3 liters of fluid from my abdomen.

Egg Donation- Think it Ovary First!

Immediately I felt so much better. I could stand up without fear of passing out, I could touch my stomach without excruciating pain, and I no longer felt 6 months pregnant. Before I left they handed me another check for $1000 to cover all of my “pain and suffering” which was appreciated, but given my general mood about the whole situation at the moment, I wasn't too excited about.

The second time around my recovery went a lot better, I was on medications to ensure I didn't fill up with fluid again, and a strict hydration regimen to keep control over my plummeting sodium levels, and eventually everything returned back to normal.

It was definitely an interesting experience, and not one that I recommend for everyone. You have to be completely selfless and willing to give up a lot of your time; I missed many days of work due to doctor's visits and then again when I was having my complications. You also have to be diligent about researching what companies that you work with; if I were to ever do it again, I would not choose a company that forces girls to make enough eggs for 3 women, it's just too many hormones. And definitely don't think that those crazy complications and side-effects can't happen to you, because I'm proof that they can.

I got $7500 for the entire ordeal, but I don't think that I'll do it again. I was happy that I was able to assist women with fulfilling their dreams of making a family, but what happened to me afterwards kind of soured me to the whole situation. If you're interested in donating your eggs, awesome! But make sure that you do your homework and make sure that it's the right decision for you, and not just a way for you to make a quick buck. Research the companies, the drugs that they use, and make sure that if something goes wrong, they have your back and will take care of you. And also make sure that it's something that you're mentally equipped to deal with.

My donation was anonymous, so I will probably never meet the children that resulted from the process, and that might be too much for some women to handle. The idea that I have at least 3 kids wandering around in the world does freak me out sometimes, but I don't regret my choice to help a woman have a baby.

Egg Donation- Think it Ovary First!

If you have any more questions about the donation process and can't find the answers online, feel free to shoot me a message, but until then, be safe out there!

5 4

Most Helpful Girl

  • Glad you are alright! This was very insightful.

    I applied to donate eggs a couple years ago, but got dismissed almost immediately because this company asked my family health history in the first stage rather than the third in your case. I don't personally know three of my biological grandparents (both my parents grew up without their fathers, and my dad's mother died when I was a baby). So they said I couldn't continue because of that.

    So did the injections make you feel hormonal or cranky at all? Were you sexually active during the process? And were the medical bills from your complications more or less than the $1000 you received for it?

    • I didn't get overly cranky or emotional, but I know that that's something they do warn you about. I would say I just had some regular PMS. As far as sex I stayed far away from it during that time, which is what they advise you; you're super fertile, and had I gotten pregnant all the time and money they had put into me would have been for nothing. With my complications, the couples take out insurance on you in the case something happens, so that was covered easily.

Most Helpful Guy

  • Once I started reading this I couldn't stop. You write really well and you really tell your story of donating in a way that draws the reader in. Very well done.

Scroll Down to Read Other Opinions

What's Your Opinion? Sign Up Now!

What Girls & Guys Said

7 7
  • Thanks for sharing, interesting story! Lucky to born with the reproductive tools that are much easier to harvest from :-)

  • There are so many unwanted children in the world. If I wanted children and couldn't have them myself, I'd go that route, instead of paying someone to go through all that pain just so I could, theoretically, 'choose' the baby's ancestry.

    • I thought people want it to be there kid to know that their genetic material that is getting passed on and that they are caring for I suppose it's still the guys genetic material but It seems strange for the woman? Pregnancy can't be a fun experience is she just doing it for her husband even though its not her genes?

    • It's actually very difficult to connect parents with these unwanted children. International adoption is becoming increasingly challenging, and in -many- countries where it's not tightly regulated there are widespread concerns children are simply sold. In most of the west, there are waiting lists for babies of -all- ancestries. There is additionally some hesitation in placing babies with parents who are of a different ethnicitiy, as some people feel that's unfair to the child. We have a lot of kids who need homes in the west, but they are primarily foster kids, who are NOT up for adoption, rather it is hoped that in months or years they can return to their families.

  • Wow, this is great. I've been thinking of donating eggs ever since I was 18. There are a lot of draw backs you don't think about before you're caught on the idea. Thanks for sharing your experience :)

  • Wow! This is a really good take!
    Personally id never give my eggs
    My thought is if you can't have kids adopt.
    I had a friend in college who gave her eggs and it left her infertile. So, i feel its too risky.

  • Wow, that's an amazing story!!

  • Excellent personal story!

    And I love the title. :)

  • Sword fighting? Lol

    Excellent MyTake!

  • I always wanted to donate my eggs for the pure altruistic reason of helping out couples with fertility issues. The idea of having a biological child and not being able to meet them doesn't bother me. But I would like to know more about the socio-economic status of the couple who would be receiving my eggs. I wouldn't want "my child" to grow up in a poverty-stricken, broken home.

    • Well I would say look up how much these couples are paying! If they afford to pay up front for these fertility treatments which are insanely expensive and not covered by insurance, then I think they're pretty financially set~

    • I would guess anyone using donor eggs is probably spending something like 20-30k for the procedure, but that's a guess. So yeah, they're probably not poverty stricken. Many of them are middle class though.

  • That was a cool story.

  • Great take. Well-written, interesting read. Thanks for sharing!

  • Very informative.
    Although I'm sad to know I couod never donate because I dont know much of my family.

  • I couldn't even donate sperm and that procedure unlike yours is fun, my wife wanted me to donate sperm because her sister's boyfriend had lazy sperm and she had a hostile uterus. Basically after literally donating buckets of my best my wife and her sister had me donate my sperm the old fashioned way and after months of banging my wife's sister she got pregnant. After she got knocked up her husband left her and now she lives with us like some sort of mormon second wife and I have to support her an her unborn.

  • Wooow, you're so brave! God I could never go through something like that. :'D

  • Given that egg donation is a relative new feature in society, I'm pretty sure that there are lots of selfless ways that don't involve donating your own blood and organs. Also, the act of donating something is not necessarily a selfless act. It's the intention that makes something selfless. A person can donate blood or sperm for the money rather than genuinely caring for some anonymous stranger in the world. In that case, the exchange is merely a business negotiation, not an act of sacrifice.

    In my case, I've entered myself in numerous psychology experiments as a normal, healthy participant in college, but I only chose the thought-based experiments, not experiments where the experimenter has to inject something or give pills or do some kind of fancy body imaging scan. I usually got a few bucks for each session.

    • Organs is normally only when your dead and in the uk at least you don't get paid for it. Though more would do it if they covered some of the funeral expenses if your organs did get donated or perhaps better since the nhs doesn't have unlimited funds if being an organ donor put you higher on the list to receive a transplant in the event of an incident. As far as im aware in the uk you don't get paid for donating anything so it's all a selfless act though i'm sure the numbers of donors are lower hear.

    • @sedrftvgyhujik I'm sure people prefer to donate to their own closely related relatives than a random stranger. It's only natural. People are naturally selfish and want to prefer their own bloodline by attempting to save the life of their loved ones.

    • Yep I am exactly the same but I don't know that you can do that hear when your dead i know your family are more likely to get it if there ill because its likely to be a closed match though. it's very easy to sign up and unsigned up hear I think it was even a short online form I looked at it awhile ago and i'm actually not sure if i signed up or not?