“Why did you decide to become an Egg Donor?”
My sophomore year of college I was still living in the dorms, I loved them and was super involved in the community. So as a sophomore I got to pick a room. My roommate and I chose the big corner room with four windows (seriously it was twice as big as the other rooms). And on move in day I met a quiet, super sweet girl (I’ll call her C) and her parents. I happened to be there and helped her move in. Her mom was crazy concerned – like more concerned than most moms with a daughter moving into college for the first time – and asked so many questions. Turns out C had severe Chron’s disease which is a disease of the digestive tract.
C had been randomly assigned to the meanest, grossest, worst roommate. I am all about empowering women and lifting other women up but seriously this girl was awful. Throughout the first semester I became friends with C and she ended up spending a LOT of time in my room. C is the kind of person that you can’t help but like. She is thoughtful and funny and she worked hard for her grades and did well in school. And she cares for others so much. Due to her Crohn’s she ate a limited diet and spent a lot of time in the bathroom but other than that didn’t really talk about it too much. When my roommate moved into her sorority house at the semester break, I asked C if she wanted to move into her spot in my room. She moved the next day.
One night during second semester a bunch of girls were in the hallway talking about what we would name our future hypothetical babies – as girls do – and C was particularly quiet. When everyone went to bed we went back to our room and I pressed her for what was bugging her. She told me that because of the severity of her disease she would likely never be able to have or carry children of her own. This was something that she had accepted, but still made her sad.
I immediately got on my laptop and started digging and so began a long night of research. We ended up looking for websites discussing surrogacy. I told C that I would be her surrogate if she needed one and that if she wanted to have babies one day, I would help and she would have babies. We were satisfied for the night and went to bed.
The next day I couldn’t stop thinking about families that couldn’t have children, it had never been something that I’d thought about. I went back to the websites and while I did not qualify to be a surrogate (I hadn’t had children of my own and was only 19), I did meet the requirements to become an egg donor and after more research that seemed like a good way to help families struggling with fertility. So I applied. But, at 19 I was too young for many agencies and with a hormonal IUD many didn’t even accept me. I wasn’t willing to get rid of my IUD (it hurt a lot, cost a ton, and was doing it’s job just fine!), so I tried to forget about it.
Fast forward three years and I’m studying for the bar exam. My IUD is about to need replacing and apparently I have NOT forgotten about egg donation. I talked to my ON/GYN and asked her opinion on my applying to be a donor. She has been through IVF herself and was super excited. She told me I was healthy and should have no problems and told me I could call her if I had any questions. So I got the non-hormonal IUD that would allow me to donate and away I went.
I applied to a handful of agencies during study breaks and was matched just a couple of weeks later. C has remained my biggest supporter and fan throughout this process. She constantly tells me that what I’m doing is amazing and she is the first person that I share news of a new match or the number of eggs or pregnancy announcements with. I 100% credit C with my desire to donate and someday if she needs an egg donor, I would be honored to be that for her.
“How does your boyfriend feel about you being an egg donor?”
This is another question that I get asked a lot when I tell people that I’m donating my eggs. And let me tell you, every time that I answer it I only love him more. In late June, 2019 I brought the topic up with him casually. We talked briefly and he said “it’s your body, it’s your choice.” Bless his heart right? I told him yes. Thank you. I know. BUT I wanted his actual feelings. So after some prodding we talked about it more. The conversation went on for about a week and he asked some thoughtful questions. Eventually I was convinced that he was on board.
After that, he didn’t have a lot to do with the process while I was matched and went through screening. He was supportive but I was much more excited about each new step (though I’m usually more excited than him about most things.) But when I started taking the injectable medication, he got involved. On the day that I added daily shot number three he came into the kitchen and asked if he could help. I told him to figure out what I needed to do for the Cetrotide and mix it. He ended up mixing my cetrotide every night after that. I wouldn’t let him do the shot but he would mix the medication, keep the dogs away while I did my shots, and then slap the Benadryl cream on after the cetrotide (cause that stuff itches!).
He came with me to Texas for my retrieval and dealt beautifully with my random mood swings. He took me to my retrieval and patiently told me 14 times how many eggs they got (because coming out of anesthesia I would come to and ask and then go back to sleep). He will be my companion for my next retrieval trip to Las Vegas as well. He is my rock and I love him so much. He plays a big role in my experience as an egg donor and I think it’s important to recognize that.
Also incredibly important to me was how my parents felt. Telling them was one of the more terrifying things that I’ve ever done because I had literally no idea how they would react. We had a family vacation scheduled between when I matched for my first cycle and when I was to start it so I decided to tell them then. I told my mom first, on the plane ride, and asked her to let me tell her everything before asking questions. I explained why I wanted to do it, what it would require from me, and gave her the basics of the process. She asked a lot of questions. We talked about it for a long time and she would stop to think for a while and then come up with more questions. After a couple of hours she thought it was a really cool thing to do but was a bit apprehensive about how it might affect me. I asked her what she thought that Dad would think – she said that she had no idea.
It was important to me to get both of my parents on board and comfortable with the idea before going ahead with it so one night on the vacation I started to talk to him about it. I approached it the same way that I had with my mom and talked for a while and then asked if he had questions. He had only a couple of questions that night but ended the conversation with “that’s pretty cool.” Since then both of my parents have periodically had questions but it wasn’t until I got news that my first cycle had resulted in a birth that I think they both became completely comfortable with the idea. They looked at the picture and my Mom was expecting to see someone that she identified as a biological grandchild – instead she saw someone else’s baby who had some physical similarities to me when I was born. This was how I had always felt about my possible “egg-babies” but I think that was the turning point for my parents. They have been nothing but supportive and concerned for my well-being during both of my cycles and I love them so much for that.