by Kate

Should I Donate for a 5th Time?

March 19, 2014 in egg donor blog by Kate

I’ve been an egg donor four times  and it was amazing knowing that I’m giving hope to someone.  The last time was three months back; I would like to do it again but then I’m not sure if its too much for my ovaries.

Congratulations on having been a donor as many times as you have!  I don’t think you need to worry in the least about your ovaries; that’s why the doctors are there.  As I’d tell any donor who has reservations:  No one is lying to you.  No one is telling you it’s fine to be a donor if it’s not really fine.  No one is assuring you that you won’t “run out of eggs” if you were going to, in fact, run out of eggs.  Doctors, in general, aren’t in the practice of lying to or pulling the wool over the eyes of patients.  They are aiming for the highest achievable results, and if they’re compromising you or your safety or your body chemistry, no one wins, you know?  I was a donor seven times.  Almost two years after my sixth donation, the doctor who ran 4 of them approved me for a seventh round, at the request of the recipient couple who had used me three times previously.  It never crossed my mind to think I was putting myself or my body in any sort of jeopardy.  I trusted my doctor, and more importantly than that, I trusted my agency to protect me from any sort of compromising situations.  I can’t put enough stress on the fact that you absolutely MUST trust your agency, and this is the sort of reason why–you won’t forecast this scenario, but should it arise, you need to have complete security in the team you’ve agreed to go on this ride with to guide you along the way.  Good luck; whatever you choose, you should be so proud of how much you’ve already done.




by Kate

I’m a Smoker….

March 19, 2014 in egg donor blog by Kate

I was told that there will be a thorough medical exam which will include blood work to check my hormone levels and for infectious diseases. I was also told that I’ll be tested for drugs and nicotine. My question is will there be a urine sample collected for the drug and nicotine test or is that tested through blood? I want to make sure that I drink plenty of fluids if a urine sample is needed.

Yes, there will a be a full battery of tests run.  The tests will include blood and urine.  If you’re trying to flush out marijuana, you could be successful, but if you’re a nicotine smoker, egg donation will be difficult for you.  Not only because you would have to blatantly lie on your health forms, but because you will be tested to advance to the donor stage, and also you will be tested throughout your cycle, so you’ll need to, basically, quit smoking.  If you could quit smoking, you probs would have, so it’s my advice that you don’t promise something, sign a contract to that end, and then have the consequence of not grasping the full weight of your responsibility.  Not saying you are doing, or will do, any of these things, but your question leads me to want to preempt you from a bad decision.  As I caution all prospective donors,  make darn sure you’re aware of your obligations as an egg donor; it’s not a decision to be entered into lightly.  Good luck!

by Kate

There Are Unrelated Instances of Cancer in my Family….

February 14, 2014 in egg donor blog by Kate

I am considering becoming an egg donor.  I have never really wanted children of my own, but I am a science person so I would like to put my eggs to good use for other people who want a family.  I recently graduated college with honors with 2 bachelor of science degrees in Electrical Engineering and Biochemistry.  I have had two prestigious internships in Tissue Engineering and Breast Cancer Metastasis in New Jersey and Iowa, respectively, and I am now applying to several graduate programs across the country.  So, I feel like I would not be in trouble on my own personal achievements.  HOWEVER, one of my grandpas died of neck cancer at the age of 61 (he was a smoker in his younger years), one of his sisters died of lung cancer in her mid 70s, and my other grandpa died at the age of 87 with a blood cancer.  On the other hand, I had a great grandma who lived to be 101, a grandma who lived a healthy life until she was 88, and I still have a healthy living great aunt who is 92.  Would these cancer family history issues disqualify me from becoming a donor?
Welcome to the club!  Based on what you’ve told me, you sound ideal.  I like a smart cookie; so do recipients.  That said, yeah, the cancer thing might be a thing.  You have to put yourself in the agency’s shoes, in the doctor’s shoes, and most importantly, in the recipients’ shoes…there are dozens upon dozens of egg donors–They’re all just as smart, beautiful, successful, eloquent and viable as the next, and–in comparison–if you have ANY sort of dark mark or grey area in your genes or medical history, the recipient is just gonna turn the page and go on to the next donor who has everything you have, but without the cancer in her lineage.  It’s not personal.  No one knows you, you’re out of context.  Their only context for you and your profile are your vital stats–they’ve gotta be clean.  Cancer is a dirty, dirty word, you know?  I’m not saying any of this with any sort of certainty, but the reality is that it’s probs gonna affect your chances, yes.  BUT, don’t let that keep you from taking the chance.  When you find an agency you like, ask them these questions–you get to do your own research of them, too.  I wish you the best of luck, truly.

by Kate

I’m Having Trouble Living With My Choice

February 14, 2014 in egg donor blog by Kate

I am a 5x egg donor. Overall I donated over 100 eggs (so yes, a huge # of eggs during each cycle). My decision to become a donor was very well thought out, and I was confident that I would have no regrets. I was proud of what I did to help these families. It’s been almost 8 years since my last donation. The past year (maybe two) I’ve begun to struggle with some things. Can you help?
1. I’ve been having dreams about my biological children from the egg donations. Most of them are very traumatic (in the last one, I was at the birthday party for my biological donor egg child who appeared to be about 2-3 years old. An extended family member of the donor child whispered to me that their family never should have used egg donation, to stay away from their family, I wasn’t allowed to have anything to do with them, etc and ended with me running after their van screaming “I love you” to the child). But in “real” life, I’ve always respected the biological family’s wishes, which in most cases has meant anonymous donation with no contact and no idea if they had kids or how many. Have you ever had dreams about your donor egg children?
2. Even though I used to think I didn’t need to know if children were born or how many, now I really want to know (especially since I’m probably going to have a child in the next few years). But, I’ve gone back to my agencies to try and contact the recipient family through them (since I don’t have their full names or contact info) and 3 of the agencies I used said I’m no longer in their files and they no longer have any records from of my donation. WHAT?! Aren’t there laws that say they have to keep that kind of stuff on file? Otherwise, how would either party be able to get in touch if there was some kind of emergency (the kid needs me to donate bone marrow, I find out I have some genetic disease, etc)?
3. What if I have kids, and they grow up and fall in love with someone else who turns out to be their biological half-sibling? Do I need to be proactive to prevent this (ask the parents of every person they date if they used donor eggs to conceive)? That could get weird. I wish I would have required some sort of long-term contact with the donor family in my contract. But I didn’t, so I can’t change that now.

Dang, girl.  No, I cannot identify with any of this.  I mean, even if I could, we’d be looking at the same conclusion:  Our feelings are moot.  The dream sounds…eerie, but considering your other two questions, I can see why it’s occurring.  No agency or doctor is going to release any information to you, so you could wear out your phone trying, but it’s not gonna help.  And, quite honestly, the commitment they have to keeping these things necessarily private and confidential are the very reasons I agreed to be a donor myself.  If there were ever the slightest chance of any of my seven theoretical cycle-children–or their recipient parents–getting a hold of me, I’d never have become a donor.  As the for the possibility of a relationship finding its way between your eggs and actual offspring…girl, don’t stress yourself out about this.  I think you’re looking at and imagining the absolute most slim margin of life-error; like, this is what-if-the-sky-falls stuff.  If this is getting to a point where it’s disruptive in your life, you should talk to someone about it.  But in terms of finding a tangible solution to any of these fears or concerns, I think you’ll end up just wearing yourself out instead.  I’m sorry this is where you are and I wish you the best in figuring it all out. And, to all the prospective donors reading this, I cannot say it enough:  You’re not donating blood or racing for a cure, you’re making a human being.  It’s not all rainbows and love and hearts and storks with babies…this is, like, real, with Pros and Cons, and more than that, it’s forever.

by Kate

Any Advice For A First-Timer?

February 14, 2014 in egg donor blog by Kate

I’m thinking about donating at a well known and trusted medical center that just so happens to be my graduate school!  I am nervous just thinking about all the hormone injections I will have to take.  Do they take me off my birth control in order to take the injections?  Does this mean I have to abstain from sex during these two weeks of hormone therapy?  What if I have really adverse effects to the hormones; am I automatically disqualified?  I’m worried I’m going to put myself through all these medical tests, anxiety from waiting to be called, etc. just to be disqualified and miss out on a great experience and the compensation.  Any advice for a first timer?

Glad you found the site, and I hope reading through it has helped!  Don’t be nervous.  I know it’s all SO foreign and you have nothing to bounce your ideas or concerns or thoughts off of, because it’s not exactly a resume builder people advertise–most of the time.  That said, don’t be nervous!  I mean, it’s involved and specific and important and forever, and all these really heavy words, but as for the actual process, it’s no big deal, as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into.  First of all, once you’ve been selected by a recipient, you’ve been selected.  You won’t be unselected, or “disqualified.”  If you’re gonna be denied as a donor, it’s gonna happen before you even make to donor status.  Should something come up in your cycle that prevents the cycle from going forward, that’s an altogether different story.  Were that to happen, it could be that you’ve neglected to mention something in your screening along the way.  Understand that ANYTHING you fail to disclose about your health will be discovered in your testing.  You will submit vials upon vials of blood–and that will happen throughout the course of the donation itself–and you will be urine-tested several times as well.  It’s not often a donor is pulled from a cycle, mid-cycle.  Its possible you won’t yield great results, but that will just mean your agency and/or doctors won’t maybe wanna work with you again–which is a numbers-thing, it’s not personal.  If you have adverse affect to the hormones, that’s a diffy story altogether, too, but I highly doubt that’ll be the case.  If you are not paid your compensation, it’d be rare and it’d be for a reason that’s very likely unpredictable, and hard for me to warn you about, you know?  And, yes, you will be taken off birth control and put on one of your doctor’s choosing.  S/he will then align your period with the schedule of your cycle and your reproductive system will be, at that point, and for the next several weeks, under the jurisdiction of your doctor and your recipient couple.  As such, yup, no sex.  No sex from the time you start your meds until 10 days after your retrieval.  We’re all adults here, you’ll live, and your boyfriend will understand.  If you have a boyfriend, keeping your donation a secret from him is ill-advised.  I know you didn’t ask for my opinion, but I can promise that egg donation is not something you’ll be able to hide-it takes over your life for the time you’re in the throes of it.  As a first-timer, I encourage you to read every single entry I have posted on this site.  There is nothing whatsoever to be afraid of, it’s an incredible experience, and in order to take away some amazing things–not just the amazing paycheck–is to fully embrace it.  Pay attention at all your appointments.  Ask your doctors questions and make sure you understand the answers.  Your doctors and nurses won’t necessarily tell you information about your appointments.  Not because they’re keeping anything secret, but because it doesn’t occur to them you’d care.  But information, in this case, is vital to being cool, calm and collected.  So, find out as much of it as you can.  It’s your body, your business.  Know that this will, honestly, take over your life once you begin the injections.  Your ultrasound and bloodwork appointments will become unpredictable, regardless of the calendar you’re given, and you need to have the flexibility in your daily life/schedule.  There will be nothing that can trump your cycle once it begins.  To me, that’s the most important thing:  The understanding of how involved you will be and how everything else will take a back seat.  Have a good time; you’re doing an amazing thing.  Own that, be proud of that and have fun with it!  Good luck!

by Kate

I’m About Ready for My Retrieval!

January 29, 2014 in egg donor blog by Kate

I’m in the process of doing egg donation and I actually have the removal scheduled  in 2 days, I’m freaking out a little.  You probably get this question a lot but how much does it hurt?  How will I feel afterwards?  Also my boyfriend doesn’t know I’m doing this, so how long after can I go back to sexual intercourse?

Congrats on getting to the end!  I bet you’re waddling a little, huh?  It’s weird, huh?  I know.  Okay, so the retrieval may be the most nerve-racking part to think about, but it’s one of the easiest parts, because you’re asleep the whole time.  Like, knocked OUT.  You go in to the doctor, usually pretty early in the morning, and you’re escorted like a VIP to the surgical part of the clinic.  And you change and lie down, and go into the procedure room.  And then you meet the most amazing person you’ll ever meet:  Your anesthesiologist.  It’s his (or her, but I never had a her in all my donations) job to make you sooooooo comfortable  And boy do they ever.  They don’t just knock you out, but they give you all kinds of relaxing preps beforehand.  First, they rub some kind of cold cotton ball swap thing on the site of where they’ll insert your IV, so that you don’t even feel that happening, you just know because s/he’s telling you it is.  Then, THEN, s/he will inject into your IV something to “relax you.”  Whatever the heck is in that syringe is amazing.  All the sudden, you just go warm.  As far as you’ll be concerned, they could start cutting off your hair and tattooing your legs right then and there, and you’d be totally fine with it.  But then comes the the kicker:  The drugs.  You’ll be asked to count backwards from ten.  Honestly?  I don’t remember EVER getting to 9.  And then you wake up what feels like immediately, but it’s about 40-45 minutes later.  You’ll be pretty groggy and out of it, but then you’ll snap to, you’ll be freezing and you’ll get apple juice and cookies or something hospital-y.  After about an hour, maybe less, the nurse will determine you’re probs okay to be escorted outta there.  You won’t really feel like anything had happened–maybe it’ll feel like you have period cramps, but there won’t be any pain; I never even bled.  There shouldn’t be any pain related to the surgery at all.  That said, the next day, maybe the day after that, you’ll need to poop for the first time since the surgery.  That’ll hurt.  It’ll really, really hurt.  Not because of the surgery, per say, but because you have had some serious trauma up in your abdomen, and the muscles you use when you’re pushing out a kid from your uterus (ground zero) are the same muscles that you use when you’re pooping, which is why women poop on the delivery table all the time.  It’s all connected.  Just know nothing is causing any sort of damage, it’s mind over matter.  You’ll need to take it easy for a few days, but then you can ease back into your life as you feel better.  You will have swelling, and maybe some cramping, but none of it should last more than 3 days, mayyyyyyybe 4.  As for getting back to your active, real life, give yourself about a week.  Drink your electrolytes, get back into a routine and know you’ve gained about 5, 6, 7 pounds–they won’t just fall off, you’ll need to work them off as if it were holiday eating.  As for your boyfriend:  Consider telling him if you’re serious about him, first of all; this isn’t something you neglect to mention, you know?  It’s not like you were an egg donor before you met him, you’re with him as you’re going through the process, he should know.  You don’t have to care what he thinks about it, but you’re his business, and that–honestly–makes this his business.  If you two end up, like, getting married or something, this is one heck of a by-the-way, you know?  That said, none of that is my business, so live your life, boo.  The sex part, though:  If it were me, I’d wait until my next period to be sure.  We’re all adults here, and you can wait 10 more days to have sex; you’ve probs waited 3 weeks already.  It’s really not that hard–you won’t even wanna have sex for about a week, I promise you, so what’s another few days?  If this sounds, like, an insane suggestion, then just wait 10 days–at least. Good luck with everything, you’re almost at the end!!

by Kate

My Clinic is Small & Unexperienced

January 16, 2014 in egg donor blog by Kate

I put in my application to donate 3 weeks ago and have already been chosen even before my initial testing. I have a couple random questions for you before I start the process:

1. The clinic I’m donating to is really small and hasn’t done that many harvesting procedures; should I be concerned about the lack of experience in the clinic?
2. I will be doing the initial testing on day three of my period which is next week and I am wondering how soon after I will be able to start the donation cycle.  Will I have to wait until I naturally start my next period?

Congratulations, girl!  Sounds like my trajectory–I submitted, went in the next day for an interview, and was working by the end of the month.  Okay, so the small, inexperienced clinic does unnerve me a little, yeah.  I mean, it’s your reproductive system, not, a haircut, you know?  It’s not gonna just grow back out, it’s gonna ruin something if it goes wrong.  A small clinic, whatever, I have no objections.  But the lack of experience doesn’t need to come at your expense.  I’d drill your agency about the clinic…how many times’ve they worked with them?  What’re the success rates?  Who is your doctor?  Would they send their daughter there?  Research the HECK outta your doctor.  I’m hesitant for you, but only because it’s not in context for me.  Do you feel comfortable?  Do you feel like you’d recommend to a friend to be an egg donor and use this clinic?  Don’t check any sort of fear at the door because you feel you’re overreacting; it’s your body and it should always be completely under your jurisdiction.  I am sure you’re smart enough to discern comfort with complacency; use the good sense God gave you to figure this one out.  As for your period, and the start date of your cycle, they will be correlated once it all goes down, yeah.  You’ll start the whole ride on birth control.  If the doc hasn’t put you on birth control yet, then your cycle will not start yet (the period you’re having will be your last “natural” period before you start…the birth control will be controlling the timing of your next period and the doc will be controlling the birth control.  Again, it’s fascinating, pay attention.).  And you won’t be allowed to start a single thing until you’ve signed all your contracts and been fully screened and tested out.  Nothing will sneak up on you, don’t worry.  There’s meds to be delivered, prescriptions to collect, forms to sign, vials upon vials of blood to be drawn.  You’re just getting started.  Embrace, ask questions, be vigilant and have a great time!

by Kate

I Live Overseas, and I Want to Donate in the US

January 16, 2014 in egg donor blog by Kate

I’m 23 and Norwegian, in business school in the UK.  Where I’m from, donating eggs is not legal, but I have heard of people doing it in the US.  I do think I qualify as I am healthy and always have been, plus from my research some of my traits seem to be desirable for recipients.  Thing is, I don’t know where to start.  If I Google it, there are so many results.  I don’t know which clinics are good and which are not.
And so I’m wondering:
- Are people generally interested in European donors?
- How do I know who to get in touch with in the US?
- I know some arrange private agreements, is it preferable to going to a clinic?
- Does it in any way affect my fertility/ability to have children of my own later?
Bienvenido a America!  We welcome international donors, most certainly.  And if you’re pretty (sorry, but it’s the most important factor in getting into the industry), then I bet you’ll work non-stop, because an International donor is more romantic sounding.  Well, in my head, anyway.  I would absolutely NOT advise you to enter into a private agreement.  There are FAR too many things that could go wrong for you not to be completely protected by a legally-binding contract overseen for you by a third party attorney.  Period, end of story.  Call up my agency, BHED, they don’t represent any international donors that I’m aware of, but they certainly know more about the representation of different agencies than I would; start there and see where they can direct you–or call any agency in the US–I know it happens, and I’m sure someone would love to have you.  And about your fertility:  Don’t spend a whole lot of time on this bullet point; you’re either going to believe every doctor you speak to about how it does NOT affect your fertility, or you’re not.  I can assure you it does not.  You’re born with a certain number of eggs (in fact, you will have half the number you’ll have throughout the course of your life by the time you’re a 20-week old fetus), and each time you have a period, you lose a certain number of eggs, or one becomes fertile and you get pregnant.  When you’re a donor, they’re just piggy-backing onto a period you’re gonna have anyway, and they’re taking what they want out of the stash.  It’s that straight-forward.  It doesn’t deplete anything, it just uses what you produce naturally, as opposed to letting it go to waste, for lack of a less literal explanation.  I’m excited for you to find out more about donating; it’s a pretty amazing experience, and it’s good work if you can get the gig.  Good luck!

by Kate

I Have Anemia

January 16, 2014 in egg donor blog by Kate

About 8 years ago, my doctor diagnosed me with a mild form of anemia.  My best friend had a hard time conceiving and thanks to an egg donor, she was able to have her beautiful little girl.  Witnessing what she went through still breaks my heart, so I’d love to be able to help another woman out there unable to conceive.  I was wondering whether I could still donate my eggs even with anemia.

Eh, I dunno.  I doubt you’d get a clean bill of health.  You need to think about it from the recipients’ point of view:  They have been struggling with infertility for who-knows-how-long, and they’re scouring through donor profile after donor profile, desperate for perfection–like it or not, that’s what they’re looking for.  They’re not gonna take the time to dissect your profile if they see “anemic” as a bullet point.  They’re gonna find someone who is as healthy as spinach and doesn’t have so much as a single ailment in her whole lineage, and looks enough like you that they’ll just move along to her.  I know your heart is in the right place, and you’re trying to help someone, and you know what you bring to the table, but before someone cares what you’re bringing to the table, you’re gonna have to get through the door, and having anemia will most likely end your journey before it starts.  But I could be totally wrong. Mama definitely does not know everything.  Ask an agency, do some research from an industry standpoint, but I think you’re gonna be outta luck on this one.  Good luck; serious.

by Kate

I’ll Have a CHILD Out There….

January 16, 2014 in egg donor blog by Kate

This past Friday I received a phone call from a dental nurse who had cleaned my teeth earlier this week.  She had already had one child through an egg donor.  She wanted another woman who closely resembles the original donor and asked me.  I am 21 and have never considered it until now.  I thought about it and consulted my family and agreed.  My mom was against is but she worries too much.  As soon as I told her I would I began to panic.  I am not worried about the pain, but about the child and the emotional baggage.  Is this something that I will regret?  In the back of my mind I will always know that there is a child out there with my genes.  And what if this child wants to meet me?  What if she is emotionally scarred by this?  My family is my first priority and I have a very strong motherly instinct.  When I have children, will I be haunted by the thought that there is one more out there?  I have been raised to take pride in my family and “the Tison brand.”  Am I ruining the brand?  I know that last sentence makes you want to punch me in the face.  My family consists of competitive star athletes if that helps you understand this absurdly prideful reasoning.  I have thought of how much I am helping this woman and all of the good things, but these are all of the self-centered thoughts I can’t talk to her about.  Did you feel any of this?  Am I not cut out for this?  What about my future husband?

Okay, so, I won’t say you’re not cut out for it, but if all of this is rolling through your mind now, you’ll be a mess when it comes time.  I really think that.  You’re gonna need to, literally, not care that there is a little You Tison running around out there.  Because there will be.  And you’ll have no say in the matter the second you sign your contract.  It’s a really big deal.  Like I told the girl a couple posts ago, it’s not a blood donation drive or a 10K race for a cancer cure.  You’re making a baby.  Me, personally, I don’t have any sort of emotions attached to my decision.  It was a really easy decision for me to make, actually, but if you knew me better, you’d not be surprised.  I’m just not emotional about anything, ever.  But every now and again, I think about how my parents have grandchildren they know nothing about, and as the only daughter in the family, what do you think is the only thing my parents want from me?  Exactly:  A grandchild.  Knowing I was a donor would destroy them.  And not for morality reasons, but because I have kids.  I would not say your mom worries too much, I think she’s pretty dead-on, to be honest.  That said, I’d never have told my parents, because it’s not their choice to make.  It’s a phenomenally personal decision and you have to be 0ne-hundred percent reconciled in making it, or it’ll haunt you.  My advice:  Stop polling the audience.  Make a decision and execute it.  But when you make that decision, make sure it’s one you’re able to live with and defend.  And, yeah, you’ll need to tell whomever your husband will be.  That’d be a pretty big secret to keep, and then hope some guy doesn’t flip out over when he finds out, because secrets always get found out.  Good luck; you’ve got a lotta thinkin’ to do, girl….