Honestly, I have thought about it. I thought about the money aspect (mostly to recover myself from my student loans), but something always held me back. Maybe it was going through a process that I knew so little about or the fear that I was giving away a part of myself that I wouldn’t necessarily get back again. Already being an emotional female and dealing with even more hormonal emotions, could I handle it? Is it painful? Will it be anonymous? Could I back out last minute?
If you can relate to some of these questions, let’s take a journey through the egg donation process and get answers to the questions we’ve wondered about.
FIRST THING’S FIRST: WHAT IS EGG DONATION?
There may be vinas out there who never heard of the term. Personally speaking, I don’t remember learning about this subject while attending school. Of course, I learned about reproduction, but the teachings were never in depth with topics like infertility amongst many trialing issues that could arise. I was researching job postings on Craigslist and came across, “Egg Donors in Demand!! Earn Thousands of $$$ While Helping Others!” The large sum of money interested me right away. At the age of 18, with my parents talking finances: college loans, loan interests, getting a job, saving money, and moving out. As you can expect, I wanted to make money fast so I began educating myself about egg donation.
DEFINING IT CORRECTLY
According to the London Egg Bank, egg donation is “a form of fertility treatment in which a donor anonymously gives her eggs to an infertile patient in order to help her become a parent. Once donated, the eggs are fertilized with the recipient partner’s sperm (or donor sperm if required) as in conventional IVF, and then transferred to the recipient for pregnancy. Egg donation, therefore, unlike adoption, means that the recipient couple still has a strong genetic link with the child.”
WHO NEEDS AN EGG DONOR?
Some women may be infertile, pre-menopausal, had a history of pregnancy failure or hold a risk of transmitting a genetic disease to the child. Gay couples are also considered when thinking of people who seek out egg donors.
Before applying and creating a profile for consideration, make sure you meet the following requirements:
• Age Requirements: 21 to 29 years old (there are some areas that accept 18-32 based on your health and maturity)
• Healthy, with a healthy family history – Does breast cancer run in your family? How is your mental health? Do you make health and wellness a priority in your life?
• Well educated
• Mature and prepared to help a couple have a child – you must be reliable and responsible
• Non-smoker/No drug use
If you meet the criteria, you can then move forward in the medical screening process! You will need to meet with a Fertility Specialist who will perform a pelvic ultrasound scan of your womb and ovaries and set you up for a medical screening (HIV, hepatitis) along with a genetic screening (inherited diseases). The specialist will also go over your concerns, discuss your availability (which you are being compensated for), and your ultrasound findings. Your availability is very important as you will be needed to visit your primary doctor at least once a week for the first few weeks to make sure your medical injections are doing well.
Once you are given the green light, you will then be required to visit a Fertility Center counselor. If depression, have ADHD, or schizophrenia runs in your family, chances are your eggs can inherit those mental disorders too. Your mental health is important during this process. Women can cling to their eggs, the thought of one of your eggs growing to become an adult and then the injected hormones can make it much more difficult to deal with. It is vital to be honest with your counselor before backing out last minute.
THE WAITING. . .
Once you submit your profile it can take weeks, months, possibly longer for your profile to be chosen but if you’re serious about it, stick it out- the right family will come eventually!
After your profile is chosen (congrats!) you will then meet with a Reproduction Attorney who will draft and review contracts and the agreement to be anonymous between both parties. For first-time donors, compensation is usually $6,000 to $6,500 and will increase about $1,000 for every time you successfully donate.
MEDICAL CYLCE BEGINS
Even though this entire process can be a 3-4 month ordeal for first time donors, the medical cycle only lasts 10-12 days, if all goes well. For 10 days, you will be administrating hormonal injections in your thighs or stomach. There is a chance if you are prone to PMS you may feel mild side effects during this time which may include allergic sensitivity, breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, headaches and/or mood swings. You may even gain a few pounds, which will only be a temporary weight gain as it is during your usual menstrual cycle. The Egg Retrieval procedure itself is only 30-45 minutes long. You may woozy after undergoing anesthesia, but the anti-pain and anti-nausea meds the clinic gives you before/during the procedure should help. You also may feel bloated which is completely normal and expected after the procedure.
This is important—allow yourself a good week or two to heal after this process. Drink plenty of fluids, eat well and acknowledge the emotions and the things that may change in your body. But no matter what, remind yourself that you did a wonderful thing to help a family accomplish a goal of their dreams.
Ladies, we applaud you!
Need some vinas to talk to about donating your eggs? Start swiping today!