WHAT IT’S LIKE TO DONATE YOUR EGGS: EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WONDERED

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.

WHO QUALIFIES?

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

THE PROCESS

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.

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MEDICAL CONCERNS

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!

LEGAL TERMS

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.

RECOVERY

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!

 

 

TO BE OR NOT TO BE: A VICTIM OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

If you don’t physically fight, you won’t be labeled as a victim, right? Because saying “no”, but not biting and scratching is too often mistaken as consent. It’s hard enough to even use words in such a situation. Terror makes it nearly impossible to build enough bravery to throw a punch at someone who is most likely bigger than you. You could fight back, then get overpowered and turn into a victim or escape if you can. So what are your odds?

There’s only a small percentage of girls who haven’t been sexually assaulted. Why must girls be so tormented for male pleasure? So many of us walk down the street with our shaking hands in hard fists, as if that will help next time. Now every man we see is a potential danger. You never know who it will be. It might be the guy sitting next to you, your own dad, or a cute boy you decided to say hello to. But, it won’t end at hello. By the time you realize that, it will be too late.

I used to be confident and strong, insisting I had enough in me to fight if I needed to. But in that moment, there was total and terrifying vulnerability. Only fighting with words because I didn’t want it to end the hard way. The only way to get it to end was to get him to finish. So, that’s what he did. My mouth was bleeding, my knees were scraped, my neck ached, and I had huge bruises on both my neck and legs. Because I didn’t try to physically harm the man who was hurting me, does that mean it was consensual? Is pushing them away and telling them to stop not enough?

Now imagine how many wounds I would have had if I had fought harder. If they don’t stop after several hearing the word “no” or “stop” come out of your mouth several times, you know it is just too late. It doesn’t matter if you are crying, or even puking, they often won’t stop until they get what they want.

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That said, never give up. Do what you can in that moment, whatever it may be. All women are strong and deserve the right to refuse.

To join the movement or get help, email the founder of Be Aware, a sexual assault prevention non-profit at beawareawareness.prevention@gmail.com.

No matter what you’re going through, you’re not alone. Find your support group here.

THE REALITY OF ANXIETY

Anxiety: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Anxiety is a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of anxiety or fear that are strong enough to interfere with ones daily activities. The truth is, anxiety can be debilitating.

Generally, symptoms can include immense stress and the inability to set aside worry and restlessness. To break it down further, anxiety can include physical fatigue, sweating, lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts and hyper-vigilance or irritability. Anxiety disorder symptoms excessive worrying, fear, feeling of impending doom, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, and trembling.

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So what’s the reality of anxiety? While it’s different for everyone, any or all of the symptoms above can impact a person’s life and cause them to feel alone, worried, or depressed. While anxiety and anxiety disorders are hard to understand if we’ve never experienced them, we need to make sure we acknowledge them and do our best to understand them. These extreme types of anxiety are mental health issues and should be recognized as such. We should give those struggling unconditional support and encourage them to get the help they need.

Making new friends can help with overcoming social anxiety. Get the Hey! VINA app now to connect with vinas who are there for you.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR FRIEND IS TALKING BEHIND YOUR BACK

Well, you found out and boy, do you feel betrayed. Because of this, your whole friendship could be permanently damaged. Your friend was talking about you behind your back. So where does this leave your friendship? Are you able to move on or will this friendship be left behind? As vinas, we need to learn how to answer this question and handle this situation with class, poise and ultimately respect. Here are some tips on how to do just that.

KEEP IT ON LOCKDOWN

The moment you find out that one of your friends has talked about you behind your back, you must keep it to yourself. Lock. It. Down. With that being said, try not to cause any more unnecessary drama. Keep everything as courteous as you can.

TRUST YOUR SOURCE

Before diving into the problem headfirst, ask yourself these questions: Who told you your friend was talking behind your back? Is this a reliable source? Is it a true vina who has your back? Can you trust what they have told you? If you feel unsure about any of these questions, make sure you have the facts straight before you accuse anyone of anything. READ: Do not jump to conclusions.

CONFRONT YOUR FRIEND

Once you have the correct information about who and what was said, confront your friend. Even if confrontation is not your thing, now is the time to bring up the situation at hand. Let her know you are upset that she was talking about you. Maybe ask her why she was and if there is something you could do in order to prevent this from happening again. Be sure to be respectful to her, but also be sure she knows this kind of behavior is not tolerated by a vina.

RECONSIDER YOUR FRIENDSHIP

If there isn’t a way to reconcile after you talk with her, then you may have to come to terms with the fact that you two can no longer be friends. Do not put up with a friend who makes you feel insecure, sad or anything less than worthy.

On the other hand, maybe it was a simple misunderstanding. Maybe she accidentally left something slip and it came out wrong. We are all human and with that, we are prone to making mistakes. Take a good look at the situation and make a decision from there.

TALK IT OUT

Talking about the situation with a trusted vina can bring you the clarity you need. Get their thoughts about the issue and see what they have to suggest. They might even have an idea on how to avoid this from happening again.

But ultimately in the end, you have to decide what is best for you. If this friend is gossiping and sharing your secrets, is she someone you’d feel comfortable being around again? Take as much time as you need to figure this out and remember, vinas should never make you feel less than perfect.

Tell us, have you ever been hurt like this by someone you considered a friend? How did you deal with it?

 If you’re ready to find some new vinas, start swiping on Hey! VINA.

WHY YOUR BESTIE SHOULD BE YOUR EDITOR

I like to call myself a writer, but that doesn’t mean I have perfectly mastered the arts of diction, articulation or deliverance. If you’re lazy like me, after you’ve finished writing your college essays, you despise the editing process. We habitually procrastinate, then try to whip it out in an hour and hurriedly click submit. It is understandably hard to force our eyes to slow down as we read back through the work because we already know the intention of the message. We speed right past those glaringly obvious mistakes.

I am lucky enough to have my mom (an excellent writer herself) to proofread and edit practically (ok, literally) all my college essays. It can be such a grind in college, with five to ten page papers due at every corner; so it is helpful to have someone close to you edit your work. The more comfortable you are with the person, the more honest they can be. They can press you to expand more in one area, or to entirely omit something else without the fear of hurting your feelings. Being a pretty avid reader (like Belle was before the Beast) and a pretty decent writer myself, I always offer up my editing services to my vinas. If there is something that we excel in, it is only right and just to share it with others.

I’m not saying you have to be a bad writer to necessitate an editor. As I previously stated, I don’t think I’ll ever feel confident enough in my writing (rightly so) that I won’t need a friend (or my mom) to “fix” nearly everything I write… and I’m an english major!

I recently proofread my friend’s twenty-page paper on the privatization of the prison system. It was so well-written, I hardly needed to suggest any editing. Despite her distinct expertise in writing and her knowledge of the subject (far surpassing mine), it was helpful for her to have an extra set of eyes; someone to encourage her about the validity of her argument and all the effort she had already put into it. Literally everyone should have a friend who can read and refine their work before they submit it.

If you need a friend like this, start asking those friends of yours whom you are sure are capable. And if you don’t think you have one of these, download the Hey! VINA app and start looking for friends near you. I would suggest joining the bookworm community within the app to find vinas who are willing and able to read your papers.

As for those of you who are english majors, bookworms, or have a bomb blog: help your vinas edit their papers. It doesn’t take long– certainly not as long as it took them to write it– and it can be extremely helpful. Your extra set of eyes will find those uncomplicated grammatical errors that theirs were too tired to pinpoint; you may think of an anecdote that could easily be integrated into the piece and that would mesh well with their overall theme; you may determine that the whole essay would flow exceedingly better by simply rearranging the order of a couple sentences or paragraphs. These seemingly minor adjustments could be the difference between an A and a B.

If you love to read and love to help your vinas even more, start offering up your services, even if they are unsolicited. I’m sure they will appreciate the offer– in fact, they will probably be relieved to have some help.

I feel as though this is apparent, but maybe I should specify that I am not, by any means, encouraging you to charge for your assistance. Please do so out of the kindness of your heart, or in exchange for a gratifying, friendly embrace.

So… calling all writers: help your friends edit their essays!

Comment below if you’re ready to edit your vinas’ essays, or if you already do!

(Feature image via @atishapaulson)

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HERE’S WHY TO ASK YOUR PROFESSORS FOR HELP

Asking for help is one of the hardest things to do. We might know we are in over our heads, feel as though we’re confused or lost, be screaming inside, yet something still deters us from reaching out. It is the same with relationships as it is with education. Maybe it’s pride or fear that gets in the way. We don’t want to sound weak or, perhaps, we don’t know where to go.

I was a teacher at Boise State University for a few years, and I taught freshman English. This is one of the most confusing times for students. English itself is an anomaly and being a freshman in college is an unparalleled experience. It is the first time any of them had been on their own, usually, and they were in a vast and unchartered landscape. But they felt pressured to be self-starters and willing to take chances; it’s why people go to college.

So, what I am about tell you is one of the best-kept secrets in college. Your professors want to help you. Because your success is our success, and, to be honest, it looks really bad on us if you fail, and we didn’t get into this job to watch people fail. Teachers are, by nature, helpful; it’s how we ended up here. Teaching is a thankless line of work; we derive great joy from watching you do well. It’s our gold star at the end of the semester.

Another secret: no one asks for help. You might think we’re super busy, and yes, we are, but we aren’t too busy to help. Most universities require teachers hold office hours every week, which means we are just sitting there, usually reading or playing on our phones, and waiting for students like you to come in. Chances are they’d be delighted to have you darken their doorway every now and then. A helpful tip: If office hours don’t line up with your schedule, then make an appointment and hash things out over coffee.

Part of the trick to all of this is not waiting until the final hour. During the last two weeks of the semester, I had so many students who would stay after class, feverishly ask me for extra credit, or complain that they were confused. But it was too late. You have to ask for help at the first sign of trouble and confusion, hell, even the second or third sign. Just don’t wait until the 15th.

Asking for help can be as simple as staying after class for five minutes to go over some notes, asking your teacher to read an early draft of the paper, or raising your hand during class. Chances are if you have a question, at least ten other people in the room have the same question but are too afraid or lazy to ask. If that makes you nervous, then send an email and communicate that way. There are no stupid questions. Teachers say this all the time, but it’s true.

You have to ask because we aren’t mind readers, and unlike in high school, your professors won’t chase you down when your assignments start to slip. Just because no one is calling you out doesn’t mean it goes unnoticed. We understand you are human; we are humans too. We get that you have families and social lives and break ups and homesickness. But unless we know what is going on, we can’t help you. Showing up to ask for help attaches a face to the name on the roster, and I guarantee your teacher will be more understanding if you establish a real rapport with them.

Ask, ask, ask for help. If something is confusing, it’s probably partially on us because we were hungover when we made the lesson plan or our significant other walked out the night before or our baby wouldn’t sleep. We have real lives, too. Not only are we getting paid to be there for you, but we want you to succeed. We want, in our heart of hearts, to watch that light turn on in your head, to make you fall in love with the material, to teach you something you never knew before. It’s the whole reason we became teachers to begin with.

Reached out to your prof but still looking for a study buddy? Find one on the Hey! VINA app

(Featured image via stylemepretty.com)

HOW TO HELP IF YOUR FRIEND IS IN A RUT

If you’re the kind of person who feels helpless or hates it when your vina is in a rut, you’re definitely not alone. It can be hard to figure out exactly what your role is to a friend who is down and out. Over the years, I’ve learned that when a friend is upset they don’t necessarily need me to fix whatever s going on – they just need me in their corner. Since there isn’t a manual for this, here are some things I do to help my friends when times get tough.

OFFER FREE LABOR

This can be babysitting her kiddos so she can go get a couple of hours of quiet time or going over to her house to help with some of her day-to-day chores like dishes and laundry. Show up with some takeout from her favorite restaurant so she doesn’t have to cook (or clean up).

SEND HER FLOWERS AT WORK

You probably know what her fave bouquet is, so call up the local flower shop and send her a little something to brighten up her day. It’ll put a smile on her face and brighten up her workspace, reminding her she’s got a great friend in her corner even when she isn’t at her best.

SEND A SNAIL MAIL CARD 

 We live in a world where we are quick to send messages via email or Facebook, which can be a little less personal. You likely know her address, so pick up a postcard or a silly card and send it her way. When she opens her mailbox and sees that love in the stack of mail, she’ll smile knowing you’re thinking about her. For even bigger smiles, toss in a gift card to her favorite coffee shop or store she loves so she can treat herself.

DISTRACT 

Distraction is great, especially when it comes to the times your pal is going through some heavy shit. Help her leave the troubles at the door and instead, enjoy some chill time. Go camping or take a day trip to a neighboring city and explore. Take her to a comedy joint or to see a silly movie – after all, laughter is the best medicine.

JUST BE THERE

Simply saying “I’m here for you” or “if you need to talk, I’m here” can work wonders. Often times people who are going through a dark time feel alone and don’t want to burden others with their problems. By opening that door, you’re letting your vina know she’s not alone and that you aren’t bothered when she needs to vent or cry on your shoulder.

What do you do when your friend is on the struggle bus? We would love to hear how you help your vinas through their rough patches – share in the comments below!

(Feature Image via Pen and Peplum