An egg donor shares her story
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and not all are formed the traditional way. Some are made through adoption, others through blended families. These days, families can also be made through the miracle of egg donation.
Some women, due to age or physical reasons, cannot produce their own viable eggs. But today, through donor eggs and in vitro fertilization (IVF), these women can still carry and give birth to a child.
How does it work? Put quite simply, eggs are harvested from a willing donor, fertilized with a partner’s or donor’s sperm, and then implanted into the womb of the waiting mother-to-be.
The whole process involves an amazing amount of science and know-how, and it’s not cheap for the hopeful parents. But none of that matters when you’re holding a new baby in your arms.
So who are these egg donors – and why would they want to donate their eggs to another family?
Amanda* is a 27-year-old Georgia woman who chose to become an egg donor after watching friends and family go through the sorrow of infertility. “A friend of mine went through IVF treatment three times, “Amanda says. “And my aunt was never able to have children of her own. I saw the effect that this had on them.”
Shortly after Amanda and her husband had their first child, she brought up the idea of becoming an egg donor. “I love being a mother,” Amanda says. “My son is amazing, and I can’t imagine not being able to have him. I wanted to give that gift to other women.”
“My husband’s only concern was that we remain anonymous,” she says. “When we learned that egg donors are completely anonymous, he was fully supportive.”
Because of their religious background, the couple chose to keep their decision private and didn’t share it with friends and family. “It was something special that we chose to do together,” she says.
The couple did their research and found a reputable fertility clinic that worked with egg donors. The staff was helpful, providing all the necessary information and answering all their questions.
The monetary compensation for egg donation, which can range from $3,000 to $8,000 in various parts of the country, was helpful, Amanda says. “But that’s not the only reason I chose to donate my eggs.”
At the fertility clinic, she underwent an initial health screening and then a psychological evaluation. Upon a final review, she was listed in the egg bank as a potential egg donor. Four weeks later, she was chosen as a donor.
That began the process of prepping Amanda’s body for the egg retrieval. Medications helped bring her cycle into alignment with the recipient’s cycle.
“At home, every night before bed for four to six weeks, I had to get a shot in the lower part of the fatty part of my stomach,” says Amanda. “My husband gave them to me. I hate shots, but this wasn’t bad. I could hardly feel it.”
She went in to the clinic a few times a week, where the staff checked on her progress. “But other than that, I lived my regular life, and did nothing else different,” Amanda says.
Approximately two months after being chosen as a donor, it was time for her egg retrieval. “I went into the clinic and they put me under with a light anesthetic,” she recalls. “I was asleep for about 30 minutes, and then my husband drove me home. That was it.”
The retrieval produced 26 eggs.
Since donors don’t know their recipients or what happens to their eggs, Amanda isn’t sure what resulted from her donation. All she knows is that she gave a woman a very precious gift – the chance to become a mother.
The process was so positive that Amanda has decided to donate again. She is waiting to get the call that she has been chosen to help someone else. “I’m happy to do it,” she says.