Ok, I admit it. At the start, I was in it for the money. Like a lot of other young women in their twenties, I had some serious credit card debt and needed to figure out a way to pay it off. Becoming an egg donor for The Donor Solution seemed like the answer to my prayers. But after going through the whole process, I have realized that it was about so much more than just some extra money to pay off my bills. This is my egg donation story.
Starting out, I had to get into a database for selection. This involved going through a simple interview process with the egg donation agency, The Donor Solution. I had to fill out some paperwork and go through a personal interview. In general, once you are placed in the database, couples needing egg donors search the database and look at pictures and a profile, selecting a donor based on the criteria most important to them. Whether it is physical attributes, intellectual or maybe a combination, couples review the database of donors and choose one.
Getting Selected As a Donor and Starting the Process
After going through the interview process which included an interview with Mary Fusillo, the Executive Director, consisting of an overview of the donor process, the medical aspects as well as information about the actual injections and a personal interview, much like a job interview about my education, health history and my personal philosophy about egg donors I was then added to the database
After only a few months, I was notified by the agency that I had been selected by a couple in Philadelphia. Let me say here, it feels so incredible to be picked. This was the first of several rewarding aspects of the process – feeling so honored to be chosen out of literally hundreds of incredible young women to help a couple have a baby. Could you ask for a more wonderful compliment?
Being chosen kind of kicks the process in gear. This is when everything starts and being chosen by a couple in Philadelphia (I live in Houston), this meant I was going to get additional compensation with the added bonus of being able to experience a new city. The first requirement is to go through some medical testing and a psychological screening process. This was to ensure that I did not have any genetic issues which could be passed on to any children and to ensure that I was medically and psychologically able to be a donor. I flew to Philadelphia, and was able to complete the medical screening in just one day. While I was there, I was given a detailed calendar and explanation on the medications and process moving forward. I could not have been more impressed with the staff at the clinic. They were extremely helpful, kind, knowledgeable and thorough. They sent me home with a step-by-step guide, calendar and assured me I could call with any more questions. A local clinic in Houston would be monitoring (conducting sonograms to monitor my cycle and how it was progressing with the medications) me up until the actual egg retrieval and between the local clinic and the Philadelphia clinic staff; I felt I was in good hands.
The Egg Donation Cycle
The process starts at the beginning of your menstrual cycle so once you start your period (first day of your period is considered day one of your cycle), it all starts to happen very fast. I went to the local Houston clinic to have a sonogram early in my cycle so they can look at my ovaries and make sure that I did not have any ovarian cysts that would interfere with the fertility medications.
Then, I was put on Birth Control Pills for a period of time followed by injections, which I did for about 10 days or so. This was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. They told me I would have to mix the medications myself, which scared me at first, but once I did it, I realized it was not too complicated. I was given very detailed instructions and training and I always had a nurse I could call with questions. Mary, also gave me her cell phone number and I could call her at any time if I had questions or concerns.
The first injection was a little scary but it got easier and easier each time. In retrospect, the main headache was ensuring the shots were done at the same time every day, twice a day. Once the doctor decided I was ready, it was time for the egg retrieval and for this, I needed to be in Philadelphia, near the recipient couple.
The egg retrieval procedure was finally here. This would be the last step in my egg donation journey. The eggs I had produced would need to be retrieved at the same place as the recipient couple, so the fertilized embryos could be transferred there. I flew to Philadelphia on a Thursday, accompanied by my mother, for my last few days of monitoring with the expectation that the retrieval would be early the following week. I had a morning appointments to continue monitoring my progress with the Philadelphia clinic on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, I was told that my eggs were ready for retrieval so I was given instructions on administering an HCG injection and told to give myself the shot that evening. The HCG would cause my ovaries to release my eggs (ovulation) and they would be ready for the doctor to retrieve during the retrieval procedure, which would be on Monday. In the meantime, my mom and I had a wonderful weekend in Philadelphia, exploring the city, shopping, and visiting museums. My dad even came out and joined us on our trip. I did have some uncomfortable bloating and water weight gain but the doctor told me that was normal and it did not really stop me from enjoying my time in Philadelphia.
The actual day of the retrieval, I was scheduled for my procedure early in the morning and was a little nervous. I had never been under anesthesia before and felt a little apprehensive. These feelings were very short-lived, however, as the clinic staff put me at ease during the entire process. I changed into a medical gown and went over everything with the anesthesiologist and then the doctor came in to check on me. Everything was on schedule, and I only waited a short time before they walked me in to the procedure room. The retrieval took about fifteen minutes and in fact, the entire visit only lasted for about an hour or hour and a half from start to finish. My blood pressure did drop a bit lower than they would have liked during my time in recovery after the procedure, so I was kept in the recovery room a bit longer until it came back up. Feeling pretty groggy and somewhat sore, I headed back to my hotel room for the rest of the day which I mostly spent sleeping.
I stayed in Philadelphia for about two days after the retrieval while I recovered. There was a very small amount of bleeding on the first day and I was sore although that got better and better each day. Still, with the exception of the first day, which I spent in bed (at the end, had a nice dinner out with my parents), I was able to get out each day with Mom and Dad and see the sights of Philadelphia. After only a few days, I felt much better and only a couple weeks later, I was completely back to feeling like my normal self.
Looking back, I would say that being an egg donor was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Thanks to me, a couple would be able to conceive a child. And as a bonus, I would be compensated for my time and get to go on a trip (all expenses paid for myself and my travelling companion) in a beautiful city I had never seen before. There were a few negatives – some discomfort leading up to the retrieval and soreness and cramping after it, and fitting the doctor’s appointments and shots into my busy schedule. But in the end, those issues felt so small when I thought about how much what I did meant to the recipient couple. Everyone involved, from the wonderful staff at The Donor Solution to the amazing doctors and nurses at both the Philadelphia and Houston clinics, eased the process significantly. I know that being an egg donor is not right for everyone, but I think it is something more women should consider. I only wish I had done it sooner.
Rachel is a busy single professional living in the Houston area. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, reading books, hanging out with her friends and playing with her dog, Spot. She volunteers for a local children’s charity/church organization/etc. When the time is right, Rachel plans to have a family and children of her own.Tags: becoming an egg donor, egg donation, egg donor, learn about egg donation