Egg Donation

I am an egg donor, and here you'll find details of my donation cycles. Go to the beginning of the blog for day-by-day details of each cycle. Questions or Comments? Email

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Yay for Congress

I generally try to avoid politics. As a liberal in America, caring about what is happening only leads to a profound and deep rage. I used to know every detail of politics and policy. Now, for my own mental health, I keep only a general watch of what's going on. This comes mainly from NPR; I catch All Things Considered about 3 or 4 times a week. That with the CNN headlines is my news fix.

But shockingly, I need to applaud the Congress. I know, I know. Don't worry - I haven't turned into a crazy radical right winger. I'm pleased at them for passing the stem cell bill despite Bush's threatened veto.

Now, I'm all for the embryo donation programs (couples get frozen embryos from other couples who won't use them). I think it's great, and if embryos from the eggs I donated went toward that, I'd be pleased. I'd be equally happy (maybe happier), though, to have them be donated to into the stem cell lines for research. If that were to happen, I would be helping a lot more people.

Perhaps Bush has been mercifully spared knowledge of the world of fertility treatments. Perhaps he doesn't realize that there are a lot of embryos out there, all waiting to be used that would otherwise be destroyed. Or, more realistically, his religious beliefs have him so committed to ignoring laws and science that he doesn't care.

In any case, I think it is fantastic that we will come back fro the scary no-federal-funding place and start using these leftover embryos for research that can truly revolutionize medicine. It makes me happy to see congress stand up to the President (and to see some logic from the Republicans), both as a scientist and as an egg donor.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


The families who get my eggs are five big mysteries to me. Seven big mysteries if you count the two families who are waiting in line to get them later this summer.

At our clinic, everything is kept totally secret. I don't get to know *anything* about the recipients. I never even get to find out if they get pregnant from the donation. When I had my psych screening, they asked about how I thought of this donation. I think of egg donation a lot like I think of bone marrow donation. It's sort of a process to go through, and it's something you do to help the recipient. I don't think of the resulting children as mine, any more than I'd think of a bone marrow recipient as my clone (I know it's different, but we're talking about how I consider it, not the biology of it).

That said, I really really would like to know if the recipient of my eggs gets pregnant. I have so much sympathy for them, and I'm rooting for them, but I never get to know how things turned out. It's like rooting for your favorite baseball team in a game, but never being allowed to see who won.

When I go in for the actual donation, they actually hide me and my escorting husband away in a room. When we're ready to leave, they quickly usher us out so we don't run into the recipient accidentally while we're there.

The only contact I've ever had with a family is an anonymous exchange of cards through the egg coordinator. I gave them a congratulations card (to be delivered if they got pregnant). They gave me an REI gift card as an extra thank you for donating.

I think my recipients must be getting pregnant, though. Apparently, when choosing a donor, one of the big things to look for are previous pregnancies resulting from that person's donated eggs. I think part of the high demand for me must be 1) the big pile of eggs I produce and 2) the fact that they lead to pregnancy. If that's true, there should be at least 2 children out there that have come from my donation. It makes me so happy to think of those two families who worked and struggled so long to finally have their kids. And it's really rewarding to know that I did something to help them get there.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I'm Free!!

Yesterday was a very irritating day for me. There were a lot of irritating things PLUS this background headache I've had for a full week because of the stupid birth control pills. So I woke up at 6:15 this morning. That's like the middle of the night for me, as I usually do to bed around 2 or 3 am. I woke up and started having an argument in my head with the clinic about the birth control pills.

I don't just talk to myself. I have ARGUMENTS.

As the previous post indicates, I'm picked for a shared cycle, but there isn't a second recipient yet. Basically, I'm on standby until that person shows up and picks me, and then the two families get their cycles all worked out to be ahead of mine. I was thinking, "that could take MONTHS! I don't want to be on birth control with 1/4 of my life all miserable from the headache, not to mention all the other effects that I'm probably used to by now because I've been on this stuff for so long. I'M TAKING A STAND!! NO MORE PILLS! NO MORE PILLS!"

So I readied myself for a fight and headed down to the clinic. The fact that I was in a fighting mood attests to how bad yesterday was. There is never a need to fight with the wonderful people at my clinic.

When I got there, they showed me into the "conference" room (cushy red chairs, fancy antique tables, etc.) instead of the exam room. The donor coordinator came in and apologized for not calling me. I didn't need to come in today, since I wasn't going into a cycle. And, she said, "I thought maybe you wanted the birth control pills, but I don't know why you would take them unless you need to. These things will make you crazy."

So much for needing to fight. I didn't even have to bring it up.

So HORAY!! I'm now free for months from taking those goddam things. I envision a happy, stress-free time, where I lose 10 pounds and am nicer to my husband. It really wasn't until just this week that I realized how much they were affecting me. It's not enough to stop me from donating, but I certainly won't be sorry when my future is totally free from any more of those pills.

Friday, May 13, 2005

I am lame

That is, I should check my voicemail more often. For some reason, my clinic doesn't even call me at home anymore. They just go right to my cell phone. I actually have TWO cell phones, and they call the old one. That goes directly to voicemail, and I don't check it enough.

As a result, it was a week after the message was left that I found out my cycle was cancelled.

Then, today, after posting my previous message, I checked again and found that on Tuesday, I had actually been picked for another cycle. Go figure.

So it is more birth control, more sonograms, etc. I'll have news next week after my latest sonogram.

Off, yet again

I got a call that my recipient has low iron levels, and thus my latest donation has been cancelled. I'm up to be picked again, but at the moment I'm uncommitted. This makes me wonder about the birth control thing. I have to be on them while I'm in a cycle, but I hate them. The clinic gives me Desogen which works well, but I get terrible headaches when I come off of it for the 7 days in each cycle. I'd like to just go without it until I'm picked again. My husband had a vasectomy (we REALLY don't want kids), so I don't need it for anything.

I think I'll stay off of them. Hopefully the clinic won't object.

It's weird - my first 4 donations went off without a delay. These last two have been pushed back again and again. At least it's not my body rebelling.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Drugs and sex toys

I just *have* to respond to a couple comments...

1) About recovering after the retrieval: I'm a big non-pill person. I hate them; even when I had my breast reduction surgery I didn't take any pain killers. However, that does not mean that you who love (or at least tolerate) pills must suffer like me! I've been offered all sorts of narcotics and other fun in prescription form to take home and make the post-retrieval day more comfortable. I think of the street value of all the drugs I've turned down and shudder and the lost cash.*

2) The wand ABSOLUTELY looks like a vibrator. I was going to Photoshop an image, but LOOK AT THIS!!! It looks like a scary spiky pink version of the transducer! (I included a link in case you'd like to buy it)

3)Aibee is also G&D for linking to my blog :)

*just kidding. seriously.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Deciding to Donate

Sue followed up my last post with a question about when and how I decided to become a donor (Sue is, as Tertia would say, G&D because she is the only person I know who links to my blog :) ).

The idea was planted when I was an undergraduate, probably about 7 or 8 years ago. I went to a very prestigious college and there would occasionally be adds in the student paper looking for egg donors. They specified everything - height, weight, hair color, eye color, SAT scores, religion, etc - and offered lots of money (sometimes up to $20,000). I thought about it at the time, but I was very uninformed. I somehow was under the impression that the process required taking vaginal temperatures, monitoring mucus levels, followed by some sort of surgery that required like a week in the hospital. I have no idea how that got in my head, but someone put it there - I wouldn't come up with such craziness on my own. That really seemed inconvenient and unpleasant to me, so I didn't have a very strong interest.

After finishing college, I moved out here to the East Coast for graduate school. One night the thought kind of popped into my head again, and I was curious to get on WebMD and check out what was involved in the process. The internet existed when I was in college, but it was a lot smaller and the great information sources that are around now weren't then. So I got online and did some searching. I found out my impression was way off, so I moved on to looking at websites of clinics in the area that took egg donors. I found my clinic online (Washington Fertility Center) and they had a lot of information, plus an online pre-screening form. I filled that out (along with forms from other clinics). WFC emailed me the next day, and the donation coordinator was so nice. They sent me the big background packet, and within a couple weeks I went in for a visit.

I met the donation coordinator in person then. She is one of the sweetest and nicest people in the whole world. She really sat me down and explained all of the steps of the process. It rid me of any of my mis-impressions right then.

I had pretty much decided to go ahead with donating, but it was reaffirmed as I went through the tests. My first sonogram showed a couple cysts on my left ovary. The doctors were great. They gave me a new b/c Rx, and kept me coming back for 3 or 4 months until all the cysts had resolved. At that point, I hadn't even donated, but they were all so kind and supportive. It made me feel very welcome and taken care of and safe.

Frankly, when a half-dozen strangers are probing around my girl parts with a 12" wand, they had *better* make me feel comfortable.