Becoming an egg donor was one of the most rewarding choices I have ever made. I love looking back and knowing the huge impact I’ve made on families. I have donated a total of six times (the maximum allowance in the U.S., per the American Society of Reproductive Medicine).
How egg donation works
All of my donations have been through an agency. The agency puts you on a registry that is visible to intended parents. The registry has pictures from childhood to adulthood and it contains information about your education, personality and medical history. Intended parents go through and select a donor that matches their preferences. Matching can take a little while as it depends on the number of intended parents looking for a donor and what they are looking for.
After being matched there is some legal paperwork to be done, including acknowledging that the donor is choosing to donate their eggs and does not have parental rights after the eggs are donated. It also goes through what is expected of the donor during the egg retrieval process. The donor and the intended parents can choose whether they want it to be an open or closed donation. I have done both. My very first donation in 2019 was partially open, we shared names and share updates but have never met. The donations in between were all closed. My last donation in 2022 was open. I met the intended parents, and we keep in close contact.
Since I went through an agency that matches you with families, the clinics can be anywhere throughout the US. I did travel for four out of six of the donations. All the costs were covered for travel and I was able to bring someone with me.
The egg retrieval process
The egg donation process itself goes by pretty quick. I did injections for about two weeks. It was a maximum of three injections a day. They were all subcutaneous in my abdomen. My very first egg donation I did get Ovarian Hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) and I was hospitalized for this. It was very scary! This happens when your body produces a lot of eggs and your estrogen levels are very high, your body starts to hold on to fluid and it can be very dangerous. I only got OHSS the first retrieval, they were able to adjust my medications to prevent this from happening again. Every donation about 40 to 60 eggs were retrieved.
How I feel about the experience
Looking back, I mostly feel gratitude. I am so happy that I was able to leave such a positive impact on families. I am grateful my body provided me with the resources to help build other families without impacting my future fertility.
A lot of people ask me if I feel weird knowing there are babies genetically related to me out in the world. I honestly don’t feel weird about it at all! I am open to future communication with them as well if they ever have any questions.
Having an open donation where we keep in contact has brought this full circle. It has been such an amazing experience hearing about the process from the intended parents side. They are incredible and I am so happy I was able to be a part of their journey. Families are built all different ways and those ways keep evolving. If I had the choice to do it all over again, I definitely would.