True Story: I’m An Egg Donor

This is one of many True Story interviews in which we talk to
people who have experienced interesting, amazing, challenging things.
This is the story of ‘Annie’ and her experience donating her eggs.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hello! I’m 26 years old living in Nashville, Tennessee. I spend most of my days in a stained glass studio or sketching in a notebook, and many-a-night you can find me hanging out with elderly dementia sufferers in their living rooms (it’s official business, I swear).Why did you decide to become an egg donor?
Honestly, I didn’t (and still don’t) see a reason why anyone would not want to become a donor. You are doing something great for someone else (that requires very little effort) and being very fairly compensated for it.

What is the process like to become a donor?
The actual process of becoming a donor the first time is the biggest hurdle. You have to submit pictures, fill out forms detailing your family health, education and work history, complete questionnaires that ask questions like “Do you sleep with stuffed animals?” and “Do you believe in miracles?” If you have a relatively healthy family you will then be put in the database. The database works kind of like MySpace. Potential recipients will search through all of these donor profiles (your name is omitted, as it is anonymous) and select one. There are some brief phone calls with lawyers, genetic counselors, and a psych evaluation. You never have direct contact with the recipient, and the agency acts a sort of middle-man helping to arrange appointments and travel. Then the real fun begins!

Once you begin your “cycle”, you will have to endure an almost daily vaginal probe ultrasound and your blood being drawn for about a week and a half. It takes less than an hour, and doesn’t much bother me personally. At some point you will have to give yourself injectable medication. Every doctor has a different method but they all include sticking yourself with needles every night. I thought I had a problem with shots and needles before I started this (in fact, I always cry after shots from the stress), but it’s been a breeze.

When the doctors give you the O.K. there is a final shot that you take to prepare your eggs for the retrieval. They take a long needle and go in through the vaginal wall. The procedure takes less than 20 minutes and I was discharged almost immediately. I personally had some ill effects from the anesthesia (severe nausea and trapped gas in my chest), but the procedure itself was painless.

What are the drawbacks of being a donor?

There’s no drinking or smoking or heavy lifting or sex for the 10 (or so) days that you are on stimulation medication. It’s particularly annoying because when your body is THIS fertile, it wants to procreate. You will catch yourself flirting mercilessly with just about anyone near the end of your cycle.

The benefits?
After a few weeks you can check online to see if your donation resulted in a pregnancy. It’s a wonderful feeling. The day you leave the hospital you also leave with several thousand ($3,000 – $8,000) more than you came in with. Both of my cycles have been in different states and so I have also enjoyed the free travel and accommodations.

Do you know anything about the families who will get your eggs?

Yes. The first couple were a pair of straight John Waters’s fans. This time I am donating to a single gay man. He also has a surrogate lined up (a surrogate can’t use her egg – that’s called “selling your baby to some guy” and it’s a legal and emotional liability). I know more about him than the first couple, because he wrote me a letter – anonymously, of course, thanking me and telling me about himself.

How do the people in your life feel about you being an egg donor?

I think my parents see it as a good opportunity, and my friends (especially men) say they are jealous. Everybody sees the dollar signs, but it really is rewarding on another level.

Have you ever had any second thoughts?

Yes, once. I panicked the first time that I realized these kids would be contacting me someday, probably when they were 18. The panic didn’t last long as I quickly did the math and realized that I’d be well into my 40’s by then and hopefully mature enough to handle the situation. It’s a hard situation to imagine. A child with a loving family that was made possible through the genetic donation of another person – sounds like a pretty great beginning to me.

What advice would you give to someone considering becoming a donor?
Think for yourself, make sure you have support, but don’t pass on this experience because other people think it’s “weird.” Take it seriously and be responsible, someone somewhere is spending upwards of $20,000 on a 50% chance that if this goes perfectly it will end in a baby for them. Don’t quit your day job.

Thanks so much for sharing, Annie! 
If any of you have long, involved questions for Annie or would like to contact her directly, you can email me at sarah (at) yesandyes (dot) org and I’ll pass along her info. 

Have any of you ever donated eggs?  Would you?
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23 Comments

Hannah J

Given that I donate blood and I'm on the bone marrow register – it did cross my mind and then decided would I be able to deal with the emotional crazy of someone out there having a baby using my egg. Then at the same time I'm like maybe it's the only way someone can have a baby of their own so it's a good thing. There are so many things to think about! Annie thanks for sharing 🙂

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Laura Does Days

This is such a wonderful story, it's great to see people who give a part of themselves in the hope that another person will hopefully have a little addition to their family. I can also see how the money is a major drawcard for many, but the emotional side of this would override this for some – one person can do charity work, another can donate eggs – at least you are contributing. Thank you for sharing Annie. Laura

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Vanessa

Thank you, Annie. I'm 27 and I also live in Nashville. I'm a cancer survivor and I might have to use an egg donor if I want to have kids. Your gift of your eggs will help make that a reality. This interview has really moved me.

Thank you so much.

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Anonymous

Thank you for featuring egg donation on Yes and Yes! I have been working for an egg donation/surrogacy agency for 6 years and it is such an honor to work with young women like Annie who are willing to go through this process for someone they don't know. It's not always easy, but I haven't met anyone who regrets doing it! Such an amazing gift.

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Erin

As a mother (to one, pregnant with my second) I find what you're doing incredibly moving. I don't know if I could do that for someone else, but I realize what a tremendous gift it is you're giving. Kudos.

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Anonymous

I would be curious about donating. Annie, how do you find a reputable donor situation? I'm 30 (fake gasp!), does that mean I'm too old?

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Annie

I have only donated through one agency before – eggdonor.com (Egg Donation Inc.) and they accept donors 18-32.

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Anonymous

If it weren't for amazing people like the author of this interview, I wouldn't have my beautiful twins to love forever. After suffering infertility for 10 years and having had many miscarriages, we finally achieved a successful pregnancy with the help of an egg donor. I will forever be grateful and she has changed our lives forever.

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Susan

From the bottom of my infertile heart, huge thank you to Annie and those like her. Without them many of my fellow infertiles wouldn't be able to conceive their children.

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Annie

It's true, there aren't any long term studies done on egg donors, because frankly we tend to disappear afterwards. The only people who know who we are are the agencies and they are businesses, not research facilities and thus not likely to call and check in down the road. There are risks with anything, especially something like this that requires a lot of medication, anesthesia, and an operation. You should know what you're getting into and do as much research as you can because the agency and doctors tend to gloss over everything pretty quickly. You just have to make an informed decision about it for yourself.

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Anonymous

Annie, where do you recommend researching this decision? I'm meeting with my doctor this week, but was curious if there are any online resources you recommend.
Thanks

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Anonymous

http://costoflife.heraldtribune.com/default.aspx

This is a must read for anyone considering it. It's not to sway you one way or another – just a very well written experience from someone who went through it. Lots of research, personal experience, supportive videos, and resources. Really changed my perspective on it.

It's much more complex than made to sound in this article.

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Thandai

I have what is called secondary infertility. I have had two failed pregnancies and am unable to become pregnant again after years of trying. The thing is, if you accept a donor egg the baby will never be yours, it will always be someone else’s baby. And there are white women in first world countries with more money than sense who pay for donor sperm and donor eggs and get pregnant with a random couple’s child. When you give birth to that baby it will have no real link to you whatsoever. You’re just a surrogate for some people you don’t even know and now you’re left holding their kid. There are so many babies out there, newborn babies too in need of adoption. Not babies who were snatched by the state in a forced adoption or who will grow up to hunt down their real parents, but orphaned babies, abused babies, people who genuinely do not want their babies and drop them off at random places never to be seen again, it happens. Why not take one of those babies in need of love and a happy family as opposed to creating another baby which also wouldn’t be yours when you could take an existing one? It is a really sickening bad decision. The feeling is similar to watching someone burn a mountain of cash whilst there is a homeless child sitting on the ground draped in a torn blanket 20 feet away. To the author of this post, my dear, one day you will realise you have sold your children and it will break your heart, I am so sorry for your loss because those are your babies out there. I cannot imagine how this will affect you in the future. God bless your soul.

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Anonymous

Wow, okay, someone needs to chill out. Of course people think of adoption as well as donor eggs/sperm, but in the end, some women just want to have that feeling of having a child growing inside of them with their partner’s sperm, or men wanting their partner to enjoy a pregnancy even if they can’t help with that process. Either option is an expensive and long process for couples, with some even being turned down for both adoption and donors. At least if one partner is fertile, why wouldn’t you want to try?

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Catherine

Hi there Ann! I saw that you lived in Nashville TN and was wondering if you can help me find a clinic/hospital that I can donate eggs to? Thank you!

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Mechele

This is such a wonderful thing that your doing. I’m an older woman with 2 grown kids from previous relationship. My finance had no kids and wants one. I’m not able to do so naturally so we will be looking for an egg donor very soon especially since I’m almost 50. We must complete our family.

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Chasity Anderson

Hi my name is chasity Anderson and I’m a 22 year old egg donor. Based out of Sam Antonio Texas. Currently I’m taking college courses for allied health and I work full time for Amazon. I have a 3 year old daughter of my own. I’m registered with a few agencies here in the United States as a donor as well. And recently i completed a cycle as of june 22, 2016 44 eggs were removed. So i do have experience. Im not sure if you are interested in any African American donors but If you are still interested in a donor Please feel free to email me at Chasityzanderson@gmail.com for more information

Reply

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