Why do women decide to become egg donors? And how does the process unfold? Egg Helpers has started a new series of interviews with our donors to share stories from women just like you. Women who decided to take a leap of faith, change someone's life forever, and make their dreams come true. This is Robyn's story.
The biggest reason why I decided to become an egg donor is because I always imagined helping someone, but I wasn't ready to become a surrogate just yet. Becoming an egg donor was an opportunity for me to help others in a way that I felt comfortable. As a single mom, I understand that being a parent is so much more than that genetic link to the child, and I couldn't imagine a life without those special little moments like getting ready for school in the morning, the hugs and the "I love you's".
No, I was only reimbursed for expenses pertaining to egg donation. Things like travel and food costs. While I didn't need reimbursement for medication, I did need to drink a lot more fluids than I'm used to, like Gatorade and vegetable juices. Due to the risk of developing OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome), the doctors recommend you consume a lot of salty beverages, and since I don't normally drink those things, I was reimbursed for those costs.
I actually got really lucky, I didn't experience any bad side effects. I was a little bloated, but other than that I didn't really have any side effects like others who may go through the donation process or their own IVF treatment. The injections are started in your stomach, and I was making sure I wasn't injecting myself in the same sport every time. There was a little bit of bloating near the end, but relatively painless. I have tattoos and piercings, so I found that the injections weren't a really big deal for me.
I think it's possible that other's misconstrue that egg donor's are not mature enough to be making this decision, based on the fact that they will now how a child out there in the world that is related to them. When parents are selecting their donor they are usually looking for someone who is relatively young, and between the ages 21-35 years old. The reason why I think this is a misconception is because people who believe egg donor's are not mature enough to make this choice usually don't understand the process an egg donor is going through before she makes her final donation. But after going through the whole process – after the donor gets a legal consultation, talking to the people who work at the fertility clinic, and talking to the representatives of the donation agency – they would have a clear understanding of what they've signed up for. Egg donors wouldn't go through with their donation if they didn't 100% understand. They're being educated along the way in order to make a mature and informed decision based on the guidance they've been provided.
I think I expected it to be a longer process, and that it would be difficult in some way, but it was really simple. You go online, you create your profile, you get picked, you get medically screened, and then you're ready to go. I maybe didn't expect to go to the clinic as many times as I did, which was every two days after a certain time period. But other than that, I was pretty educated about the process, so I didn't really have any misconceptions.
I chose a known donation because of the fact that as a child, I didn't know my dad. When I was 14 I decided I wanted to find out who he was, but I never got the opportunity to because he had passed away before I was able to find him. I think it was really important for me that if there was a child to come out of my egg donation, and if they ever asked themselves that question of "where do I come from", they would have the ability to look into that. I wanted to do a known donation so that if they ever decided to look for me, I would be there for them.
Probably about a total of seven full days that were spread over the entire process. First, there was my medical screening day. Then there was the day I had to go in to the clinic on the second day of my cycle so I could pick up and learn about my medication. After taking my medication, I had a day where I needed to get an ultrasound and bloodwork to make sure my hormone levels were coming up to where they were supposed to be, and to make sure I didn't ovulate. Following that was the day they gave me my trigger shot. This was to make sure I didn't ovulate, and that all of the eggs I had produced hadn't matured and been released. About 24 hours after that I went in for retrieval.
The retrieval was actually very simple. Once I arrived at the clinic I was set up in a small room with a cozy heating pad and they hooked me up to an IV. I wasn't fully sedated but it helped to calm my nerves. After the doctor introduced himself, he removed the eggs with something that looked like a teeny straw. I actually fell asleep during the procedure, I didn't feel anything, no pain. After the retrieval, I went into the recovery room where I slept for another two hours, and then went back to the hotel. It's common to stay at a hotel that is close to the fertility clinic in case any complications were to happen, such as developing OHSS. This way you can go to the clinic directly, because if you were to go to a hospital, they may be unsure about your procedure and any medications you've been on. If there are any issues it's always best to go to the clinic first.
After the retrieval, that was it. The clinic gave me three days of pills afterwards to help fight off potential infections. The clinic and the agency both checked in on me in a few days to see how I was doing. Because I didn't have any symptoms after my retrieval, I was able to go to work the next day and everything was fine.
My family didn't really have much to say. They were curious about it, and they asked questions, but they were pretty open to the whole thing. Had they not been I still would have gone through with it.
They did! My eggs became two twin babies that just celebrated their second birthday, which is very exciting. It's so great to be able to stay connected and see pictures through social media. I get to share pictures of my daughter, and the twin's parents get to share pictures of them, and we both get to see the resemblances.
My intended parents picked me, and I was informed about the couple. If I had decided that I didn't want to donate to them, that would have been ok. But in this case, I was more than happy to help them.
We are Facebook friends and we message each other occasionally. They send me pictures and Christmas cards, so that's really nice. If I were to travel to their location more often, I would be able to see them, but we aren't close by so that's not really a practical option. My intended Mom says that if I'm ever travelling through, I'm more than welcome to stop by, which is really kind.
I think one of the most important things to look for is an agency that you can trust. If you don't feel comfortable working with the people who are representing you, then there is no point in continuing the relationship. It's important to look for an agency that has clear, open, and honest communication. It's important to find an agency that will walk you through the process, and let you know the difference between what is a 'like to have' quality and want is a 'need to have' quality in a donor. Are the physical traits really important? Probably, some people do choose based on appearances with the hopes that the child will look similar to the intended parents. However, college education, personality, and interests are also just as important. It's important for egg donors to find an agency who will coach them through all of that.
I learned not only that I had the capacity to be selfless, but I also learned to value the little moments with my own daughter more. I learned to value the tantrums with the joy, and the 'I love you's' with the 'I hate you's'. I learned to appreciate my relationship with my daughter so much more because there are so many people out there who can't have that on their own. There are so many people out there who wish they could have a child of their own and have to go through this route of egg donation just to achieve those little moments too. Being an egg donor also helped me come to terms with being a single-parents a lot more, because it gave me a different perspective on what a parent really is, and what that difference is all about.
The best thing about being an egg donor is that I helped a deserving couple have the opportunity to say goodnight to their children each night; I helped them have the special family holidays of their dreams. I helped them create a future, and I think that's the best thing with being an egg donor. I was able to be such a small part, literally the tiniest puzzle piece to a thousand-piece jigsaw, but without that little piece, it's an unfinished puzzle.
Dear Future Moms and Dads,
For our family, it was necessary for us to use an egg donor to build our family as I'm a trans woman. We chose to go with a known donor, and through searching Egg Helper's collection of profiles, we came across this beautiful angel.It was love at first sight so we asked to be connected with her. Robyn is a lovely woman who is very down to earth and easy going. After the donation, we are still in contact with her online and we sometimes send her pictures so she can see the twins as they grow up. We couldn't have asked for any better! She gave us this beautiful gift of life, not once, but twice when our twins were born in 2017. We love you, Robyn!