“There is no greater gift to give” – one donor shares her story

My stomach is bloated and uncomfortable. I sit and it cramps, I stand and I experience the most excruciating spasms in my abdomen. The day of the operation has arrived. My eggs are ready and soon this will all be over. The waiting room is buzzing as usual with all the happiness in the world, but I am sitting here in complete silence thinking back on the past three months of my life.

It all started on the night of 28th April 2012. A night never to be forgotten. Sitting among friends when my cellphone vibrated on my leg as I received an email. An email that I had been craving for a long time: “Fabulous news! YOU have been selected by a recipient as their egg donor…” Little did I know that what was going to follow was a ride of emotions and pain that I could never have imagined.

The beginning of my journey started with an interview. I was shaking from head to toe as I made my way to a beautiful little coffee shop, to meet the woman who would be by my side as the process of donation continued. I wanted to make a good first impression. So many thoughts were running through my head; what to say, how to sit, watching my language and minding my manners. Everything my mother had ever taught me about being a lady I was going to put into practice.

I arrived at the entrance and glanced across the room and there she was. Melany, with long curly brown hair and I was guessing about forty years of age. She stood up as we made eye contact and I moved towards her. I felt as though I was floating. My body was moving as a whole, yet at the same time my hands were warm and sweating, my heart pounding in my chest.

I shook her hand, the lady that would get me to the finish line. Introduced myself and from that moment onwards we spoke as if we had known each other for years. We laughed and exchanged thoughts and opinions and she explained exactly what I would be going through in very intense detail. I became nervous at times, but she was very quickly able to make me feel secure and completely sure about what I was doing.

Following that interview was an appointment with a clinical psychologist at the fertility clinic. Now never having been to a psychologist before, I had a very anxious feeling as I sat there. The room was bare. The only thing that made it feel warm was the smell of burning vanilla incense. As I breathed it in the smell brought a calming feeling over me.

I thought to myself that this is not another interview; it is simply a conversation between two adults, to give a perspective as to whether I am mentally prepared for everything, which I felt I was. I had nothing to fear. I was asked a series of questions about myself and my past, which is apparently normal in that environment. She then proceeded to enquire about my perception on egg donation, asking questions like “Do you not think that your inquisitive side might get the better of you in the years to come?” as what I was doing was completely anonymous. I felt these questions to be rather unnecessary as I had given this decision years of thought, however I answered honestly and she seemed pleased. I look back now and realise that the session is very important and gives the psychologist an opportunity to separate the weak from the strong. I am the strong.

The next and final step was my very first appointment with a gynaecologist. It was uncomfortable to say the least. A Belgian man with silver grey hair came to collect me from the waiting room. He lead me to a very upmarket room where he instructed me on what to do. I proceeded to get undressed and lay down on the bed covering my legs with a towel. This was a moment in life where I could not control the earthquake going on inside of me. I was sweating, my mouth was incredibly dry and when he entered through the curtains, my heart rate tripled instantly.

Throughout the appointment he continuously asked me if I was doing alright – I must have looked like a nervous wreck. We then sat at his desk as he handed me a little navy blue briefcase which contained several injections and hormone treatment. This little blue case would be my wakeup call every morning for the next two weeks.

Never in my life have I experienced the ups and downs, both physically and emotionally, that I have gone through. My hands are holding each other tightly as I await the scrub nurse. Once again my cellphone vibrates and the alert light flashes red. “Another message of well wishes from a friend?” I thought to myself. No. an email from the recipients I was donating to. The world closed up around me as I read the black text. Well wishes, thanks and praises for three whole pages. As I read, my smile grew bigger; I felt a feeling of pride that is entirely indescribable. I am about to allow a couple a chance to become a family. There is no greater gift to give.

The scrub nurse walked in and without hesitation I stood up and felt the world release itself off my shoulders. The pain, the nerves and all the uncomfortable new experiences I had endured were all about to come to an end. That one email made every moment of this journey worthwhile. The anesthetist takes my hand. “Count to ten and sleep tight.”