“I started out feeling all excited when I was chosen by the intended parents to become their egg donor. I went for my internal scan, my first ever which was quite scary with me not knowing what to expect. I got my injections and started the process.
Today I went in for my egg retrieval, I had mixed feelings of nervousness and excitement all in one! When I came out of theatre the lovely clinic nurse came to see me and brought me a lovely gift, which I really did not expect from my recipient parents! As soon as I got it I burst into tears, I could not believe something I had done made someone else so incredibly happy! I felt overjoyed and so emotional, all I could think was “Wow! I just did something selfless for someone I do not know” and that made me feel proud and like a very special person.
I pray, hope and believe that the parents will get their miracle. I cannot thank them enough for picking me to be a part of the joyful journey that lies ahead of them and the many treasured memories!!
Good luck to them and thank you Nurture for doing such amazing, selfless work!!”
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.”
Once people have decided to enlist the assistance of an egg donor to have a baby, they need to find a suitable egg donor. Something that if done on your own, can feel very much like going on a blind date, blind-folded
Selecting an egg donor is not too unlike online dating where you can view the profiles of an overwhelming number of potential suitors. Only, in this case, your ‘matchmaking’ service is not a dating service website, but an egg donation agency who knows that this is not just about a once off event, but instead understands that choosing the right donor is one of the most important decisions you will make for your future family. After selecting a reputable egg donor agency, donor recipients will have access to the agency’s database of egg donors from where they will be able to peruse and review a variety of egg donor profiles. Egg donors are healthy young female volunteers between the ages of 21 and 34 years old. In South Africa, an egg donor’s identity is never revealed – which is why future parents are only able to view baby and toddler photos of their donor. This is to protect the donor’s anonymity
But in order to make sure that donors select the right person, all the egg donor profiles contain extensive and detailed information about the donor: From her physical traits, full medical history, family information, academic information, personality traits, interests, social as well as professional aspects. In fact, you will get to know virtually everything about her, except her real name. Her profile should also state her egg donation stipulations and availability.
These detailed profiles allow the recipients to make an informed choice and to ultimately select someone who closely matches their own uniqueness in attributes and physical appearance.
All efforts are undertaken by reputable egg donor agency to optimise the process for egg donors and their recipients to make the process as efficient as possible and to increase the success rate of conception. An established egg donation agency will be able to effectively guide and support recipients about selecting the right profiled egg donor. It is important that people have access to a solid and reputable egg donor database.
When egg donation recipients find ‘the one’, that ideal candidate who is the right fit for them, they will most often experience contentment and peace when reading the egg donor profile. Sometimes it’s a ‘gut feel’ thing, othertimes it’s a ‘connection’ that takes place when you read a specific profile. But no matter how you choose your perfect donor, it is vital that the ‘matchmaking’ agency makes the process as comforting and fulfilling as possible.
15 reasons to get off the fence and become an egg donor
1. You’ll get to witness the wonders of modern medicine first hand.
2. It will make you feel powerful in your ability to make positive social change.
3. Many women and men desperately need eggs to make their families, and you could help them do that.
4. The entire egg donation process only takes 2-3 months, and only 2 weeks of that is active participation.
5. You’ll learn more about your body, your menstrual cycle, and human reproduction in general.
6. Donating eggs will give you an appreciation of the beauty and power of your body.
7. Donating eggs will give you an amazing symbolic connection to your fellow human beings.
8. The experience will deepen your capacity to empathize with others’ suffering.
9. If your recipient is infertile, you can raise public awareness about infertility.
10. If your recipient is gay, you can raise public awareness about gay parenting.
11. “I’m an egg donor” makes a great conversation starter at parties.
12. You’ll be able to look back on the experience with pride.
13. It is your opportunity to ‘pay it forward’ with some very good karma sent out to the universe.
14. You’ll be a member of a very small, very unique “sorority” of women who have donated eggs to others.
15. You will have the fantastic, wonderful, awesome experience of having the country’s best egg donor team support you through the process – the Nurture team are like a best friend times a million.
For more information about egg donation and how to apply to become an egg donor, please visit here.https://www.nurture.co.za/donor-application/
Adapted from an article written by Abbie Waters