The choice to give someone the gift of building a family through egg donation is a personal one. Although the process that egg donors go through to donate eggs is similar, if not the same, most of the time, no two egg donation journeys will be the same. Here at Santa Monica Fertility, we treat our egg donors with the best care and support them every step of the way. Here, one of our young first time egg donors shares her journey of choosing to become an egg donor with Santa Monica Fertility and the experience she had throughout the process of egg donation and beyond.
It was a beautiful, sunny day. I was working at my retail job when a customer approached me and asked for my advice on what top she should purchase. As routine, I asked her how her day was going. She looked very upset and proceeded to tell me about her struggle with infertility and finding the right doctors and program that would help her achieve a family. She was currently seeking an egg donor so that she and her husband could create the family of their dreams.
I was a very curious 16 year old, so I started asking her questions about the process. She informed me a little bit about the process, and I was amazed by how everything worked. I was determined to learn more! I went home that evening and instead of doing my economics homework, I researched infertility and egg donation.
Once I turned 18 I pondered on the thought of donating my eggs. I discussed the idea with my mother, and after a long conversation we both decided that it would be an amazing thing to participate in.
I was extremely healthy, smart, and athletic. I knew I would be eligible to be an egg donor, but there was something holding me back. The thought of the process was nerve-wracking. I was not sure how I would be capable of giving myself the hormones, mainly because I was a crybaby about needles. I was worried about the side effects of the process and how I would feel after the procedure. Most importantly, I was worried about being left in the dark about the process and what would be going on behind the scenes.
First Steps To My Egg Donation Journey
I decided to research fertility clinics in my area, and that is when I found Santa Monica Fertility Clinic. The first step that I took was filling out the online application. They asked me various questions on my ethnic background, my personality, and what my childhood was like growing up. I was very excited to answer all of the questions, but also nervous because I was unsure about what Santa Monica Fertility would think of my application.
A couple of days later, I was contacted by the clinic. They reached out to me and asked me to come into the clinic to do some basic blood work, an ultrasound, and talk about any questions that I had.
My first visit to Santa Monica Fertility went very well! The whole staff was very friendly and made sure that I felt comfortable. After meeting with the nurses, I sent in baby pictures as well as current pictures of myself. Once I was cleared as an eligible donor, I was told that it could take several weeks or months to get matched with an intended parent. I was very eager to get matched, so of course I had my phone ringer on and all the way up so that I could answer any call that came through.
The Excitement Of Being Matched
Two long weeks passed by. I had just gotten off work and was driving when my phone started to ring. I checked who was calling, and it was Santa Monica Fertility! I immediately pulled over and answered. Gabriella told me that she had good news. Several thoughts were running through my head at this moment, but I was not prepared for the best news ever! She informed me that I was matched with an intended parent. I sat there in my little Hyundai Elantra for about 10 minutes and cried tears of excitement and joy. My journey as an egg donor was about to begin!
Once I started my menstrual cycle, I went in for another visit. I did a screening to make sure that everything related to my genetic background was healthy. On this visit I did get a lot of blood drawn but they made sure I had some candy so that I would not leave the clinic woozy — thank God!
Once my blood work was cleared by Dr. Jain, I had to speak with a legal representative as well as a genetic counselor. My legal representative was very helpful and discussed all of the legal issues surroundin
g my egg donation. I signed a few contracts and I was legally good to go! Next, I had a phone call meeting with my genetic counselor and we discussed every aspect of my background. I was finally cleared by my genetic counselor, and that is where my egg donor experience began.
The (Dreaded!) Hormone Injections
I had to wait a few months and take a different form of birth control so that my cycle would become in sync with my egg donation dates. During this time period, I went to several checkups with the clinic to make sure that my egg follicles were growing at a consistent and even rate. Once the nurses decided that they were a good size, I started to take my hormone injections.
A few days before my first injection they gave me a little blue lunch box and a few doses of my medication. It was so easy and nice because the nurses had prepped all of the injections for me and had given me a lot of insight on how to give myself the injections. I thought that they would give me my medication in a syringe with a huge needle, but they did not. The needle was tiny and the dose of the medication was very small.
I remember my first injection very clearly. I had to inject myself with the medication every day at 4 pm. On day 1 at 3:55 pm, I was prepared and ready to rumble. I had gone out to lunch with my roommate that afternoon and so I carried my little blue lunch box around with me all day. We were sitting in a parking garage for my first injection. I think she was more nervous and scared than I was!
I put the needle into my stomach, but I suppose I did not apply enough pressure because the needle would not go in all the way. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes — mainly because I thought I was going to pass out.
Next thing I knew, the syringe was empty and I had successfully given myself my first injection! Everything after that was very easy and stress-free. I went to the clinic a few times a week to do routine check ups. They monitored my follicle growth and, after a week and a half of injections, it was finally time for the final egg retrieval procedure.
The Day Of Egg Retrieval
I was given instructions to do the trigger shot exactly 36 hours before my procedure. After those 36 hours, I went to the clinic at 7am for the egg retrieval. I was very anxious because going under anesthesia had always freaked me out, but once they put in my IV and talked me through the process, my nerves had calmed.
They transferred me into the room where they were doing the retrieval and gave me my anesthesia. The next thing I knew, I was laying back in the bed and being taken care of by the nurses. I had minor cramping but the nurses were very kind and helpful so they gave me a heating pad and some ibuprofen. My roommate drove me home after the anesthesia wore off and I took a small nap. I woke up feeling completely normal and I had little to no cramps for the rest of the day.
My Egg Donation Journey Number 2
I have nothing but positive things to say about Santa Monica Fertility Clinic and my egg donation experience so far. The nurses and staff that you meet on your first visit are there with you every step of the journey. I truly believe that doing my egg donation with Santa Monica Fertility is the best decision I have ever made. I would one hundred percent recommend everyone to participate in this process. I am currently planning on doing my next donation in a few months, and I am so excited to begin this process for a second time.
As Kathy Calvin once said, “Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.”