This is a little off topic from my normal blog posts! So, I hope you don’t mind me posting this! Today, closed off the main activities for my role as an egg donor.
What is an egg donor?
An egg donor is someone who donates some of her eggs to another woman in order for them to try and conceive a baby. There are many reasons why a woman may not have sufficient/quality eggs and may seek donor eggs for a baby.
What are the criteria?
Every country has unique rules so it’s best to check the criteria in your country. Normally there is always the requirement to have a child yourself as well as be under a certain age (normally 35/36). You also need to be in good physical health. In the Netherlands there are also strict rules for who is eligible to be a donor and this includes having a full physical and mental assessment to ensure that you’re able to carry the mental and physical strain of the steps required for donation and you’re in the right frame of mind to do it. This includes having a good support network around you once the retrieval has occurred.
What’s the process?
After the initial application, you’ll have a physical and mental assessment and a full medical history will be taken. Once this has been done, the case is taken to the wider group to ascertain if you’re a suitable donor or not. If you are, they can then plan in the appointments, scans and medicines that you’ll need.
The entire process begins before your period is due, where you’re given pills to help with starting the ovulation process. To be able to do this, you need to know and keep a track of your cycle. A few days later, you begin with the first injections of FSH hormone. This is all based on specific criteria for just how much you need to inject.
4 days later, it’s the second set of injections and these stop the eggs that you’re building from being released. The next day or so, you have an echo to see how many eggs are being grown and to give an idea for when the retrieval can take place. On the echo day, it’s time to return a lot of forms regarding the donation to the hospital. In my case, this contained questionnaires about myself, what I’m like as an individual, what I want to happened to the eggs if they can’t be used for donation (e.g. scientific research).
35.5 hours before the procedure is due to happen, you take another two injections. This can only be done when the eggs are grown enough.
On the day of the procedure, you’re given two suppositories as pain relief with additional pain relief/sedation offered. I cannot fault the team that I had at the hospital. Their prime focus was my safety, health and ensuring I was as comfortable as possible. It honestly felt like a spa at the end as I was given warm blankets, a hot water bottle and drinks.
The procedure itself I was warned would not be pleasant but if I’m being completely honest, with the medication I received it was actually ok. It wasn’t completely painless but it was also not as painful as I was told. I was given an IV for medicines and for bloods to be taken.
After the procedure, you’re given between 60-90 mins to relax and be monitored. During this time, you’re regularly checked and given fluids to help you recover.
After the procedure, you can leave but you’re under strict orders to have bed rest for a few days to fully recover. I did not expect such a long recovery time but you need to be aware that you may need to be monitored further for echos and bloods. The hospital has your best interest at heart so they will see how you are /your stats and go from there.
I have always wanted to donate my eggs. I was once told about it during a biology class and was excited to be considered for this. After several months of waiting/checks and discussions I was due to start in July 2021. I am not the biggest fan of Needles so I was a little worried but overall, I just took everything one day at a time.
When I had the first echo, I was surprised as I was told that I was growing 15 eggs on one side and 9 on the other. This was a bit too much for their liking. So, 3 days later, I was back in for another echo and this time it was a total of 32 eggs. The cut off point for the procedure is 35 eggs as otherwise there is a risk of overstimulation syndrome (which is very dangerous). After a blood test to check my FSH levels, I was given the go ahead and the procedure took place 48hrs later.
My totals were: 32 follicles were collected, 22 made it under analysis and 9 were eventually frozen.
My recovery so far has been absolutely fine. I feel a little tender but overall I’m feeling a lot better than I was expecting.
My next steps are purely recovery focused. It’s a few more days of bed rest, another scan to make sure I’m healing well and the hospital want to make sure that after the procedure, that there are no signs of infection etc.
This is a question that I’ve been asked a lot. Why put yourself through the mental and physical discomfort? For me, personally, I would like to give another family the chance at the happiness that I have with my children. I have had a miscarriage, I know the pain and disappointment and I would hope that if I was in need of a donor egg, that there’d be someone who would help.
I would definitely recommend egg donation if you’re eligible. I cannot praise the doctors, nurses and technicians enough for the entire journey of egg donation.