Egg Donor's Eggciting Donation Adventures

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Awkward Post

This is kind of an awkward, hard post for me. It is probably because I want to be in denial and not believe the worst can happen. There is always that chance that I am starting to diagnose myself with everything I am studying in med school to though.

Since my last donation (earlier this year), my periods have become extremely irregular. I never had abdominal cramps during my cycles, but since the last donation, my cramps are horrible. I am unsure if these abnormalities are consistent with the complications and oddities that occurred during my donation, and I am scared to find out the worst possible outcome.

During my last donation, the IVF doctor put me on maximum dosages, and on some days asked me to take the maximum dosage twice instead of the protocol of 1 dose daily. In my opinion, my ovaries were extremely pissed at the doctor for putting it through more hell than it had to asking me to take twice the maximum doses daily. I developed severe OHSS after the egg retrieval. I was also under lots of stress with the last cycle.

Since I study medicine full time, I am constantly reminded how my symptoms (additional ones not mentioned here), are red flags for me to get checked out. It's easy for someone to recommend to see a provider about the issue... but the doctors/providers are always the hardest patients. I can honestly relate to that. It is extremely difficult for me to see a doctor about any issue- because I can come up with lots of differential diagnoses for myself with the knowledge I have now. Of  course I still don't know everything, and doubt I ever will, even as a practicing clinician. The world of medicine is the understanding that we as clinicians should constantly be learning and be humble enough to recognize that we don't know everything.

In school, we had the medical board come speak to us about the laws and regulations, and a quick introduction on "how to avoid getting sued." During their time with us, it struck me how many things the IVF doctor did wrong with my last donation. It is my hope that there are no serious adverse effects to my symptoms- and if there is, I need to restore my faith in doctors. Sometimes, they get so busy, they miss the small details, which in turn can cause life-threatening or negative outcomes as a result.

As a future clinician, I want to always promise myself to treat all patients like they were my own family members. We are all going through hard things, and there is no reason for medical providers to make those "hard things" even harder for us (patients).

Please read my post "10 Basics Things You Should Know About Egg Donation Before Donating." Though the after-feeling of donating is rewarding, we also sign up for the unknown side effects that come with it. Be good to your body... we only have one in life.

- The anonymous egg donor

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Egg Donation for Dummies

So you want to be an egg donor, huh?

The top 9 BASIC things you should know:

1. If you faint at the sight of needles, then egg donation is not for you. For a few weeks, you will be screwing with your natural hormone cycle, by taking approximately 4-6 injections daily in your stomach, quadriceps, and buttocks. In addition, you must get your blood drawn everyday. For the first time during my fourth cycle, my veins got so bruised, it swelled up to the size of a grape. Your friends and family might question if you're a drug addict with all the needle inject sites in random places of your body. My stomach had so many injections, it turned 50 shades of gray, black and blue during that time.

2. You're concerned about your fertility, and not sure how egg donation affects it. When I began donating, I was reassured by every IVF doctor that it did not affect my fertility. Funny you should say that doc, because years later, I'm in the business of medicine, and there's no sufficient data in favor of egg donation and fertility risks. In fact, why on earth would I believe anything the IVF doc is saying, especially when I am the reason behind their fat paycheck from parents at the end of day. Whose side are those IVF docs on? I can guarantee you, it's not the egg donors. 

                                                   Biofeedback baby... don't mess with it.

Oh you don't understand positive and negative feedback of the endocrine system, and the mechanisms behind it? Yeah, I thought I understood it after receiving my undergrad degree in pre-med, but learning about it in detail in medical school really changed my perspective. If you have no desire to conceive, then egg donation is for you.

3. If you are late to most or all of your nail appointments, hair appointments and/or school classes, then egg donation is not for you. Each morning of your donation cycle, you must go into the IVF clinic, to get your blood drawn and do a transvaginal ultrasound... which bring me to number 5. 

4. A transvaginal ultrasound is done nearly everyday. Yep, it's more uncomfortable than what's depicted in the picture too. 

5. If go "insane in the membrane" when you can't fit in a daily work out, then egg donation is not for you. As an egg donor, undergoing injections, you should not work out. In fact, do not do any form of cardio even after the surgery- don't even fast walk! You must wait until your ovaries return to their normal size (so, after your next period). In laymen's terms, the injections stimulate more follicles to grow, causing your ovaries to swell up like a large fruit. Your normal ovaries are 3 to 5 cm! The fallopian tubes (aka: the arm looking things holding onto your ovary) can't deal with the weight, and twists on itself (torsion). When this happens, your blood supply to the ovary is cut off, and it starts to "die" (no blood to organ = organ death). This is what we called ovarian torsion and it is a medical emergency! It's a risk you sign up for when you agree to be an egg donor! Which brings me to number 7...

6. I have donated 4 times, and I suffered from ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS). It's no fun people! I had to go the ER, and emergency room visits are not a day in the park, Due to lack of time (I have 4 exams next week), I am copying and pasting just a few of the adverse effects from OHSS from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Rapid weight gain I gained 10 lbs in one day
  • Severe abdominal pain - more like excruciating pain
  • Severe, persistent nausea and vomiting - story of my life for 2 weeks after surgery
  • Decreased urination - you retain water
  • Dark urine - you retain water
  • Shortness of breath - can't breathe because your visceral organs are so cramped from your super big and super pissed off ovaries. 
  • Tight or enlarged abdomen - this is an understatement. 
  • Dizziness - Oh, one thing, I didn't have
7. Never ever sign a contract without reading it in detail. Get it checked out by a lawyer even. Even if the agency hires one on your behalf, be cautious. 

8. If you believe the eggs you are donating, are really your offspring, then donation is not for you, period. 

9. If you are donating for the money, then donation may or may not be for you. Many alumni donors regret their decision of donating because they did it solely for the cash. 

I'm sure there are more things that could go onto this list, and I will continue to add on as I get more time! :)

Peace and Love 
- the anonymous egg donor

Disclaimer: As always, all opinions are my own

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Does Egg Donation Affect My Future Fertility?

Q: If I donate my eggs, does it affect my future fertility? 

( I get this question so many times in my email, that I decided to publicly post my response for all to view. If you are a skim-reader, at least read the wording in red). 

A: Truth is, there are no long term studies showing the after effects of egg donation. So don't accept their guarantees that there are no consequences to your fertility.  Per my previous four donations, I was always told by my  agency and IVF doctors that there was absolutely no risk to my own fertility. After befriending many other egg donors, and completing my first year in medical school, I have come to the devastating realization that it is very possible that my previous  four donations have put me at increased risk of cancer and reducing my ovarian reserve. Some of my egg donor friends have actually gone into early menopause before the age of 30, likely caused by egg donation. 

For a long time, I couldn't wrap my head around my agency and IVF doctors constantly reassuring me that I was not putting my body in any sort of danger. Since then, I have realized that I was a very trusting and naive individual. I also was not a medical student back then either. Of course I shouldn't put all my faith into those people who are using my body as an egg vending machine. I was merely another check in the bank! I want to believe that my original agency whom I had done 3 cycles with, really did not know that it did in fact take a major toll on their donors. Recently, I was asked by them to do a fifth donation. However, I denied the offer. I am no longer willing to donate. Partially because of what I have learned in medical school, partially because of my nightmare experience with another agency I worked with on my fourth cycle, and partially because of I am on new medications that disallows me to be a donor anymore. I hope potential donors reading this takes consideration of the serious health risks you take on as an egg donor. 

When girls ask me about whether I would recommend egg donation, I am unable to really give a straight answer. Instead, I like to tell them what I know medically behind the process, and the possible consequences. I also tell them about my first 3 donations, and how wonderful my agency treated me. In 2 of those 3 donations with them, I was put in the best hotels, and taken care of very well by them. During one of the donations, one of the hotels was pretty bad, and in a sketchy part of town. I was not sure if it was because the cost of living was higher in this area... or what, but that was my last donation with that agency.  

If you have any more questions as a potential donor, donor, or intended parent, please tweet or email me! The best way to contact me is on Twitter

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Meeting an infertile couple

I have now gone through three egg donations as a donor. I have helped three women have babies, and I   feel blessed that I could help a couple in need. I have not ever met any of the recipient couples, so it was hard for me to relate to their path to this decision. 

Yesterday, I got to meet an infertile couple face-to-face. Hearing their story brought tears to my eyes, and I knew in my heart that my decision to be a donor was the best decision I have ever made. Along with my employment in the emergency room, I am a photographer and shoot movies recreationally. I have been asked to assist shooting weddings and at one time, a reality show. Yesterday, I was asked to assist with the infertile couple making a short family video for their adoption profile. They already have adopted one child, but they are wanting to expand their family. They are hoping that this video will set them apart from the other thousands of online profiles, helping them get selected.  I hope they are selected :) 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Q&A: Can I Have Sex During the Donation Process?

Not that the whole world wants to know this, but I started my first menstrual cycle post donation today. TMI? Sorry, but this blog is all about my journey through the process, so take it or leave it.

This means that after menses, I can begin birth control, and return to normal sex life with my husband. As you know, going through the egg donation process and post-retrieval, it is required that the donor abstain from intercourse. Well, at least until the donor's next menstrual cycle.

It is so important, if you are married or are in a committed relationship, that your significant other understands that the donor must abstain from intercourse for 4-6 weeks. Sounds like a long time, eh? Well, that's because it is. So before signing that contract, talk it over with your spouse or boyfriend! :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Future Egg Donation

When my phone rang today and the caller ID read that it was egg donor agency, I quickly picked up the phone. I anticipated good news about the couple I just donated to, or with my new couple that wanted me after this donation. My agency told me that the couple looking to use me after my 3rd cycle, had found someone else a couple of weeks ago. I guess they could not wait for me to finish off this last cycle. I am disappointed that it didn't work out, but I am fairly confident that another couple will pick me. Hopefully soon! 

-Your Egg Donor-

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Recovery: 1 Week Post 3rd Retrieval

It's been a week since retrieval. I stopped having cramps a couple days after the donation. Right now I am waiting to see if my intended parents will get pregnant via my egg donation. If a pregnancy results,a fourth couple is wanting to use me as well.

If you have been reading my blog through all three of my donations, you might remember that my appetite increases while on synthetic hormones. I become especially bloated right before retrieval. Like I thought, the weight has quickly come off since retrieval and my appetite has returned back to normal.

In another week or so, I should be starting my period. Post-period, it will be safe to have intercourse without the possibility of getting pregnant with multiple babies. I am still young and don't wish to try having children yet with my husband. There are still things we'd like to accomplish before becoming parents. For instance, I was invited to interview at a medical school. My husband is looking for a steady job that will be able to support us through medical school and future children. I've always been one to be financially ready before bringing children into this world. Anyways... I've rambled too much. Until next time!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 2 Post Retrieval

I don't know if I have ever had this happen before, but I haven't stopped having crazy urges to pee all the time! A small intake of water causes me to do the potty dance and head over to the nearest restroom ASAP. Other than that, this morning I was feeling fine. On our 3.5 hour flight home today though, I started having the worst cramping in my pelvic area. Our flight was also really bouncy due to lots of turbulence, and it my stomach felt kind of like my ovaries were having a dance party. It also didn't help that I had to pee so badly on the flight. I opted not to use the facilities, because the flight was so bouncy that I was afraid of my pee going against gravity and in another direction. Right when we got off the plane, I scurried off to the nearest lady's room. 

Now I'm at home and it feels great. My husband and I were so exhausted we plopped on the couch and just stared into space for awhile. I noticed that my cramps still hadn't gone away. I took 800mg of Ibuprofen, but it didn't touch the pain. I'm tempted to take another one of the twelve percocets the doc gave me. 

I will give an update later on my recovery from my egg donation and if my couple got preggers! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

About My Retrieval Yesterday


Yesterday I went in for retrieval. I was so nervous going in, but that's not abnormal for me. I am always  anxious before egg retrieval. For my previous egg donations, the physician's offices always gave me a Valium a couple minutes before to help me relax. I checked in two hours early for the surgery (it's required to check in that early), changed into the gown and put on these awesome, granny socks the hospital gave me. After changing into the hospital's fashion statement gowns and socks, they put me in a small room with one chair and a TV. I was too nervous to watch TV-- instead, I opted to text my husband, who was my designated companion for the trip. He had dropped me off that morning and went back to the hotel, anticipating my phone call saying that the surgery was finished. When I attempted texting my husband, I found out that there was terrible reception in same-day surgery area. Lame! My nerves kept increasing, so I finally gave in to my nerves and called the nurse into my room. I asked her if there was anything they could give me to calm my nerves. Instead, she gave me a lecture how I shouldn't be scared and how I chose to do this. She also told me that my husband should have come in with me and how it was my fault I was scared. I am normally not an emotional person, but I wanted to break down crying at that very moment. I bit my lip and held in my tears though. Other than the nurse's brutal honesty, I knew the elevation of hormones in my body were also playing a role in my emotions. Regardless of my nervousness, the nurse did not give me anything to calm my nerves. Another nurse came in and saw how scared I looked. My lips were quivering, and she mistook my body language for being cold. She brought back a dozen heated blankets and covered me. This nurse's kindness helped redeem what I was feeling towards the other nurse.

Right before surgery, both physicians that were performing the retrieval came in to talk to me. They assured me not feel nervous and that they would do their very best. Their friendliness made me ease up and release some of the tension I had been feeling. The anesthesiologist came in to prep me for anesthesia. During my first donation, they did not give me anesthesia... they only gave me a drug called Versed, but my nurses were so loving and caring, that I felt at ease. During my second retrieval, I had such a kind anesthesiologist. She assured me that she would take care of me like her own daughter and that made a couple jokes to put me at ease. The anesthesiologist I had yesterday, however, walked in the room and barely spoke a word to me. The only reason I knew she was my anesthesiologist, is because I asked after she injected me. I didn't like the rushed feeling she was putting off, so I tried to lighten the mood and say something like, "I hope whatever you're giving me helps ease my nerves." She looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Whatever." I felt like the meanest girl in high school just walked all over my feelings and stomped on them. It turns out, she was just injecting me with Zofran (a med that helps nauseousness). I wasn't  nauseous and never experienced nauseousness with anesthesia... I guess she would have known that if she would have taken the time to ask me. 

Before I knew it, it was time for surgery. I laid down in the infamous compromising position, feet in the stirrups and all, and took a deep breath. I started feeling drowsy (of course, my anesthesiologist didn't tell me she was injecting something). I always feel better knowing what and when my anesthesiologist is doing, so that I don't panic. The last thing I remember is staring at the wall, praying that everything would go well. I woke up feeling groggy and in so much pain. The nurses told me to get dressed, but I asked if I could just lay here for a little while longer. They said that was fine, and that they would call my husband to tell him I was ready to go. 

After I was dressed, one of the physicians came in and told me they had retrieved twelve excellent eggs. He also commented at how nice it was that I donating when I was so scared of surgery. He mentioned that it was such a great gift I was giving when I was so nervous. Despite my anxiousness, his words gave me a comforting feeling that everything was going to be okay. He prescribed me 12 percocet and I was grateful, because my previous donation doctor refused to give me pain medications. Instead, my second donation doctor told me to drink some red wine to relieve the pain. I tried telling her I was Mormon (LDS) and did not drink alcohol. She didn't care, I guess. 

The percocet, however, did not relieve much of the pain until today. The pain that a donor might feel is similar to severe menstrual cramps. I am starting to feel better and thinking of enjoying my last full day here by going out on an activity. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Retrieval Day for my 3rd Donation

Last night was a medication free night! What a relief, because the dosage of medications this physician had me on was out of this world. The last time I took my injections was 48 hours ago, where I injected myself with the trigger shot.

The day of and before retrieval, I'm usually feeling heavy, nauseous and extremely tired. At least these were my symptoms for my past 2 donations. Yesterday and today, I feel fine. I'm actually nervous and scared because I feel just fine. I'm still pretty bloated, so that symptom is still similar feeling to my previous donations.
This morning, it was required to check in 2 hours prior to surgery. I still have about an hour to go before they put me under anesthesia and my body is forced to go in a less than modest position for all the see. I always get really nervous before retrieval. It may be a "same-day surgery process" but I can't help my stomach's butterflies right before. I also get scared for the pain that I might feel a couple hours after surgery.
Wish me luck and I'll update later!