I Donated My Eggs
In the summer of 2016, after a major cut to my financial aid, I realized I was no longer able to pay for school. I had just recently changed my major, had only one year left to complete it, and was very much looking forward finishing. Desperate for money, and only half-joking, I googled “how to sell your body parts on the black market.” Luckily, I came across a less illegal and more practical option: egg donation. I read, “The average egg donor receives $8,000-$10,000 of compensation for their time and inconveniences,” and I was sold. I signed up, immediately.
I called my mom to tell her about my new idea and, to my surprise, she was supportive. She told me it was a very nice thing to do, which hadn’t even occurred to me since, I was only doing it for the money (terrible, I know, but true).
In less than a week after signing up, I was contacted through an agency based in Chicago. I was asked to send in an updated Pap smear, and pictures of myself and members of my immediate family, so they could start to build my profile. Once that step was complete, I was asked to come into my "match managers" office to complete a physical, a mental health, and personality exam. They set everything up, and took care of all of the expenses, making it all very easy for me. They explained that all of this was necessary, because if my egg donation was successful, my DNA would be passed on to the potential fetus. In other words, the potential parents want to know exactly what they’re paying for. They went over potential risks and side effects with me, which mostly consisted of cramps and bloating. As of now, there are no proven long term risks in egg donation.
I was pleasantly surprised when a few days later, I was informed that I passed each test to their standard. I waited for less than a month before my profile was picked by a set of potential parents. The process is entirely anonymous, so I didn’t learn anything about the parents other than they were two fathers, which did warm my heart and added an element of sentiment. I was excited to help them start their family. From that point on, the process went quickly; the nurses showed me everything I needed to do and how to do it. I was responsible for administering injections into my lower abdomen, twice a day, for about ten days. It sounds scary, but after the first time it really wasn’t bad at all.
During the ten days of injections, I had to come into the IVF clinic around two to three times a week, in the morning, for blood work and vaginal ultrasounds. The injections are meant to stop your natural cycle and stimulate your ovaries to ensure that your eggs grow big and strong, or at least that’s how I understood it; so the morning appointments were necessary to monitor my egg follicles and hormone levels. I was also forbidden from drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco or any other drug use, having sex, or lifting heavy objects. Everything went smoothly, and just two weeks later, I was ready for my retrieval. The retrieval consisted of a twilight anesthesia, and two days of mandatory rest.
About a week after my retrieval, I got my period, and my body went back to normal; and two days after that, a check for $8,000 hit my bank account. I wouldn’t say it was entirely easy, but it certainly was not as difficult or frightening as I thought it might be. When I shared my decision with some close friends and family, their main concern was “Will this affect your ability to have kids?” But, I’ve never really been interested in having kids, so it was not really a concern going in. I told them exactly what my nurse told me: there is no proof that infertility is a potential risk. I also got a lot of questions like, “Doesn’t it feel morally wrong? Like, you’re giving your kids up?” To which I would respond with a simple, “No.” Sure, it’s my DNA, but it’s not my child. I am not carrying that child, or giving birth to it, or raising it. The way I see it is, I gave a family eggs they didn’t have, and I didn’t need. It wasn’t something I gave up, but something I’m helping someone else gain. It was never something I felt wrong or guilty about, quite the opposite actually.
In fact, I have donated my eggs three times since then, and each time, I’ve received a larger compensation. I will be able to do this two more times in my life, before I turn 29, and I am considering it. The compensation is taxable, so I had to be smart about how much to set aside for the end of the year. Nevertheless, it has been immensely helpful in paying for school.
When women ask me about egg donation, I highly recommend it. Obviously, everyone should do their own research, and decide for themselves if this is a route they’re willing to take. But as for me, donating my eggs was one of the best decisions I ever made.