Experience of an Anonymous Egg Donor

May 3rd, 2010

This article was posted April 28, 2010, at The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. It is a really interesting, quick read and quite the eye-opener. Thank you, anonymous author.

I volunteered to harvest eggs for a friend, whose ovaries had ceased producing eggs in her early 30’s. She bought donated sperm from a California university sperm bank several years prior to my egg harvest and was being counseled about infertility options. This was not an “eggs for money” contract. I volunteered without a compensation obligation.

My experience began with an appointment to determine if I was a qualified egg producing candidate. I was 30 “something,” athletic, bright, employed as a professional, and married, with no children-yet. I talked to my husband and friends about it and their main concern was the medical risks to me.

My husband (who has children from a previous marriage) agreed to be supportive and the appointments with the psychologist were scheduled – one with me alone and one with my husband and I. The questions were general and focused on my benevolence notwithstanding my being childless. The psychologist completed notes for the file and my husband and I signed a general acknowledgement of “counseling.”

I am a marathon runner and I was asked to stop running two months before the hormone drugs and estrogen level testing began. I was told that the mileage of my training would inhibit the follicle production and the clinic demanded as much control over my lifestyle as possible. I stopped running in January 1992.

I scheduled the clinic appointments and initiated administering the drugs in March 1992. After 21 days, I had 35 Lupron injections, which were self-administered in my thigh, daily, for synchronization with my friend receiving the eggs; daily estrogen level testing; and followed with several Pergonal injections to hyperstimulate my ovaries to produce the mature eggs, which my husband administered. Then I received the final injection to release the eggs for the surgical egg retrieval process. When the clinic determined my hormones levels were ready for egg retrieval, the hospital appointment was scheduled and more paperwork was signed, including, the infertility doctor and anesthesiologist forms. I had headaches, abdomen bloating and extreme lethargy which the clinic indicated were normal side affects.

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  1. Irene Galadza
    May 4th, 2010 at 20:31 | #1

    This very interesting article ends so abruptly with the detsruction of the last embryos.
    Then what? Does she regret giving the eggs? How does she feel about the destruction
    of the embryos? Was hers a typical reaction to such a procedure?

  2. Irene Galadza
    May 4th, 2010 at 20:33 | #2

    I would be interested in hearing more.

  3. May 5th, 2010 at 08:15 | #3

    Part of the story of anonymous egg donation is the fact that these women have to remain anonymous as part of their agreed upon donation. I first met this woman when I was speaking at a conference. She came up and identified herself to me and began to tell me her story. She’s been very hesitant to talk for fear of divulging too much information which may identify her, her friend (remember, she did this for a friend) or the child born . . .who is now much older. This woman sees her friend and the child regularly. What anguish that must be to see essentially your child, knowing you will never be able to have your own children now, and that this child can’t know you. I obviously know many more of the details and as a trusted reporter of her story cannot divulge them either.

  4. Brigid
    May 5th, 2010 at 17:14 | #4

    What an incredible sacrifice!

  5. Paterfamilias
    May 6th, 2010 at 13:48 | #5

    Why didn’t she retrieve her frozen eggs and have them fertilized in vitro using her husband’s sperm?

  6. Betsy
    May 6th, 2010 at 14:04 | #6

    She had a hysterectomy; therefore, no uterus.

  7. Summer
    June 6th, 2010 at 10:50 | #7

    @Irene Galadza

    I think it is interesting that she just gives the facts and wants you to come to your own conclusions. As a woman, of course I want to know how she feels. But I don’t need to know, as far as how this information applies to me and my life. Her story speaks for itself.

  8. Yislin Castellanos
    September 23rd, 2010 at 08:54 | #8

    This story is worst case scenario. Hyperstimulation does not occur to everyone. As a matter of fact it happens to less than one in ten donor cycles.

    This is the very reason why most Reproductive Endocrinologists prefer that their patients use anonymous egg donors not known donors. This is one of the scenarios we explain to our patients when they want to use a sister or best friend or cousin that does not have children.

    My deepest sympathies go out to you. Upon signing any agreements to proceed with a donor cycle, you give up your rights to those eggs. Once they are fetilized with the sperm and become embryos, they are, for lack of a better term, the property of the intended parents.

    I think it was a beautiful gift you provided for your friend. There are options for you to conceive.
    There are medications that you can take that will help to mature your eggs but you will need the help of a gestational carrier. If it is something that you would consider, it is a wonderful option.

    Warmly,
    Yislin.

  9. Ruthisandidiot
    November 6th, 2010 at 08:41 | #9
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