I was 21 when egg donation sparked my interest (a friend of the family was struggling through infertility and decided to use an egg donor). I had never heard about it or thought of it, so, of course, I wanted to know more. Once I learned about the process and saw how much joy it brought to my friend and her family, I knew it was something that I wanted to do.
Unfortunately, Iowa doesn’t have many fertility clinics that use donors. In my research, I was surprised to find that California was always popping up! So, I decided to give it a try with an out-of-state egg donor agency. I now have two previous cycles under my belt (not with BHED, but through another California agency). When I got matched for my first cycle, I was a bit nervous about all of the traveling – it was my first time on a plane and my first time out of the Midwest! However, I soon realized that traveling was actually an unexpected perk! I was assigned a coordinator who took care of everything from airplane tickets, to hotel and rental car reservations. I didn’t have to worry about anything!
Not only that, but I didn’t have to be alone which went a long way towards putting me at ease when it came time to travel. I got to bring a companion with me, which made the whole experience much more enjoyable. My meals were also paid for – I got a per diem so I wasn’t required to pay for any necessities out-of-pocket (well, until I went shopping, which I had plenty of time for!). I usually had about 4 days in California before my procedure, and during that time I usually just had one appointment a day.
Now, while there were a lot of great things about traveling, there can also be downfalls. The first is that I never knew the exact dates of my travel until about a week beforehand, because it all depended on how my body reacted to the hormones. So, it’s important to have flexibility with your schedule! Also, I had to make sure that the companion I brought had flexibility as well. I received all of my medication in the mail and when I received it I spent awhile on the phone learning how to mix and inject it properly, as opposed to just going to a clinic and having a nurse teach me. Especially at first, I felt that I had to be a bit more pro-active than a donor working with a clinic that’s just down the street. Once I started medication, I had appointments to be monitored at a clinic here in Iowa and they would fax the results to my doctor in California. I never got to meet the doctor or nurses I was working with until I arrived shortly before the retrieval! Also, one of the things that I didn’t like about the agency that I was working with is that I was usually on a plane headed home the day after my retrieval. I would’ve felt more comfortable with more follow up before I went back home, but that is one of the reasons that I’m excited to work with Beverly Hills Egg Donation. I know that they’re great about following up with their donors afterwards.
I think that the whole experience for an out-of-state donor is exciting and fun overall. It’s definitely a perk! I can be nerve-racking at times, because the clinic and doctor you’re working with are in another state, but I think that it’s important for the donor to take charge and be as communicative as possible! The nurses and coordinators that you’re working with are there to help, so don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you want. Being flexible with your schedule is also important and it’s great to have your companion picked out early on, if possible. It takes a lot of the stress off. If you get the chance to donate away from home, enjoy it knowing that you’re getting a great opportunity to travel while also helping make a couple’s dreams come true!
-Nichole, BHED donor #8438