Archive for the ‘From Donor’s Perspective’ Category
Thursday, March 29th, 2012
From our companion site, Ask Kate:
Q: I’m anticipating 2 major out-of-town events: my brother is graduating college on 5/5; and close friends getting married on 5/26. What is your experience with timelines and cycle startups? What are some possible scenarios? Have you ever had doctors allow you to go out of town for 2-4 days during a cycle? And if so, will they work with you pending your consistency with the protocol and availability for major follow-ups and procedures? I’ll of course ask my doctor when I go in for results in a month, but I’d like to have an idea and start getting my ducks in a row ASAP.
A: First, congratulations on being matched. Big news. As for your schedule – you have been picked. The chosen one, literally. The cycle cannot go forward without you. That said, ALL of the responsbibility lies on you at this point – and until the second the anesthesiologiest awakens you post-retrieval. If there is anything, anything, anything you need to make your med team aware of, do it immediately, whether you think it’ll be an issue or not. You have the right to list some blackout dates, but that doesn’t mean you get to dictate the schedule; it means it’ll be taken into consideration. If you have signed legal, and you are in the throes of testing, you are responsible for showing up for appointments every single time they’re on the schedule. It’s not just you going through the calendar, it’s the recipient/surrogate, so everything you’re doing is in sync with another person, and if you can’t adhere to the schedule, it can’t move forward.
I have said this so many times it hurts: When you’re a donor, your cycle and responsibility trumps everything. Every. Thing. Not only are you being paid to abide, your eggs are the life bread that are keeping someone else’s dreams of a family going. Once you start your hormone injections, your doctor may want to see you every other day. I have done cycles where I have run the risk of hyperstimulation and I had to be in the office daily at 8am until retrieval. There’s no telling how your cycle will go. Be very upfront with anything you may see as a problem and DO NOT underestimate information. Good luck.
- Kate Lee, 6-time BHED donor
Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
With the New Year upon us, and finding myself in a new and exciting relationship, I can’t help but be optimistic about the future. My mantra for 2012 (and life in general) is simply, “The best is yet to come!”
An entrepreneur by day and an MBA student by night, I thrive on keeping busy and the excitement of life! I am very involved in my community through various organizations like the Ronald McDonald House, American Cancer Society, Crisis Pregnancy Outreach, and the local Young Professionals group.
After graduating with my MBA, I plan to continue starting new business ventures and non-profits in the US and abroad, while traveling to exciting places like Greece, Costa Rica, and South Africa. I hope to be able to give back to those less fortunate in a very big way.
Being a future egg donor with Beverly Hills Egg Donation excites me because I know how special family truly is. The process of being selected and interviewed by BHED, and my own self-introspection about embarking on this process, has afforded me the chanc to re-evaluate myself, my motives, and my future ambitions.
I look forward to having my own family someday, and in the meantime, I’m happy to help others fulfill their dreams! I grew up in a wild and love-filled family of six, so I definitely understand the joys of children and family. There’s nothing more significant in life!
My friend recently posted this quote on her Facebook profile, and I just love it. It sums up what is to come if we trust in the process and do our part to dream and live our best lives possible.
“Welcome to the best year of your life! Let’s go places we’ve never been, do things we’ve never done, love like we’ve never loved, and make this the best year yet.”
Cheers to that, and all that is yet to come for you and your family in 2012!
- BHED Donor, Elizabeth #11574
Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
From our companion site, Ask Kate:
Q: Do you ever think about the kids that are running around out there with your genes? I told my parents about my decision to donate when I was getting information about my family’s medical history, and this is their number one concern. How did you deal with that question?
A: Great question. First of all, my parents don’t know for that very reason – most people don’t know for that reason. I’m not sure they’d have a problem with it, but – at the same time – it wasn’t open for discussion, so I didn’t even want to go there. And this is what I mean when I say over and over: You need to do this for you. One hundred million percent, the decision to donate your eggs has to be something that you have thought through in every respect. Assuming your donation is successful, yes, of course, you will have a half-You running around out there the second you sign on the dotted line. That is a fact. That is not a possible variable, that is simply the outcome of this process.
But to answer your question, no, I don’t think about it. I’m sure I could, but I’ve chosen not to consider it. I can’t. My donations – all 6 of them – were anonymous for that very reason. I didn’t want to walk into a restaurant and see the recipient couple and my half-child. That would not be something I’d be able to let go of, so I eliminated that facet of possible anxiety from the equation. I really don’t know what else to say about it other than you’re either going to think about it, or you’re not. I don’t. I’m really good, in general, about picking my battles and picking what I’ll obsess over and picking when I’ll argue. And this was easy for me: I have chosen not to consider it, so I don’t ever. It doesn’t cross my mind.
It’s okay to be a little iffy about how you feel about the weight of the commitment while you’re considering it all – how do you feel morally (what will mom and dad thing)?… how do you feel spiritually (am I playing God)?… how do you feel ethically (is it wrong to be excited about the money)?… but then once you’ve decided to, in fact, commit, you need to have resolved these issues, or decided they are not issues worth resolving. Move forward owning the process and be, maybe, more discriminating with information that will garner critique or questions from the peanut gallery.
- Kate Lee, 6-time BHED donor
Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
From our companion site, Ask Kate:
Q: I’m going through the donation process, and have found that it’s so hard to find information out there about it. How long is the typical cycle from the beginning of the hormone shots until retrieval?
A: The length of a cycle can vary. I know that’s SUCH an annoying answer, especially when you’re skimming FAQ pages looking for a concrete number. It depends on where you begin your timeline – if you start with birth control, the cycle can be 5 weeks long (a couple weeks on BC to regulate your cycle and sync it up with the recipient and a few weeks on stim meds). So much is determined by the recipient, and where she’s at in her cycle. If your recipient is ready to go, you could be on BC less than two weeks and starting the injections within 10 days.
On the other hand, if your timeline starts with the stim medication, then the process could be as short as 14 days or as long as four weeks. I’ve done both versions. The short cycle is great, because it’s over so fast that you don’t have a whole lot of life interruption and the doctor’s appointments are daily, fast and routine — like a train through a station. That said, I was able to do a short cycle because I had good starting hormone levels and my recipient was alike in that way, so we were able to barrel through together.
When I was asked to do a third cycle, my doctors changed. I was at USC’s IVF facility and, as any scholastic approach to medicine goes, the longer it takes, the more we learn. I was annoyed at first, because I had gotten used to minimal interruption to my work, diet and physical life, but a couple of weeks into it — when I’d normally be wrapping things up — I realized how much better I like the “long cycle.” Since it was slower and more drawn out, the effects to my body were far more gradual, and my recovery was easier. I was more comfortable with the changes to my ovaries (it’s a pretty big physical change that is hard to imagine until you experience it) because what used to happen in a matter of 7 days was happening over the course of three weeks instead.
Your cycle would not take longer than 4 weeks, but it may take up to that long, for sure. By the end, you’ll feel fatigued and your retrieval will be welcome when it rolls around. But, be okay with the discomfort – it’s not forever, and the result is priceless.
- Kate Lee, 6-time BHED Donor
Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
I’d like to dedicate this entry to my needle fearing friends. You know who you are. The gal that hears the word “needle” one moment and finds herself hanging upside down from the ceiling fan the next. The thought of having blood taken is a minor inconvenience for some, but, for you, it’s a nightmare equal to that of having a spider crawl in your ear and hang a finely crocheted web on your cochlea. The smell of rubbing alcohol at a doctor’s office triggers a sort of Pavlov’s Dog response to pull down your shirt sleeves and put your veins on lock down. I know who you are because, a few months ago, I was you.
I’ll be honest, when I decided to donate I was so excited about the idea of helping someone have a child that I had sort of “overlooked” the logistics of injections and having weekly blood draws. This honeymoon phase vanished the moment I received my box of medication, which included about 30 needles. I quickly ran over to my roommate and showed her in horror. She shrugged and said, “They’re tiny”. Yeah, okay, tough guy, they’re tiny. But, let us not forget, they’re still NEEDLES. A tiny cockroach is still a cockroach. Besides, it’s all relative. Your tiny is my huge. Your “it’s just a needle” is my nightmare on ice with a sprig of nausea.
Fast forward to my first injection. The staff at my doctor’s office thoroughly explained the process of how to do a self-administered injection, so I did feel a little more at ease — empowered with knowledge as they say. **Side note: the staff at the office I went through were simply amazing. Take the opportunity to get to know the staff at whatever office you go through. They are an invaluable asset to the entire process, like your medically trained cheerleaders. Back to my first date with the needle: I got home and paced around like an anxious cat who kept hearing its name being called. I looked at the clock, it was ten minutes until I was scheduled to do my injection. I laid out my supplies — the alcohol pad, the needle, the vile of Lupron and (what I will reveal to you as the holy grain of injections, ladies) my slightly frozen can of diet coke. Who would have thought a diet coke could contain such power that, if wielded correctly, could erase a lifetime of fear. I suppose it did skyrocket Cindy Crawford’s career and make us all go cut our jeans into shorts. So here’s the deal: throw a can of soda in the freezer for a bit and let it get nice and cold. Five minutes before your scheduled injection, numb the area. My nurse suggested numbing it for a minute, but for this first go-around I decided to put every sensation in my skin to sleep… five minutes for me, thanks. I numbed the area, went over it with an alcohol pad, let it dry, and drew up my dose in a syringe. In that moment, I had an epiphany — if Katherine Heigl’s character on Grey’s Anatomy can do it, I can do it. I pinched the skin on my tummy, lined up the needle, took a breath, looked away and put it in (at a 90 degree angle). When I looked back down, the needle was in but I was completely shocked, I couldn’t feel anything. Nothing. Zip. I want to be clear here and say, I am a wus about this stuff and I honestly couldn’t even feel it. I released the tummy pinch, pushed the dose in, removed the needle (pull straight out), wiped over the area with alcohol and did a victory lap, calling about ten of my closest friends to tell them that I was a fearless Goddess Warrior who may have missed her calling as a professional shot giver. As strange as it sounds, I was actually looking forward to my next injection.
I think that my greatest piece of advice in regards to how to cope with injection anxiety would be to remember that we’re often our own worst enemies — psyching ourselves out, telling ourselves “I can’t do this”. I’m here to tell you that if I can, you most certainly can. Think of some of the stuff you’ve overcome in your life. In comparison, I’m sure that needle truly is tiny.
- Evan Ashley, BHED staff member and former donor
Tuesday, May 24th, 2011
From our companion site, Ask Kate:
Q: I am currently researching whether I want to start donating my eggs, and I have a concern: I have a full time job that doesn’t offer a whole lot of paid time off. Looking at the egg donor information section, I see that there are many AM doctor’s appointments. How often are they? Daily? Weekly? Is there ever an option for late afternoon appointments? I really want to do this, but I don’t see it working if morning appointments are all that are available. Can you advise?
A: It’ll be tough if your job is inflexible. However, you chances of success are extraordinary if you sit down with your HR department or boss and explain to them that you need some leeway for upcoming doctor’s appointments. There’s no harm in laying it out there, and you likely won’t even have to go into specifics. That said, you will need quite a bit of time away from the office. While most clinics do have 7:30am appointments, most doctors don’t arrive until 8:00am and you aren’t seen until 8:30 sometimes. I never got to work before 8:45/9 on any given day of a doctor’s visit. And these appointments have to happen first thing in the morning. There’s no way around it. You need to be monitored early in the day so that your doctor can make any necessary changes to you medication before you do your afternoon injection. Also (and this is more unusual) I was at the doctor every morning during the last week of a few of my cycles because I ran the risk of overstimulating. In that case, the doctors wanted to keep a very close eye on my estrogen levels and ovaries.
Not everyone can make this work, it’s a commitment and you have to make it a top priority. Not doing so could jeopardize the entire cycle. It’s very do-able, just make sure you have a solid game plan going in. Good luck!!
Thursday, February 24th, 2011
I have had the amazing opportunity to become an egg donor. It’s extraordinary that such a simple time commitment can have such a big impact!
I think that when a person first considers donation, it’s easy to get caught up in fear of the unknown (and maybe even a little bit of what people will think). When I first thought I might want to donate, I was scared and wasn’t sure if it was worth the risk. But it’s funny – experience truly is the best teacher. After my first cycle, I realized just how simple it really is. You think to yourself, how is it possible to give someone something so special by going through such a simple (relatively) process. The funny thing about becoming a donor is that at first you think that you’re the one giving something of yourself, but after the retrieval you get such a strong feeling of being able to do something even bigger. It’s amazing, and I think it’s something that people don’t tell you going into it.
I’ve done a lot already in my short time on Earth. I’ve been a professional athlete, an NYPD police officer, and have received many accolades. Of all the things I am proud of, being able to help someone in this capacity is the most rewarding thing I have ever been a part of. I can honestly say that becoming an egg donor – giving someone the chance to have a child – is probably one of the most important things I will ever have the opportunity to do.
- Kimberly, BHED donor #9564
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010
I was inspired to become an egg donor by a family I worked for. They are two of the most amazing and generous people I have ever met. Although they didn’t find each other until later in life, they knew from the moment they met that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together and start a family of their own. Thanks to egg donation, their dream of having a family became a reality. They now have three amazing and beautiful children. I have always loved kids, and have been working with them since I was 12 years old. Children are blessings, and I know it would be a very rewarding and extremely special experience to be able to give someone the opportunity to have a child of their own, no matter the circumstance. I am looking forward to being matched for the first time.
- BHED donor, Taylor #8329
Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
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