Quick note: I intended to post something last week about gossip and our weird relationship with celebrities. But that required research and time, which I didn’t bother to expend, so this week I’m just writing a quick post about something that doesn’t require any more effort than putting my thoughts into words. I didn’t mean to skip last week, but I’ll have another recipe for you… soonish.
I’ve always been… well… average. I usually fit into the majority, and consider myself, in a totally non-self-pitying way, ordinary.
So I have a folder in my brain of Things That Make Me Interesting. These are things that are capable of dominating an entire conversation.
Chronologically, the first thing in my file is the fact that that I spent time overseas as a kid. The second thing is my tattoos.
The third thing is what I’d like to discuss now.
I’m preparing to donate for the third time, and I thought I’d post a sort of FAQ, if you will, on my experiences.
Here we go:
– What made you do it?
Egg donation is never something I considered doing, or thought of doing, until I did it. I think I was on a bit of a donation kick, having donated blood and signing up for the organ donor registry. This made me realise: it feels good to help people. And it feels even better to help them in a way that doesn’t really cost you much.
All three of those things can completely change someone’s life, and don’t require much from me. Seems like a pretty simple equation.
– Isn’t it weird to know you’ll have a kid running around?
Perhaps I haven’t thought about it enough, or perhaps I’m just ridiculously well adjusted.
It’s all so abstract. I’ll have no hand in raising the child, and will never meet it. So, in my world, it doesn’t really exist.
It’s in no way my kid.
It’s also perhaps because I have absolutely no plans for having children – I have a cat.
– Does it hurt?
Not really. The worst part, for me, is the discomfort and bloating caused by the hormones. But this only happens a week or two before the procedure, so you don’t put up with it for long.
For the procedure itself, I’m under anaesthetic. And post-procedure, I have painkillers. I know it’s pretty painful for some people, but it didn’t have too much of an effect on me. In fact, I don’t think I used my painkillers last time.
So the answer to that question is… it might not.
– Will you still be able to have kids?
Yes. In fact, that’s why I’m stopping after three, even though the law allows for up to six donations (or five viable pregnancies). I was advised by the fertility clinic I use to stop after number three, for the sake of my own fertility. And it’s comforting to know, should I choose to have kids, my eggs are fertile enough to make it happen.
– So… do you have to… like… stop doing… stuff?
Yes. I’m super-fertile right now. But it’s only for two weeks.
– How long does it take?
From selection to donation takes about two to three months.
– What’s the process?
First, I filled in an online profile on Nurture.co.za that involved a medical history, family medical history, likes, dislikes, height, weight, education level, eye colour, hair colour, religion, etc.
Then waited to be contacted by the agency about donating. After getting an interested recipient, I made an appointment with a fertility clinic (I go to Vitalab, in Sandton) to get checked out medically and psychologically.
After several blood test and scans, it was finally time to start the process of donation. The fertility nurse sent a schedule about when the treatments would start and the approximate donation date.
So, I started hormone treatments. This is the part that puts many people off – you have to inject yourself on a daily basis. The injection didn’t bother me as much as the making up of the injection. If it was just something I could jab into myself, that would be fine. But I had to mix my own hormone cocktail by drawing distilled water into a syringe and adding it to, and subsequently drawing it back up from, four different vials. That whole process, and its margin of error, terrified me. But I managed.
Once my eggs were nice and big and fertile, I started on an additional injection, to prohibit ovulation.
Finally, the doc told me when the donation will be, and I had to make arrangements to be transported to and fro (the anaesthetic means I can’t drive myself).
On the donation day, I arrived nice and early at the clinic, got into hospital robes and lay in a bed until it was time.
Then I went under (which is the second part that terrified me).
When I woke up, hazy, I saw a piece of masking tape on my hand telling me how many eggs they managed to get.
After making me drink water and ensuring I’m healthy enough to get up, the nursing staff sent me home to sleep like a dead person.
The first time I did it, I was nauseous, but the second time, they took preventative measures and I felt fine.
A few weeks later, I was told that my recipient got pregnant. And that was one of the most amazing feelings I’ve ever had.