I first began thinking about donating my eggs a few years back when I was at university. I must have seen it advertised somewhere on social media, and it piqued my interest. Studying science at university, I had a curious mind, and being a broke student, I thought this would be an interesting and financially beneficial thing for me to do. However, with how busy uni keeps you and the fact I didn't seek much further information, I had forgotten about it over time.
A few years later, I met my now-boyfriend. He had been adopted from birth because his mother couldn't have children. Talking to her more about her experiences with having difficulty in having a baby made these struggles families go through more personal. I consider myself quite emotional, so it only inspired me to want to do something to help families if I could. I had another look on the internet about egg donation and the egg collection process, however, I didn't have the courage to register or reach out to someone from the organizations who would talk more to me about it.
Half a year ago now, I remember being away in Prague on a work trip, and I was just scrolling through social media in my bed when I saw another ad for London Egg Bank. I clicked on it, and it took me to their site where I found out about all the benefits of donating and gave some stats (I love stats!). The thing that stood out to me was the free health and fertility tests they give you before you can even be considered for donating. Being a woman who wants to have kids and now having a close person to me who has been affected by their inability to have children, I really wanted to have those tests done to ease my mind. Over the years, I've had a list of reasons to do it slowly building up, so I finally took the plunge and signed up to be contacted by London Egg Bank. Nina, who was my confidante from LEB, answered all my questions and eased my mind. She was so sweet and friendly; I was very happy I had reached out to her.
The process was easy enough to start; I just had a few calls with the doctor and Nina to discuss why I wanted to be a donor. I had to fill out a form that basically asked me for a self-evaluation, all the things you would expect to be important to someone who might have your eggs. It was simple, and I could do it in my own time. It didn't really interfere with work. Once I had passed all the moral checks as well as health checks, I could choose which clinic I could go to for the process. Luckily there was one very close to me!
My main concern now was the cervical scans. I've never had any test for my nether region, so I was quite anxious about the ultrasound. All the nurses and consultants at my clinic were ladies, which I'll admit I really appreciated. My doctor made me feel so at ease, and my nurse explained all the questions I had, which I greatly appreciated. Part of the reason I did this was to satiate my scientific mind. I was curious about it all and really wanted to know what was going on with my body and hormones all the way through. The nurses never disappointed me in explaining it all to me including what happens during the egg retrieval process.
After the first scan, I realized how easy it is. It doesn't hurt, doesn't really feel uncomfortable, and the scans did not last much longer than a couple of minutes. The next mental hurdle for me was having to inject myself every day with hormones. For the majority of the time, it's only one daily hormone injection, so it was fine. Even when it had gone up to two a day, that was also okay because they had to be spaced 12 hours apart. Injecting myself was a completely new thing to me. I wasn't a fan of needles and wasn't a fan of inflicting pain on myself, but the needles were so fine that once I gripped enough fat, I could barely feel it. There wasn't anything I could eat or drink. My life was pretty much unchanged throughout the process. Thanks to all the water I drank, I barely had any symptoms. I didn't feel bloated and it was never uncomfortable at all.
The egg retrieval was also something new to me in the sense that I had never needed to be in a hospital bed, never had an operation, and never had been put to sleep. The sedation was my biggest worry because I would let my mind run wild with anxious thoughts. I didn't know what to expect. The little ward was nice, the staff were nice, and it all put my mind at ease a little. The actual egg retrieval procedure was also fast, and I didn't feel anything. I remember feeling so anxious and thought my heart rate alone would keep me from being able to fall asleep, but alas, it worked perfectly well. I was knocked out. It truly is a wonderful sleep! I woke up to a friendly nurse and she called in my boyfriend who was there to support me. She brought me biscuits and water and made sure I was cleared before I could leave. It was a much better experience than what I had feared.
My friends already knew I was doing this and were so proud of me. My boyfriend was also so supportive. My only concern was telling my family that I had done it. They're a typical Eastern European family who hold stubborn opinions. If they didn't understand something, they would likely disapprove. I know that's where their main concerns came from, but at the end of the day, this is what I chose to do. I was informed and educated enough by the staff to know that nothing would happen to me or my future babies, so even if they weren't accepting of the decision, I would have still done it and have been proud to do so.
The entire process was filled with new experiences for me, which is where a lot of my anxiety came from. But what started as anxious thoughts soon turned to excitement. I was excited to go get a scan and see my progress. I was even excited to experience what it was like to be put to sleep.
People often say having a baby is the best thing that has ever happened to them, and so the thought of bringing a family such immeasurable joy is overwhelming. I am so proud of myself; alongside having finished my master's, this is the proudest thing I have done. The process was easy and comfortable. It was relatively quick and I will do this again without a doubt.