S.A. is a nursing student from northern California. S.A. studies biology and one day hopes to become a pediatrician so that she can help children. S.A. is of Indian descent. […]

August 27, 2021 // Evan Billups // No Comments //

S.A. is a nursing student from northern California. S.A. studies biology and one day hopes to become a pediatrician so that she can help children. S.A. is of Indian descent.

Could you start by telling me a bit about yourself, your background, and how you became an egg donor?
So I’m an only child. I’ve always been an only child. My mother’s a teacher and my father’s an engineer. So my whole life I’ve always wanted to have siblings, and my mom always worked with kids that were younger; she worked with preschoolers, and people who worked with her were like the intended parents that you work with as a donor – they could never have children. And it was up until recently that this became a big thing. So when I was old enough, I decided that was something I wanted to do. I did do one previous cycle with a different agency and then I went through AsiaWest.

Once I signed up I was matched pretty fast. But another thing that I think a lot of people are scared about is the medical part of it, and I’m a nursing student, so right now I’m doing an undergrad in biology. I think I had a lot of background knowledge beforehand going into this, but it’s not that scary. You know a lot of medical terms are big and scary, but it’s not as scary as somebody would think it is. All the injections and the process is actually relatively easy.

So I think my background played a part because I got to spend some time as a child seeing how the people that I’m actually essentially helping live. And how they feel not to have a child, how hard that is, and how helpful it is and how great of a deed it is to help somebody in that position.

Going into the donation did you talk to your family or friends about it? What was their reaction?
My mother knew about it. She was supportive. I spoke to one of her friends that used a donor. I think my father is always going to protective of his daughter, and it’s harder for a man to understand that. But they were all relatively supportive.

I know you have a background as a nursing student and already had some knowledge about egg donation, but did you have any worries/concerns about becoming an egg donor?
Of course I did. I always wondered, would it stop me from having my own children, or would it have any side effects? You know, you hear things online. There was a video about some woman talking about cancers that can come with it. But after I spoke with the doctors and stuff, since they checked my family history and everything was clear, the worry went away.

What was the donation process like for you?  What was the clinic like that you worked?
They were very nice! Especially the doctor. I have to say, it was a fun little trip. You know, being away from home is hard, but when you’re working with such a great team, they make it really easy for you. I have to say, if I could do it all over again, I would do it the same way.

I know that it can be a bit of an uncomfortable process physically. Did you experience any pain or discomfort?
Honestly, I thought I would be in more pain. But, no. I had a little bit of cramping the day of the retrieval. After that, yes, a few days I had some cramping. I got my period very fast, so it was not horrible. It was just a little bit of cramping and then back to normal I would say. For the amount of follicles that I had – I had a higher number and thought I would be in more pain – it was very easy.

Did you go right back to your regular activities?  What amount of time did you take off after retrieval?
I think it was just the day of the retrieval and then the next day when I went home. But I returned to daily activities as soon as I got home, so it was just a day that I had some down time. But then I was back to normal the day after.

That’s good to hear. Was there anything in particular that was helpful for you getting back to normal?
For the day of the retrieval, they gave me some pain medicine which was greatly helpful. But other than that, yes maybe at times having a heating pad on you (because you are going to get your period pretty soon), but I don’t think you need anything drastic. It’s just like small stuff that you would need on your period, maybe like Tylenol, a heating pad.

What form of contact did you have?
Mine was Anonymous. However, the first one I ever did was Open, so I’ve worked with open. I think they both depend on the donor, but they’re both rewarding in their own ways.

Do you have a preference or was it just different?
I think the family, knowing the culture I come from (Indian background), a lot of families do prefer to have a more anonymous kind of experience, because it is hard for a lot of parents to go and get a donor. Taking that in is one thing, but having to meet that person becomes a lot more real and different. So I think that it’s easier for a lot of parents to do it anonymously.

But you know, I don’t have a specific preference. It’s just whatever is easier on the intended parents because these parents do go through a lot before they have to resort to getting a donor anyways. So I like to leave that up to them.

What sort of expectations did you have, if any, going in and was the experience as expected or different?
I honestly didn’t really have many expectations. I was just a little scared with working with a clinic out of state. Every state is different, so I thought oh this might be a little different [than the previous donation]. But it was pretty much the same as here and actually they were a lot nicer. Honestly that was the best experience. Everything went great. Better than my expectations.

Now that you have gone through the egg donation process, are there any myths about it that have been dispelled for you?
I will be honest, I don’t have any side effects. A lot of people will talk about colon cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer. I don’t see any links, and I get myself checked regularly. As a donor I wanted to get myself checked; if there were any potential risks, that I get on top of that as soon as possible. But there was nothing.

Also, injecting yourself with hormones – if you don’t have a family history for something, (which I don’t), it’s not going to cause cancers. That’s something I did some research on and talked to a doctor about. It’s like if you already have a type of cancer, injecting yourself with the medications may progress it a little bit, but once you go off the medication, it goes back to its normal speed. Besides that, if you don’t have anything, it’s not going to create something in your body.

So what was the best thing about being an egg donor for you?
That I got to help somebody move on to the next chapter of their life, essentially. And hopefully help them build their family and a positive experience. I think having a child is so great. My parents just adopted a little boy, so I feel like he’s my child! It’s one of the greatest experiences in your whole entire life, and the fact that I was able to help somebody do that is amazing. I’m all about charity and helping and different types of donating, so the fact that I can help somebody in such a big way – that’s amazing and makes me feel really good as a person.

Good! Are you thinking about donating again?
I am. If they have a family, as long as it’s safe, and as long as everything looks good. This will be my third cycle, so as long as everything looks good on my end and everything looks good, I am more than happy to do that.

In terms of the compensation, has that changed your life in any way? Are you putting it towards something specific or just saving it up?
Honestly, I’ve always had a savings account. I’ve just built my savings account and you never know when you’re going to have a rainy day, so it’s always good to have that money to back you up. But you know, going into this, I just thought the money was kind of like a bonus to what you’re doing. It’s more about what your cause is. So for me, the money that I got is in savings, but that’s just something you get that is nice, that the agency does for you. But that’s not the main thing, you know?

Speaking of agencies, how did you find AsiaWest specifically and how did you feel about working with AsiaWest?
I actually wanted to help people within my ethnicity, and that’s only because I went to one of our prayer things one day and I’d seen an ad – a private thing where they were looking for a donor. I went online and did some research because I didn’t know that there were agencies that actually worked with specific ethnicities to help them find donors of their own ethnicity. I called AsiaWest and as soon as I got in contact with them, I think they were just very helpful. They were so helpful and on top of things and that’s the reason why I went with them.

Do you have any advice for someone who’s interested in becoming an egg donor?
I would say that once you go into it, you need to be very committed. That’s one thing. Because essentially this is someone’s life. This is not one of those things where you’re going to go in and say, “Well if it doesn’t work out, then oh well”. It’s one of those things where you need to be very committed and you need to know 100% that you’re going to do it before you involve someone’s life and emotions.

Other than that, it’s one of the most beautiful things you can do in your whole entire life. I would say that it’s something amazing, but you just have to make sure that you want to do it with your heart, because a lot of people’s emotions are involved in this process.

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