Donor L.A. is a Marketing and Communications specialist living in Portland, Oregon. She is very active and runs 4-7 miles every day! She also love traveling, hiking, and yoga. L.A. […]

June 28, 2023 // Evan Billups // No Comments //

Donor L.A. is a Marketing and Communications specialist living in Portland, Oregon. She is very active and runs 4-7 miles every day! She also love traveling, hiking, and yoga. L.A. talks about her experience donating with us (her second donation) and what surprised her about the egg donation process.

Can you start by telling me a little bit about yourself, your background, where you’re calling from?
Yeah! I live in Portland, Oregon. I work for a software company. Specifically I work on the marketing team – specifically doing event marketing, so I activate our conference and trade show strategy for the year. What else… that’s a tough question! Other than that pretty typical – I love hiking and being outdoors; that’s part of why I love living in Portland. That’s kinda all I got!

That’s great! So can you tell me a little bit about how and why you became an egg donor? Where did you first hear about it and what prompted you to go through with it?
Yeah, you know I would love to know the answer to this question as well! I can’t even remember how I found out about it, it was so long ago! Like it was probably like 2018 or 19. It must’ve been someone mentioned they were interested in it and then I started looking into it. So the inception of it I can’t really remember. But I assume someone had just mentioned it and I started Googling it because I didn’t know much about it. And I worked with OHSU my first donation, so I think just based on Google search results I just filled out an application. And then the process from there is so long that I don’t think I ever made the decision like, “Yeah! This is something I want to do” – I was kind of just like going along with the process and eventually I was just like, “Well, I’m in deep enough now. I might as well see this through” kind of thing.

Going into your first donation or this one, was it something that you talked to your family or friends about or not so much?
Yeah! I talked to my friends and family about it at length. I found anytime it’s mentioned, people tend to be super interested just because it’s something people don’t know a lot about. So people are pretty fascinating by it. Truthfully it’s kind of a good like conversation starter if you’re looking for something to talk about! Everyone has so many questions about it.

Yeah! What was the sort of general reaction? What were people most curious about?
Honestly I think the process. No one, including me, knew anything about the process. I have learned so much about like how donations/egg freezing/IVF works. And honestly kind of about the human body too. Like mid-cycle I was like, “Babies are grown in the uterus right?” Like that’s how much I didn’t know! So yeah, I really did learn so much. And yeah, questions it was mostly just about the process. I did have some people just be like, “Oh my gosh I’m like so interested in doing that!” and just wanted to hear more about my experience which I was in exactly the same boat before I did it. I was like, “Wow this is so interesting and this seems quite lucrative”. So I guess it’s no surprise that everyone is so intrigued by it because – I don’t know, you would know much better than me – but I think egg donors are pretty few and far between. There’s not a lot of them.

Yeah that’s definitely true and it is something that just not a lot of people know about and there’s kind of a lot of mystery to it I guess.
Totally, totally!

Did you have any specific concerns or worries about becoming an egg donor or about the egg donation process going into it?
Yeah! I mean it’s quite a big procedure – not surgical procedure, but just like the procedure of the whole operation. It’s quite a big thing when you’re actually going through with it, and I think like it also takes so long from start to finish. It’s solidly like a 2+ year process – I think I’ve been working with you guys now at least two years. So I think concerns are just if you haven’t donated, there’s no way to know how the hormones are going to react with your body and how your body’s going to react to the surgery. I made the mistake of Googling some other experiences and reading horror stories and freaking myself out.

Oh no!
Yeah, and that goes to say never really read other people’s reviews because there’s always going to be a negative one. And like my experience was nothing but good. So yeah I just think the uncertainty of not ever really knowing how your body’s going to react to something like that is scary.

Yeah! So how was the donation process for you? And maybe you can talk about the differences between your OHSU donation and the one this time.
Um, I would label my donation process “fine”. It was more challenging on my body this time. And that could just be a matter of I’m two years older than I was. It’s possible that it gets more challenging the more often you do it. There’s kind of some unknowns that I was like this isn’t even really worth a Google because I know I’m going to do it again. But it wasn’t challenging to the point of I was like, “This is unbearable”. For me, it was really only like two to three days of pretty solid discomfort and then I was mostly back to normal. And I think it was six days before my body was fully back to normal, and in that period I had already traveled to work for an event. So there was also that I was in a different time zone and on an airplane for eight hours. The fact that I was even able to do that goes to show that it couldn’t have been that bad I guess.

Are you thinking about donating again in the future?
Yeah, I’ve actually already been matched a third time.

Yeah, I’m just kind of assuming the supply of egg donors is probably much lower than the demand so it probably makes sense. So yes, I am! I’m sure it probably won’t be for like a year or two just because of the way things move, but I have already signed like the match agreement and she sent over a questionnaire about it so that ball is already rolling!

That’s great I’m glad to hear it! So thinking back on your experience now, are there any myths about it that have been dispelled for you or things that people might think about it that you found to not be true, at least in your experience?
Yeah, this is a good question. I definitely have seen a lot of horror stories about it – but that’s also what’s going to be sensational in the news a lot of the time – of like “I donated my eggs and I wish I didn’t”, things like that. That’s also tough because that’s one person’s experience and everyone is going to have a different one. But I guess the most important takeaway or soundbite I can give you is I had a great experience. It was for the most part seamless. My body recovered very easily and I 100% would do it again and am doing it again. So yeah I would truly recommend. Everyone who expresses interest I’m like, “Oh my god please! Let me refer you to my agency! Like it’s the best!”

And I would honestly say, the amount of time you have to invest into it versus what you get out of it – your ROI is excellent. It’s not like this is something that takes like 500 hours or anything like that. It’s a very low time commitment in the end – it just takes a while to actually get to the donation. 

Yeah that totally makes sense! And just for you, what was the best thing about being an egg donor?
Well, it did feel really good – Lindsey sent me an email just saying, “Oh your intended parents are so elated”. And I was like oh that does feel really special! I don’t want kids – that’s a big part of the reason I donated. Just like the resources are kinda being wasted otherwise so I might as well!

Obviously the compensation is kind of the main driving factor in the whole thing and that’s fantastic because that’s like a tenth of my salary for the whole year – that’s awesome! But yeah it also does feel good to help a family out. It’s tough because I’m missing so much information about the family so it’s hard to draw a lot of, “Oh my gosh this is such an amazing thing I did” just because that information is kind of not accessible to me. But that said, it does still feel really great to hopefully know that I’ve helped someone out and that they’re really happy thanks to my efforts.

Totally. And in terms of compensation is that something you’re putting towards something specific or just kind of saving up?
Um… truthfully mostly saving up, but if I was putting it towards something specific – which could happen – I might buy a little moped or a Vespa!

I love that!
So fun! But truthfully it’ll probably go towards saving for a house.

How did you find AsiaWest specifically and do you have any other feedback you’d like to share about working with AsiaWest?
I think I just found you guys through Googling! I think AsiaWest might be headquarted in Portland or has a big outpost in Portland…

It is yeah!
Okay yeah! So I think I was just like Portland Egg Donation Agencies and you guys ranked pretty high in the search results and it was that easy. I think I was like looking at a couple different ones and I think submitted one of the basic one or two minute questionnaires and then it kind of just got rolling!

To wrap up, what advice do you have for someone who’s interested in becoming an egg donor?
Mmm… do it! Honestly do it – it’s a great experience. Be patient! It’s going to take way longer than you think it will. You first kind of set up introductory calls and they explain the process and you’re thinking like, “Oh yeah this is cool this’ll happen in the next few months!” but it’s probably going to be like a year or two from then. So just be patient and do it.

Note: this interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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