H.L. is a dentist living in Virginia. She got her B.S. in Biology and also has an interest in studio arts. H.L. is Chinese American and a three-time donor. Can […]

January 24, 2024 // Evan Billups // No Comments //

H.L. is a dentist living in Virginia. She got her B.S. in Biology and also has an interest in studio arts. H.L. is Chinese American and a three-time donor.

Can you start by telling me a bit about yourself, your background, where you’re calling from?
So I’m a dentist. I’m Chinese American. I’m 28. This is my third time donating (third and last time). I’m in Virginia and I guess egg donation is something I’d always considered like as early as college, but I just wasn’t sure if I was `ready for the long-term consequences. So then I just pushed it off and then I did my first one at 26, because I was like well, if I’m still thinking about it then I’m sure I want to do it! Originally I was only going to do like two donations, but then that same family from the second round got one pregnancy and they wanted a sibling. So I agreed to do another round just for them and here we are!

That’s cool! Do you remember how you first found out about egg donation and you first got interested?
So I think when I first heard about egg donation, it must’ve been through like YouTube or an article or something. It actually might’ve been a Buzzfeed video. I only heard of AsiaWest once I started doing some research.

And was there anything in particular at 26 that made you go through with it, or was it just the fact that you’d been thinking about it for a while?
Yeah, it was just the fact that it was always just on my mind. In college I had thought about it, but I was like, “I think I’m too young – I don’t know if I will regret it later”. But since I still didn’t have any change of feelings after almost eight years, I was like, “Alright! I’m sure it’s fine!”

So going into the donation did you talk to your family or friends about it? If so, what was their reaction?
I didn’t talk to my parents about it because I know their reaction would not be positive. I only told one friend, and she didn’t care – she was like, “Oh that’s cool whatever!” But honestly, I didn’t really talk about it. I just kept it to myself.

And what specific worries or concerns did you have about becoming an egg donor or about the egg donation process?
So I think my biggest concern was if I had any medical complications from it, because technically the intended parents wouldn’t be responsible for that. So there’s always like the risk of wanting to do something nice, but then having the consequences be a lot more than I thought even though it is relatively low-risk.

And then I guess besides like the medical stuff, a part of me was like if they did take a lot of eggs, I don’t know if I want like that many of my eggs being used. You know typically you get like 15-20 [eggs]? And then like realistically probably only like two will make it to an actual pregnancy. But if you get like 40 eggs, suddenly you could have like ten children. So I think I just didn’t want too many of me’s.

Was there anything in particular – like someone you talked to or research that you did- that maybe helped alleviate some of these concerns?
I was looking up the stats and realistically, getting the eggs is just one part; then you have to fertilize them and then you have to implant them, and only like good quality ones will be implanted. So the chances of people wanting to do six children or something through this process are kind of unrealistic because it’s a lot on both sides.

As far as the medical complications, I mean you hear like horror stories, but you’re not able to definitively link it to it. And off course, it seems like there are a lot [of horror stories], but it’s because you’re only hearing about the ones that go bad rather than all the ones that go really well.

Yeah! So you can talk about your most recent donation or you can talk about your first two, but how was the donation process for you in your experience? 
I would say it’s been pretty straightforward. The last one was only more complicated and irritating due to not AsiaWest, but the clinic that the intended parents chose. And actually AsiaWest told me that they’re not going to work with that clinic, because three of their other egg donors told them they had issues with them. But otherwise, it’s been a pretty transparent process. Everything went smoothly!

Did you experience any pain or discomfort this time around or any of your previous times?
So I would say my first time I was the most uncomfortable, and that was when they took the most eggs too. So I think I was on medication for longer, and so the bloating was the worst then. The second time went really easily. This time also went fine. I did have pretty severe bloating for two days, but after two days it was fine. So that’s a pretty quick recovery. It was really just my first time when I think they got more than thirty, so I think that probably contributed to all that bloat.

Did you find that you were able to pretty much go right back to your regular activities right after? Like how much time did you take off if any?
I didn’t take off of any time of like work or anything. But I would probably say you might want to take it easy for the first two to three days.

Did you have any sort of expectations going into the donation process and was it kind of as you expected it would be or was there anything that kind of surprised you?
I guess the only thing I didn’t really think about was that I might have to travel. I did have to travel for all of the retrievals. I guess in my head I thought they could just do the retrievals wherever I was, and then like transport the eggs? I mean, they did tell me about it, but I guess when I was signing up, I didn’t really consider that I would have to actually travel for the retrieval and stay in a hotel and stuff.

So earlier you said that you were initially just planning on doing two donations – was there any particular reason for two? What was behind that?
Well, originally it was just one, but then they asked me if I would be willing to do another one because they were like there’s a lot of interest blah blah blah. And because the first one went fine, I was like sure why not? But then I was like okay, the second one’s the last one! Just because there’s just not a lot of long-term research on the egg donation process, so they’re not really keeping track… so I think two’s the limit. But then the same intended parents were like, we would want another one. So I was like okay fine haha!

And for you, looking back on your experience, what was the best thing about being an egg donor for you?
I guess knowing that someone out there was really grateful for my donation. I would say that’s the biggest part. And then the compensation is nice too.

Yeah, for the compensation, is that something you’re putting towards something specific or just saving up?
Just like investing. Nothing specific.

Ok! And how did you find AsiaWest specifically and how did you feel about working with AsiaWest?
So when I was doing research on potential egg donation agencies, I don’t know if I was specifically looking for an agency that represented Asians – I think it was just something that I typed or it popped up. And then I submitted the forms and everything and I thought it was very professional. The first time went really well. I don’t have complaints with AsiaWest and that’s why I stuck with them.

Ok great! And lastly, what advice do you have for someone who might be thinking about becoming an egg donor?
I would ask for a sample schedule. When I first did it I had just graduated dental school, so I wasn’t starting any work until like end of September. So I did have a really long summer break, and that’s when I did the egg donation, so it worked out really well that I didn’t have like any work responsibilities. I was essentially on extended summer holiday, so going to the appointments and like doing whatever – that didn’t affect me.

Now that I’m working – so like with the second and third time – it affects work more. They don’t tell you off the bat that they expect to see you like every two days. And so that can be hard to schedule. Obviously if you don’t have work that’s fine – you can come in whenever. For me, with my job, you can’t just request leave a couple days beforehand; usually they want more advance notice.

So I would ask for a sample schedule and just make it very clear if you need more time to request leave, that they have like an advanced schedule for you. That way you can just be like do you want me to come in for monitoring appointments every two days or every three days? Let’s just make it every two days – that way I can just block those days off! And take more leave than you think! Whenever the estimated retrieval day is, I would take off probably at least three days before and three days after in case it’s early or late.

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

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Reply

© 2017, AsiaWest Egg Donors
Email Us: info@asiawesteggdonors.com   call: 415-529-7133 | AsiaWest Egg Donors, LLC (AWED)