I would be lying through my teeth if I said the idea of donating my eggs hasn’t ever come to my mind, or even becoming a gestational carrier for a TTC mom. And even a worse liar if I said the monetary aspect was not a major factor in this consideration, at least in the last few months. The only thing lacking is the strong will to do it, and the fact that it’s not a decision I can make on my own.
Well, I have been thinking again, and what precipitated that was our recent interview with Dr. Faye Iketubosin. My mind was opened to a lot of things. ( If you haven’t read that interview, I would suggest, you read it, and if you have, read it again (https://thefertilechickonline.com/tfc-chats-with-dr-faye-iketubosin/). I knew egg donors got paid, however I never saw the procedure in the light that it could affect the donor’s chances of birthing her own baby, whenever she was ready.
The light bulb went off, when Dr. Iketubosin mentioned that one of the side effects of fertility treatment, IVF especially, was that the donors run the risk of a depleted ovarian reserve, when they were ready for babies, and even all the money they had made while donating would not be enough compensation for that particular challenge.
While I was still ruminating over this matter, and thinking of how I was going to find egg donors who would be willing to talk to me about their experience, their motivation and all, I got it on a platter of gold, literally.
Just last week, a former colleague of mine and I were catching up with each other. We hadn’t seen each other this year physically, except online. We were talking generally, when our discussion moved to work, and she started to tell me of the call she got some days earlier, from one of her contacts, who was asking for help for a young lady who was in the hospital, suffering from a condition that was making her swollen, and the doctors had said it was not a case of kidney failure or anything of such. They had wanted her to do a story in the paper, requesting for help from the public.
I don’t know what made me say it, but I just answered flippantly, “Are you sure the lady in question did not just donate her eggs?”. Looking quizzically at me, she said, “Kemi, why did you just say that?” I answered that from what I heard, if kidney failure had been ruled out, then, it might be Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). Especially if she had just undergone an IVF cycle.
Not taking me serious, she decided to call that contact, and outrightly asked her if the girl she was requesting help for, had not just donated her eggs. That was after her contact had asked, when she would be coming to do the story. Taken aback, the lady on the other end said she did not know, but that it certainly sounded like a possibility, given some recent events in the life of the girl.
So, she went to the hospital to go and ask the girl. Later in the day, I got a call from my friend, confirming my earlier suspicion; the lady in question had donated her eggs, and was suffering from OHSS, and instead of going back to the fertility clinic, where she would have received specialized treatment for her condition, she had been taken to a General Hospital, and she did not bother to intimate the General Practitioner attending her of the procedure she had done. Perhaps he would have been able to redirect his energy, and help her better.
I advised that they take her back to the fertility clinic where she donated her eggs, and as I write, she is faring much better than she did a week ago. Now, what motivated her? It was simply the lure of money. She needed money; their rent was due, her ailing mother no longer worked, so the onus fell on her, as the oldest daughter, to find a way to ensure their rent was paid.
A friend, who had done it in the past, took her to an agency affliated to a hospital, and that was where she was screened, tested for STDs, asked a bunch of questions about her family background, her mother’s side and her father’s side, and then she underwent an ultrasound scan to check if everything was fine. It was.
She had to go back to the clinic for her medication and tutorials, which she got after another counselling session, to prepare her, both physically and emotionally, for the procedure she was about to embark on. She also met with the TTC mom, who would hopefully benefit from her eggs.
Injecting herself was the worst, but she pushed through, reminding herself of their unpaid rent, of the lives that hung in the balance, if she did not come up with the rent, her commitment to the fertility clinic and the woman who would use it. She survived the regular scans, and even the egg retrival procedure, which was almost painless, but the days afterwards were those that made her wish she didn’t do it.
She was just throwing up, and nothing she took stayed in the body. She was lethargic, and it was when she fainted that her sisters noticed, and she was rushed to the hospital…only it was the wrong one. By the third day, she was howling in pain and nothing was working. It was two days later that I heard about her.
On the other hand, her friend, who introduced her to the agency, has never had any complications, since she started, and this was her third time of donating. Although barely literate, she has become a pro at the business of injecting her stomach, and had sometimes even helped her friend with her own injections.
Again, her motivation was money. She said she needed money to start her business, but, as I write, the business hasn’t gotten off the ground yet, and I suspect she would be going back to the agency soon. So help her God.
However, she would be doing herself a huge disservice, if she indeed goes back to the agency, as I suspect she would, as it has become a way to make some cash. True, both ladies are in their mid 20s, and bear financial responsibilities for their families, and egg donation is a route for them to make the needed cash. However, they need not jeopardise their chances of having babies in the future, with this short term gain. Wouldn’t it be ironic that a lady who was donating eggs for other women, ends up needing eggs to be donated for her?
Well, fertility practitioners advice that an egg donor should only donate a maximum of six times, after which she is strongly advised to stop, for the sake of her own future babies. Because, no matter why the cash is needed now, the hunger for a baby cannot be easily satiated. It would take more.
Something to chew on this day.
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