I have always being a firm believer of women helping each other out, and looking out for one another. When I went from TTC to being a mom, I felt the greatest joy that ever enveloped my soul. I felt complete, and truly blessed to be a mother. In spite of my own joy, I was aware of those sisters who were still on their journey and I wanted to do what I could do help. So, my elder sister suggested that we donate eggs to those who do not ovulate, or who do not have good eggs to use in making babies. I reasoned that these eggs were released every month, so why not use it to be a blessing rather than just letting it waste. I reckoned that all they needed to do was to simply time my ovulation, and extract the eggs once ripe. How wrong I was!
Going through the egg donation process was not the “walk in-walk out” procedure as I had anticipated! It was very much like an IVF cycle. We made inquiries and went to an agency called Viva Center, and the reception was great. They thanked us for our interest in donating for another woman’s IVF, and gave us a questionnaire to fill out. The questionnaire was tedious to fill, because they asked all sorts of questions; I mean everything! This was important however, because they need to pair a donor up with a recipient that is as close to the features and personality of the donor as possible. They received the questionnaire and informed us that they had recipients who fitted perfectly with us. So we went for a BMI check, and it turned out that my elder sister was underweight and needed to add 5kg to be able to go through with it. So, there I was, left alone in this journey. It was fun for me when we were in it together, after all it was her idea. But I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy the process now that she wasn’t going on. My sister urged me to go on with it, imagining that the recipient must have been waiting for a long time for a match. She said “be the miracle that this woman must have been praying for.”
So I continued with the process and thank God I did. A nurse talked me through the entire process and I was like, Okay, let’s do this. I was to first of all undergo a series of tests and scans, which all came out good. Then I was given the contract to read and sign, understanding that if the process was successful, I had no right to the baby resulting from the eggs I donated. I was also informed that upon completion of the process, I would be given some compensation for the inconvenience I would encounter. Inconvenience ke? See me that thought I would just lay down and have my egg extracted fiam! The nurse then told me that my body produces one egg a month, but they need to collect between seven and ten eggs, hence the process and injections. I prefer getting injected to taking pills, so I told myself “I can ride with this”.
When I was cleared to start the process, I was first placed on Buserelin injectables, for what is called down regulation. The injectables are used to stop the natural secretion of hormones that control ovulation and menstruation, and I was placed on it for about twenty one days. I had to inject them myself at home, at a particular time every night. The day I was given the pack of injections and taught to use it, a wave of fear gripped me. I had never injected myself before! I took the nurse’s number and promised that I was going to be disturbing her until I got a hang of it. She laughed and said, she was sure I wouldn’t call her, as long as I followed the instructions she had given. When the time came, I prepared the syringe as I was told, and injected myself, my husband and I holding our breathes simultaneously. But hey! It wasn’t painful! It was better than all the malaria injections I had taken in my life. My only problem was having to always be on time. Somehow sha, I managed it.
I went for a couple more scans to see how I was responding to the injections. After the buserelin, I was placed on FSH (Follicles Stimulating Hormones) for about six days. The FSH is important to stimulate the follicles which house the eggs, and it is administered until the follicles grow to a mature size. I was using two bottles of FSH powder and one bottle of solution per night, and after three days, I went in for another scan. I wasn’t doing good at all. Only about five follicles had developed and they weren’t even mature. The nurse asked how I was administering the subcutaneous injections and I told her. She said ok, continue your injections and come back in two days. I did as I was told and went back after two days, to hear the same news, I wasn’t responding well to the injections. At this point, I already had a mindset of “Lord knows, I have tried”. I wanted to donate eggs and help someone with her IVF cycle, but it wasn’t do or die for me. If I wasn’t responding well, then maybe I wasn’t meant to do this. I told the nurse exactly this, and she said “It’s not just about you my dear. The recipient has also being on injections like you and she is really hopeful. All the injections you are taking come from her purse, and that’s plus the ones she is taking too”.I was like “Wow!” I had no idea that the recipient of my eggs was also on the stressful process of self-injecting at a particular time every night. I asked how much my FSH cost and it was expensive. So, I asked the nurse, what we can do. She gave me three more FSH bottles and asked me to take three bottles to one solution every night for three nights. Then come in for a scan. If the scan wasn’t successful, we were going to call off the process.
I went home feeling so sorry for whoever was my recipient. I myself had gone from TTC to motherhood, without assistance; so on the one hand, I knew what it was like to be anticipating, hoping and expecting. On the other hand, I didn’t know what it was like to spend so much on a cycle. I was practically moved to tears. What would this woman do when they told her that the donation process failed? After over a month of self-injecting, and all the money that went it! I went on my knees and prayed. I prayed in agreement because I knew that my recipient must have been praying on her own end too. So even though we never met, and we might meet in life never knowing she was my recipient and I was her donor, in that moment we connected in faith and prayers. And oh, I prayed like it was me waiting to receive eggs and then conceive. I took the injections as asked and went back three days later for another scan, and yes! I had eleven mature follicles! We were good to go! I called my husband and elder sister and shared the good news with them! Someone was going to be able to carry her own baby because of me. Oh what joy that filled my soul!!
The rest of the process was like a blur to me. I was given HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) to trigger the follicles to release their eggs after 36hours. I was also placed on antibiotics to prevent any infection and told when to come in. I went in for the procedure with no fragrance, make up or even body lotion, because I was told that the eggs would die off at any smell. The procedure was pretty fast, I think we were done in fifteen minutes. I was then given Panadol for the mild pains and then placed for bedrest for some hours. In days to come, I was to take Palodel to reduce the risk of OHSS (Ovaries Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome) and also drink at least three liters of water to help my hormones revert back to normal.
I have been fulfilled since the procedure, and although I wasn’t informed if the recipient was able to get pregnant afterwards, I believe she was and that she is probably going around with a big bump now. I smile and think to myself-that’s what life should be about; women helping each other!
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