Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have existed for more than half a century, and in vitro fertilization has been around for almost four decades. Even so, the processes seems to be shrouded in mystery and we are constantly amazed at the misconceptions that abound regarding various fertility procedures. Egg donation is one of the ART topics that continues to be veiled in a stew of misconceptions.
The following can shed some light on egg donation and what the process really entails as well as how it will – or won’t – impact your life as an egg donor.
Busting 5 Common Misconceptions About Egg Donors
We would like to help you feel more comfortable with the idea of egg donation and the process you will go through should you choose this path.
Myth 1: If I donate my eggs now, I won’t have any left when I’m ready to have my own children
You were born with a set number of eggs, usually in the range of about 1,000,000. By the time you begin your menstrual cycle, you have about 400,000. Of these, roughly 400 to 500 will mature to become viable eggs. Each month, a woman loses about 10 to 20 eggs. By using hormone therapy to help these eggs mature and then donating them, you are only eliminating the same number of eggs that would have been eliminated by your body anyway. You will still have all of the eggs you would have had for each month after your eggs are harvested.
Myth 2: Egg donors are only in it for the money.
Yes, financial compensation is a part of the egg donation process and rightly so. Anyone who has participated in fertility treatments that require time, energy and potential dasys off work/school to observe appointments, check-ups and routine blood work as well as hormone injections, understand that some form or compensation is warranted. Even so, the main reason healthy women donate their eggs is because they feel a great deal of compassion for women who are struggling to get pregnant. Some are college students who feel their unused eggs might as well be doing some good out there in the world, others are already mothers and understand how sacred it is to be pregnant and give birth to a baby. There are also women who know that parenthood isn’t for them, but they like the idea of helping others make their dreams come true or to know that their genetic line is continuing in some way.
Egg donors are screened carefully and if we get the sense that a donor is only in it for the money, she is not used as a donor. It’s that simple. If you are considering being an egg donor, don’t feel guilty about the financial compensation. You are performing an enormous service to an infertile couple and it would be impossible to place a true value on it.
Myth #3: I will have to give up a tremendous amount of time in order to donate my eggs
Egg donation is a relatively time consuming process but only for a short period of time. From start to finish, it should take between 3 – 6 months and, at most, you should only need to give up two full days of work or school. The rest of your appointments will take place in accordance with your personal schedule. The retrieval process itself is very straightforward, does not require an incision and takes place in less than 30-minutes, after which you are free to return to your normal activities.
Myth #4: Egg donation is painful.
Most egg donors do not report that any parts of the egg donation process are painful. There will be a series of hormone injections required, and these will be accompanied by a slight sting at the injection site (the abdomen). The retrieval process itself is done through the vagina, without any incisions necessary. You will be completely sedated and the retrieval process rarely takes more than 15 minutes. Most women report mild discomfort or cramping on the day of the procedure and maybe into the following day, but over-the-counter pain meds are sufficient to combat this.
Myth 5: Donors will eventually be contacted by “their child” down the road.
Egg donation is a completely anonymous and confidential process. Your egg recipients will never know anything personally identifiable about you other than medical and genetic information that is relevant to their future child’s well-being, as well as a general biography regarding your interests and talents so parents can choose donor eggs that best match their own genetic profiles and interests.
Are you interested in learning more about becoming an egg donor? Contact RRC and learn about the process that can help to make infertile couples’ dreams of parenthood become a reality.
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