As a child, I was taught the kindness of sharing; gladly sharing my toys with other children. As a teen I would often share my books with a classmate or even my lunch with a friend who had forgotten theirs. And now as a parent, I’m instilling that same value to my own little ones.
One day while thumbing through a parenting magazine, I came across an ad for egg donors. At first I thought that was an odd place to advertise for someone to donate their eggs; but then I realized, who better than a parent would understand another persons’ desire to become a parent?
Like clockwork, I had my son about two years after my husband Jake* and I got married; my daughter followed just under two years after that. With our little boy and little girl, our family of four was complete. In retrospect it all seemed so easy. But I was also very much aware how lucky we were.
My best friend Mary* and I did everything together. We roomed together in college, went on double dates with our (now) husbands and even planned our weddings together – hers in the early spring, mine a couple months later. We talked about how inseparable our kids would be. When I announced my pregnancy, she confided that they were trying to get pregnant too. “Well, hurry up!” I joked, and we both laughed. Over the course of my pregnancy, there were times Mary thought she was pregnant too; but then . . . she wasn’t.
When my son was born, Mary went to see a specialist. As it turned out, getting pregnant was not going to be easy for her. She was diagnosed with a condition called premature ovarian failure. Honestly, it was difficult to understand. Mary was the epitome of health on the outside – in great physical shape, she was active, ate right; in fact she looked years younger than her age – but for some reason her eggs aged more rapidly than normal.
My friend needs donor eggs
By the time I was pregnant with my second child, Mary confided that her only option to become pregnant was by using donor eggs.
I remember looking at my friend and thinking there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her. Without really thinking about it, I offered to be her donor. Mary smiled at my impulsiveness (after all, I was pregnant at the time!), but she and her husband had already chosen a donor and had started the process of syncing their cycles so they could do something called a “fresh cycle”. She was really hopeful for this treatment to work and I was so happy for my friend. Mary soon became pregnant and our daughters were born only a few months apart.
Fast forward a year later
Mary and I are at the toddler gym together. While looking though a parenting magazine, I found the ad to become an egg donor. The headline read “Have you ever thought of becoming an egg donor?” and I thought “Yea, I have”.
Although my first offer to be a donor was impulsive, the thought crossed my mind many times after that – especially after Mary’s daughter was born. This wasn’t just a line in an advertisement; this was the process that allowed my best friend and her husband to finally have the baby of their dreams.
My own family meant the world to me, but Jake and I knew our family was complete. After our daughter was born, he got a vasectomy so we could concentrate on raising our children without worrying about birth control.
But every month, my period was a little reminder of my fertility – and out those eggs went every month – wasted! Every month I’d think about a faceless woman “somewhere”, trying to get pregnant, but not able to – like Mary.
I talked it over with Jake. What did he think about me becoming an egg donor? Not surprising, he was intrigued as I was. So we did some research on our own.
Egg donors can be known to the recipient or anonymous. There’s a ton of screening before you’re even accepted. And donors who complete a cycle are compensated for their time and effort.
Once we were comfortable with our research, I filled out an application.
*not her real name.