There are 7.3 million women in the U.S. alone who suffer from infertility issues. These women want to start families, but for many reasons are unable to achieve what could be one of their life’s dreams. I will unabashedly tell anyone who asks that I do not want children. Ever. Not in 5 years when I “change my mind”, not in 10 years when I should have already popped out a few kiddos. It’s not a stage I am going through, and I don’t believe in a maternal clock ticking away my childless years. I am completely content and happy with my life that does not include children, or the promise of little ones someday.
Though I hear that I would make a wonderful mother on a regular basis, I am not swayed to believe that would be the only qualification necessary to successfully raise a good kid. These are my own thoughts on having children, for myself, not for everyone else. If you want children, please, have them! I will coo, ooh and ahh over your pregnancy, your baby photos, the cute onesies you received at the baby shower. I will gladly hold your screaming toddler while you go to the bathroom, and I will give you all the advice I have compiled over the last 6 years I have worked as a nanny. I do not begrudge other’s their desires for families, however, I often get incredulous looks when I say I don’t want kids.
I do, however, come from extremely fertile stock. I come from a family that pumps out children as easily as an Indonesian Nike factory pumps out sneakers. Though I have no plans to use the eggs my body produces each month, I do recognize the need for them, and how I can help another family realize their dreams. Two years ago I started researching infertility treatments, and how I could help. I joined up with an amazing group called Fertility Physicians of Northern California as an egg donor. I had to go through several screening processes, give my medical and family histories, answer extensive questionnaires about my life, as well as blood tests and ultrasounds- before I was even matched up with a recipient family! Then I waited. And waited. And waited some more to be picked by one of the families that uses FPNC in their quest for children. Finally, last May, I was told I had been picked as an egg donor! We did some more waiting, lots of blood tests and cultures, and finally got our calendar set with dates for my cycle.
The staff at FPNC established my cycle with birth control pills, and on a set day, I started giving myself a nightly injection of a hormone to suppress my ovaries from making any new follicles that would in turn become eggs. A few days later, I stopped taking the pill, and continued with my injections. About a week after the cycle started, I went back in for an ultrasound and blood test to check my hormone levels, and was cleared to add two more medications that would begin growing follicles, and more than just the one that normally would grow each month. Three injections each night left my belly feeling a little tender, but it’s really not very painful, and the discomfort goes away quickly. The third week of the cycle my ovaries became enlarged, which is good, and I felt a little bloated, but really had no discomfort. A week later, I stopped all three of the injections and took just one, which happened to fall on Billy’s birthday. This last injection was a hormone that told my ovaries to make available all the eggs the follicles had been growing so they would be ready for retrieval. Two days later, bright and early Monday morning, I underwent a very quick surgical procedure to extract the eggs, and then my participation was done! I slept all day after the surgery, and took it easy for the next two days, but was back at work and functioning normally the following day. I have been on “pelvic rest” for 2 weeks, and I stopped running 3 weeks ago when my ovaries became enlarged so I wouldn’t mess anything up. I miss the activity, but it’s been a pleasant 3 week forced rest period.
The eggs themselves, 16 were collected, went to the lab where they were fertilized and grew for a few days before being implanted in the recipient. The recipients will have full power over the eggs at that point, deciding how many to fertilize and implant, and what to do with the extras. If the implanted eggs take, hopefully the recipient will have a healthy pregnancy that ultimately ends in a beautiful child, if not, they have more of my eggs to work with and have several cycles to make it happen.
Both the recipients and myself chose to have an anonymous cycle. I did provide pictures of myself through my life for them to see, but we will not meet at any point in this process, and I have declined to meet any offspring formed from this cycle. It would be wild to run into a little mini-me someday though, and there is always the possibility that in 18 years I will get a call from FPNC asking me to update my medical records, family history etc so they can update the family, but there is very little chance a child will find me and want to have a relationship with me. My mentality is this: I provide genetic material to allow another couple to have a family. It is not my baby, I have no attachment to any offspring, the recipients will 100% be the parents of any children that may come through this. I am here to help another couple get the family they have always wanted, and I am very proud to be of any service.
I am very grateful to have such supportive and understanding family and amazing friends. They are thrilled with my decision to be an egg donor, and are so glad I am able to help out a less fortunate family. Not all of them understand my commitment to not having children myself, though they still respect that as my life choice, and have stopped pressuring me about starting my own family. Everyone has been very interested in knowing all the ins and outs of the cycle, what my medications are like, and how they are affecting me. I have even had many people offer to come take care of me if I need anything at all. I am so grateful for the amazing people in my life, and how awesome everyone has been through this process.