Egg Donation Chronicles: An Update

25 Jul

Columbia University Medical Center has been a godsend in my egg donation quest. They have a delightful coordinator who is communicative and they have great policies that actually allow a donor to remain anonymous. They’re awesome.

I’ve been working with them for several weeks now, going through the same process as before (all the same paperwork), but this time, I didn’t need to submit a picture, because, get this, the recipients will never actually see what I look like. Love! This is how the process can remain anonymous. The other company requested not one, but TEN, pictures of me. Which meant that they were showing them to recipients, and making the process less than anonymous. Hypothetically, these people could somehow run across my information online (I DO have a Facebook account, because, who doesn’t, really?…) and remember my photos and figure out that I’m me. They would be breaking all sorts of laws, but it’s totally possible, and it could even happen accidentally.

Anyway, so Columbia is awesome and simply snapped a photo of me for their records while I was in the office. They assured me it would never be shown to the recipients and thus, actual anonymity is secured.

More about Columbia being awesome: I didn’t have to wait until the 3rd day after my period to have my physical. They just did it when they could fit me in and when it worked in my schedule, and they could figure out how fertile I was during my last period from that. Stellar. So, I found out I ovulated out of my right ovary during my last cycle, and my left ovary already has 15+ active follicles (she couldn’t see ALL of them, just most). The doctor said that this was perfect for my age, and that I was an excellent candidate. They didn’t even give me any issues about a recent sports-related injury that I sustained, even though I was on crutches. They made a note, of course, but assured me that this would not effect my desirability, primarily because sports injuries are not genetic and there is no need to share that information with potential recipients.

Long story short, Columbia > Private Egg Donation Company. If you’re thinking about going through this process and you have the choice of a university supervised program or a private company, please use the university program. You will undoubtedly have a much better experience.

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15 Responses to “Egg Donation Chronicles: An Update”

  1. vashti760223 July 25, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    To tell you the truth, I would prefer to go through an open egg adoption. And I am undertaking my own search on options for egg donation, right now.

  2. Erin August 2, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    I beg you, please reconsider before pursuing egg donation any further–especially anonymous donation. Children shouldn’t be manufactured in labs because adults decide they want to be parents by any means necessary. Don’t contribute to this cultural commodification of humans.

    I see that you are pursuing anonymous donation. You cannot pretend that biology is irrelevent–my father doesn’t know who his dad is, and my younger sister is adopted. Each of them has suffered a great deal because they know nothing of their biological roots. It’s not fair to children for adults to redefine “family” and expect their children not to suffer the consequences.

    Please read some of the stories at AnonymousUs.org before you pursue this further. I know the money is tempting, but it’s just not ethical.

  3. Steph L August 5, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    Well said, Erin. I agree.

  4. Christie August 5, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    Lucky for me, Erin and Steph, you don’t get to decide what’s moral or ethical in this situation. I’m sorry that your relatives feel incomplete, Erin, but I fail to see how that is the responsibility of the donor.

  5. Magdalena August 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    Wow, okay. Erin and Steph, you need to pump the breaks on this. It is not up to you to impose your views on anyone. They’re your opinions, not facts. Let’s keep that in check, shall we?

    Furthermore, as an adopted child with a whole lot of baggage, (I was adopted at age 6 and have memories from 18 months of my coke-whore mother) I think closed adoptions are the way to go. Had I not had any of those memories, I would’ve felt much more fulfilled at a much younger age. Instead, I went through 12 long and hard years of therapy trying to deal with the “family” I started out with and the feelings of abandonment and rejection the situation imposed upon me.

    Obviously my situation is extreme and obviously it’s not the case for every adopted kid, but unfortunately, it’s more common than it should be.

    All of that being said, I eventually got my shit together and ended up a stronger woman for it. We are each our own individual and we have no right to tell someone else how to make their decisions or how to live their life. Regardless of Christie’s motivations to donate her eggs, it is solely her decision and that’s that.

  6. Erin August 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    “I’m sorry that your relatives feel incomplete, Erin, but I fail to see how that is the responsibility of the donor.”

    When you are directly involved in a process that treats children like chattel, to be sold to another person, you are responsible.

    I can’t explain it any further. Please reconsider.

  7. Christie August 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    Erin, in a word, no. I don’t feel that giving people who are undoubtedly loving, caring individuals the opportunity to become parents is “treating children like chattel.” The process is too expensive to enter into lightly, thus ensuring that the people who utilize egg donation are invested in it.

    Thank you for your opinion.

  8. Erin August 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    This comment probably won’t make it through moderation, since the moderators like to shut things down on this website so they can have the last word when the subject gets uncomfortable, but I am going to attempt anyway.

    I think it’s interesting that you describe the entire process from the perspective of what’s best for you and the potential parents–not the child himself!

    All that aside, my family paid tens of thousand of dollars to adopt my sister internationally in the late 90′s. The passed a rigorous home study process with flying colors (and no sort of homestudy is required in IVF). When my father revealed a severe, lifelong opiate addiction years later, the effect on the family was devastating. No amount of money can guaratee that the family that buys your eggs will be stable or loving.

    Even if your baby gets put in a perfect, trouble-free home, s/he will suffer as a result of not knowing his or her genetic heritage. If you consider yourself an open-minded, thoughtful person, you owe it to yourself and your future child to read some of the criticisms of anonymous gamete “donation” before you continue. Check out AnonymousUs.org.

    I’ll be hoping that you are lucky enough to never be chosen as a donor.

  9. Magdalena August 10, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    Erin, how exactly was it that your father and sister’s biological mothers affected them besides simply giving them life? You say that they suffer because they don’t know their biological roots. Really? That’s what you’re going with- that they endured an internal suffering because instead of being raised by their biological mothers who probably weren’t ready to be mothers in the first place, they were subjected to a redefined family of parents and siblings that loved them?

    And somehow you grew up to believe this is a bad thing. Wow. I’m sorry. You’re delusional.

    The fact of the matter is that your father and sister’s suffering is coming from within them. It’s not the fault of their biological mothers that they don’t feel fulfilled. Rather, it seems as though their adoptive parents didn’t know how to integrate their adopted child into their own redefined family. And that’s just not the fault of their biological mothers. Sorry. You’re going to have to project their suffering onto the actual source- not one that fits your agenda and warped sense of reality.

    I have legitimate trauma from my six and a half years of living with my biological mother. I was in therapy from the time preceding my adoption right on up until I was 18. Thanks to that intensive therapy and two incredible adoptive parents, I am completely fulfilled and have no suffering. Your father and sister have zero memories. That’s how an adoption becomes a successful one- by starting out with a clean slate. Their biological mothers had that foresight at least.

    Christie is doing an amazing thing for people who can’t conceive on their own. This covers a broad range of people who have one very important thing in common: they have the means and the love to raise a well-adjusted child. That’s the important message here. People who want a child of their own, but are lacking the biology to make that happen themselves, are being given the opportunity to have that child. And these children, who are desired and yearned for, are the ones who receive so much more love, so many more opportunities and a wonderful life with a family who will cherish them for the miracles they are.

    These are the people who make the world a better place.

  10. Christie August 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    Erin, you are missing the point, clearly. First, this will not now, nor ever, be “my baby.” That’s not how it works.

    Second, instead of blaming your father for his shortcomings, you are blaming the biological mother. Which is, frankly, moronic.

    Third, even when parents have and rear their own children, there is no guarantee that the parents will be fit. Ocassionally, biological parents turn out to be unfortuantely awful ones, which seems to be the case with your father.

    However, this is, in no way, the responsibility of the donor/biological mom. Knowing where your sister came from would not change who was raising her at the time.

    So, blame your dad, and blame the adoption agency, but stop blaming the DNA. Your dad’s issues are his, and ostensibily, he adopted your sister to give her a better life. I am sorry that that didn’t happen.

    Also, I have a feeling that you have something to gain by promting that website. If you include it in another response, your response will not be published. You are forewarned.

  11. Steph August 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    Erin,

    I want to let you know that I’m the moderator of this blog, and the only reason I don’t approve comments is when they are disrespectful or hateful. If the comment seems borderline offensive, I ask the blogger if they want me to publish it. It speaks to Christie’s tolerance level that she’s ok having you ruthlessly judge her without knowing a damn thing about her emotional, financial, or physical situation. It would have been my pleasure to delete your comment. If you continue to behave in this manor, I will not publish your comments. Please promote your website elsewhere.

  12. freewomyn August 10, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    I have to agree with the folks who are in favor of private adoptions, whether we’re talking about egg donation or other forms of adoption. I was adopted. I know my genetic history. You can give folks relevant health info and remain anonymous. There’s a compromise here.

  13. Steph L August 11, 2011 at 1:09 am #

    Well Christie, when you post something on a public forum you should be aware not everyone is bound to agree with you. I personally could care less what people choose to do in situations like this or what you may think of me, however I still have an opinion. I don’t mean to be disrespectful so don’t take it that way.

    Maybe its just my personal experience growing up in a country where orphanages were everywhere and flooded with unwanted children – Other children could be found just living on the street and begging from cars driving by – that have given me an intense dislike of reproductive technology. It just saddens me to know so many existing children need homes when couples spend at least thousands of dollars to try and concieve artificially. Hell, maybe it killed off my own want for reproducing and made me want to foster parent or adopt if and when I ever wanted kids. Maybe infertility is nature’s way of saying “enough people, help with other children who need it.” Harsh to some, maybe, but sometimes you don’t get what you want in life.

    I did know a gril who was concieved through donor sperm – she managed to find her birth father and the two (plus the extended family) are now incredibly close despite spending most of their lives apart.

  14. Christie August 11, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Steph L, I am more than happy to allow comments that disagree with me. You are right, this forum is very public. As Steph, our amazing moderator pointed out, I typically allow comments that I don’t agree with to be published. I am all for discussing opposing views. With that said, I don’t appreciate threats or harassment, and that is why, sometimes, comments aren’t published.

    For the record, I haven’t found your comments to be disrespectful, so if you are interested in continuing to debate, I am all for it.

    I agree that there are lots of children who need to be adopted, who are in a broken foster care system, and who deserve love and care. I would love to help those children. I have “adopted” children through Save the Children (domestically)and from other countries through Children International to help with this cause. It’s the best that I can do right now, as I am young, not married, and work at a job that doesn’t pay all that well.

    However, there is a culture in America that demands newborn, white babies, either through adoption or through IVF. I happen to be white. I happen to like children. And I happen to be healthy and active. I can make a dream come true for some worthy parents, who for whatever reason (not for me to judge), want to go through the process of pregnancy. Which I can understand, because I’ve heard it’s miraculous/magical.

    The fact that I can be compensated for the time, effort, emotions, physical risks and potential complications, is not necessarily my primary motivation (and certainly, the Erin’s of the world are making this process for the sake of the gift even *more* appealing).

    Having spoken with other donors, the appeal is in the joy of the gift. Would you ask that adoption coordinators, who also do valuable work, do their work for free? Probably not. So why should I not be compensated to do something that I feel is right and loving?

    And the anonymity of the process is in place to protect the child more than anything. This child will be birthed by their loving parents, regardless of my DNA. What if I turned out to be a crazy person who demanded that the child be returned to me after it was born (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04189/342889.stm)? With an anonymous process, that can’t happen.

    Maybe it’s selfish of the potential parents, but I simply can’t see how my gift to them is selfish of me.

  15. RandyT April 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    I just stumbled upon this blog and have to make a comment. When I was in college I responded to an ad to become an egg donor. I saw this as a way to help an infertile couple become parents who had tried for many years with only heartbreak. I am African-American and there were was a critical need since not young black females are willing to do what is necessary to donate eggs to black couples.

    When I responded to the ad the director of the clinic was so overjoyed he contacted me right away to come in for an interview. He had a professional black couple who had been waiting for a long time. I read their profile and was very impressed so I proceeded with the battery of tests required and at the end I was chosen.

    Well it was not a picnic I can tell and was downright painful but soon the end came and the eggs were harvested. The clinic had taken care to match all features like eye color, skin color and blood type. In fact I actually resembled the wife. Later I got my fee and used it to pay off my student loans and put the rest in an IRA. I actually thought nothing else of it until the clinic sent me a note telling me a baby had been born to the couple and it was a boy.

    Ironically this was a small town and one of the girls at school invited her sorority sisters to her aunt’s baby christening party and you guessed it, this was the couple. Of course I did not mention a word I was the egg donor but the look of joy and happiness on the couple’s face was priceless indeed. They in fact mentioned at the party that they got help in conceiving and wanted to give a special toast to the donor. Deep inside I said a silent “you’re welcome”.

    The mother practically held the baby and cooing after her the entire time. How anyone could have any negative feelings is beyond me. She is the baby’s mother and I helped her achieved that. I felt so proud that I actually made a difference. A couple years later after I had graduated college and moved back home I got another letter from the agency asking me if I could submit to another round as the couple wanted to have another child and wanted them to be genetically linked. It was a no brainer and of course I said yes.

    Yes I was paid handsomely and rightfully so. This couple now has a boy and a girl and they could not be happier. For the life of me I can’t see why people are focusing on one tiny egg instead of seeing how happy and contented families are. I also made sure to leave updated medical information from all members of my family in case it is ever needed. While I chose to remain anonymous I left a letter to be opened the children become of age explaining I wanted their parents to have a family and I was just a conduit that helped it to happen. That they should be proud of who they are and cherish every moment of their lives as they are truly blessed. Those people who keep telling negative stories about sperm donation and adoption have other issues and are using that as an excuse. I am no longer of age to donate but if I could I would do it in a heartbeat. While others focus on negativity, I tend to dwell on the good times and take comfort in knowing because of me two children are loved and cherished by people who are truly their parents.

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