Columbia makes all egg donors take a “course” prior to officially entering the program. The course consists of the process and risk information, a question and answer time period and learning how to give yourself the ‘trigger” shot (a shot of hCG that prepares the body for the release of the developed eggs). It was really interesting to learn about how the process works, but it was nothing I hadn’t already heard about either from friends who have donated in the past or from the coordinators. And the risk information was the same as what you’re told when you decide to investigate becoming an egg donor int he first place, just reiterated.
The most surreal part is learning how to administer the shot. I walked into a room that had a vial of sodium chloride solution, a sterile syringe with two needles (one for mixing, one for injecting), and, best part, a fake butt-cheek. So, we were walked through the process of preparing the solution for injection, as well as how to keep everything clean, and then we injected the fake butt with the sodium chloride solution. And that was it. Now, I’m not squeamish about needles… hell, I’ve pierced my own ears before… but for some reason, the idea of giving myself an intramuscular injection of something is kind of nerve wracking.
I was then taken for blood work (that genetic panel and STD test from my previous post) and met with a doctor to sign consent forms. The consent forms agree to HIV testing, receiving IVF medication and treatment, and agreeing to the surgical removal of the eggs at the end of the cycle. Basically, blah blah blah, do you know what you’re getting into? blah, blah, blah, yes. No big deal. The doctor also asks you if you’re nervous about anything, and you get the opportunity to talk to them in a counseling setting briefly. That part was nice and set my mind a little at ease about the genetic stuff. She clarified that testing positive as a carrier for SMA or cystic fibrosis isn’t a death sentence on donating like it’s made out to be. It is only one if the man tests positive as a carrier as well, and even then, it’s still up to the couple to decide if they’d like use your eggs. The idea that it’s not the “Worst Thing Ever in the History of Ever” and isn’t a death sentence was really what I needed to hear.
Luckily for me, I happened to be on the second day of my period, so I was taken for a cervical culture and for a baseline transvaginal ultrasound so that I could get started on the synchronization process (the part where you’re on birth control to sync your body with the recipient). So, essentially, I began the egg donation process last night when I took my first pill. If you’re not on the 2nd day of your period, you must wait for your next period so that you can start. I don’t have the science behind why it needs to be the 2nd day, but it seemed to be super important that it be exactly that day.
10 vials of blood, 1 transvaginal ultrasound, 1 cervical culture, and 1 package of birth control pills later, I walked out the door having officially started the process. At this point, pending the results of my genetic panel and STD tests, I’m pretty much good to go (my ovaries were called “beautiful,” containing 18 active follicles for this next menstrual cycle. Oooooooooo!)
I’ll write again once I have the results of my screenings!