Egg donation, worried, thoughts?

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Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852
Egg donation, worried, thoughts?

Hi everyone, this might be long but I am hoping for some advice and input..

A friend of mine asked me to donate eggs for her. Months ago, I knew nothing about it, and said I would think about it. It sounded really neat at the time. She was so excited that I was considering it. She had underwent chemotherapy, which ceased her egg production and put her through early menopause. The fertility people think she can sustain a pregnancy despite the menopause, and she is on the pill to try and reboot her cycle (which is apparently not working). I was excited at the thought of helping, but really had no idea just how involved this process is, thinking it was simple.
However, over the months I have been talking to many people online who have donated eggs, and every single person said that they would never do it again. It was horrible, they had side effects, some were so sick they could not work, others were unable to have children after the procedure. I didn't realize just how complicated this procedure is. Hormone injections sound terrifying. I can not take the pill due to severe side effects I suffer from the hormones; I know these hormone injections are using different hormones than the pill, but I am concerned that they will have similar side effects. I have tried three different pills and a combination of two, and the Nuva ring, (trying to regulate my period as I suffer from mennorhagia (severely heavy and prolonged periods)), and the side effects were serious and much worse than any mennorhagia. Not to mention, I have a needle phobia. I don't know if I can subject myself to constant hysterics over injections. How many injections does this require over how long of a period of time? And certainly they can't expect me to take the pill to regulate my period, to make it easier for them to time my ovulation etc? When they know I suffer dangerous side effects?

I work at home full time while taking care of my two young children (ages 1 & 3, VERY active kids). I need to be healthy and energetic in order to take care of them and work. I can't afford to take time off work and I can't afford to be too sick or tired to care for my children. I also have a very busy life. I am worried about the time commitment to Dr's appointments interfering with my very busy life. I have kids programs to go to, I take classes with my dogs, I show and breed my dogs as a hobby which requires me to be out of town certain weekends of the month for dog shows, and the breeding is very involved and means I often have to rearrange my schedule to be at the vet for progesterone tests and surgical inseminations. I never leave my girls at home by themselves if they are within a week of their whelping date and I never leave pups alone with mom if I don't have to, so committing to appointments in the next town over is difficult. I understand that the surgery I would need for the egg retrieval is out of town (4-5 hours away). I don't know how I can guarantee that I'll be able to do that, with my plans next year, not to mention we are putting our house up for sale in the spring and I don't know where we will be relocating to or if there will be a clinic in the area where I can have the needed appointments.

I relayed some of this to my friend, and told her that I really don't think I am a good candidate. I didn't realize there was so much to it. My husband said "absolutely not" to the idea once he learned how much work and commitment it appears to be. He is worried about the health effects. He works out of town much of the time, and can not be at home to take care of the kids if I am too sick to do it, and he wouldn't be there to watch the kids while I go to appointments. My friend didn't really want to take no for an answer. She told me she is booking an appointment with a specialist before I say no, because I shouldn't believe everything that everyone says on the internet. That doesn't really ease my mind about the potential side effects; I know enough professionals to know that they will always downplay any potential side effects so that they don't lose business. I would rather believe the people who have gone through it. And even so, it doesn't really make me feel better about skipping out on my own plans and goals for the next year so that I can screw up my mind and body with hormones. I'm also breastfeeding and don't want to stop until my baby is ready. I had hoped to go another year at least. I tried to explain this to my friend as nicely as possible, but she is still making the appointment and wants to start treatments in a few months. I don't want to be pressured into this if I am not a good candidate for it. I feel that she would be better off asking someone else, looking into a donor clinic, or adoption since her chances of sustaining a pregnancy are very low. I wish I had never said I would think about it/look into it, before I knew what it was.

And yes, I am a pushover and easily manipulated into things which is why I am having such a hard time just saying "no." Sad

Advice? No bashing please..

Joined: 07/26/04
Posts: 1595

Having done 2 cycles of IVF and will be doing who knows how many more soon, I can say that IVF is a lot of work. You will have to get numerous blood tests done, one of which is genetic counseling. You will have to go in every other day, and do several injections a day for about 2 weeks. In order to properly get into IVF you have to be 100 percent committed because it requires a lot of work as I said. If you are not 100 percent I would not do it.
Also, if you are still BF I don't think you can do that, but I'm not sure though. The only advise I can offer is to tell your friend what you just told us, so she can better understand how you feel. I honestly would not do this if you are not exactly sure not only for you, but for your friend. You would not want to get her hopes up for nothing.

As for the side effects, everyone is different. I worked throughout my first IVF cycle. I got very tired and bloated but nothing I couldn't handle. Second cycle, I had only bloating and emotional mood swings. However, you can be different, so that is also something to consider.

Also, she cannot take no for an answer. This is a huge decision and she can't expect you to make it just like that. She must understand that. Also, you must look into the financial/insurance issues with this as well. IVF is very costly, and you don't want to get stuck with any bills as well.

I think you have a lot things to think about. I think it is great that you are thinking about it. Coming from someone like me that cannot conceive on my own, having a friend like you that at least considers it is awesome. AND sorry if my answers are all over the place, my 8 year old was talking to me and singing and all sorts of things while writing this. LOL!! Smile

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Thanks so much for the reply; It sure does sound like a lot of commitment. I don't know how I could do all of those appointments. Even if I had the time, I don't think I am strong enough emotionally (I have a terrible phobia of needle injections and I've never had surgery and am terrified of the thought of it). To have to stop working, pull my kids out of preschool and dance etc, to drive to the town over, all on my own time & money... Financially I'm strapped because we're trying to buy another house. My husband is furious about this whole thing. My friend already booked the appointment and is telling people I'm doing it. I will go to the appointment, but I wrote down a list of my concerns, and I'm sure the Dr will agree with me that I am really not a good candidate. I feel that if I go through with it, I would be putting my family last, and that isn't fair. My baby & I are not ready to stop breasftfeeding. Plus there are mandatory counselling sessions on top of all of it, that my spouse is required to go to, and even if he had the time (he mostly works out of town), I know he would refuse, and I don't know if they need a STD test from him but I'm sure he'd refuse that too. I don't want to tell my friend that he is so against it because I'd hate to make my husband sound like he's a mean person; He's not, he's just being realistic. This has been so stressful for me. I don't want to seem like a bad friend, but I'd be a bad mom if I take that much time off work and force my kids out of school & programs to come with me to appointments (I have no other means of child care). I nearly throw up every time I think about this, it is causing me so much anxiety because I am so torn. Sad

Joined: 07/26/04
Posts: 1595

It seems to be that you shouldn't do this. If she is a good friend she will understand. This isn't just a favor, this is a huge committment. I think you need to talk to her.

dreamchaser's picture
Joined: 01/31/07
Posts: 681

I made three attempts at IVF back in '08 and '09. It is a big commitment for sure! I was doing it for myself and my family, and had to consider so many things before biting the bullet! I couldn't imagine the things you need to consider when doing it as a donor. I think its very admirable that you are considering doing this to help your friend. Though reading your posts it seems obvious you've done some soul searching and research to come to the decision not to follow through. I couldn't do something that big without 100% support from my spouse either. You need to talk to your friend and let her know that you are not wanting to do this. That you never promised her you would, that you only said you would consider it. And you've done that, and have made your decision. If she is a good friend, no matter how disappointed she will be, she will understand. I also want to say that it doesn't make you a bad person or friend to decide not to be an egg donor.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

I think you have made your decision and just need to refuse the appointment.

I had a friend who wanted me to be a gestational surrogate for her. She knew my fertility issues and I had not had Robbie at that point. I was so shocked I could not say anything. I said no, and she was mad at me but I knew I could not do it.

A friend offered to donate eggs to me but we were not ready to go that route and if I did donor eggs I think I would go with someone I did not know. Unless it was one of my sisters but they are all either going through menopause or are post-menopausal.

Speechie Mama's picture
Joined: 04/26/10
Posts: 9
Tough Decisions

Hi Honey,
You sound like a wonderful, kind, caring person for even considering going through so much trouble to help a friend. That being said, the hormone treatments, medical appointments and surgery for retrieval are no joke. I'm going through egg withdrawal for my own IVF and it has meant daily blood draws, giving myself up to 3 shots/2 pills each day, and now, after they've finished the retrieval, I have to recuperate from ovarian hyper stimulation (swollen, painful, crampy ovaries) before they can transfer. It's a lot, but worth it for me because it is my only way of getting pregnant and being able to carry my own biological kiddos.

Although you want to help, be careful that you're not getting in over your head.

Best of luck to your friend. I hope she finds another way to become a mommy