Would you donate an egg? You really aren’t using it much, right?

{I APOLOGISE IF YOU SAW THIS POST EARLIER – I pushed on the “publish” button, as you do, by accident mid-post}

I am not referring to the chicken eggs you buy from Pick ‘n Pay, I am talking about the eggs that you {possibly} have sitting in your ovaries.

Taking the general female structure in consideration, a woman is born with about one to two million immature eggs, or follicles, in her ovaries.

When a woman reaches puberty and starts to menstruate, only about 400,000 follicles remain.

With each menstrual cycle, a thousand follicles are lost and only one lucky little follicle will actually mature into an ovum (egg), which is released into the fallopian tube, kicking off ovulation {raging hormones, cramping and usually PMS symptoms that require  a long lie down with a cup of tea}.

Relatively little or no follicles remain at menopause, which usually begins when a woman is between 48-55 years of age. The remaining follicles are unlikely to mature and become viable eggs because of the hormonal changes that come along with menopause.

So the short answer is that we {the majority} of us are born with far more eggs than we need.

The only time I needed eggs was when I needed three to catch three {separate} sperms, after that, my eggs are of little or no use to me. I barely think about them, except when I see a really cute newborn photo on Facebook, then my ovary tends to just squeeze an egg out ….

So why are we so reluctant to act as egg donors?

I’m not using the eggs.  Someone else might really like to use them.

A need for egg donations has risen for a number of reasons.  Infertile couples have often turned to acquiring eggs through egg donation when the female partner cannot have genetic children because she may not have eggs that can generate a viable pregnancy.

This situation is often, but not always based on advanced reproductive age. Early onset of menopause which can occur in women as early as their 30’s can require a woman to use donor eggs to grow her family.

Some women are born without ovaries or other reproductive organs.

Sometimes a woman’s reproductive organs have been damaged due to disease or circumstances required her to have them surgically removed. Another indication would be a genetic disorder on part of the woman who can be circumvented by using eggs from another person.

Many women have none of these issues, but continue to be unsuccessful using their own eggs.

So there are many reasons why a woman may not be able to produce an egg on her own, and needs to enlist the help of another woman.  If it was a help ad it would read: “Eggs Needed: If you are a healthy young woman between the ages of 21 and 33,  has the time to commit to the donation process, and is preferably a non-smoker.  Take a few drugs, have a scan, give a life ….  please call me 0800 NEED EGGS!”

I have approached two agencies, but it seems no one wants my 40-year-old eggs.  Slightly rejected.  Much?  Very actually.  Have they seen what my eggs can do?  My eggs are like super freaking hero eggs, but no one wants old eggs.

Its all about the new and shiny ones.

I wonder if I am a bit pro the idea of egg donation, because it is not a decision I need to face.  What being old and all.   The decision is really out of my hands  {Unless someone calls and tells me they want my eggs, then we are game on!!} as age has sort of made the decision for me.

I think the notion of egg donation is a subject fraught with lots of emotional content.

Is it just a part of your body, that is manufactured and you can pass along to the next person much like you may do blood, bone marrow or your body parts when you leave this earth?  Or is it something intrinsically more personal?  A pre-child that you think about?  The fear of a child who looks like your children walking around out there without you?

Is your egg a child – your child – or a nearly child? – or is it a  bunch of potential that is wasted each month?

Is the idea of donating an egg the equivalent of giving a child {potential, that realistically you are never going to have} away to many?

I think I could argue why egg donation is really a wonderful thing – but I could also understand why woman are somewhat reluctant to do it.  My brain does feel a bit “overloaded” by this subject, so for now I am going to park it and will come back to it.

Have you donated an egg, are you the recipient of an egg donation, are you thinking that this is probably not something you would ever do?

Possibly the reason you have stayed away from the idea of donating your eggs {that you are not using, you cannot do it once it is walking around outside of you with a snotty nose, and a lollipop stuck in its hair … then technically it is not an egg … just saying} is that you have not had a chanc to find out how it works, or chat to someone who has done it already.

If you are wanting to know more and just let the idea run through your head – there is an agency in Cape Town, Sun Shine Egg Donors – they are always willing to assist donors and donor recipients.

Have an egg you are not using? These guys, they know gals, who would really would like your egg(s).

Giving it some thought, give them a ring, or drop them an email, or don’t.

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16 Comments

  1. I also wanted to do it through Tertia of Nurture but alas I am also too old!! Despite which I just had my own little bundle of ‘joy’ at the ripe old age of 41!

    Reply
  2. enhancedmama

     /  June 9, 2012

    I’m waiting to be chosen as an egg donor right now. Not with the agency you have linked to, but with one somewhat closer to home in the PNW.

    Without any drugs, I make and lose 45 follicles every month. I could make some couple very happy.

    Donating was a no brainer for me. I’ve been pregnant and breastfeeding my whole adult life (literally) but as soon as I was able to conclusively say that I am done, and was sure I qualified to donate, I signed up to do so.

    I don’t feel like I need to detach myself from my eggs, per se. It’s perfectly ok with me that I’m giving someone a little part of myself to help make their dreams come true. And it’s not like having your own baby… You don’t have 9 months to get to know and love the baby… It’s more abstract. I feel like I’d feel just as much a connection to the Recipients of my eggs as I did to my eggs.

    Now hopefully someone picks me. Haha. I’m little worried nobody will because I’m mixed race. And I have very white little babies.

    Reply
  3. Alexandra

     /  June 8, 2012

    I don’t think I would have considered it before I had children but now that I have two of my own, I am very pro the idea but unfortunately too old, sad really. I think I’m a donor kind of person – registered as an organ donor and even donated breast milk for a while.

    Reply
  4. mandypienaar

     /  June 8, 2012

    I also looked into this recently and I think we all say we would, or wouldn’t until the moment of signing presents itself. I debated it in my head (and heart) and I like to think I would like to do it. (un)Fortunately the agency told me I can’t donate. Unless I lose a lot of weight in the next few years I won’t be able to either. I think I would love to be able to make a difference in someone else’s life and I know what joy a kid can bring to your life. To those that have done it, well done!

    Reply
  5. no, I wouldn’t be able disassociate myself from the eggs. I’d always think of them as my children. and wonder where they are,boy, girl, happy, sad and so on and so on. Such an awesome gift to give a couple, so well done to those that have donated.
    I’m too possesive and too selfish.

    Reply
  6. I have donated eggs, for me it was a fabulous and very fullfilling and heart warming feeling of having done something good.

    This is what I wrote at the time:

    I know some people struggle with this concept, but I have thought about it a lot. I am an organ donor too. I have no great ties with my physical body, other than that I find it quite handy and I need it right now. When I die I won’t need it, and I am more than happy that it be used to help someone else who may need part of it.

    So my take on the egg issue is as follows:

    My egg(s) will be given freely and without condition. I see it as a vessel and catalyst for someone to use to grow THEIR baby. The seed may be mine, but the baby will be them, and all theirs. All of their energy, love and nourishment will be given to it to grow as their very own.

    I am not using my eggs, they are literally flushed down the toilet now… I don’t see or think of them as babies, but as potentials. They are part of the ingredients needed to make a baby, but on their own they are nothing.

    I have a strong sense of babies coming to us when the time is right and when they chose to. The egg & the sperm are part of that, but I think there’s more to it. Something spiritual that happens too. We don’t really control that, although we do play a part. We can help it along, but we can’t MAKE it happen. Conception happens as it wants to, we don’t fully understand it.

    As I said above, I don’t believe a single egg (or likewise a sperm) is a baby, or part of me, it’s just a catalyst.

    For me it’s like giving eggs to your neighbour to bake a cake. The eggs might have been yours originally, but the cake she makes with them is all hers.

    The ingredients don’t affect the end product as much as the recipe, method, love & care taken to make, bake & decorate the cake, but without the eggs there wouldn’t be a cake…

    But just cos your eggs were used you can’t think, ‘That’s my cake!’.

    Make sense?

    Anyway that’s MY view, I know others feel differently, and I respect that.

    Reply
  7. I actually interviewed the owner of an agency about a year ago for an article. My thing is that I won’t be able to ‘detach’. I’d think of it as ‘my’ egg, ‘my’ baby, ‘my’ child. As the lady also confirmed in the interview-I am NOT their perfect candidate and won’t make it through the psychological phase of the interview. You have to do it as a gift. And then forget about it. I won’t be able to. It really takes someone amazing.

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  June 7, 2012

      I think you might be right — I probably would not be able to detach ……

      Reply
  8. Charne

     /  June 7, 2012

    Qould the children born from your “potential” eggs be your own children’s half brother\sister? If they were to by some crazy chance meet up one day and fall inlove – would that be incest?

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  June 7, 2012

      Yes, that would be a little bit crazy, and a touch on the “Bold and the Beautiful” side …… I would assume that there is a limit to the amount of times you can donate eggs/sperm to prevent an entire generation of Mini-Me’s ……. I am sure clever people have given this some thought.

      Okay, I also just had a little shiver!

      Reply
      • You are only allowed to donate a max of 5 times… and the chance of any of the kids pairing up and dating or wanting to marry is negligably small. I actually helped Tertia (form Nuture) to work out the odd based on some facts and figures she had a few years ago. It really was a VERY small chance.

        Reply
        • reluctantmom

           /  June 8, 2012

          Thanks very much for all this information Jane, I definitely learnt stuff I did not know before.

          Reply
  9. Snail

     /  June 7, 2012

    I eventually conceived my 2 kids after 5 IVF’s and countless other procedures. We have male factor infertility.

    I decided that I needed to pay it forward, to give back to the world in some way. Egg donation felt like a good way to do it as I know all too well what it is like to long for a child.

    I know that there are not a huge selection of egg donors available and I think I am a pretty good candidate (2 kids, university degree, relatively attractive – haha). So I signed up at an agency towards the end of last year.

    I was quite surprised when I was chosen quite quickly as I am a bit long in the teeth for an egg donor (30). I completed my donation in April this year and my recipient fell pregnant. YAY! 🙂 What a wonderful feeling!

    I have just been matched again but with an overseas recipient and it looks like I may be on my way to Cancun in a few months time to do this donation.

    I suppose the money is nice to have (R5-6k) but the feeling of personal satisfaction far outweighs it. It gives you such a confidence boost to know that you have been chosen out of all the possible donors out there and such a feeling of achievement when your body responds well to the drugs, makes lots off eggs, and finally fulfills somebody/ie’s dream of having a baby.

    As for the thought of your child/ren running around out there, I totally agree with your theory of the eggs being “potential”. It was fascinating to read up on epigenetics as well, which refers to donor egg children as having 3 biological parents.

    “The most important aspect of all pregnancies- including egg donation pregnancies- is that as the fetus grows, every cell in the developing body is built out of the pregnant mother’s body. Tissue from her uterine lining will contribute to the formation of the placenta, which will link her and her child. The fetus will use her body’s protein, then she will replace it. The fetus uses her sugars, calcium, nitrates, and fluids, and she will replace them.” Taken from a booklet published by Freedom Pharmacy

    Reply
  10. Laura

     /  June 7, 2012

    Hmmm …. eggs, schmeggs …. unless I was personally approached by someone I know, I don’t think I would willy nilly drop off an egg at an agency. The “admin” as StimoDee calls it, is just too much like climbing Mt Everest … is it worth the effort for a stranger? My hormones are enough of a Titanic challenge once a frikkin month and I, for one, won’t miss the little blighters when menopause hits. In fact I got myself sterilised on the Caesar table after my last bundle of joy was plucked out the womb bubble and then had an oblation shortly thereafter. This means that I haven’t had the inconvenience of a bleed in 8 years, just the PMS and the pingpong of hormones running riot!! If I were a man however and could go spank the monkey while drooling over a titalating magazine then ja, making a sperm donation wouldn’t be too much effort! Life is a bitch.

    Reply
  11. I have done it. I think the process might sound quite involved and admin intensive for some people. The hormone shots, the trigger shot, the extraction procedure… Having to take time of work etc.

    I am by no means discouraging it. the “admin’ is SUCH a small price to pay for the immeasurable gift you would be giving to a family/mother. I just think you need to be well-informed. I never went through an agency. Just straight through a fertility specialist so I’m sure an agency knows exactly how to inform women and get them adequately prepared.

    Reply
  12. I would do it but I have the dislocated hips which is hereditarty as well as spina bifida so I am a little “defective” 🙂

    Reply

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