I donated my eggs and this is my story.
It was back in June, during one of those nights where I got home from a long day of work, when I saw this post on Facebook:
I’ve heard about it going on in other countries but never expect we have it here in Malaysia. They were harvesting women’s ovaries!
I was curious. I fit all those requirements, plus it looked legit enough, so I thought to myself — why not give it a try?
So I messaged them.
They asked for my information, name, age, height, weight, whether I’m a smoker, etc. After this preliminary round, they scheduled a blood test with me.
I went for the blood test in a fertility clinic in Bangsar South. The agent told me that I should puasa for the night before my blood test, so I did.
The First Blood Test
I was nervous; I could feel myself shaking when I was on the way there. Thousands of what if’s were swimming around in my head, and I couldn’t help feeling like I was doing something morally and ethically wrong.
The clinic looked legit enough. There were plenty of people waiting for their procedures. There were baby pictures and testimonies on the walls and on the banners.
I registered with the receptionist who jotted me down as a ‘donor’, and then another lady took me to the waiting area to explain to me the procedure.
“We’re going to take a pretty large amount of blood from you, so you should get something to eat right after,” she said.
They took my blood until I started to feel light-headed.
“This is just the first stage,” she explained. “If everything checks out, you’ll officially be on the egg donor list.”
After that, I didn’t hear from them for a few months. Occasionally, some of the agents texted, asking for my pictures. They even asked for my baby and graduation pictures.
The potential parents would love that, I was told.
Congratulations, You’ve Been Chosen
Finally, in November, I was contacted by Heather (not her real name).
“Congrats!” She said. “You have been chosen as an egg donor!”
The next step was the scheduled pre-scan. A pre-scan is when they do a transvaginal ultrasound to check your womb and uterus for any growths and masses and to make sure everything is fine
This time, it was at a fertility clinic in Puchong.
“A lady called Mama June (name changed) would take care of you when you get there,” Heather assured me.
[Image via MedicAid]
I got to see my womb on the screen and it was a surreal experience. It was not painful, but it was surely uncomfortable to have the ultrasound probe inside me.
It turned out that I have something called a retroverted womb, which meant the eggs would be a bit difficult to extract.
The doctor and Mama June looked at my scans and discussed the treatment and medication that I would need, since my eggs were small.
My next appointment had to be 3 days after my period, so once I started seeing blood, I needed to contact them immediately to get the medication.
Then they needed more blood and a urine test. I didn’t feel the need to pee yet, so Mama June took me to the kopitiam next door for breakfast (and hopefully get some pee out of me!)
The Little Chat About the Egg Donation in a Kopitiam
I asked Mama June what’s gonna happen to my eggs once they’re extracted.
She told me I’ll just be ‘lending’ them to those couples who want children but cannot have them.
“Will there be a possibility of it being my child ‘cos it’s my egg after all?” I asked.
“Not entirely true,” she said.
“Yes, there would be some of your DNA on it but at the end of the day, it’s in another woman’s womb with her husband’s sperm, and the foetus would bond with the mother instead,” she explained cheerfully.
I mused a bit more. “Some people see this as wrong because it’s not natural. What are your thoughts on that?”
She responded, saying: “Since this new technology is helping a lot of people who are unable to conceive, it’s actually doing more good than harm.”
“I don’t understand why people aren’t doing it or encouraging it.”
[Image via Invitra.com]
“Women are basically born to create eggs like a hen so why not take it to good use instead of losing it every month?” She asked logically.
When my period came, I went for another appointment and was given Microgynon oral contraceptive pills (OCP). I was instructed to take the pills for about a month, from November to December.
During all this, I was spotting the whole time. I was worried that I won’t be able to tell if it was my period or not.
But three weeks later, on the 19th of December, I could tell immediately — there was quite a heavy flow.
It’s Needle Time
I met Mama June at the kopitiam next door and had breakfast.
“Today we are going to get the needles for the next stage of the extraction process,” she said, cheerful as ever.
Known by their industry name, Gonal, it was a needle that injected a fluid into my uterus to trigger the formation of my eggs.
There’s a certain way of doing it to prevent scarring; basically, I had to alternate between the left side and right side of my abdomen.
The injection was not painful; I didn’t even feel anything when the needle pierced into my skin. After 6 days of injecting myself with Gonal, I went back to the clinic for more scans.
The scans showed that my eggs were numerous enough but they were too small, so they added two more needles called Cetrotide and Humog.
Mama June said, “One of the needles is to make your eggs strong, one is for them to grow, and one is to prevent them from bursting.”
They Added More Needles
For 4 days, I injected three needles every day. I felt like I was at drug rehab.
After I was done, I went back for more scans on the 30th of December. Another lady, Nancy (name changed) was assigned to take care of me instead of Mama June.
“I’m afraid the doctor might drop you as a donor because the size of your eggs are still too small. If he did, then this whole thing would go to waste,” she said with concern etched across her face.
They sent me home with more needles, and before leaving, Nancy’s advice echoed in my mind:
“Sleep early, don’t drink alcohol and eat 8 eggs every day, just in case.”
After the scan on 2nd Jan 2020, they announced that my eggs were growing big and were finally qualified for extraction.
My extraction date was on 4th January, in Johor Bahru. Nancy gave me two new needles called Decapeptyl and Hucog. By now, I really felt like I was a needle cushion.
“You have to inject them at a very specific time at night to trigger the release of your eggs,” she told me.
I also had to eat a tablet called Dostinex to prevent bloating, ‘cos I’ll be very bloated after all the injections and triggers.
Out of all the needles that I had to use, Decapeptyl were the worst. They were significantly larger than the rest.
There were so many rules to follow before the extraction:
I had to take a laxative to clear my stomach, I needed to puasa after 12 am. I could not shower after 12 am. But if I really needed to, I couldn’t use any soap.
Here are a laundry list of things you should and should not do on the night before egg extraction:
When the day came, Mama June arranged transport for me to go to Johor Bahru, with three other people to take care of me. I was glad to have finally reached this stage.
The extraction was quick: I changed into a gown and was taken to the operation room.
There was a doctor and three nurses inside. I was strapped down on the bed and my legs were spread akimbo.
They inserted the IV into me, warning me that it was going to hurt. But after my experience with Decapeptyl, it was nothing.
The doctor injected some anaesthetic into the IV bag. He told me that I would feel a little dizzy, and that was the last thing I remembered before I passed out.
When I opened my eyes, the doctor was patting my shoulder telling me it was done. I did not know how long it took.
I was brought back to the waiting room to lie down for a while. I had no idea how long I slept.
To my delight, I was completely fine after the extraction. No nausea, and no dizzy spells.
The girl that came with me told me when she did this last time, she could not get out of bed because she was so dizzy and was vomiting non-stop.
[My IV drip.]
Bloated and Constipated
We went back to KL after a quick lunch in JB. Nancy told me that I have to tell her every time I passed motion because it was very important after the extraction.
I was so bloated that it hurt when I walked. Nancy started calling me three times a day, asking whether I passed motion or not.
“Have you gone to the toilet yet? No? You need to get laxatives!” She trilled in my ear.
After two days of not being able to pass motion, I took her advice. After taking the laxatives, I could finally feel my inner plumbing move about, and I finally went to the toilet.
I have never felt so relieved!
I texted Nancy excitedly about this recent development, and she told me with some relief that now the only thing was to wait for my period, ‘cos it will be here anytime soon.
The Sad News
On the 9th of January, Mama June told me the results of the extraction via text:
It was not an ideal result at all. I did not know how to feel. On one hand, I felt devastated because it felt like I could not help the future parents get their dream child.
Was it all my fault that this entire thing went kaput?
On the other hand, I couldn’t help but wonder about my own fertility.
Does this mean that it would be hard for me to conceive in the future?
The next day, I got a call from Nancy informing me that my procedure was a failure.
None of my eggs survived.
She was disappointed in me. “What did I say about sleeping late and drinking alcohol?” she tutted over the phone.
To conclude, my experience with egg donation was a long and tedious process.
It required a lot of visits to the clinic. Since I did not have a full time job at that moment, I could make frequent trips to the clinic with no problem.
I don’t think it would be possible for women with a full-time job to make so many trips to the clinic.
Another thing is that, you have to not fear needles because there were so many needles involved in this procedure.
If you were afraid of needles then it would not be suitable for you.
Nancy did not mention if I could still donate my eggs the next time, but I think it would be rather unlikely that they would consider me again.
For more articles like this, read: She Went Through 3 Miscarriages, Fell into a Coma, and Watched Her Daughter Die in NICU. Here’s Her Story.