R.D.’s Story

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I was an egg donor. I did three cycles in 2007. I donated anonymously to three different families. I was never told if any children came out of the cycles. I was paid $8,000 per cycle. I did have a lot of cramping and was extremely bloated like I was pregnant after the retrieval. They call this ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).

In May 2012, my fourth time donating my eggs, I thought I was donating them as part of a medical study, but then I found out my eggs were going to be stored in an egg bank for someone to use later on for fertility treatment. I still decided to do it.

I went to the facility to have a physical, ultrasound, blood work, urine test, and psychiatric exam. Two weeks later I got a call saying everything looked great and I met the egg donor banks qualifications. I started the hormone medications (Gonal-f and Luveris) that first started out as two medications in one shot that I mixed. Then towards the end of the cycle it was three medications (Gonal-f, Luveris, and Ganirelix) in two shots that I also mixed together myself.

I drove two and a half hours from my home in CT to Boston every day for almost two weeks for blood work and ultrasound. Once I started going to the facility every day I was always called later in the afternoon by a nurse to let me know how everything was. I was never told anything was wrong. I did mention at one of my appointments during an ultrasound that I was having extremely bad cramps. She said that wasn’t surprising since the eggs were getting much bigger.

Three days before retrieval I got a call saying things were great but the doctor may want to cancel the cycle because the eggs weren’t big enough for retrieval. They have to measure at least 18 cm. At this point I was so stunned and shocked by the cycle possibly getting cancelled that I could barely think straight. What was she talking about cancelled?! No one ever told me that there was even a slight chance that this could happen.

Despite my concern she said not to worry. Take all medications but do them all separate — which meant 3 shots in my abdomen — and if I had any extra medication to take that as well so my eggs would get bigger. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have any extra medications to take. I called the lady who set me up with the facility and told her about the cycle possibly getting cancelled. She was shocked as well and said it didn’t make any sense.

I went back to the facility the next day for the same ritual. I asked the nurse doing my ultrasound how my eggs were measuring and if she thought they would cancel. I was told there were eleven eggs and all were measuring 20 cm and up. She was confused that anyone would think to cancel a cycle that was looking so good. I went home reassured only to be let down hours later.

The doctor decided to cancel my cycle. I was shocked. Here I am pumped full of hormones, bruises all over my stomach and arms, with eleven oversized eggs inside of me. I was told the doctor thought he would only be able to get nine eggs and it wouldn’t be “worth it” to do the retrieval. How could 9 eggs not be worth it? The nurse was so rude and I was so upset. When I asked what I was supposed to do with the eggs that were inside me, she said they’d go away and to take the HCG trigger shot. That was not a reassuring answer.

I called my contact person immediately and she told me that everything would get sorted out. The next day I spoke to the third party coordinator who I had been dealing with since the very beginning. Hoping I was just “dreaming” the day before I half expected her to say that the doctor changed his mind and they would do the retrieval.

Unfortunately, I was left more hurt and confused then before. She stated that when they did my physical they knew I would have maybe 13 eggs. As my previous cycles I produced 10-12 eggs so they knew what to expect. She said they were hoping to get double that and the doctor wanted to try anyway, despite the facts. She said there was always a chance it would get cancelled. 

There was nothing in the contract that said that this could be cancelled. I was never told that they were going to try to get double. I now know I wasn’t told much. If I was told in the beginning any of this I would not have risked my health. I was not given a choice in the beginning nor at the end. I was told that the eggs would either come out or evaporate on their own but there was no guarantee this would definitely happen.

I had eleven oversized eggs inside me that the doctor wouldn’t be taking out, and I had to hope nothing would go wrong. I felt used. I trusted these people. I was left not knowing what was going to happen to me and had to figure it out on my own. No one told me anything or offered me after care. Thankfully I knew not to have sex until I got my period. If not I could’ve easily been pregnant with eleven babies.

I should’ve been told that. It was their job to keep me informed and they didn’t do that. I was offered $1,200 for my time compared to the $7,000 I was to receive after retrieval. It was a smack in the face. This never was about money to me. I wanted to help someone have a baby. My intention was to take the hormone medications as instructed then willingly give the facility my eggs for a future family to use. I never knew or expected to do my part to only be told I didn’t meet their expectations.

The day I was supposed to have the eggs taken out I was in horrendous pain. I had cramps so bad that I couldn’t bend, walk, or even rock my son to sleep for three days. I wouldn’t have willingly put myself through this.

Because of all this I now would never donate ever again. Its a shame. I also have to pay my own medical expenses if anything in the future does happen to me. I will now have to go to my own gynecologist and make sure those eleven eggs are gone and not causing any issues. Had I known what the risks were of taking the medications and not having my eggs taken out I would never have done this.