(I've added a poll at the end of this post)
A letter from a friend of mine who is an egg donor.
I've gotten myself into a bit of a tricky situation. I need some outside advice.
I've done 7 egg donations. I basically did them one after another for 2 years while I was in grad school. It was a very rewarding thing, despite the hassle. I do exactly the same process as someone getting IVF up through the retrieval. It was painful at times, and took up a lot of time and energy. It was unpredictable, since the retrieval day and the associated appointments are determined by how the follicles are developing. I also can't run for the month surrounding the retrieval, which drives me crazy. Running is the one thing I do to stay sane, and it's bad to take that away when the hormones are all messed up. Still, I knew I was doing an important thing. The money was nice, though not my main reason. I loved that I was helping people in a really difficult and important life situation.
I haven't done a donation in 2 years, even though the clinic has occasionally called to tell me a bunch of different couples want to use me as a donor. I needed a break. Now that I have a real job and responsibilities, the hassle of it is even more significant. I also am divorced, so I don't have my very supportive husband here to help me through it.
The clinic called me on Friday. A couple that I donated before had a child from it. They tried an FET with the remaining embryos and it failed. They want to have a second child that's genetically related on both sides to their first one. Thus, they need me to do another donation. I agreed to do it, because I see how important that can be for a couple, and because it seemed pretty damned selfish to say "no" just because I didn't want to suffer for a few months. The clinic told the parents and everyone is very excited that I've agreed to do this.
But every time I think about it, I am seized with anxiety. I really really really don't want to do it I don't want to go through the pain and the swelling and the crazy birth control (I'm on a nice 3 month low dose with extra estrogen to prevent migraines right now. The stuff they make me take causes debilitating migraines for 10 days when I stop the real pills until I'm fully back on them). I don't want to stop running or deal with the schedule of doing an IVF within the first few months of starting my new job. I may potentially have to skip some work travel if I do this. And I don't want to stop running for that month. I don't need the money, and it doesn't affect my decision. Everything about the process makes me want to run away, except I feel this weird moral obligation to the recipient family.
So the question is, what do I do? If I back out, will I be devastating this family? Is this the kind of thing where they might skip having a second child rather than getting another donor? Should that matter in my decision? I would really like some honest feedback about this, from you or from others who may understand this situation. Right now, I feel like I'm going to be overwhelmed with anxiety and crying until this is all done sometime in late November.
What would you say to my friend? Please state in your reply whether you are dealing with infertility or not. I would like to see how that affects your opinion, if at all.