By Jessica-Lucy Weal
I first decided to donate my eggs when I was sat in my student house kitchen with two of my flatmates, an advertisement for the London Egg Bank had popped up on my Facebook feed and I was immediately intrigued. Donating my eggs was something I had thought about before but never really looked into it, I had spoken about it with my sister, who had the time was also interested in donating her eggs. It was pretty straight forward to apply and they asked you simple questions. Are you between the ages of 18-30? Yes. Do you smoke? No. Are you healthy? Physically yes, emotionally… let’s move on.
I didn’t jump at the chance straight away. I clicked onto the website, scrolled through it and then respectively closed it. Was I really ready to give someone my eggs? It wasn’t as easy as somebody donating their sperm; this included a hospital visit and me being put under. It was a big deal for me and took me months and several targeted advertisements (damn you, cookies) before I decided, I’m going to donate! I called, booked an appointment and they sent me a very very long questionnaire asking me questions like my height, weight, sexual orientation, eye colour, have I ever had sex before, am I married, have I taken drugs, do I drink, how often do I drink? How many family members do I have? Basically, it was very long.
My first appointment was just sitting down and talking through my form, taking about the process and what it will entail. Here is when I discovered I would need to have internal scans, inject myself for just over 2 weeks, and have my vagina wall cut open. I felt a whole array of emotions here. I also found out that a new law had been passed meaning that if the child born from my egg wanted to find me when they turned 18, they legally could! My second appointment was where it started to get real, I had to write 3 letters: one for the parents, one for the child when they turn 16, and one for when they turn 18. The first letter was a ‘pencil portrait’, where I basically had to describe myself, what I look like, what I do, what I study, what my job is, what was my dream job, my personality. I could really write about anything as long as it was to do with them getting a feel for me. So, I basically ended up talking about Harry Styles and the strong dislike for my nose. The second letter was to the potential child when they turned 18. This one surprised me with how emotional it made me. What do you put in a letter for a child you will never know, that you have no emotional attachment to? This was probably the worst part, I felt like I was giving up and child and I had a very heavy heart afterwards. My letter basically was telling them to be kind, good people and follow their dreams and more cliché stuff.
Now, here comes the fun part.
During my second appointment I got taken upstairs to the clinic and had blood taken, I had to give a sample, and I had my first ever internal scan. She told me I was very fertile and had loads of eggs (this is good I guess). After this I had to have an hour-long session with a therapist who was checking I was doing this off my own back, not being forced into it, and that I was doing it for the “right” reasons. It seemed as though she was trying to get me to back out, which I of course didn’t.
After I got the go ahead, I just had to wait for my next period. Once that happened – the following January – I booked an appointment straight away and then a week later I had to have another internal scan which was not fun, let me tell you. It was messy, but honestly I just felt sorry for the doctor. It was the same process as before, they used a probe to counted my eggs, measured them and then gave me my injections. The injections were to be taken once a night until my next appointment which was Monday. They sat me down and talked me though everything, where to inject myself, how to inject myself, and so on. It was surprisingly easy! I did it every night for four days before my next appointment.
It was the same system each time, scan, count eggs, measure eggs, get more injections, make an appointment for the next week, go home. So, I was pretty used to it when my injections went up to two a day, one in the morning, one at night, for 6 days. The morning injections were a lot more painful than the evening ones, and I found myself dreading doing them! But I powered on and soon got used to them!
Throughout all these injections, I could feel my body changing, I was getting pains in my stomachs, headaches, bad back, I was constipated, and very emotional (I almost cried at an episode of Great British Bake Off ).
By the time my last appointment came around, I wanted it to be over. So, when I went in on Monday and they told me I would be donating on Thursday, I almost cried out of relief! I was given the trigger injection on Wednesday, which I had to take at 8 PM on the dot! My stomach was bruised, I was in pain, but it would all be over soon.
I had to be at Harley Street by 8:45 AM for my 9 AM appointment. I was told to take off all of my jewellery, no make-up, no perfume, no nail varnish and I couldn’t eat or drink anything after 9 PM the day before. I was given a gown to put on and was taken to my little section with a bed and chair for my mum to sit with me. Since I was the first appointment of the day I was seen pretty quickly, the cannula was put in my arm (it bloody hurt a lot more than I thought it would) and then by 9 AM I was taken to the room for the procedure.
I put my legs in the stirrups, and for the first time I realized “they are really getting up close!”. That feeling didn’t last long, because soon I was given an anesthetic and put under. Then about 20 minutes later (felt like 2 seconds to me), I woke up and started talking about 2Pac. Yes, you read that correctly, the first thing I thought of when I woke up was the conspiracy that 2Pac is alive and living in Cuba. I was put in a wheelchair, wheeled to my little corner of the room and put in bed. Then about 20 minutes later I was given biscuits and tea.
My nurse was amazing and I loved her. She sat me up and talked me though everything. She told me they had taken 17 eggs, and that everything went okay. Within an hour and a half of me getting there, I was leaving. A cab was called, and I was on my way home to be looked after by my family. The clinic had sent me a bunch of flowers, which was a lovely cheer up. Then a few days later I had £750 paid into my bank account.
A few weeks later I had my follow up appointment. Where yet again they done another scan, and I was told I was healing pretty well. I had no stitches or anything like that as the vagina is self-healing, so I had no uncomfortable issues there. Out of the 17 eggs they took, 14 were usable, which I was told was amazing, and because of this I helped two families.
Honestly, being told you are the reason why two families can now have children is the greatest feeling in the world and in no way did I think it would give me the feeling that it did. I felt so proud of myself and so excited for these people that I don’t even know! This feeling gave me confidence to do it again. And I have plans to go ahead and do it again.
People always ask if I worry about a child turning up on my door step 18 years later asking for help (my mum and dad are the number one people asking this), but honestly, no. And if they do, they do. I am proud to know that I helped someone. There is no better feeling than being told a family can have a child now because of you.