Caderina is 22 year-old Biological Science major at Arizona State University, who lives an active lifestyle and loves to hike. Caderina is one of the many thousands of young women on a growing list of egg donors choosing to help women and couples struggling with in-fertility. She shares excerpts from her journal for other women considering being an egg donor.
“The thought of helping someone who is struggling with in-fertility gives me a feeling of joy, but on the other hand, I know I am going to have to inject myself with shots and that terrifies me. I just have to remind myself why I am doing this. I know I would be so thankful if someone went through this for me,” Caderina adds.
It’s estimated one in seven couples experience in-fertility and that 100,000 children have been born from donor eggs in the U.S. since 1984, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to Phoenix-based The World Egg Bank, the largest combined fresh and frozen donor egg agency in the nation, it’s unknown how many egg donors exist in the U.S. at any given time. However, at The World Egg Bank an average of 100 women a week applies to donate their eggs. But only about five are chosen, according to Rebecca Shippe, donor coordinator at The World Egg Bank. The World Egg Bank has a rigorous screening program that begins with an application process on the company’s website, theworldeggbank.com.
“Caderina was chosen by The World Egg Bank because she met all genetic, physical and psychological screenings,” says Shippe. “It is important women do their research before deciding on whether they want to be an egg donor.”
While it is extremely rare, some donors drop out well into the process. “It’s unfortunate when donors apply and they think it’s going to be a quick buck. If they choose to withdraw from the process it can cause so much pain for the recipient. It is a huge emotional burden and strain on the recipient’s relationship,” adds Shippe.
The World Egg Bank typically pays a donor $3,000 -3,500 for her time and labor, not for her eggs. As to how many times a woman can donate her eggs, The World Egg Bank adheres to the guidelines presented by The American Society of Reproductive Medicine of six cycles per donor. Typically, most donors complete one or two donations, according to The World Egg Bank.
“I can’t stress how important it is for donors to be committed to the process. They must be dependable and committed to following through with the protocol. The egg donation process involves planning, expense for the recipient, effort, and emotional investment,” says Diana Thomas, CEO and Founder of The World Egg Bank.
“If you think about what all is involved, the financial compensation is really not the incentive. I had to take time off work, get up early to go to appointments, give myself shots or have my mother help me, and then plan for the day of retrieval, which I then had a day or two of recovery. I am normally very active. I work out everyday. I hike. I run trails. I had to change my lifestyle for a few weeks,” says Caderina.
For Caderina, while there were some inconveniences, it was the most rewarding experience and she says she would consider doing it again. “It’s a great opportunity for one woman to help another woman,” she says.
Caderina advises women considering being an egg donor to do their research and be weary of ads that offer large amounts of money for donating eggs.
“If you feel like it’s right in your heart, then go for it. Your body produces eggs all the time that are just thrown away each month. If you can empower another woman’s life through the gift of motherhood, than that is the ultimate gift of life. When people ask me if I’m emotionally attached? I say, I don’t think about it being my child. The child grows in the other person’s stomach. That is the child’s mother. I have nothing to do with the nurturing. The whole labor process goes through another woman,” Caderina says.
In the U.S., it is reported approximately 7.3 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 will experience some form of in-fertility, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Signs of in-fertility can be difficult to detect. Many of these women are not aware they may have a problem until they try to start a family. A growing number of these women are waiting until later in life to plan for a family. But as a woman ages, the quality of her eggs are compromised. Therefore, more and more women are choosing to use another woman’s eggs to achieve pregnancy.
Caderina’s final journal thoughts: "Never in a million years did I think I would inject myself with medication and I did. I faced my fear of needles while trying to end the fear of another woman who fears the opportunity of having children. I did what I would want someone to do for myself. Family is the most important thing in my life. Giving a person the gift of a child and creating a family is the greatest feeling in the world. Although some don’t agree with the egg donation process, I believe it is a process of giving a gift to another. Growing up I was always taught to treat others how you would want to be treated. When I was considering doing a cycle that is what came to mind. I would hope if I faced the issue of in-fertility, someone would want my dream of children to come true and help me just the way I helped.”
Photo credit: Caderina Carrizosa
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TODAY'S BOOK SUGGESTION:
Having Your Baby Through Egg Donation
-- a comprehensive book for people considering parenthood through donated ova, and those supporting them.
It takes readers through the decision-making process, focusing on questions they are likely to be asking themselves, including:
Are we candidates for egg donation? Will it work? How much does it cost? How do we find a donor?
How do we talk about our decision with others? How will we tell our children? Ethical questions related to egg donation are also examined:
Can a donor truly have informed consent Is it ethically correct for donors to receive payment, and, if so, is the payment for 'time and effort' or for their eggs?
Click to read more
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