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New Egg Donor Orientation 101
Shelli DiCioccio, Sr. Case Manager, Northeast RegionThe Donor SOURCE, May 30, 2012
Here I sit, waiting nervously for the case manager from The Donor SOURCE to begin her new donor orientation session, informing all 25 of us soon-to-be egg donors, what we are to expect as a potential egg donor with The Donor SOURCE Agency.
I have already have completed my extensive profile, uploaded multiple pictures from when I was born to the present, my proof of identity, my transcripts from college and a thorough essay which is to explain to the Intended Parents, who I am. I am Lila, a 23 year old, Hispanic/Chinese young college student wanting very much to help a couple who are trying to have a baby. I know a little about egg donation, as my closest friend had many years of trying to have a baby. I remember distinctly, all the tears she shed, but not really ever explaining the pain of her journey with infertility. So here I sit, with much excitement and readiness, to begin my adventure to help a well deserving couple, who have known the emotional struggle like my friend.
The orientation started with the history of The Donor SOURCE, an egg donation and surrogacy agency that began in 2003 and is owned by a group of investors, many of whom are Fertility Physicians. The Donor SOURCE strictly adheres to the guidelines that are set by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and FDA requirements. For the would-be egg donor, ASRM supports the best health care provisions, making sure that our health is not in jeopardy. I felt better already, knowing that there are guidelines and high standards that The Donor SOURCE follows, as I began to relax and breathe, listening very carefully to what I will have to do make the BEST DONOR ever.
Looking around the room, I noticed who my fellow egg donors were. There were all shapes and sizes, Caucasian, Afro -American, Filipino, Hispanic, Chinese, tall, short, green eyed, blue eyed, curly hair, straight hair, blondes, brunettes, red heads. We were a wonderful mix of all types of young women. There was a good feeling in the room as the case manager began discussing the role of the egg donor.
What struck me at first, during the orientation, was the passion and commitment that came across, as the case manager began explaining in great detail the trials and tribulations of the intended parents that we were going to be helping. This was mentioned a number of times during the session as it became very clear that our role as egg donors was one to be taken very seriously. For the intended parent, the emotional and financial expenses are very high. I understood this, reflecting on my friend, with every failed attempt for her, brought on more heartache with vacillating emotions, wearing her down.
We learned what the steps were to be taken, once we were matched with an intended parent. All the tests that we would undergo, including ultra sounds, blood work, psychological testing (MMPI), a full medical evaluation, which included various medical tests, including STD and infectious disease testing and drug tests. We were shown the injections we would be using during the stimulation part of the cycle. I was filled with a new sense of understanding of how intense and committed you have to be to become a donor.
The case manager covered every detail, answering my questions before I even asked them. She explained the contracts we would be asked to sign, and why they were necessary, as well as our rights as egg donors. She explained that we would have a consultation with an attorney that is solely for us, as this would be part of the donation process. Medications from Lupron to Follicle Stimulating Hormones (FSH) were thoroughly discussed, including adverse effects, such as PMS and menopausal - like symptoms. She discussed the potential risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), and what to look out for, as well as what to do, should we experience symptoms of hyper-stimulation. Hearing there is only a 1 to 2% risk of this, eased most of our concerns. The importance of abstinence during the stim process was discussed, as we were told how highly fertile we would be once we began the FSH stimulating hormone. You could feel the quietness in the room as all of us potential egg donors were not interested in being the next “Octo Mom”. After reviewing with us the egg retrieval prep, procedure, recovery, and follow-up, she even went on to giving us suggestions on how to improve our chances of getting chosen.
By the end of the orientation, I had a much deeper understanding of what it takes to be an egg donor and to complete a successful egg donation cycle. I knew, more than ever, that this is what I wanted to do. I felt ready to take on this responsibility. The added benefit of receiving compensation for my time and efforts as an egg donor would really help with my student loans. However, I must be honest with you, the REAL reason that I have decided to donate my eggs has to be what I have experienced watching my friend, who now is a mom. She has never been so happy despite all the unsuccessful attempts. This is the reason I have chosen to be an egg donor.
Shelli DiCioccio, LCSW, our Senior Case Manager for the Northeast Region, has over 25 years experience in the healthcare field, including, hospitals, clinics, and consultant to a wide range of clients.Her clinical expertise, working with an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, makes Shelli the right person to assist prospective donors and parents through the donation matching process. Shelli is anticipating a wonderful, personal experience in becoming part of the lives of families she meets.