Donor Story: An Iraqi donor talks about her first donation
M.Q. was born in Bagdad, Iraq. She has a degree in Applied Psychology, and plans to pursue a doctoral degree. M.Q. currently lives in Florida and works as Registered Behavior Therapist.
Can you tell me a little bit about how and why you became an egg donor? So my partner is actually female, and she struggles with PCOS, and it started the conversation of how this is kind of a common thing, and it's not very spoken or discussed. It got me, someone of healthy body and mind, to share that with someone who might be struggling or needing to start a life, because she struggled with that even though it's something that comes naturally to other people.
Yeah that makes sense! And how did you find out about AsiaWest? I think we just Googled and it was one of the first things that popped up. I don't think it was anything more than that the conversation started and wanting to give back.
That's awesome. So I know that you talked to you partner about this - did you talk to any other family or friends about this? I did, yes. I talked to most of my family members about this.
What was their reaction? Did they have questions or concerns, or were they very supportive? I think that they were weirded out by it at first, just because it's not something that we culturally are exposed to. So it was kind of a talk of you know, I'm giving back. So it was just more educational more than anything about something like that.
I know there's a lot that's kind of not known about egg donation widely, so did you have any worries or concerns going into the process? Yes, just because I haven't really met anyone whose done it personally. Most of it is kind of just stuff that I've researched or read or I've found out asking questions through the agency. So a lot of the stuff I searched for. I mean obviously there are worries and risks, but I kind of did as much research as I can to ease my mind.
So how was the donation process like? What was the clinic that you went to? I liked the clinic. The clinic was really nice and they were very flexible, and I was able to get a hotel room really close by - it was literally across the street - so it was cool to be able to do that. The clinic was very flexible and supportive, and before I traveled there they did allow me to have clinics close by here so I'm not spending a lot of time there in New York. And I did let them know that I am working so I did want to be told when things would happen, so I could prepare my work. And I actually was able to work virtually when I was there due to their flexibility and their communication.
That's great! And did you have any physical side effects from the procedure? Not from the procedure, no. I think everything they told me was expected. But I also asked a lot of questions and was very conscious and did my research, so I did follow everything they told me to do. I did have a side effect to one of the medications they gave me that was supposed to reduce the side effects of the procedure. I think the doctor wanted to be proactive with those symptoms, but I guess my body didn't react very well to it. So I just discontinued taking that and they said it would be okay.
So after you went through the procedure did you go back to your regular activities or did you take some time off? I took a little bit easy, you know, because you're supposed to go easy on your body. I did give myself a couple of days like the doctor recommended to recuperate. I did find myself being super tired and sleepy, so I worked half days if I had to work, and I got lucky enough to schedule things so when I got back it was only a couple days to work and then it was the weekend. So it was very well planned. Now I'm going into my routine and stuff, so it's just being careful and cautious in the beginning because you're not supposed to do too much extraneous activities, and you might be a little bit tired from traveling and the procedure.
Yeah that's pretty common. Can you remind me what kind of contact you had for this donation? Anonymous, semi-anonymous, open? I opted for all of them - I didn't really have a preference. I think the intended parent wanted to be anonymous, so we went through it anonymously.
Nice. And are you considering doing another donation in the future or are you kind of good? Yeah, I mean I'm open to it. I would say I had a pretty good, decent experience with the clinic as well as with the agency. My coordinator was really helpful and it made the process a lot easier than expected, you know having somebody there. She was very responsive, which was nice. So having that kind of helps a lot.
Yeah, especially since you're going into something you haven't experienced before - it's nice to have that reassurance. So now that you've been through it, was there anything that surprised you about the process? Or things that you thought about egg donation that actually turned out to be not true - that kind of thing? I try not to put too much expectations on things just so not to psyche myself out. That's why I asked a lot of questions beforehand, so everything was sort of towards my expectations. At first it was kind of hard to get into the idea of injecting myself - it was kind of nerve-wracking, but I gotta just tell myself that it's only an inconvenience for me for a part of my life; however, it's gonna be a big part of somebody else's life. Right? So I'm taking away a little bit of my inconvenience versus someone's happiness, so that's what kind of got me to be more motivated to just do it.
So you talk about wanting to give back - was that kind of the main motivation behind why you went into it? Yeah!
In terms of compensation, has that changed your life in any way? Are you putting it towards something specific or just kind of saving it? So I did put my name on the database a year before all of this, so I was not expecting to hear back. But at the time that I heard back, I was actually in the process of buying a home, so it worked out to be that it's going to be part of the down payment! So that was kind of nice.
Oh great - congratulations! And just about AsiaWest specifically, you already talked about it a little bit, but did you have a good experience working with AsiaWest? I did have a good experience. I would say Mara was really nice and supportive. I would text her all the time, and it was convenient for me because she lives in the Pacific side so I do text sometimes kind of late and get off work late, so she does respond to my texts and handles everything that I need to be done. We also coordinating over phone and over email, and like I said she was really responsive and very communicative.
You know I did have issues with the hotel; it was in New York and at the time they had switched to heating, and it was still kind of warm out, so the hotel room became a little bit muggy and kind of hot and uncomfortable. So I did kind of let her know that it started to get kind of uncomfortable in the room, and then it was closer to the procedure time and she went ahead and contacted the hotel and the hotel did say that, "Oh a lot of people have been making these kinds of complaints" and they switched it back to AC. So it was kind of nice to be able to rely on someone who takes care of things like that.
Good! Yeah I live in New York right now so I know it can get very muggy. In general did the travel part go smoothly for you? Yeah, so [Mara] did make accommodations at the time that I kind of requested. I wanted earlier in the day when I come back so that I can have time to come home and not be so late, as well as work in the morning and leave in the evening.
Overall, what would you say was the best part of being an egg donor for you? Probably meeting people. And just traveling. It's definitely a different kind of experience, but it was kind of nice to travel to New York. I've been multiple times, but it's kind of nice to travel to New York. Kind of take it as a break and eat food and get to meet people and stop by at the clinic and they're like, "Hey, how are you?" and you know just stop by for a few minutes and leave.
Did you bring your partner with you as your support person? Yes. She was working in Virginia, but I also brought a friend and [my partner] came for a couple days because she wasn't able to stay the whole week.
Oh nice! And then finally, if you were to give advice to someone who's considering becoming an egg donor, what would it be? Don't have any doubts because doubts are going to kind of make it a little bit harder, you know? Do it for the good reasons so that way you stay true to what you believe. Because if you have doubts, it's going to be a lot harder and difficult to keep up with it and maintain it. Because it's a lot of work - doctor's appointments and blood tests, drive up to clinics, travel. Set up whatever you need to set up. Keep up with medications! Keep up with doctors! So it's definitely something you have to commit to.