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  • Writer's pictureEvan Billups

Donor Story: J.N.

J.N is a first time donor from Atlanta, Georgia. She got her Bachelor's degree in Biology, and currently works in the reproductive field as an embryologist, which was part of the reason she was interested in becoming an egg donor! J.N. is a big foodie and loves trying out new foods when traveling.

Could you start by telling me a bit about yourself, your background, where you’re calling from?So I'm calling from Atlanta, Georgia today. I was a science major, so I graduated Georgia State in 2020 with a biology degree. Currently I work in the field of reproductive health.

Oh cool!

I'm actually currently an embryologist so you know, making babies for a living! But I also got to be a part of this entire process, so it was really special to be on both sides of helping patients.

That's so cool that you actually work in that field! On that note, can you tell me about how and why you became an egg donor?  When did you hear about it and what prompted you to go through with it?

I've known for a long time that I wanted to help families in this way. I've always wanted to donate my eggs to people. I've also had mentors who had issues conceiving, and I hate to see them go through that pain. So it was something I really wanted to do.

When I was going through college I was kind of doing my research, and then when I got out of college I was like, "I think I'm going to do it!" So I started Googling agencies with good reviews yada yada, and I came across AsiaWest Egg Donors. That's when I applied and that's how this all started.

Nice! So going into the donation process, or maybe even just the application process, did you talk to your family and friends about it? If so, what was their reaction?

I'd already expressed interest to them several times how I wanted to do this, and they were always very supportive. Some of them were concerned, but at the end of the day it's my life! And they understand that it's what I want to do and they understand it's for a good cause. Everyone at the end was very supportive, very happy.

What specific worries or concerns did they have about egg donation and did you have any yourself?

So they were concerned that I would have like another me out in this world that I would not even know about - like there's no connection. They were like, "How do you feel about that?" And for me personally I don't really have any emotional connection - I'm a science major so like it's completely blocked out! So it didn't bother me. For them personally I think it would have some kind of emotional connection, but for me it was just different.

And then they had concern about my own personal fertility, which you know doing my research there was no correlation between egg donors and losing their fertility in the future. So it seemed like it wasn't a thing and I didn't see anything correlating with infertility with egg donors, so I was like, "You know what? I can take a leap of faith on this one!" So my only concern was the future fertility because I do plan to have kids of my own one day - not today but one day! But doing my research I felt really confident so it was a good choice.

Yeah that's a very common concern that people have! What was the donation process like for you?  How was the clinic that you went to?

The donation process was very smooth. Everyone was very nice. The clinic was nice. Whenever I had a question, I could just like message them and they were pretty on top of it. So when it came to like giving my own medications, they were very clear on what I should take, what I shouldn't take, how much of it I should take. So when it came to that, I had no issue with medications. Ultrasounds were great, bloodwork was great, everyone was so nice, smooth - very careful and soft!

Ok good! And did you experience any physical pain or discomfort during your donation?

I guess the only pain and discomfort I had was the injection site would sometimes be painful afterwards, but it wasn't too much. I could still carry on and do my normal activities and stuff! Slight bruising just because user error! And then after the retrieval, just some mild cramping - nothing too crazy. I was still able to walk, able to travel the very next day. There was no pain afterwards. A heating pad was nice, but that was it!

Ok good! So it sounds like you were pretty much able to go right back to your regular activities after the donation?

Yeah exactly! And then I was able to sightsee and travel and explore San Francisco! So it was exciting to know I can do this process and still do all the exploring and adventure side of it.

Oh good! Who did you have come as your support person?

I wanted to bring my fiancée, but he had work so I decided to bring one of my really close friends who is also an adventurer and loves trying new foods. And she was perfect because we got to go everywhere and see anything we wanted to do! My fiancée is a vacationer - he likes to stay in the hotel and relax. I'm more of an adventurer so it just worked out so much better to bring my friend!

What was your favorite thing that you did when you were in San Francisco?

Eat the food! Just trying new food. I'm just a foodie so we got to go everywhere, try all different kinds of foods - so that was really nice!

So thinking back on the egg donation experience, what sort of expectations did you have, if any, going in and was the experience as expected or different?

I expected myself to be more scared of giving myself the medications and the shots! I thought it was going to be a whole lot worse than it was, but when it came down to the day of to start my medications, the needle was so tiny! I was like I don't know what I'm scared of! And plus, being in the field I work with, I've seen like teenagers go through this entire process for fertility preservation and I'm like if they can do this, I can do this too! So it ended up being nothing.

My expectation across like the entire cycle - I figured I would have more symptoms in terms of cramping, more bloating, more headaches. But I just felt kind of normal up until the day of retrieval, and then I was kind of resting a little bit.

Good, good! Now that you have experienced egg donation, are there any myths about it that have been dispelled for you? Things that people might believe about it that you found to not be true?Um... not at the moment! So for me, going into this I kind of knew about what to expect from this. Plus being in this field, I see so many patients every single day going through this. So it kind of was exactly how I figured.

There are some things about egg donations that are myths, and I respect those people but I'm like you could just do your research - that's all you have to do! I promise this is a safe process! But people just have to do their research on their own!

Yes I agree with that! So for you, what was the best thing about being an egg donor?

For me, I find it very fulfilling to be able to help this family. Even just hearing that everything went smoothly and everyone's so happy about their future and everything - it makes me happy knowing that I helped a family in this manner. There's so few people who do this, and I'm glad to be part of those few!

Yeah it's a very unique experience and such a special thing! So in terms of the compensation, is that something you're putting towards something specific or just kind of saving up for a rainy day?

Oh yeah, so I wanted to pay off some credit card debt that I'd accumulated in college - I'm sure a lot of us have been through that! So I took care of like half of that, and the rest I'm putting down for a down payment for a house.

That's really exciting! And how did you find AsiaWest specifically and how did you feel about working with AsiaWest?

I was Googling like donation agencies, and I was kind of just searching the Atlanta area. But an ad popped up for one in California, and I was like let's check it out - it had really good reviews and positive feedback on it. And so I applied to one in Atlanta first, but I didn't go through the entire process. I kind of cut halfway because the communication wasn't really there - there was lack of communication. I had questions and they wouldn't really know the answers. So I was like okay, I'm not going to go through that one.

And so I applied for this one like a year later, and everything was smooth! I got to talk with Delcie, got to talk with Amber, and they were so nice, so informative, so helpful with any questions I had! And then I was on the agency list for I think two/three years before a family chose me. But it was nice to have Delcie or Amber reach out, see how I was doing - I wasn't just a number. I felt like I was actually a donor that they really cared for.

I'm really happy to hear that and that you had a good experience! I just noticed your sweatshirt - did you get that when you were in San Francisco?

Oh how embarrassing! Yes I did!

No it's really cute!

It was so comfy and I wanted a green, oversized one so it just worked out!

It's perfect - a little souvenir from the experience! Are you thinking about remaining on the database and donating again in the future?

Yeah, my experience overall was so smooth, so pleasant. The fulfillment I feel afterwards was so great - I would 100% do this again!

Great! Do you have any tips that a prospective donor should look for when looking for donation agencies?

Communication is very important - so if you ask a question and you don't get a response at least within like 48 hours, I think that's kind of concerning. Because I feel like donor agencies are very active as you know cycles are very active, so someone should be there to answer your question. And if they're not, it's like are they going to be there to support you? Are they going to be there for any time you have a question? So I think communication is really key.

Yeah, it's a very hands-on process. And lastly, what advice do you have for someone who's interested in becoming an egg donor?

Don't listen to the myths, first of all! The needle isn't that big. And just breathe - they got this. This is easy peasy - I promise!


Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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