The crucial role of an egg donor

Charlotte, 27 years. Thanks to the availability of hundreds of Egg Donors every year we keep helping loads of women and couples from all over to make their dreams come true. Charlotte will explain to us what was her motivation to be a donor and how was her experience through the whole process.

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[00:00:09.770] - Barcelona IVF

IN Fertile-CAST: The Barcelona IVF Podcast.

[00:00:14.370] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

Good morning. It's Michelahere from Barcelona IVF, and today we are here for another episode of IN Fertile Podcast. We have the pleasure to have Charlotte with us who is just going to share her experience as an egg donor. As you might know, egg donation is one of the most popular treatment in Spain. First of all, because of the know how and experience of our gynecologist, and then for the amount of egg donors that we have and allow us to not have waiting lists for this treatment. We really thank you Charlotte for this and also for having accepted our invitation. We're very curious to know more about your story. Hi, Charlotte.

[00:00:55.490] - Charlotte

Hello. Good morning.

[00:00:57.890] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

Good morning. I'm going to ask you some question about your experience. First of all, how did you know about the possibility to donate eggs?

[00:01:10.070] - Charlotte

I actually learned about the possibility to be a donor through a colleague of mine in my previous workplace. They were actually an egg donor themselves, and then they explained the process. They also referred me as well to Barcelona IVF. From there, that's where I learned everything that I know.

[00:01:32.110] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

All right. When your colleague shared their experience, you just spontaneously contact the clinic. Did you receive a quick answer?

[00:01:41.230] - Charlotte

It was super quick. I was actually very surprised at how quick it is because I know that sometimes things can take a while to get a response. But it was very efficient. The communication was great from the beginning right until the end and so on. We're even still in contact now, which is great. Yeah, it was quick.

[00:02:01.270] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

Yeah, very nice. What motivated you to donate your eggs?

[00:02:07.370] - Charlotte

This is something actually, I think a lot of people would ask. I know as well, probably from what you're hearing with other egg donors, a big part of it would be the compensation. I thought about this and it's like, well, if you get compensation for something that you didn't necessarily feel was ethical, then you wouldn't do it. It's also an ethical thing for me. I've said this before, when I explain to people why I've done it, there are people out there who have trouble and as a fertile female every month, do you know what I mean? It's a fertility not necessarily lost, but it's something that I can give to someone. If I have that possibility to help someone and to do it, then I definitely want to. I am also a student of science as well. I am a strong believer in science and I know that this is such a huge thing for a lot of people to be able to do this. So, yeah, I'm super happy to be a part of it.

[00:03:12.080] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

Yeah, actually it helps lots and lots of people that we don't even imagine. Of course, the compensation helps and here in Spain it's regulated by law, so it's very normal. But also the ethical part, it's very important as well. Thank you for that, being part of it.

[00:03:32.070] - Charlotte

Of course.

[00:03:35.750] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

What exams and checks does the clinic ask to you in order to be eligible as a donor?

[00:03:43.830] - Charlotte

The initial process where they... As you said, they check if you're eligible, there's a lot of physical examinations. For example, just checking that I would totally be STD free, STI free, making sure that I don't have any maybe blood issues that could be transferred over and potentially cause health risks. On top of that as well, there are many mental health checks, many questionnaires as well, just to make sure that there's nothing that could potentially be carried over as a health risk. I definitely felt like I was a good candidate after [inaudible 00:04:24].

[00:04:26.230] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

All right. What ware the steps before the egg retrieval? What did you have to do in terms of medication?

[00:04:37.210] - Charlotte

Like I said, initially, I first had blood tests. I also had a gynecologist meeting just to make sure everything was okay. It's not necessarily part of the retrieval, but it's something that really stood out to me in terms of cautiousness and as well, for my health. I actually had a slight pH balance off and that day when they found it, they gave me a prescription to get medication for it and I got it fixed immediately. If I didn't have that gynecologist meeting, that would have just stayed there and I wouldn't have necessarily known.

[00:05:17.030] - Charlotte

There was that. There's obviously the initial part just to make sure everything's fine. If there was any issues that would be taken care of by the clinic as well. Then leading up to the actual retrieval. If you are on any contraception, then you'd have to stop that at a certain point. However, I was not, so I was then prescribed contraception in the form of the daily pill. You have to continuously take that and then it's agreed with the clinic and obviously myself on a certain time frame where the whole process will start. That will be in forms of injecting medication, which I believe... I'm not the most technical, but I believe it's to enhance your eggs.

[00:06:06.130] - Charlotte

Then very close up to the day of the retrieval, there's quite a close relationship with the clinic. They just obviously monitor how everything's going, regulate the medication, if I need more, if I need less, obviously check the date, make sure it's still an appropriate date. Obviously, up until that date, there are continuous injections. I think this is one of the big things that would make people maybe a bit nervous about donation, injecting yourself.

[00:06:37.100] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

Yeah, because probably we are not used to it. Probably we've never done it in our life. We'll get scared about injection.

[00:06:45.240] - Charlotte

People get nervous, yeah. For me, it was okay. I've actually donated more than once. The first time was a needle, but then the second time I did it, it was an [inaudible 00:06:55]. It's super easy. Once you get over the initial anticipation of having to inject yourself, it doesn't hurt. It's the same as pulling your eyelashes or something. They talk you through it. I have had friends that have done it. They're nervous about injecting, and the clinic will inject it for you if you're super nervous. Do you know what I mean? There is support there if it's a big thing. It shouldn't ever make someone not want to do it. I think-

[00:07:24.660] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

It's more psychological fear.

[00:07:29.310] - Charlotte

Yeah, definitely. Then, yes, that's up until the egg retrieval. That's the [inaudible 00:07:34].

[00:07:37.010] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

How did you feel before the egg retrieval at a physical and also an emotional level?

[00:07:43.030] - Charlotte

I felt very sore, very fat. I definitely needed to... I don't know, almost like a bloated kind of feeling. It's slight discomfort, but I wouldn't say it's a discomfort that you need to take painkillers. Do you know what I mean? I think as a female who has periods and has had periods and [inaudible 00:08:07] for a long time, it's nothing that I can't handle.

[00:08:11.930] - Charlotte

Emotionally, I was like... It's a nerve wracking experience because obviously you have to go under anesthetic just to take it out, so there's no trauma or discomfort for me. It was like a nervous feeling, because it was like... You always have that whenever there's any kind of procedure, it's always just a bit of nervousness. That was my emotional state, but I was generally overall excited. I think it's after making such an effort, after all the injections, after obviously going to the clinic back and forth for a while, it's an exciting step to get it.

[00:08:49.210] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

Great. The egg retrieval itself was painful, it took long, and how did you feel after that?

[00:08:57.050] - Charlotte

It didn't take long. From what I understand, they brief you before. The communication is very good on exactly what's going to happen. I believe I was asleep for literally... I think the whole procedure probably takes 10 minutes. I think it's actually very quick, but obviously with there being an anesthetic involved, you have to generally just make sure you're okay beforehand, and then you have to stay there a little bit after just to make sure you're really okay to leave. They just make sure you can go to the toilet, make sure you eat something so your sugar levels go up.

[00:09:29.240] - Charlotte

It's not painful at all because obviously you're put to sleep, and then when you wake up, it's probably the last thing on your mind. You're just a bit confused about what's going on. After that, obviously, you do feel a little bit sleepy, but it's recommended... Again, the communication is there. It's recommended that somebody takes you home and that you just rest. It literally is just a sleepiness feeling. I think as well, it obviously depends on the person and how they react to anesthesia. Some people are just good to go. They could continue on and then some people might be a bit sleepy, but the whole thing is painless, I would say.

[00:10:08.040] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

Perfect. All right. Did you share your experience with your family and friends or you prefer to keep it for you?

[00:10:17.590] - Charlotte

I'm quite transparent with this. It's funny because this question, as well as, "What motivated you to donate the eggs?" A lot of people would automatically just jump to the conclusion that it's for compensation. But it's not. There is a big... Like I said, the science part of it, the helping people part of it, the ethical side of it is something that I am really a fighter for. It's something I really believe in. I am very transparent with my friends, my boyfriend as well. I've told him I'm doing this podcast.

[00:10:49.470] - Charlotte

My family, I'm a bit unclear whether I told them, but I would tell them if they asked me, but I'd have to explain it. Because I know that some people, like I said, would jump to conclusions. Maybe people would feel judged if they said... If you told them, you'd feel judged. But I think as long as you're doing it for the right reasons and you really believe in that, I'm not ashamed. I'm happy to share it.

[00:11:12.580] - Charlotte

Then people even ask questions like, "Maybe you've potentially had a child," and it's like, "Well, yeah, but then also I'm dropping out a child every month, potentially." [inaudible 00:11:20] like that. It doesn't necessarily have to be donated to someone. Sometimes it is there to be tested for science as well. [inaudible 00:11:27]. Me, for example, in the UK, I'm not sure if it's the same in Spain, but if anything ever happens to me, if I got into a really bad accident where I'd unfortunately pass away, all my body would be donated. Do you know what I mean? Yeah, I don't know. That's just the way I am. I have definitely told people.

[00:11:49.170] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

That's great, Charlotte. It's very [inaudible 00:11:51]. It's very nice. There are people that give this high value to the nature, because this is not happening in a lot of countries and a lot of people, and it's quite a nice thing to do. Here in Spain, I have to say that the donation, it's really deep in the culture. That's why egg donation is one of the treatments that is most popular here. It's very nice to hear also. Would you begin to undergo another cycle of donation?

[00:12:32.430] - Charlotte

I think if I had the time, because I did this when I was a bit younger. Now I'm close to approaching 30 and I work full-time and I study full-time. Obviously you have to factor the appointments, the hormonal changes that you may have as well, just because I'm not on contraception, then going on to contraception and donating could maybe have an impact on my general hormones, which I think, as ladies, we all understand, and males as well. I would be keen to do it, but I'd have to have time to give to myself while doing it. Yeah, for sure but not right now.

[00:13:11.070] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

Totally understandable.

[00:13:12.930] - Charlotte


[00:13:14.430] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

Is there any tip you would like to share with someone that is thinking to donate the eggs?

[00:13:21.790] - Charlotte

Yeah, definitely. I would say, don't be ashamed. Speak to your friends, speak to the clinic, ask as many questions as you want, speak to people. Decide whether or not it's something you think you can do in terms of the injections, the hormones as well. Are you doing it for an ethical reason as well? Just talk about it and decide, and whatever you decide, it's totally respected. I think if you do decide to do it, then I super support you and I think it's a great thing.

[00:13:52.330] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

Great. Thank you, Charlotte. Thanks a lot. It's very nice to see how natural it is to talk about donation. Yeah, thanks for your availability, for your time.

[00:14:09.070] - Charlotte

Of course. Thanks for having me. It was really nice. I'm happy [crosstalk 00:14:11] to be part of it.

[00:14:11.870] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

What? Sorry.

[00:14:14.160] - Charlotte

I'm really happy to be a part of it.

[00:14:16.210] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

Yeah, we're very happy to have you as a guest. It brings you a very high value to our podcast. Thanks again and stay tuned for more interesting stories about our channel, IN Fertile Podcast. Bye-bye, Charlotte.

[00:14:34.970] - Charlotte

Bye. Thank you so much.

[00:14:36.590] - Michela (Barcelona IBVF)

Thank you.

[00:14:46.330] - Barcelona IBVF)

IN Fertile-CAST: The Barcelona IVF Podcast.

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