So on Saturday morning – at the crack of dawn, mind you – I started my Gonal-F injections for my fourth cycle of egg donation. I say at the crack of dawn, and it really was – a few of us were doing a trail run in Stellenbosch, and I had to leave my flat at the quite ungodly hour of 6am. I’d forgotten the unparalleled ability of a needle in the stomach to wake a person up. Truly, I’ve probably done this whole self-injection thing around 50 times now – and I never fail to experience that rush of adrenaline that accompanies it.
As donors, our doses are pretty stock-standard: 225 for four days and 150 for two days before our first scan. (Mine is tomorrow, hold thumbs all is looking good!) This time, I’m already feeling a little discomfort from bloating – although that may be all the water that we are encouraged to drink, and all the wine that I’m not allowed to touch!
So, because it’s all early days and I’ve not got much to report, I thought I’d address some of the FAQs that I, personally, get.
1. Aren’t you scared?
I get this a lot, strangely. No, I’m not scared – always a little anxious that my body doesn’t co-operate and that I let my recipient down. But I’ve been through the process three times already and I know the team at the Clinic are exceptional. I’m in great hands, so no – not scared!
2. Does it hurt?
Look, I’ll be honest. Before you even get to Donation Day, there is a lot of poking and prodding. A LOT. You do daily injections yourself – once you get the hang of it, they barely hurt at all – and you have an internal ultrasound around four times per cycle, which – as I explained to my long-suffering brother last night – goes up and inside vaginally. And the Cetrotide – to stop premature ovulation – itches like a mofo.
The actual procedure, and the pain each person feels when they come around from anaesthetic, varies. I woke up after my first donation in a lot of pain, while the girl in the bed next to me pretty much skipped out of the Clinic. Now, while I’m out, they shoot me up with a fair chunk of painkillers… And I’m golden!
3. What about your babies? Aren’t you curious about them?
Not my babies. My eggs, yes – but the making and growing babies part belongs to the Clinic and the recipient and her family. Obviously I like to know that the babies are healthy etc – and I’m obviously curious about what they look like – but they were never my babies.
Update A: I actually have more of an emotional connection with the recipient, as a general rule.
Update B: It also comes down to your whole idea of “parenthood”. Is the child “yours” because its yourgenetic material? Is it “yours” because you carried it through pregnancy, gave birth to it? Or is it “yours” because you’re the one awake at 2.30am for the sixth time this week, “yours” because you love it unconditionally, even when you’re covered in puke, and “yours” because you’re sitting in the front row for its first school play? For me, it’s the third option.
4. And… no sex, right?
Right. Abso-fucking-lutely no sex. Do you KNOW how fertile I am right now?? Thankfully – and I use the word “thankfully” quite loosely – I’m no longer seeing anyone, so the temptation has been removed, so to speak. I’ve actually never been dating anyone during a cycle.
5. What – and how – do you tell your partners?
Well, the only partner I’ve had and told has been J. Just after we hooked up, I was a little tipsy – which I think helped! – and I kinda just blurted it out. He was immensely accepting, though, and seemingly quite fascinated by the thought that there were little people with my genetic material out there. Which is quite cool, if you think about it.
Right, have typed this all out on my phone while waiting for my bro to finish playing soccer. And my fingers have cramped up a little.
But feel free to post any questions you may have and I will answer as best I can 🙂
Blog edited for typos and poor word choice.