Sophia's Donor Story
Sophia is a 25 year-old with a degree in Criminology. However, her plans to work in the criminal justice system were derailed when she started working as a nanny during college. "I loved my major, but I quickly realized that I loved working with kids more," she says. "When I graduated, I just couldn't imagine leaving them to find a different job."
The family that Sophia worked for at the time had done fertility treatment in order to have their two children. She was moved by their experience. "Not only the family I worked for, but other families that I got to know, were going through a lot to have children,” she says. "I could see how much pain they were in and I realized: this is a really serious problem."
Some of those families had used egg donors. When Sophia learned about it, a light bulb went off for her. "It may sound strange, but I have known since I was young that I didn't want to have kids of my own. So, I thought: here I have this gift that I'm not gonna use, why not give my eggs to someone who really wants to have kids?"
When she heard an ad on the radio for Shady Grove Fertility's donor egg program, she called and applied. Since then, Sofia has donated five times. She feels truly blessed to be able to help so many families.
Support through her Cycle
It took only about 3 months from the time Sophia completed her application until she started a donor cycle. She was impressed with the process. "I was really surprised by how efficient the screening was because it was so thorough," she says. "There was also a donor orientation day that was really detailed. We even practiced doing injections to prepare for the medications we would have to give ourselves during our cycles."
Sophia's egg retrieval went off without a hitch. "I felt really comfortable and safe with the nurses at Shady Grove Fertility. And the doctor who did my egg retrieval was really nice and checked on me several times. When he came in and told me how many eggs were retrieved, I was really happy that the whole cycle had been such a success."
"About three months later, I got a call asking me if I wanted to donate again," she continues. "I hadn't realized that was even a possibility. But, it had all been so much easier than I expected that I was happy I could do it again."
Saving for the Future
When Sophia inquired about being an egg donor, she wasn't aware of the money she would receive for her cycle. "I thought the whole idea of donating was that you do it for free," she says.
Her donor liaison explained that the money paid to donors was to compensate them for the time they would spend doing the extensive screening process and all the appointments necessary for the cycle. Sophia wanted to refuse the payment but ended up being glad for the money. "Once I got into the process, I realized why they pay donors - because you really have to make a commitment of your time to go through the cycle."
Sophia has saved the fees she earned from her five donor cycles. "I wasn't expecting to get that money in the first place, so I just looked at it as a blessing and as a security blanket," she says. "Now, I am thinking about buying a condo and I have that money for a down payment, so I feel really happy to have it."
Spreading the Word
Working as a nanny, Sophia interacts with a lot of other young women who do childcare. She shares her experiences being an egg donor and answers their questions. "People have a lot of different questions about it," she says, "but the main thing I tell them is that you have to want to help families. If you have the right intentions, the experience will be a really rewarding one."