Who are CCRM Donors?

Our Egg Donors

Our egg donors are 19 to 33 year-old women who are healthy, non-smokers, know their medical history and live in the area of one of our CCRM locations.

A Rewarding Experience

Since 1991, over 2,000 women have donated eggs to couples who desperately need them. Women helping others build their family are an essential and gratifying mission we hope you can share.

These previous donors were willing to share their egg donor experiences with you. Here are their compelling stories…

Names have been changed to protect their anonymity.

Donors’ Stories

Samatha’s mother had always wanted to be a gestational carrier, and this motivated her to want to be an egg donor.

When I was a child, I remember my mother often entertained the thought of being a surrogate mother. She always told me what joy I brought to her life, and would enjoy sharing the joy of children with other couples.

This memory presented itself when the opportunity arose for me to become an egg donor. I spoke with my spouse, family members, fellow colleagues and many friends. They offered very insightful opinions, however, in my heart the decision had already been made and their views did not deter my original goal. I proceeded with the first step by calling the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. I left my personal information on a voice mail screening system and a week later I received an informational packet in the mail. I was surprised yet overwhelmed by the whole package. My husband and I read all of the informational literature. The procedures were fully explained and the whole process looked very time consuming yet thorough. We placed a great deal of thought into the procedures and side effects, but soon realized that the benefits outweighed the risks. I remembered my mother’s statement of wishing she could have shared some of her joy and happiness that I had brought her. I instantly knew we had to seize this opportunity. How could we pass on the chance to share some of the joy we had been blessed with in the last year, as we had just celebrated our daughter’s first birthday.

I received a phone call from the egg donor coordinator, and she informed me she would guide me through the process, starting by making an appointment for a psychological evaluation and blood work. I agreed and an appointment was scheduled for the following week. I was quite anxious to start the whole process. A feeling of relief and excitement came over me. My opportunity still existed and I quickly phoned my husband to share the excellent news.

When the preliminary work up was complete, I was given an instruction packet and oriented to all of the fertility drugs and proper administration of each. My husband entered this adventure with me and he willingly volunteered to give the injections. Looking back what a wonderful way to take your aggressions out on your wife. Actually, he was quite skillful as he had received no medical training, other than my crash course on “How to give injections”. The whole process went well and I did not experience any side effects. We were both surprised how quickly the preparation went including the harmless office visits. Routine ultrasounds and lab work were performed to check hormone levels and insure the dosing of the drugs was adequate for the follicles to reach maturation and patient safety maintained. Soon the day of retrieval was scheduled and my last shot to be administered by my husband. I was quite nervous about receiving this shot as he had never given an intra-muscular injection. My instructions were quite clear and I had him repeat them back several times. Looking back on this incident, I realize the anticipation was much worse than the actual injection.

The following day, in the latter part of the morning, I entered the surgical wing of the center and final preparations were made for retrieval. The nurses were terrific as well as the physician performing the retrieval. When the anesthesia was given I was out in seconds and enjoyed a relaxing nap. The whole process seemed to be completed in a matter of minutes and I awoke to some ginger ale and graham crackers. When I felt as though coherent I began getting dressed. When I came out one of the nurses asked me if I had seen my beautiful bouquet of flowers and I was shocked. I thought this was quite a lovely gesture as I was already being compensated for my time and had not expected any gifts from the recipient family. My husband arrived after the surgery, as I was unable to drive from the anesthesia and back to work I went. The following week I returned to my high impact aerobics class and the hectic routine my life demands.

Several months later, I received a phone call from one of the egg coordinators inquiring to see if I would be willing to undergo another retrieval process as the previous recipients had been successful in conceiving. I agreed and a week later I was informed I was chosen by a family to be their donor. The whole process began again and went even more smoothly than the first retrieval.

My spouse and I look back and are quite pleased we had the opportunity to provide such a generous gift to a special family. Having a child of our own we understand the demands placed on parents today and have a great respect for those families willing to accept the responsibility of raising a child. Despite half the genetic material contributed there is no bond between myself and the child created, which is why we have yet to go back and regret our decision. Friends and some family members have a difficult time with our thinking, but I have never forgotten my heart-felt reason for donation. As a previous donor I urge anyone contemplating this process to phone the center and speak to a donor coordinator. Your generosity can make a dream come true for a childless couple and the rewards are everlasting.

Samantha

Rachel came in for the compensation and left with a great feeling…

Being an egg donor is not a commitment to take lightly, and requires a lot of your time, but I would highly recommend to women, who are healthy, to consider being a donor. There is no better thing you could do for another woman. When I first signed up to be an egg donor, it was solely about the money but I learned that the experience was much more emotional and satisfying for me.

I underestimated the time and commitment that would go into something like being an egg donor and was honestly scared when I came in for my initial work-up, did the medication teaching and psychologist evaluation. I just told myself that it was too late to back out now! I knew a couple was waiting to have a family with my help, so I stayed with it and I am glad I did. I was accepted into the program in less than a month, and was finished with the whole process about 2 ½ months.

The first time I had to give myself the injection in my stomach and hip, it took me about 5 minutes to build up enough courage, but after that, it was easy! It was not always easy trying to explain to my boss about why I would be coming into work late because of my daily ultrasounds and blood work, but everyone was supportive and understanding. I was not too nervous going into my retrieval, and was surprised and relieved about how quickly it was over. After I was given the anesthesia, I do not even remember going into the operating room, but just woke up in recovery about an hour later in a little bit of pain, but it was not too bad. I went home about 30 minutes later, and got to lie in bed for the next day and a half.

I decided to donate two more times, not for the money, but because of how it made me feel. I felt good about the gift I was giving to another woman. I received heartfelt thank you cards from the recipient couples and it made me feel incredible! I was giving the most precious gift I could give to anyone. In addition, I was able to pay off all of my debt, take my mom to Europe for 2 weeks, and have a good amount of money in savings. Overall, it was an easy and worthwhile experience, that I would recommend to anyone willing to help a deserving couple have a family.

Rachel

Denise learned about the need for egg donors on a radio talk show.

I have been an egg donor three times. Obviously, it was not a difficult procedure or process or I wouldn’t have taken the time to do it three times! Actually, each time it was a very rewarding experience, and I would have probably done it a couple of more times if the center had let me.

The first time I decided to become an egg donor, I was driving to work and heard it being discussed on a radio talk show. Most of the women calling in had said that it was relatively easy, and that they were very glad they had done it. I will admit, a couple of the callers had put a little fear into me, for they made it sound very drastic, but I decided that I would call and find out for myself about the procedures. And I’m really glad I did.

The first procedure that I did was right before Christmas. I learned that this is a very difficult holiday for parents who are trying to have children, with so much focus on children during the season. I called for information, and after filling out all of the materials enclosed, as well as attaching a recent picture of myself, I received a call a short time later to come in for further testing.

I will admit that the process itself – taking the shots, maintaining a schedule, keeping up with the appointments – can be a little overwhelming at first. But we all feel that way, and should! If you are a chosen donor, you probably have been very healthy your whole life, so walking into a world of medicine can be a little intimidating. I remember the first time I gave myself a shot, the nurse coordinator told me, “Now if you can do that, you can do anything in the world!” and I still feel empowered by that statement! She was right, if I can be so unselfish, so giving, and able to give myself a shot in the thigh on top of it all (which does not hurt – in fact, I now prefer to give myself a shot than someone else) – then you are a pretty neat person!

And the staff was always there to help! Even when it wasn’t related to the program… I remember I had gotten a terrible case of the stomach flu right before Thanksgiving, and had called the nurse because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep the medicine down, and she got me a prescription for the nausea and I felt a ton better and could even drive to New Mexico to visit my family. It was great! They really take care of you, and answer any questions you have. Don’t be afraid to tell them anything, they are the experts in the field, and they are there to help you.

Well, after taking the medications, I was ready for the procedure itself, and was a little scared because it was a medical procedure. I went in on the morning of my appointment, and the nurses in the operating area took great care of me, explaining everything as we went along. Finally, the anesthesiologist came in, and to be honest with you, the last thing I remembered was her asking me if my pillow needed to be adjusted! I woke up about 2 hours later in recovery and didn’t even know what had happened! Wow! I did feel a little tired and thirsty, and I had some minor cramping – but nothing worse than a bad period episode. And they were quick to offer me Tylenol and heating pads, so it was great to get pampered on top of it.

A few minutes later, the coordinator came in to ask me how I was doing and told me the retrieval had been a success and how many eggs they had taken, which I believe was 19. Women are born with thousands of eggs, so a mere 19 is an easy gift to give to someone in need. She gave me a card from the couple that I had been working with and a gift. It was a pleasant surprise. The card was so touching – I hadn’t realized what it meant to these people who wanted to be parents so much. For those of us who can have children, I think we forget what it means to those who can’t. The letter said that during this season of giving, I had given them the most wonderful gift ever. It made me cry. I knew in my heart that these were special, wonderful people and I was so glad I was able to help them.

I sent back a thank-you card (through the coordinator) and wished them all the best. I told them that my belief was that the egg was just an egg, and what would make that child special and theirs was the love of them both, the body of the mother to nurture the baby, and the environment it grows up in. This child was in all ways theirs, and only theirs and I was glad to help get their family started.

I went on to do the procedure two more times for two other wonderful couples. Each time, the center had things better organized and developed “easier to take” medications. And since I knew what to expect, it was easy for me as well. Each time the couples expressed their heartfelt thanks and it made me feel so good to be able to help. My family and friends know about my donations, and they think it’s great. Overall, it was a very positive experience and one that I’m glad that I did.

Denise

Sharon remembered a co-worker who desperately wanted a baby when she decided to donate her eggs.

When I first considered the idea of donating my eggs to an anonymous couple, I really had no idea what I was in for. My process started in late 1998 when I was in the midst of a messy and complicated divorce. My girlfriend saw the center’s ad in the paper and suggested it to me, only partly jokingly, as a way to offset mounting attorney’s fees. At first I put the idea off. Quite honestly, I have always felt that there are so many unwanted children in this world already: Why can’t these people adopt?

Then I remembered an old co-worker of mine. She was beautiful and had the seemingly perfect life… a great husband, a beautiful house, nice cars and plenty of money. The one thing that she wanted, but could not have, was a baby. She agonized as she grew closer to forty, and with two failed IVF attempts, she was also becoming depressed. Along with her depression came a bitterness toward others who were pregnant, including me. And although I resented her bitterness, I realized how important it must have been for her to have a baby.

Several years later, in 1997, and after having just gone through some major changes in my life, I began exploring the deeper meaning of the situation and what it would mean to another couple to have the chance to become pregnant. I called the center for more information and a few days later, I received a large packet of information. Along with a lot of intimidating information, was a questionnaire that I was to fill out if I was still interested in going through with the process.

If I had any doubts or fears before, they were certainly quelled as I went through the questionnaire. Of course the expected questions (hair and eye color, family health, etc.) were in the mix, but it was the questions about the broader base of life that made me realize how important this was. I have the two most beautiful children in the world, and I enjoyed my pregnancies and child birth experiences immensely.

You don’t have to be a mother to donate, of course. The framing of the questions is extremely open-ended, so you’re able to expound on anything that has great significance to you. But given the chance, I will take every opportunity to talk about how wonderful my kids are and what an amazing impact they have had on my life, so you can imagine how much I enjoyed this part!

Being a mother is the single most important thing in my life. It is the one thing I have always been certain about. It was in that instant, writing it down and knowing someone who felt the same way I did about being a parent was going to read this, that I felt the awesomeness of this decision. Filling out the questionnaire ended up being a cathartic experience for me… I was highly charged emotionally during the process.

Once I submitted my application, it wasn’t long before I was contacted by the center to come in and do the preliminary blood work and physical. Then came the psychological testing and the meeting with the psychologist. Even though there were a lot of hoops to jump through (obviously they want to be careful), it was a relatively painless process. They were really good about getting me in and out of these appointments quickly, and fortunately because of their office hours, I was able to make them before work.

I think my profile was out for a week or so before I was contacted by the center with the news that I’d been selected by a recipient couple.

It took awhile from this point to move ahead. Several months, actually but every process is unique. In any case, we were finally ready to move ahead by late Spring in 1999, so I went to the office to meet with a donor nurse who showed me how to do the injections. Injections?!?!?!

At first, all I remembered were the needles and all the shots I was going to have to give myself. I was a little nervous (ok, I was freaking out actually), and wondered if I’d get through the whole cycle. Once I got home and sorted through everything, read all of the information about the drugs and possible side effects, and checked out all the needles and drugs, I felt better. It wasn’t going to be that awful. I think I was just a little overwhelmed. The Lupron shots are nothing, and that’s what I started with. Then, as I moved further into my cycle, I began the stimulating drugs which hurt a little, but even those weren’t that bad.

After four weeks or so, however, I have to admit I was really ready to get the retrieval over with because I was tired of the shots. The day of the retrieval I met the surgical staff. They were very nice, which definitely helped ease my mind. The anesthesiologist did a wonderful job (I didn’t remember a thing!) But I especially liked the fashionable foot covers they gave me to wear.

After the procedure I got very emotional (darn anesthesia). I cried when I thought about what was about to happen for this anonymous couple and I was really overjoyed for them. Just about then, my donor nurse came in with a gift and card from the recipient couple, which made me cry even more!

A few months later I donated a second time.

Within two months of my second retrieval, I was contacted to see if I wanted to donate again. In fact, I started my Lupron shots last night (three months after my last retrieval). This will be my third and final time to donate. I’m really glad I went through with the procedures. It’s been a positive experience for me because it’s helped me think outside my normal realm of consciousness. In a small way, and with the help of science, I’ve been able to contribute to the happiness of someone else. It’s a miracle that this is medically possible, really.

One thing I have learned over the last year or so, is that if I’ve ever had questions, problems or concerns, all I have had to do is say something and it’s taken care of. The donor nurses at the center are really good about listening and addressing concerns, which was crucial in my decision to donate again. I also appreciated the opportunity to participate in a focus group to hear other donors’ stories. I think it’s important that the donors not feel isolated during this experience. Without the donors, this process wouldn’t be possible. Therefore, I really commend the staff for listening to the recommendations made, especially by implementing letters like these from other donors.

We all have different reasons for donating, none of which are more valid or important than any other. For me it was helping others achieve the dream of being a parent. My children have taught me how to love unconditionally. They have taught me patience and helped me learn how to laugh out loud again. They are my life and my heartbeat. I am humbled that I had this opportunity to help someone else know the incredibly amazing gifts that children bring to our lives.

Sharon

Kim’s Aunt Katie’s infertility motivated her to donate her eggs to another couple.

Growing up there is always someone who stands out as a mentor & friend, someone whose love and guidance forever more has an impact on your life. For me, that person is my Aunt Katie. She represents all good things to me. Unfortunately she was unable to bear children. I watched her sorrow grow through the years and finally the acceptance that she would not bear children. Her grief has always had an impact on me for she would have been an excellent mother. Technology has come a long way since that time.

When I saw an advertisement in our local paper it really struck an emotional chord with me, and I saw it as an opportunity to give to someone else that may be experiencing the grief I saw in my family. It was an opportunity to give back to someone all that my Aunt had given to me growing up.

After applying and going through the screening process, I then had to face the fear of all that this process involves. The time commitment, the needles… but in the end I made the decision that the result would be worth it. I found that Dr. Schoolcraft’s and Dr. Surrey’s office made the process warm and friendly and provided a good atmosphere for me.

I became an egg donor in 1998 and at the time of donation I received an incredible letter from the egg recipient. I cried all the way home knowing of the joyous impact I was making on another woman’s life. That letter has meant so much to me, and I keep it where I can read it when I need a lift. It was that letter that inspired me to remain in the egg donor program where I again became an egg donor in 1999. My experience was even better the second time because I knew that I was being inspired from within to help someone who would hopefully know the joy of motherhood. Egg donation is truly a gift from the heart and God.

Sincerely,

Kim