Katie O’Reilly on the Downsides to Donating Your Eggs

Photo by mrhayata

For a brief while in my late twenties, I toyed with selling my eggs. In the end, I was afraid of having the procedure, of what the fertility drugs might do to me—and the idea of having offspring out in the world whom I might never know. (I was afraid enough of having offspring I would know, which I ultimately avoided.)

At BuzzFeed, writer Katie O’Reilly writes about her experience going through with the procedure a few years ago. Now, she suffers from what appear to be side effects—the evidence is pretty persuasive, although unconfirmed—and has many regrets:

After wading through a slew of Craigslist ads seeking plasma donors, I finally hit upon a gig that sounded promising: “Extraordinary females” with “high SAT scores, athletic backgrounds, and emotional resiliency” were being sought to “make someone’s dream come true.” My pulse quickened as I read on to learn that for this “most special contribution” of some hyperstimulated ova — i.e., “donated” eggs — females who matched such a description could earn a check for $8,000…

Afterward…

… mysterious shifts began to occur within my body. Out of the blue, my breasts sprouted fibroid tumors that required biopsy. A few months later, my gall bladder became distended and infected. During the related ultrasound — my first since La Jolla — the techs discovered that my fallopian tubes are covered in endometrial scar tissue. In the five years since donating, my Pap smears have been consistently abnormal. But doctors just chalk it all up to “one of those things that can just happen.”
Whenever I bring up egg donation as a potential explanation for my “lady problems,” the doctor changes the subject. Yes, anytime I verbally raise the question of whether injecting myself with maximal amounts of fertility drugs during the time in life when I was likely at the peak of my natural fertility might have compromised my reproductive system, medical professionals are quick to tell me there’s zero way of knowing whether assisted reproduction could be any sort of culprit.

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