The Donor Diaries: Lauren

At some point in our lives we will all have to ask for help from other people and need their support to make our dreams come true. Being an egg donor has allowed me to be the person who is asked for help, and it’s really rewarding to be able to say, “Yes. I’ll help you.”   

I became an egg donor after watching a friend have trouble getting pregnant, ultimately turning to Growing Generations for help.  That was my first exposure to the struggles of infertility and how devastating it can be to want to start a family and not be able to. Egg Donation is a way to give love and support to people who want to give their love to a child, and it’s a beautiful process to be a part of.

Growing Generations did a great job of setting up expectations from the very beginning, so there weren’t too many surprises. The hormones probably affected me more than I would like to admit. Injecting yourself with needles isn’t exactly fun, but it reminds you of how much more pressure a woman who is trying to have a child is under. Imagining how difficult it would be for her to go through all the fertility treatments to ultimately still not be able to conceive makes the shots seem very minor. The disruption to my life and discomfort was minimal, and all totally worth it to be able to be part of a families journey to create a life and leave their legacy.

Going into this, I don’t know if I realized how anonymous the whole process is. I think I had assumed that most egg donors were friends or relatives of the intended parents. I can definitely see how having a more disconnected (but still thoroughly vetted) donor can make it easier for parents to see that child as their own, since there isn’t a friend or relative with a genetic connection nearby to serve as a constant reminder.

Even so, I wasn’t quite expecting how emotionally connected I felt to the intended parents and their personal journey by the end of the process. I still feel very connected to the intended parents and wish them love and happiness and success as they continue their journey to start their family. I send love their way every time I think about them.

The compensation I received definitely helped my life, and getting to travel to Houston and explore the city a bit during my trips out was definitely an unexpected bonus! My compensation allowed me to pay off some of my student loan debt and enjoy my trips to Houston a bit more. Ultimately, I would go through the process again without the financial compensation because it is such a rewarding experience, but the financial compensation is a really nice bonus.

I know that there are critics of egg donors. I would say that until you have been through the struggle and heartbreak of wanting to start a family and have a child so badly and realizing that you can’t do it on your own, that you really don’t have a good understanding of the journey that parents or donors are going through. These parents often will have to ask for help, maybe even from a stranger, to realize one of their greatest dreams. We all have different struggles and paths in life, and we don’t have any room to judge or critique others for their choices.

Becoming an egg donor definitely changed the way I think about people who are struggling to start a family, and gave me so much for compassion and empathy for people in that situation. It hasn’t really changed my day-to-day life, but it has certainly impacted me and given me a more real connection to people that are trying to bring children into their families.

If you have the emotional and physical ability, as well as the flexibility with your schedule, to be an egg donor, you should definitely consider it.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 22 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for the last two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the American Fertility Association, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 28 years and their two teenage daughters.