A lot of prospective donors who come to Lucina Egg Bank do ask us if it is possible to manage the responsibilities of being an Egg Donor with a busy school schedule.
Although egg donation is a good way to pay off a huge chunk of your student loan debt, it’s a commitment that takes a little planning and effort. In this comprehensive guide, we are going to discuss how to handle egg donation while facing the everyday hassles of being a full-time student.
Why Donate Eggs?
The majority of our Egg Donors are donating because they wish to help an Intended Parent who needs third-party assistance to get pregnant. Whether or not the donor receives compensation, oocyte donation is a truly selfless act that gives you the chance to positively impact other people’s lives.
According to studies, an average American college student has a loan debt of more than $17,000 – an amount that’s big enough to buy a new car or make an advance payment for a house. Student debt is the fastest-growing part of household debt in the United States and has gone up by 157% since the Great Recession.
It may seem like you have a long road ahead when saddled with student loan debt, but there are plenty of options. The average fees and tuition at a four-year public state college in the US were about $10,230 for the 2018/2019 academic year (excluding accommodation or other possible expenses). However, students in a four-year private college can expect to pay a higher amount.
According to Sallie Mae’s “How American Pays for College” report, student loans only cover a quarter of the whole costs when scholarships, savings, and grants are insufficient.
This means that a student may be facing loan debt that could take decades to clear. Nowadays, parents are choosing between paying for their child’s higher education and saving up for retirement.
How Egg Donation Can Help You Settle Your Student Loan Debt
Egg donation can help you put a significant dent in your student loan debt. It is important to note that donating eggs does not affect your future fertility in any way.
A woman’s ovaries contain thousands of potential eggs (known as oocytes), and the quality of these oocytes stays the same throughout the years you are qualified to donate. This is why most fertility clinics are searching for women aged 20 to 30 to donate eggs for them.
Usually, Egg Donors are paid between $7,000 and $10,000 for each donation, which can be done every 6 months and up to 6 times. Since the average student loan debt is around $17,126, imagine how much of a dent $7,000 or $10,000 could put in the loan amount.
Although most student loans come with a grace period of 6 to 9 months before you have to begin payments, it would be good to start paying early to reduce interest. Besides, most student loans have no minimum amount or penalty for early repayment.
As a female college student, you can use the money from oocyte donation to pay fees, tuition, or buy books instead of seeking a loan.
Since donors are eligible to donate multiple times, donation can be an excellent source of income to depend on while in college.
A Brief Overview of the Egg Donation Process
Now let’s give you a quick summary of the egg donation process. As we said earlier, donating eggs, even multiple times, does not impact your future fertility or ability to bear your own children. Your body has thousands of potential eggs stored in your ovaries, and their quality remains generally unchanged during the period you’re eligible to donate.
As a prospective donor, you will have to undergo series of testing to know if you are a good fit. If the results obtained match what the egg donor agency or fertility clinic is looking for, you would be added to an egg donor database to match you with people who may need your eggs. This may be an infertile or older woman who needs donor eggs to conceive, a single person, or a same-sex couple who needs them to start their own family.
After being matched, you will be put on contraceptive medication for approximately two weeks, followed by two weeks of hormone medication 2 or 3 times per day, which you can self-inject at home. You will then have clinic appointments, where your blood will be collected to examine your hormone levels and a transvaginal ultrasound to check the growth of your eggs.
Once the eggs grow to an optimum size, you will undergo an outpatient medical procedure to have your eggs harvested. The procedure is quick, about 12-20 minutes and you will be sedated so it is comfortable. You are asked to rest for a day or thereabout and then can return to normal activity. And that’s that!
Getting Ready for Egg Donation
Chances are that you are wondering what you need to be doing in the period between signing for egg donation and being selected (by the agency or the Intended Parents). Most times, you only have to keep taking care of yourself as you normally do and keep a healthy lifestyle by:
- Staying off alcohol, tobacco, or recreational drugs
- Following a healthy diet
- Doing a moderate amount of exercise
During the donation process, the aim is to stimulate the woman’s ovaries to mature a couple of eggs instead of one. To make multiple eggs mature, the body’s natural pituitary stimulation is overruled by injecting the body with a higher amount of fertility hormones.
The donor is placed on contraceptive pills and Lupron to suppress her pituitary gland. This is followed by 10 days of FSH hormone injections to help mature the eggs some hours before they are naturally released by the ovaries. Other hormones used during oocyte donation may include:
- Lupron (Leuprolide Acetate) – The donor administers one injection of this medication every day for about 12 days. The use of Lupron impacts the pituitary glands, reducing the levels of follicle-stimulating and luteinizing hormone in the body. This is carried out to help the doctor plan out the right approach for successful egg retrieval.
- Follicle Stimulating Hormones (FSH or Gonadotropins) – One injection of this medication every day for about 10 days.
- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (Trigger shot”) – One injection 36 to 40 hours before the egg retrieval.
Aside from contraceptive pills and hormone medications, there are other things you may need to manage. The medications may cause side effects like hot flashes, mood swings, bloating, weight gain, or skin reactions at the injection site. Nothing major and most donors report symptoms similar to PMS. This is why it’s best not to have important school obligations like seminars, exams, or fieldwork coming up in the period preceding or during your donation.
Making It to Appointments
You will have to visit a clinic about 7-10 times within two weeks for blood tests and ultrasound monitoring. These appointments are usually done locally near your home, they last about 15- 30 minutes and are scheduled in the morning. On the day of egg retrieval, you’ll spend a large part of the day at the fertility clinic. A lot of Egg Donors are able to go back to work or return to school during the donation process and return to normal activity the day following the egg retrieval.
Fitting Egg Donation Into Your School Schedule
There are different kinds of screenings, medications, and appointments during the egg donation process that you’ll have to be in control of. While this may seem a bit difficult in the middle of a busy college schedule, it is not an impossible thing to do.
Before entering an agreement with a fertility clinic or egg donor agency, you have to be sure you can stay fully committed to the process from the beginning to the end. As an Egg Donor, you need to do your all to ensure the donation cycle is a successful one. Some of our student donors schedule their egg donations for spring, winter, or summer when school is on a break but most are able to do it any time during the school year.
Egg Donors usually decide to undergo the process in the middle of a semester, and that’s completely fine, provided you can make it to early morning appointments and keep to your medication regimen.
If you think the process may interfere with your school or workload, it would be best to let your professors or employers know you’re under medical care and provide a doctor’s note. When you do, they will be more willing to cut you some slack or understand better if you fail to meet a deadline or come late to school due to the morning monitoring appointments.
Feel free to talk to your case manager if you have any worries about your schedule. At Lucina Egg Bank, we are happy to help you work oocyte donation into your hectic school schedule.
If you are a college student living locally or in a different state and wish to donate eggs, we are ready to cover all your travel-related expenditures for the egg donation. To make the whole process easier, we usually recommend having your donation scheduled for one of the longer school breaks if you are a traveling donor with a hectic schedule.
Egg Donors need to do everything in their power to make sure their donation cycle is a successful one. It’s crucial not to embark on an egg donation cycle if your school schedule is not flexible or you won’t be able to fully commit to the process. Once you have been chosen to donate, one of our coordinators will get in touch with you to discuss the cycle and know how soon you will be ready and want to proceed with the donation.
If you are unable to commit now, don’t let that discourage you from donating. At Lucina Egg Bank, we offer frozen donor eggs, which implies that your donation cycle doesn’t depend on whether Intended Parents are available or urgently need the eggs. You can donate as soon as possible or postpone it until the right timing to balance it with your college/school schedule.
Dealing with the Post-procedure Symptoms
You can expect to experience bloating and abdominal cramping for about 2-5 days following the egg retrieval. The severity of these symptoms may vary significantly from patient to patient. In some cases, it can take several weeks for the ovaries to get back to their normal size. While very unusual, consult your nurse coordinator or healthcare provider if the bloating and discomfort worsen between 7 to 10 days after retrieval.
Most donors are able to return to their normal activities one to two days after retrieval. As said before, you may also experience some mild after-effects of the procedures, like constipation, cramping, or bloating. This is why you need to plan your schedule to make sure are do not have any major school obligations for a day or two post-retrieval.
Get Your Support Network Ready
One of the most important things to do when preparing for egg donation is to make sure you will be well catered for before, during, and after the process. Speak with your family, close friends, and colleagues about the donation process and ensure that you have a solid support system. You will need someone to follow you to appointments, take you home after the egg retrieval procedure, or just share your feelings with.
Oocyte donation can be a bit stressful process given all the requirements but there’s also this peace of mind that comes with knowing you have people that got your back.
We understand that egg donation can seem complex and challenging, especially if you are doing it for the very first time. Our experts at Lucina Egg Bank will be happy to answer any questions you have got along the line. Our caring case managers are available to see you through your egg donation journey.
Simply fill the application and we will get in touch within 72 hours.