This guest post was submitted by Heidi Hayes on behalf of Sharon F.
As travellers, we are often asked how we afford to travel. Sharon tells us how she found the money to fund her travels by being an egg donor.
This is her story.
I believe when a teenager graduates high school and immediately begins their college years, it can lead to mental burnout.
Because it happened to me!
I never expected a pamphlet in my gynaecologist’s office on egg donation requirements would be my solution.
A Need for Travel and the Lack of Funds to Do So
My freshmen year of college was smooth enough, but as I moved into my second year I felt a crushing weight coming over me.
I wasn’t interested in my classes, felt overworked at my part-time job, and found myself pondering philosophical questions about the choices I made. Was this the life I wanted?
I craved adventure; I needed a break.
It felt like I’d been going non-stop since graduation. While many of my friends spent their pre-college summer going on lavish vacations, I’d left high school and moved right into working full-time to save for fall tuition.
I suddenly realized I deserved a break like that, too. In fact, my mental well-being demanded it!
I’d always dreamed of traveling to Europe, but was so focused on school I never considered doing it. I mulled over my options and made one pro and cons list after another. The result? I decided I’d take a semester off to go backpacking.
But there was a problem – how could I afford it?
My savings went into school and the amount I made working in the student union only covered my living expenses.
I was still searching for an answer when I showed up to my gynaecologist’s office for my annual exam. Sitting on the table in a flimsy paper gown, I saw a brochure for egg donation.
I opened it and came face-to-face with my solution:
“You could earn up to $8,000 for your donation.”
I ran through my mental calculations and concluded $8,000 was more than enough for my European vacation.
Could I Really Become An Egg Donor?
Physically, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind – I was the perfect donor candidate.
I’d played sports throughout high school and was in great physical shape. My periods were like clockwork and drugs and alcohol never interested me.
Mentally, however, I wondered whether I could go through with it.
As I researched the donor egg process became overwhelmed by information. More than anything else, I questioned whether giving my eggs to a stranger was right for me.
While I felt good about helping a couple struggling with infertility, it was still difficult to imagine never knowing a child genetically related to me. I asked my clinic if I could speak to a family who had successfully undergone donor egg IVF.
Early one Saturday morning, I met a new mother for coffee.
I wish there were words to truly depict the joy on her face as she told me about their new baby boy. My heart broke for her when she discussed her struggles with infertility.
I realized at that moment there was another woman crying over failed pregnancy tests and hoping for answers.
I knew I could be that woman’s answer.
The Physical Process of Donating My Eggs
After undergoing a rigorous screening process, I was thrilled to learn I’d been accepted as an egg donor!
What followed was a challenging couple of months filled with self-injections, blood work, and ultrasound monitoring. Once I’d completed the ovarian stimulation phase of the process, I was ready to undergo egg retrieval.
As I groggily woke up post-procedure, a nurse explained they’d retrieved a total of 14 eggs from my follicles.
14 possible babies for couples that yearned to grow their family.
I was ecstatic!
Achieving My Dreams and Making Someone Else’s Come True
Due to restrictions in my contract, I’ll never know how many babies were born from my eggs.
I’ll never know their gender or if their precious eyes matched my own. What I do know is they are loved immensely.
Donating eggs isn’t easy. It comes with a wide range of challenges, both mental and physical, but what kept me sane was thinking about my trip. I spent the hardest days of my cycle lounging in bed researching things like restaurants in Paris, attractions in Rome, and the best places to stay in Amsterdam.
When all was said and done, and I finally found myself breathing in the glorious Parisian air as I walked along the Champs Élysées, I couldn’t help but reflect on what had brought me to that moment.
Some people might find my means of getting to Europe questionable, but I have zero regrets about my choice to donate. Before my donation, I focused solely on finding fulfilment through travel. When I think about the families I’ve helped to create, I realize my happiness knows no bounds. Donating was one of the most self-fulfilling things I’ll ever do in my life.