“During the stimulation, I had the slightest abdominal swelling and wonderful feelings. I felt fertile, powerful, and strong. The process of growing these eggs felt beautiful, and for the first time in years I felt confident that I was doing something meaningful. I was looking forward to the retrieval, and was planning to go through additional donation cycles. I was visiting the clinic every couple of days now and usually saw the nurse and one of the doctors. A few days before the retrieval, the nurse became mildly alarmed at how many eggs had developed. I had developed slight ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. The doctor decided to proceed with egg retrieval.
I think they retrieved 28 eggs from my right ovary. The eggs were shared between the two couples, and embryos were made from all of my eggs using the sperm of the recipient fathers. Some of the embryos were implanted into the recipient mothers, and others were frozen for their later use. In my application I signed away all rights to know if a child was created from my donation, or to know anything about the children my eggs created.
Following the donation my abdomen became very swollen, but the fluid decreased over the following week. I had a couple of follow up appointments at the fertility clinic, and I thought I was on the mend. We discussed when to start the next donation cycle.
Eight days after the retrieval, I woke with a searing pain in my lower abdomen. It felt my insides were being tied tightly with a string. I tried to get out of bed and fainted from the pain. A friend drove me to the clinic. It was a Saturday so I saw the on-call doctor. She performed an ultrasound and said it was nothing more than my follicles shedding and that the pain would go away in a few days. She said, “If anything serious were wrong, you would know. You wouldn’t have been able to walk into the clinic.” I felt like the doctor thought I was being overly dramatic, making a big deal of a little cramping. Over the next three days my abdomen swelled, I was delirious with pain and fever, and couldn’t move my bowels. Another friend drove me back to the clinic, and the nurse told me I needed an enema and to eat something and I would be fine. However, whenever I ate I would vomit. On the fifth day I couldn’t stop vomiting. I spent an entire night vomiting stool.”
Her full story is here.
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.
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