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Pregnancy is also heart-warming for the egg donor

Iiris Halinen

I have been lucky in that I have always got pregnant easily. I know people who have struggled to have children. That’s what made me consider donating my eggs in the first place.

I came across an Ovumia advertisement calling out to donors on Facebook. I thought about it for a while and finally decided that my own children are now big enough for me to take the time to help others. Some couples have tried for a long time, and there’s a serious shortage of donors.

Once you have stared at a positive pregnancy test in delight yourself, you know how amazing it feels. I wanted couples who have been trying for a baby for years to experience that same feeling.

Reproductive issues are familiar to me because I work in the caring industry. I’m a practical nurse and recently completed my nursing degree.

A slight inconvenience leading to great joy

During my first donation, I visited the clinic five times. I had an interview with a psychologist who explained how the process and the hormone treatment will affect my life and who wanted to make sure I understood what I was getting into – that I wasn’t donating a child but gametes.

The treatment requires you to commit to it for a period of one menstrual cycle. When the psychologist was sure I understood everything about the treatment, she asked me how I would feel if someone came knocking on my door in 18 years’ time.

During the treatment discussion, I learned about the treatment plan that showed when the hormone medication would be started and how to do the injections. The clinic provides guidance on the injection technique. Lots of people may be scared of the injection but the needle is so small you hardly feel it.

The hormone treatment takes a couple of weeks. As a nurse, I’m used to injecting medication, but my first egg collection was a little trickier. I’m extremely fertile and there are always a good number of eggs. However, only one was collected during the first treatment. Every treatment cycle has resulted in a child, one family even had twins.

Interrupted by my own pregnancy

My donations have always gone very well. I don’t even think I suffered from any mood swings, although my friends and family disagree. We still don’t see eye to eye about it.

My stomach was a little bloated, but other than that, I didn’t really have any problems. I always spent the day after the collection resting but went back to work the following day. I haven’t needed any sick leave.

The last time I donated eggs was last summer. My age, 33, hasn’t been a problem and, in fact, I have donated eggs to five families now, which is the maximum amount by law. I might still donate more to one of the five families if they want a full sibling for their child.

In 2018, I got a call from the clinic about a request like this, but I was carrying my youngest at the time. Otherwise, I would have been happy to help them have another child.

I hadn’t actually planned to have more children, but just like that I was pregnant again. I now have four children aged 13, 10, 8 and the youngest is 2.

Pregnancy makes the donor happy

I totally recommend this to others too. I’ve tried to persuade some of my friends to do it, but they’re afraid of donating before they’ve had children of their own.

But the truth is this treatment has no effect whatsoever on your future pregnancies. You have so many eggs that you’ll definitely have enough for life even if you donate a few of them.

This is a small inconvenience to yourself but a huge gift for the person receiving your egg. I’ve travelled from Kotka to Ovumia’s clinic in Helsinki to make my donations. After the treatments, I’ve always called nurse Hanna Haapanen who’s then asked me “do you want to know”.

Yes, I do! It’s an incredible feeling to hear someone has conceived because of you and that everything’s fine and the foetus is doing well. It’s similar to the happiness I’ve felt when I’ve had a positive pregnancy test myself.

It makes me happy that someone has got pregnant after a long wait and that I’ve had the opportunity to be part of that. The best thing is that my part in the story ends there.

The writer is a nurse from Kotka who has donated her eggs at Ovumia’s clinic in Helsinki.

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