Getting Pregnant

I Donated My Eggs, So My Friend Could Have A Baby

by Jessa Hillman
Originally Published: 
A woman in a checked shirt talking with a doctor about donating eggs at the hospital
Scary Mommy and kate_sept2004/Getty

Well, it’s been five months since I went through IVF and donated my eggs to a friend.

After talking to friends and acquaintances about this whole process, I realized just how many people don’t understand this whole process.

What happens to the eggs? When are the embryos ready for transfer? How long does it take to find out the recipient is pregnant? And how do you move forward with your life after donating eggs?

My situation is a little different from some in that my situation is what’s called a “known donor” transfer.

A friend of my family asked me if I would donate my eggs to her, and I said yes. Therefore, she knew her donor. A large percentage of people receive eggs from an unknown donor — or, a person they’ve never met.

Courtesy of Jessa Hillmann

Sometimes when a woman donates her eggs, she becomes anonymous and there is no chance of knowing details about her. Eventually, I may become an unknown donor to someone else. I’ll touch more on that further on.

Now that I’m five months removed from this experience, I can definitely say that it’s so rewarding. There were tough moments, for sure, but overall I am so glad that my friend asked me to be a part of this with her.

After 41 of my eggs were removed, they were immediately fertilized with donor sperm.

During the next few days, the embryos were watched closely and those that were too weak didn’t survive. Five days later, all the of the salvageable embryos (11 of them) were set aside to be used or frozen.

My friend chose to be implanted with two embryos, so now nine are currently being frozen.

Legally, I no longer have rights to these eggs/embryos. They are legally not my children, and I have no say over what happens to them. For some donors, that’s a hard thing to come to terms with.

However, because the recipient and I are friends, she and I do talk about what may happen to those leftover embryos.

Science Photo Library/Getty

After the embryo transfer, the recipient knows within the next two weeks if she is pregnant or not. A few weeks after that, she will know if she is pregnant with both embryos, or just one.

We just found out a few days ago that my friend is pregnant with two girls.

My friend and her family are so excited! And my family is so happy to have been a part of this with her, too.

As for the leftover embryos now, they will be held onto for the duration of her pregnancy, and then will be donated to the fertility clinic.

At that point, I will become an unknown donor in a book of donors (or at least that’s how I imagine it).

Courtesy of Jessa Hillmann

A part of me does feel conflicted about that.

How will those kids feel growing up with questions that their parents can’t answer about me? Will they be upset? Will they ever try to figure out who I am?

Honestly, those are questions that I am not able to answer now. Whenever those embryos are donated to someone else, I will start praying that they are given to the right parents, and that 18 years from now I am in a good position to talk to them, if they so choose.

All of that aside, egg donation really is a modern miracle. If it wasn’t for science and technology so many loving, wonderful people would never be able to have children.

The eggs that I gave were donated as a gift. My husband and I were not actively trying to have children, so these eggs would never have been my children (if that makes sense).

Courtesy of Jessa Hillmann

They would have been eggs that my body naturally released at the end of the month. I’m so glad they have become much more than that to another family.

Now, the hard work of growing those babies is up to my friend. We will wait and pray for a healthy, full-term pregnancy.

We plan to stay in touch with the family, of course, and will be as involved in her life, and the babies’ lives, as much as they want us to.

It’s a delicate balance of being connected genetically, and staying within the boundaries relationally.

I don’t feel an emotional connection to these babies outside of loving them because they are wonderful, sweet, innocent beings birthed by my friend.

Courtesy of Jessa Hillmann

I don’t feel like they are my children, like I need to have them and to have a say in how they are brought up. That’s not the point of giving a gift.

Of course, they will always be special to me because of the part I played in their existence. But the tricky part of egg donation for some people can be the moving forward after the process is done.

Once that transfer is made, papers are signed, and rights are relinquished.

What’s most important now is that when these babies are born, they know how many people loved them so much, early on, that they were willing to go great lengths to get them here.

This article was originally published on