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If you are part of Cofertility’s Split Program, or even donating your eggs elsewhere, this is a helpful guide to share with your partner.

At Cofertility, we are on a mission to support individuals and families across different phases of the fertility journey. Our work transcends the boundaries of traditional fertility care, forging connections that breathe life into the dreams of thousands of families, both today and the future. 

Through our unique Split Program, we've had the privilege of working with many egg freezers and donors, and know the experience varies widely. We've witnessed joy, apprehension, hope, and triumph, and we've come to recognize that the process of egg sharing is multifaceted and profound. Our journey with these remarkable individuals has not only exposed us to the wide spectrum of emotions and decisions, but has also underscored the indispensable role of a robust support system throughout the journey. 

Becoming an egg donor presents a multitude of emotional, physical, and ethical considerations. How, then, can friends, family, or significant others support a Split member during this journey? 

In the following guide, we hope to share the insights we've gathered, offering a pathway for those seeking to support a loved one through this journey.

Understand the process

It’s helpful for you to understand the logistical and medical process your partner or loved one is going through. Here are a few guides to get up to speed:

Offer assistance

The Split members' journey with egg freezing will require numerous medical appointments for ultrasounds and bloodwork. Your presence at these appointments can provide a reassuring sense of companionship. 

But the most important task is being their reliable ride home from the egg retrieval procedure (in fact, it’s required that they do not drive after this procedure). This might be a clinic near home or you may be asked to travel with your partner to a clinic near the intended parents (if this is the case, travel expenses for both of you will be covered).

Once they get home, ensuring they have the things they need to be comfortable—whether it's a favorite blanket, soothing tea, or just your comforting presence—can make a significant difference in their experience. These thoughtful actions underscore the human connection at the heart of this medical process, turning what could be a solitary journey into a shared experience of empathy and care.

Egg freezing is considered a safe procedure, and complications are rare. But you should know the red flags. If you notice any of the symptoms below, report them to the healthcare provider asap:

  • Temperature above 101 F
  • Severe abdominal pain or swelling
  • Severe nausea or vomiting that doesn’t go away
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding (soaking through a pad in an hour; some light bleeding is normal)
  • Difficulty urinating, or painful urination
  • Fainting or dizziness

Help with the shots

The first step in the egg freezing process is to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs to be retrieved. This is done with the use of fertility medication, administered in the form of injectable hormones over 10-12 days. 

Helping your loved one with these required injections is huge. This is not a task for everyone, and it's completely understandable if it falls outside your comfort zone. If you do have the capacity and willingness to assist with administering the shots, your help would undoubtedly be appreciated. 

However, even if you prefer not to take a hands-on role, your presence while they give themselves the shot can still make a meaningful difference. 

Simply keeping them company, offering words of encouragement, or offering a little treat (chocolate?) or surprise after each shot can transform an intimidating necessity into a shared moment of support and connection. 

Respect the decision

Friends, family, and partners should respect the donor's autonomy in this deeply personal decision. Recognize that this choice belongs solely to the person making it, and it may reflect a multitude of considerations, both practical and emotional.

Respecting this decision requires acknowledging your partner's autonomy and avoiding any attempts to influence or question her choice. Supporting her means listening without judgment, asking thoughtful questions to understand her perspective, and reassuring her of your support.

Research shows that egg donors are generally happy with their decision and the vast majority do not regret it (in one study of an egg sharing program, only 2.1% regretted their decision to participate). And anecdotally speaking, donors we work with at Cofertility are grateful for the opportunity to donate their eggs and keep half of the eggs retrieved for their own future use, for free. 

Concerns and curiosity are natural, but they must be handled with delicacy and empathy. Being there for her doesn't mean agreeing with her on every point but rather offering a safe space where she can express her feelings and thoughts freely.

Empirical studies on autonomy and healthcare decisions reinforce the importance of respecting individual choices, particularly those concerning one's body and reproductive rights. In the context of egg donation, this principle becomes paramount, reflecting the ethical, emotional, and personal dimensions of the choice at hand.

Celebrate the achievement

Egg freezing and donation can be an expression of personal values, a decision that encapsulates a woman's beliefs, or simply an achievement that deserves acknowledgment and celebration.

Celebrating this achievement can take many forms, from simple words of congratulations and admiration to more elaborate expressions of support. It might mean throwing a small celebration, writing a heartfelt letter, or finding another personal way to convey pride and gratitude.

Celebration does not necessarily mean a public declaration but rather an authentic and personal acknowledgment of the strength, courage, and compassion embodied in the decision itself. The act of recognizing and honoring this choice can create a shared moment of joy and connection, strengthening the bonds between the donor and those closest to her.

In summary

Through our work with hundreds of donors, we've learned that the path is never solitary, nor should it be. The role of friends, family, partners, and significant others in this process cannot be overstated.

From understanding the technical aspects of the process to being a comforting presence during medical appointments, offering assistance with injections, respecting personal choices, and celebrating the decision, the support system surrounding a donor becomes an integral part of the experience. These connections not only ease the logistical and emotional challenges but transform the process into a shared journey that's imbued with empathy, respect, and love.

Our commitment to supporting individuals and families remains unwavering. By fostering a robust network of support and sharing our insights, we hope to make the journey not only more approachable but also more meaningful. The dreams of creating and nurturing life are collective ones, and we at Cofertility are honored to be part of these intimate and extraordinary stories.