Americus Dotter's Story
Jennifer Lahl—Eggsploitation Executive Producer, Director, and
Writer—interviews a woman whose mental health suffered
in the wake of selling her eggs.
Jennifer Lahl: Why did you decide to be an egg donor?
Americus Dotter*: I first heard of egg donation while living in McCall, Idaho. I was approached by an acquaintance that felt I was a good candidate. She would receive a bonus if I had a successful retrieval. I had just had my first child and was so in love with my new baby that I felt terrible for women that could not have that experience. The process appealed to me even before I knew that I would be paid compensation. I feel very glad that I did not just get into it for the money, as I am sure many young women do. The thought of helping someone out was its own reward.
JL: How many times did you donate (sell) your eggs?
AD: I donated a total of 8 times over the next ten years and had two more of my own children between cycles.
JL: Were you paid and if so, how much?
AD: My compensation ranged from $2,500-$9,000 per cycle.
JL: What drugs did you take?
AD: I could not even tell you the names of the medications that I took. Some of them were more complicated mixing method medications, and some were easy pen dispensers.
JL: How did your body respond/react to the drugs? Did you have any complications? Did you experience Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)? How did the medical team manage you during the process?
AD: The cycles went relatively smoothly. I never experienced OHSS to my knowledge, although I did have one cycle where I produced a huge number of eggs. I also had one retrieval where I was certain something was wrong the day after the surgery. I was having severe abdominal pain, enough so that I went to see my general doctor who ordered a MRI. The MRI showed nothing abnormal.
After a couple of days of debilitating discomfort the pain slowly subsided. I did try to contact the office that I had done the cycle with and the nurse just told me I would be fine. The MRI was paid for out of my own pocket cancelling out any “compensation” that I received. My other complications did not become apparent until later down the road.
JL: Were you an open donor or anonymous donor?
AD: I was both an anonymous and open donor.
JL: Do you know how many eggs in total you donated (sold) and how many children were born via your eggs?
AD: I know of three children that resulted from my donations. I maintain contact with one family who has two of my donor children. I did two of my cycles with this family and I love getting the children’s pictures at Christmas time. It is the only saving grace for what I have gone through. I am not sure what the total number of eggs I ever donated was but this is where the devil lies in the details. It is not the living children that I am obsessively concerned about.
JL: Do you favor egg donation/selling and if so why? If not, why? Do you advise women to do this? If so, why or why not?
AD: I do not try to convince other women to participate in this program, although there was a point in my life where I considered recruiting my job. I was in charge of internet advertising for the position and screening applicants. For this reason I feel a responsibility to share my story.
JL: Did you have any long-term complications and what were they?
AD: It is the long-term complications that have affected me the most. I have had severe psychiatric problems. After the birth of my third child I slipped into a condition called postpartum psychosis. All the artificial hormones I had taken were a major contributing factor to this horrible hormone imbalance. I had other outside stressors that also contributed but the social issue that I struggled with was knowing the all of my “excess” eggs that resulted in living embryos had most likely gone to stem cell research. This was more than just an obsessive thought.
I began hallucinating after days of paranoia and lack of sleep. In my hallucinations I was attacked and tormented by dark three dimensional, shadow-like spirits that I came to call “the know.” I heard horrible mocking laughter that I was certain was the devil himself. He wanted authority over my unborn. I had to appear in front of a great light at the front of a courtroom setting where I was clearly on trial for the murder of my unborn, as they were suffering from an “inability to thrive.”
It took me years to overcome my psychiatric condition and I went through a period of deep depression feeling as though all bad things taking place in my life were my punishments for the sins of my past.
If you are interested in reading more of my story, how I found myself in that dark place, my donor experiences, and how I overcame it, you can read my book, Soul Sale: A Rude Awakening. I am always happy to answer questions and I also have a blog: http://americusdotter.wordpress.com/