Wednesday, June 2, 2010

How to Save a Life

Before all this crap that is infertility began, I had a goal.

One day at a regular 'ol OB appointment while I was pregnant with LJ, a the ripe old age of 20, I noticed a flyer taped to the back of a bathroom door. It was an advertisement seeking egg donors. I took one of the tear-away phone numbers and called later to find out how it all worked. I knew that in my current state; nearly 8 months pregnant, I wouldn't be able to do anything until after LJ was born, but I wanted to know how long I'd have to wait, what the risks were, etc.

When I called I was a little discouraged when I was quickly told, in a way that closely resembled a mother trying to bribe a child to do something unpleasant, that I could "earn" $2,500 for donating eggs. It made me sad to think that there were probably women out there who did egg donation just for the money. I thought of how they were surely missing the bigger picture. When I thought of being able to give a couple the family that they desired, it brought tears to my eyes. What better gift is there? It wasn't a huge risk for me, and it seemed like such an easy thing to do to help someone else in a major way. I was all in.

Unfortunately, when the time came that I could actually be an egg donor, I made the mistake of mentioning my intentions to a few family members. It didn't go as I had expected, and actually caused A LOT of conflict. By the time it had blown over, we had just decided to start trying for #2. I figured I could always do it after we had our next baby. (*insert heavy sigh, here)

A few years later, a friend of mine had a daughter that was in need of a kidney transplant. Fortunately, my friend was a match and the transplant was completed successfully. But it got me thinking about all the other children I saw at the hospital that were not as lucky. I contacted the Living Donor program in my area and asked for an information packet in the mail. After a few more months (before I ever even mentioned it to my DH) I decided that I wanted to be a living donor. Then, of course when I mentioned it to my DH, he had another idea. He was completely against me doing it right then. After a lot of prayer and discussion, I promised to wait until we were done having children. His major hang up was that if we ever had a child that needed a kidney transplant, I wouldn't be able to donate (if I was a match.) We know that I wouldn't not be able to donate to LJ if she ever needed it, but future children... well, who knows. So, I decided I could again "wait."

Then, about a week ago, I was reading the LFCA and noticed that a fellow blogger had organized a bone marrow drive. I read through her blog, then read through all the information on the donor site. I had NO IDEA it was so easy to be a donor! Many times, bone marrow can be harvested through a blood donation, after 5 days of injections (this is one of 2 ways to donate, the other is surgical.) No sweat! I can do that, no problem! And in 6 weeks, your body has replaced what was donated, and everything is back to normal. What does this mean? Well, you can be a donor multiple times. YOU HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO SAVE SOMEONES LIFE EVERY SIX WEEKS!!! (If you are a match, and meet certain health guidelines) I didn't wait to discuss it with DH, and I sure as hell didn't care if any of my other family members had a problem with it. I filled out the donor application online, as well as the health survey. Then, I was promptly DENIED! WTF? Why?!? Well, apparently because I have 3 bulging discs in my back, I cannot be a donor. Again, WTF!! I am not on medication, I have not had surgery, and my "condition" does not usually interfere with my daily life. Most of the time I am pain free. Does anyone else see a problem with this? Even if I were a match to someone and had to donate through the surgical method (bone marrow is harvested from the pelvic bone with a large needle and syringe under general anesthesia,) this would not worsen my "condition." At most, I would be uncomfortable for a few weeks. Does this really out weight a critically ill cancer patient's need for a bone marrow transplant?!? Hmmm, let's see; Meim being a little sore, or Patient dying. Oh, yes, clearly my back is the bigger issue! (sarcasm better be dripping from your monitor!)

I am beyond disgusted. It doesn't seem right to me, not even a little. I am willing to do it. It is such a little thing I can do, but with such a huge benefit for a sick human being, many of which are children. I called the 800 number hoping to convince them that I am indeed a healthy candidate, but I was referred to the regional office in California. I have yet to get in touch with anyone, but have left several voice messages. What else can I do? Well, I guess I could try to persuade YOU into becoming a donor, too. It is definitely not something to take lightly, but c'mon, what better way is there to become a real-life super hero? There are thousands of people waiting for someone to be an answer to their prayer. Maybe you are it!

Here is the information. If you are willing, please give it some thought:

Living Kidney Donation

Bone Marrow Donation

I know that you can also become a living liver donor, but I wasn't able to find much information on it.

1 comment:

The Prices said...

I am on the National Registry for bone marrow donation. I have been for quite awhile, and I haven't been contacted with a "match" yet. I think it's great that you're getting the word out there. I also wanted to donate my eggs before I found out that my eggs are CRAP anyways, haha!