Donor: Nicosia, Cyprus
I was working at sea in Canada when I received a text from my husband, stating that I had an e-mail from Global Egg Donors offering a chance to donate eggs in Nicosia, Cyprus! I was pretty ecstatic, as I have wanted to travel since I was a little girl. Truth be told, I had no idea where Cyprus was. When I left the ship and arrived home I searched for Cyprus online and found that it was in the Mediterranean...the other side of the world! Needless to say, I was immediately accepting of this wonderful offer, to not only travel with my family but to do something amazing for an Australian couple who were eager to start a family. It was the opportunity of a lifetime.
The process was extremely smooth- a lot smoother than expected. I had received my instructions to get blood tests and start birth control in Canada- Global Egg Donors ensured that the costs were covered and made the process very easy for me, which was wonderful considering I had a pretty chaotic work schedule and a 1 year old son to chase after. I received my injections in the mail soon after, and felt pretty nervous upon receiving instruction to commence the new medications. I am deathly terrified of needles of any sort, and consider myself to have an extremely low tolerance to pain, so my nerves were going crazy thinking about having injections every single day! My husband administered the injections, and surprisingly I found them quite tolerable and definitely not as bad as I thought they were going to be. After about a week I began to feel so used to the injections I barely felt them at all, it just became a part of our regular evening routine.
When Karen sent us our flight itinerary, I was exploding with excitement. I do not know anyone who has traveled to Cyprus- and our opportunity felt incredibly unique. The couple that chose me to donate for them had been generous enough to allow myself and my family to travel to Cyprus- my husband, myself and our one year old son, Orion.
The evening finally arrived and we packed up our things to head for the airport. Global Egg Donors had sent us our funds to cover all costs in getting to the airport from Victoria, as well as our daily allowance for Cyprus. They ensured that things were stress free for us, and we were well taken care of. We flew from Victoria to Vancouver, which is only about a 20 minutes flight. We then left Vancouver and headed to London, England on a 9.5 hour flight. I was pretty nervous about this monster of a flight with Orion, but the plane was surprisingly comfortable. They had booked this long flight for night time, which was extremely considerate because this meant Orion could sleep for the night still. We were lucky enough to get seats right at the front, meaning we were able to use the provided seat Orion could sleep in, rather than holding him on our laps for 9 hours...how lucky!
We arrived in London, England in the early afternoon the day after leaving Victoria. Despite being on 3 hours of sleep, we were so stimulated and excited we were full of energy. Orion was rested and in fairly high spirits. I had always dreamed of seeing the UK, so this was incredibly amazing for me. Our layover was 8 hours so it was not much time, but instead of sitting around in the airport we decided to take off and explore a part of London! We took the underground to Leicester Square...unsure of what to expect. Upon leaving the underground we walked up a set of stairs and were immediately thrown into the busy, bustling and beautiful Leicester Square. The lights were bright and the streets were filled with children in their Halloween costumes, dancing and laughing. We saw the double decker buses and old, red telephone booths. We stopped at a small pizza store to grab a Coke and a piece of pizza (the most delicious pizza I have ever had in my life), and to change and feed Orion, who was so stimulated he smiled at the bright lights and people of London. We explored the side streets for about an hour before heading back on the underground to Heathrow.
I was nervous about going through airport security with the fertility meds, but it was surprisingly easy, and the airport security did not seem to care at all. We quickly boarded our third, and final plane, and headed to Larnaca International Airport, Cyprus. We arrived in Larnaca at 430 am. The airport was quite empty. We had about an hour before our shuttle arrived, so we sat on a patio and enjoyed some tea. Our shuttle arrived soon after and the driver was incredibly warm and welcoming. It took about 40 minutes to get to Nicosia from Larnaca, but the drive was wonderful because the sun was rising and we had the opportunity to see the brown, rolling hills of Cyprus.
We arrived at the hotel in Nicosia early afternoon, very jet lagged but excited to settle in and get comfortable for our 10 day stay in the country. We were lucky enough to get a 2 bedroom apartment which was very cozy, clean and funky looking, filled with interesting art and furniture. An extremely cozy, brand new cot was here waiting for our little boy. He got a whole room to himself, which was nice because he could still go to bed at night time without my husband and I waking him up. He adapted to his new bed very fast, and fell asleep in his own room shortly after us settling in.
Luckily for us, my first scan was not until the following day, leaving time to recover from jet lag. We took Orion to the grocery store down the street and stocked up on food- delicious cheeses, pure water, fresh vegetables and almond milk. The following morning we walked as a group with the other donors to get our first scan. It went extremely quickly and was over before I even knew it! We were told that retrieval would happen only a couple of days later! It was all so fast and smooth I could barely believe it.
There are two sides to the “walled city” of Nicosia. Because of the Turkish invasion, one side if Greek and the other is Turkish. We decided to explore the Greek side first. We packed up Orion in his stroller and took off! It was only about a 15 minute hike to the walled city. Upon arrival, it was absolutely bustling. People were playing games in the street and local merchants were selling their goods and services. The atmosphere was busy, cultural and stunning. There was an abundance of places to eat delicious Greek, Italian and various other food types, as well as your typical Canadian cuisines.
The following day we decided to go to the Northern Turkish side of the walled city. We cleared customs without any problems and entered the North. The Turkish side was very cultural and the mosque was easily seen from the street. The small sidewalks were full of people going to and from their destinations and the cats were roaming freely and happily. We stepped onto the site of the mosque at which point religious hymns were being played on the speakers. It was a beautiful thing because it felt like taking a step back in history. We ate a Greek salad with roasted potatoes at a cafe behind the gigantic mosque and viewed the vibrant blues and bright pink flowers covering the ancient landmark. All cafe and restaurant owners were so incredibly nice to us, and were always interested in asking where we were from.
The next day was the egg donation procedure. It went by very, very fast. The IV scared me to pieces but once it was over I was in a deep, comfortable sleep and before I knew it, the procedure was over. I came back to our big, two bedroom, comfy apartment and slept the day away. Our apartment is naturally comfortable and two bedrooms, so my husband could take care of Orion while I rested in peace.
Mid-week the group of us explored the beaches of the Southern side (Ayia Napa). The palm trees lines the white sand meeting the crystal clear Mediterranean waters. I had never seen waters so blue. The water was pretty chilly but swimming in it was extraordinarily refreshing. We continued on our road trip to see chapels, and once again made friends with some local cats roaming freely along the coast in the hot sun. The weather in Cyprus is excellent. Around mid day when the sun begins to set the cool air of the island is quite comfortable- there was no one time where I felt unable to stand the heat, nor did it ever feel muggy or outrageously humid.
As a group we took our second road trip. We explored the Troodos mountains central island which were absolutely mesmerizing. As we drove up the steep cliffs of the hills we could see the rolling, tree congested hills punctuated by tiny villages thriving with locals selling their vegetables and dried fruit and children taking walks with their teachers. Walking through these Troodos villages was one of my favorite parts of the trip, because walking through them showed me that there are, in fact, organic places such as this still left on the planet. The locals were kind, and the homes were beautiful in that they were thriving with colorful grape trees and hot pink and white flowers with vines stretching up the buildings lining the stone covered road. At the top of the mountain we were lucky enough to see the Kykkos Monastery- a beautiful monastery filled with brilliant designs and colorful doors and windows. It was thundering at the time, making the sounds of thunder and bells echo across the Troodos- truly surreal.
The last two day, the three of us took off on our own, eating out at as many restaurants as we could possibly find and getting souvenirs for our families back home. There is a little place on the Turkish side of Nicosia there is feels like you're in a large stadium type building, and it is filled with locally owned shops and a large restaurant with a water hole in the center. I bought a hand-made, one of a kind necklace with green felt and crochet embroidering while Orion was given a wooden string toy. The Turkish Cypriots absolutely loved Orion and would come up to him and recognize him from previous visits and their eyes would light up dramatically. We would stay here until the sun set and the inner lights came on, because it was usually just too beautiful and relaxing to leave.
The days following the procedure, I was bloated and my appetite was on the rise but overall I felt comfortable and was able to walk around various parts of Nicosia, go on many road trips and fully enjoy every single day in beautiful Cyprus. Karen was a huge help, especially considering we traveled with our toddler. She made the trip stress-free for us, and we are forever grateful to her, and to Global Egg Donors for giving us such an incredible and miraculous journey here in this beautiful place. It was an opportunity we would never have had, if it were not for their kind and generous support. The time it took to do the procedure and donate eggs was so minimal and fully worth it when you get the experience of traveling to such a far away and cultural place such as Cyprus.
All in all, we all had a wonderful time and I truly think Orion absorbed many great things from this journey with us. I love the fact that I have done something wonderful for a couple who want to start a family of their own, because I know how beautiful it is to raise a child and if I can give that to someone, I will always be willing. I highly recommend Cyprus because it is not congested with tourists. Cyprus (especially the Troodos mountains), is truly organic in that things remain quiet and local in this busy, ever expanding noisy world. Thank you to Karen, Robin and to all at Global Egg Donors for giving us such a wonderful experience in Cyprus- I cannot wait to donate again!
"It’s such an awesome feeling to know I have helped people in a way that not many people can! It really makes me realise what is important in life and what is worth spending energy on."
"It’s a strange gig, being an egg donor – you feel so invested in a couple you've never met; you have so much hope and love and joy and other cheesy conceptual nouns for them – it is a difficult thing to explain. I really am cheering for you guys so loudly you can probably hear it!"
"I might not be someone who goes sky diving or climbing Mount Everest to collect money for charity, but this is my Mount Everest. Donating eggs to another woman is one of my greatest achievements, memories and experiences in my life. "