Let’s All Sell Our Genetic Material (For More Than It’s Supposedly Worth)

My optimism hadn’t blinded me: I knew a ‘Real Job’ would likely not exist on the other side of this penultimate semester of grad school; even if it did, it would likely sap my writing time, which was as essential to me as blood and air and water and the whole reason I had gone to grad school in the first place. If I wanted to keep writing I was going to have to be creative about financing it.

In case you have ever considered donating your eggs, here is an essay in The Atlantic by Catherine Lacey, a woman who has done it twice! And then almost did it again, but did not. Super good, but: $8,000 doesn’t seem like enough money for what a pain egg donation seems to be? I’m changing a life by giving away a baby, I should at least be able to, I don’t know, buy a low-end Honda Civic.


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This is one of those things that I sometimes occasionally play with in my mind (don’t want kids of my own but might as well use these genes for something?) but then I remember my crippling needle phobia and that goes right the hell out the window. Sorry, genes.

BuffyBot (#189)

I’m also a two time egg donor. They actually called me about a week after my first donation and said I was a great donor and wanted me to donate again… I wonder if they say that to all the girls (haha). I told them no, as I had donated over winter break and was now in school again.

I said no initially, because I donated over winter break when I was 20 and so I was thus in school again. It paid for my semester and books.

I donated again in the summer when I was 22 before my last semester of college. This time I got one of the side effects which sucked (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) but even that was a mild case. They called again, I said no, just because I was kinda done. I made enough to cover two semesters and books (and a trip to Jamaica) and now I would be graduating and working and being able to make my own money.

This article was interesting to me because we have a very similar story, but I think we feel differently about it. The main focus and question asked by me during my evaluation was if I felt I was giving away a child. That baffled me. I’m giving you eggs that would either wither and die in the follicles, and the one that would have been flushed down the toilet (sorry if that’s crude).
I think if you answered that question “yes” you would be eliminated from consideration. A friend of mine who works in abortion has said the same thing happens if they ask a woman if she feels her abortion is the same as carrying a pregnancy to term and then smothering the baby. They say yes, they’re outta there.

My sister, who is insane, has twice accused me of selling my babies. I have told her that I’m incredibly concerned that she has no idea the difference between an unfertilized egg and a child and she has a two year old. Also, I donated 60 eggs (29 first round, 31 second round – crazy!) so this means I have 60 children?

The snark about the mother is a little unnecessary too. Where I donated, you were required to submit a baby picture. I’m sure that the recipient looked for someone who looked like her, resonated with her personality, etc (there were a lot of handwritten “about me” sections). This woman then carried a child to term, gave birth to it and has since been raising it. How dare I pretend for a second that it somehow belongs to me? Also she’s a little flippant about adoption. Adoption is not easy and costs an average of 35k. I believe securing a donor costs around 20k and can sometimes be covered by insurance. Saying “it’s not my place to judge” and then judging is still judging.

Lastly – the egg donation industry is not perfect. I donated twice, had a fine experience and don’t regret it, but there were some things I took issue with.

I read The Handmaid’s Tale while I was taking my injections the second time around. While obviously incredibly different, sequestering the donors in a different, less nicely decorated waiting room from the recipients screamed of that mindset to me. While I’m sure we were getting a substantial cut of the money spent on IVF, the clinic was getting the majority and they essentially wanted to provide the recipients with the illusion that they were still just helping them get pregnant, the invisible donor was to be forgotten and pretended not to exist.

Also: They really fucked up my first ultrasound. I had never in my life (20 years old, remember) heard of a transvaginal ultrasound. They told me I needed to come in for an ultrasound. I asked if I had to drink water, they told me no, I thus assumed that there had been medical breakthroughs in field of ultrasounds. Then I went in and they told me to undress on bottom. “Underwear too?” Yes that too. Oh, ok. Then they shoved a want inside of me. It was an absolute shock and completely unprofessional to not prepare me.

Also the doctor that handled most of my ultrasounds (every other day at 7:30 am, post blood test and drug test) was rough as hell. It was incredibly uncomfortable, much more so than the few times I had a woman do it. They also didn’t really inform you of what was going on. I had to ask a lot of questions “what is that, why are you doing that?” and he was not very forthcoming. I see his face on billboards all over my state and cringe remembering him. I had a new OB/GYN last year who was very kind and sat down to talk to me about my history and when I told him I’d donated he asked me about the doctor and said he’s known him professionally for years and can’t stand him, so I guess it doesn’t reflect too awfully on the center, but ugh.

My donor coordinater was awesome, she came to check on me after surgery (retrieval, haha – so true), and the entire staff that day was great. They handed me my check with my graham cracker, I cashed it immediately each time.

So that’s that. Three years since my last donation, and I don’t regret it, if I did it all over, I’d do it again, but I will not do it a third time.

BuffyBot (#189)

@BuffyBot oof, Billfold, please get an edit option! sorry for the redundancy in the first and second paragraph.

BuffyBot (#189)

@BuffyBot ughhhhhh shoved a wand not a want! seriously, edit button! I am shamed.

@BuffyBot Yes, the edit button is … coming. Til then: All typos are forgiven! Woo!

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