I donated eggs — to gay men, through an agency, in exchange for money — twice in my twenties. At one point, I was in the Washington Post about it. As a result of going public, I’ve gotten a good number of questions about it, and more requests than I can count from young women writing for their school newspapers.
The basics: The way egg donation is run, the parents who received my eggs have seen photos (and even a video interview) of me, whereas all I ever learned about them was first name and state of residence.
At one point I was told that one of my donations had been successful.
Intended parents who receive the eggs can basically use them at will, so it’s possible that someone used my eggs to have twins and then kept some more embryos in the freezer for later (embryos freeze a lot better than unfertilized eggs). So my egg donations have produced at least one child, and possibly quite a few more.
In 2007, I was on a panel about egg donation, along with doctors and psychologists. A psychologist remarked that egg donors are so giving and would never do something like that for the money.
Of course there are no such expectations of sperm donors.
I retorted that saying that financially struggling young women donate eggs out of the goodness of their hearts is like saying that poor men work in coal mines because they are so concerned that the rich have enough electricity.
Obviously, I was making a sarcastic comment, but egg donation and coal mining do have a few things in common in that they involve some physical danger, and they’re both forms of income generation that are not even considered by people who are born wealthy. When my grandmother died of ovarian cancer, it did not escape me that holy shit, I hyperstimulated my ovaries with hormones ON PURPOSE.
Egg donation is dangerous, folks. Or at least, it very well could be, and there isn’t a lot of financial motivation on anyone’s part to find out.
Of course, some egg donors, and some sperm donors, are indeed motivated primarily by altruism. In fact, the panel on which I was sarcastic (that actually could refer to a lot of events in my life) also featured another egg donor who had donated three times, at least one of which she had not been paid for, because she was a really nice and earnest person who loved babies and wanted others to love them too.
But when agencies advertise for egg donors, the ads never say, “Do you have a big heart?” They usually have a picture of a blonde model and say something about making $10,000.
Here’s a question.
Good afternoon, I am [name redacted] and I was actually referred to you by a person on Reddit. I recently asked a question about being an egg donor and seeing as you have been one I was wondering what the pro’s and con’s were to it. If there was anything they are not telling me in the ads? Your response would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Ah, interesting! What don’t they tell you in the ads?