I read this article on the Washington Post web site this morning about the high demand for Asian egg donors. Women want to give birth to children who are going to look like them. So as more infertile Asian women try the donor route, they’re not finding much luck in locating young Asian women willing to go through the process. There are cultural and marketing issues in seeking out more Asian donors: 1) the staff at clinics only speak English, 2) ads are posted in English-language periodicals, 3) Asians are extremely protective of their bloodline.
Ten years ago, I considered being an egg donor. It wasn’t a passing consideration. I thought about it a lot. I cut out the ads. There were many of them all over campus on billboards, in school newspapers and magazines. It didn’t just stop there. I called the clinics. They sent me applications. I had to fill out pages of my own medical history, my parents’ medical history, my grandparents’ medical history, my education, my test scores, pictures. And I did. I completely filled out one application.
In the package that came with my application, I read quotes from young, educated women who wanted to give infertile women the chance at motherhood. That didn’t even cross my mind. I thought the quotes were bullshit. I just needed the money. Why else would anyone sign up for sessions of hormone injections?
I worked three jobs in college. On top of that, I babysat and studied while the baby slept. I was on the call-up list for the Psychology department. I got paid for random experiments. I remember making almost $50 for a fun, gambling experiment that took less than 15 minutes. Egg donation paid $3,000. I couldn’t stop thinking of all the things I could do with that money.
My application sat on my desk for months. I finally just tossed it.
There was one court case I could not get out of my head. Maybe you remember it. I still do. It was the murder of a 6-year-old girl. The girl, Lisa, had been illegally adopted by a New York attorney, Joel Steinberg who was accused not only of murder but of severe domestic violence and the brainwashing of his wife, Hedda Nussbaum. I kept thinking of the ‘what if’ scenarios. What if a child who is genetically mine is raised by a felon? What if my child is abused? I would never know and the thoughts would kill me.
I’m not surprised there’s a paucity of egg donors. Even if clinics had more staff who spoke other languages. Even if the marketing tactics improved. Would there be an increase in the number of donors? I can’t imagine anyone else taking care of my own baby.
I couldn’t do it, and I’m glad I didn’t.