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fox in the henhouse

My mentor tells me that “anxiety breeds success.” What I hear? Egg donation.


I’d read about harvesting eggs as a quick way to get money back in New York. Of course, back then, the idea appalled me. I regard the gynecologist as the Bowser to my medical Mario Brothers. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I take care of it when it needs taking care of, but basically if that area isn’t being used for recreational purposes I try not to dwell on it. I let it do its thing and I do mine. I think about babies in the abstract way Christians think about angels.

That was before I moved to Portland and decided to give freelancing a whirl. Two dollars in your pocket as you walk around a grocery store and pass a refrigerated display for a dozen farm fresh suckers (“Sale! $3.19/doz!”) makes new ideas hatch. I figure I’m carrying my own little precious dozen or so around, and if there’s a price tag on each ovary, well, then crack me open like a lobster and take ‘em. Sure as hell I don’t need to be thinking about my eventual cartwheel into motherhood because, let’s face it, I am in no shape to be passing on this set of genes lurking below my jeans. My current priorities in the queue include “buy hummus,” “learn Italian,” and “go to another rodeo” well in advance of “create human life.” The average egg harvesting, from what I had heard, tallies at around $8,000. That is a lot of refried beans and skateboard trucks.

The first ad I click on has the usual prerequisites that you’d expect when you’re stealing from the henhouse:

“Must be a non smoker (you will be tested.)
Must be between the ages of 23-35.”

Done and done.

But then I read:

“No more than 2 Cesareans
Must have at least one child of your own”

Oh boy. My first thought upon seeing the word “Cesarean” is a salad with anchovy dressing. And the closest things to children that I have is a Pomeranian in New York and the lady on my deck. If this list so far didn’t DQ me the last item most certainly did:

“Must be financially stable.”

As further proof to how hateful of a human being I am I have to admit that my immediate response was, “If I were financially stable why the hell would I be considering donating my eggs?” Um. Right. So much for those thirteen years of practicing Catholicism to teach me about humanity. Moving on.

At this point I felt much the same way I did when I pawned everything of value that I owned, which shop would take it, which had the lowest standards but the highest return…I half expected to click on the next ad and see a jpeg of the same old man with the lazy eye and the comb-over who bought my earrings for $250.

“Help an infertile couple attain their dream of having a family. If you are age 19-31, healthy, and a non-smoker or drug user you could have the satisfaction of helping someone in a very special way! All ethnic backgrounds welcome! Compensation begins at $5000 for the first donation, $5,500 and more for subsequent cycles.”

I’m 26. More or less healthy unless you include mild OCD and insomnia. I’m a non-smoker who thinks that drugs are lame. $5K for mine scrambled or over-easy? You got it. Click, click, boom.

Then I remember back in New York when I wanted a second job to supplement my income and bolster my savings account, back when saving was an option. I wound up applying for a part-time gig that was “easy work for a great for a girl who enjoys talking to people” with a “tattoo and piercing friendly work environment! Night shifts available.” It sounded, to me, like an office gig at either a veterinary clinic or a hotline. The hours were from ten in the evening until three AM. I figured I’d go for the interview, after all, the woman who called me (Chloe, looking back that should have been a red-flag) was very sweet on the phone.

Fast forward to me being shown around the dungeon and trying not to stare at the girl who was affixed to the wall by leather straps. “What’s your stage name, honey?” Chloe asked. My stage name was apparently a guttural moan which probably would have worked better than Petrified Privately Educated Pollyanna.

This time around I decide to investigate the risks. If there’s over a 15% chance of death or nipple clamps I figure I should sleep on the idea, at least through Monday.

Egg harvesting is some serious business, usually. You could be asked to meet with therapists and lawyers, in order to make sure you truly comprehend what you’re doing.

Also, you could be rendered infertile. Though it’s a small risk…it’s really not a small risk, if you get what I’m saying. Don’t tremble too much at the thought of a little me running around, I’m going to keep one in the kitchen (Cooking) and one in the living room (Cleaning.) I know those are original names, they’re French.

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine you’re not going to be allowed beyond the velvet rope of egg donation if you…

…have a serious psychological disorder. I’m going to take “serious” to mean “not funny.” So no.

…abuse drugs or alcohol or have several relatives who do. I’m sober. The rest of my clan are more portly Jew than Mötley Crüe.

…currently use psychoactive medications. Couldn’t afford them if I needed ‘em. Nope. No pills other than Tylenol PM.

…have significant stress in your life. Well, compared to any action movie heroine I’m going to say no. Compared to my friends who are planning weddings, families, and corporate mergers I will also say no. Compared to myself last year? Okay. Yes. A little.

…are in an unstable marriage or relationship. Nope, though one could argue that any relationship that contains me as a member is fundamentally unstable. But I feel that I’m currently half of a functioning partnership made up of two people equally accepting of my crazy. Although possibly spreading my DNA around (via any method) might rock the boat a little, I’m guessing.

…have been physically or sexually abused and not received professional treatment. Thankfully no. The closest things to abuse have been in the form of self-flagellation, over-zealous dieting, and following Ally McBeal when it was on television.

…are not mentally capable of understanding or participating in the process. The jury’s still out.

Even after reading all of this and not-so-fondly remembering the last time a lady in a white lab coat played plumber and cleaned out the pipes, I still was thinking about it. Several thousand dollars is literally inconceivable to me at this point. Hell, I’d probably flash my A-cups for a twenty, I’d likely donate my eggs for a single G. But the hormones. Oh the hormones.

See, I’m one of those girls who will be your best-friend/girlfriend/favorite aunt/prize student for two and a half weeks out of every month. The other week and a half? Well, let’s just say that I make a pretty good case for the development of menstrual huts in America.

My best-friend Erin and my boyfriend would agree that injecting more hormones into my little body would be like asking Godzilla to perform a puppet show for some first graders. The entire egg harvesting process can take a while, especially with the frequent doctor visits and monitoring. Extra hormones for extra long? I love my inner circle, in fact at this point they’re literally all I have. Well, that and my girl parts. Neither of which I’m really willing to torture or compromise. Not yet, anyway.

I also read in the ASRM document the word “scrape” in very close proximity to the words “your cervix.” The level of fear that inspires rivals an additional Bush term. Call me a chicken but I’m keeping my eggs.

For those of you who are better women than me, below are some resources if you’re interested in egg donation:

Egg Donation Information Through the New York State Department of Health

Surrogate Web

Exceptional Donors (I’m so tempted to write “Egg-ceptional Donors.” Hilarious. Groan.)

Deviled Eggs


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