I live near an Ivy League University and saw this posted the other day while waiting to cross the street. My first thought was, I probably would have done this in college. I would have needed the money. I would have thought that it just wasn’t that big a deal to harvest a few (of my many) eggs for someone who desperately needed them. After all, one was being flushed down the toilet every month.
And maybe I would have been right? Maybe it would have been worth it to pay off some credit cards. (Though honestly, $6,500. is going to make much of a dent in an Ivy League education tab these days. You might have to think bigger, or just be rich.)
But I think if I had done it, I might be haunted now by the idea that there could be a teenager out there made from one of my eggs.
I have a friend who regularly sold his sperm back in the day. Now he’s a dad of two amazing kids. And maybe he played a genetic role in a few more. I wonder how he feels about it now. But selling eggs is much more complex and painful and risky than selling sperm. You have to have lots of powerful hormone injections and a minor surgical procedure when the eggs are harvested. Though risks are apparently few though there’s some controversy about how selling ones eggs could affect your future reproductive health. Plus, the screening process is intense, I’m sure I would have developed a whole other level of self-loathing thinking about whether my genetic material was worthy.
I remember it was the vogue when I was in college for enlightened women to become strippers to help pay the bills. This is a slightly different version of bucks for young female bodies, but could it be a mutually beneficial or even empowering exchange? Like all the ways we sell or rent our bodies or donate blood or organs, I’m sure there are ways it can be done that are more or less exploitative. And ways that can be more or less psychologically healthy for the various participants, including donor kids— I believe transparency has a lot to do with this.
I just couldn’t help but wonder, when I saw that sign, how I’d feel now if I’d harvested my eggs back in the early 1990s when it just seemed like a good way to make some much-needed cash. Do you know how many hours you’d need to log at the campus coffee shop to make $6,500?
Would you have donated your eggs? Or did you? And have your thoughts on this topic changed since embarking on/becoming a mother?