Thursday, February 06, 2014

Short Story About Egg Donation

So, after this long hiatus, I come back to the blog to post about a discovery I made on the Web today.

I was surfing for something else entirely and happened across Lillian Fishman's short story Glass on the site Necessary Fiction.

I'm not sure what made me click the link and start reading; when I realized the story was about egg donation, from the point of view of a donor, a chill went up my spine.

And having read it, I'm unsure what I feel about the story, which is about a young woman named June who is about to earn $30,000 by donating eggs to some alumni from her (apparently expensive) college.

“Think of the money,” she tells her sister over the phone. “I don’t even know what I’m doing for the summer. Let alone with my life. It’s not a bad gig.”

“You can’t just give yourself up like this,” her sister says. “It’s too weird.” A long pause, and then: “What if you run into your kid on Bleecker in fifteen years?”

“I’ll never know,” June says.

I guess, in some ways, the story made me sad. I have always worried about what, to me, is the darker side of egg donation: The fear that a young woman could be emotionally harmed, either in the present or in the unknown future, by her decision to donate. And that by offering her money for this precious gift at a time when she is young, fertile, and relatively poor, we (who are old, infertile, and if not rich, then credit-worthy) are luring her into self-harm.

And yet. There is nothing wrong with paying a donor for her time and trouble (ours received nowhere near $30,000, bless her.) I just don't like to think of another woman being hurt by my need; my deficiency. It's why I asked to be matched with a donor who had already had her child and didn't want any more.

It's the elephant in the room, I guess--this terrible imbalance of power, affluence, and need between women who have viable eggs, and women who don't.

Anyway. Read the story, which is excellent. And give it some thought.


Anonymous said...

this marilyn woman is crazy, y'all.

Lara said...

I don't think that Marilyn realizes that just because someone is genetically related to you means they love you, or have any feelings towards you. Ask any parent who has adopted a child, or a child who has been given a new loving home what bonds are. Fathers who have raised children that aren't their own.

More kin than kind - and you can find your kind anywhere, not just your bloodline relatives.

I'm donating an egg gratis, as it is the law in Canada, to friends who cannot conceive on their own. While I will be in and around the child, I have given nothing more than a set of drawings through my DNA to the mother and father: the mother will be assembling the life through her flesh, blood and womb, nurturing it, protecting it and growing it; I will not. She will feed the child with her breasts; I will not; she will be its comfort, love, champion, supporter and greatest fan. How can someone say that SHE is not it's mother?
I will care for the child in the same way I care for my friend and her husband,benevolent love - but not the love of a mother.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

diya said...

The same way adoptees and Sperm-donor kids have begun to speak up in the financial transaction involved in their conception,so will those conceived via egg donation.Not to mention that most egg-extraction technologies and techniques have not been tested long-term for their safety and side-effects.

When the chickens come home to roost only then will commissioning parents and the fertility industry wake up.

A gestational mother serves the role of a gestational surrogate. If the gestational surrogate is an incubator, here she is a social parent(nanny)post-birth and an incubator.

Beth Gray said...

I am deleting all comments by "Marilynn," who stated in one of these: "I help mother's [sic] like the woman in the story locate their lost children and I also help their children find them and their siblings and other relatives through sites like DSR and FTDNA..."

It is admirable to speak up for one's belief that a donor-gamete-conceived person has the right to know the identity of the gamete donor and to receive a complete medical record. It's something I have thought long and hard about myself, even though the donation I received was anonymous. If my girls need to meet their genetic mother when they are older, I will do my level best to make that happen for them.

However. It is inaccurate, disrespectful, and downright cruel to characterize gamete donation as some kind of child abandonment, as Marilyn did over and over in her lengthy comments. Gamete donation is no more child abandonment than adoption is. I will not play host to such misguided rhetoric on this blog--especially given the fact that "Marilynn" has no contact information on her profile and does not host her own blog. If she feels her beliefs so strongly, she can create a platform for them.

Beth Gray said...

By contrast, I've left "diya's" comment posted. He does label me as a "commissioning" parent with hints of dark consequences coming home to roost--huh?--but Diya has the courage to own his words with a linked profile and a blog. So let the RESPECTFUL dialog continue.

prasad said...

It was a nice blog and the egg donor is the one that who going to give a chance to become a parents.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy I found your blog! I have PCOS, so my only chance to become a mother was ed ivf. The greatest fear was that I will not be able to love child, who is not genetically related to me. It's much more easier for man to accept this procedure, because a baby will be from him. As it was my only way out, I decided we should try. It was a difficult, but the result changed our lives! One more problem was prices. Costs for this procedure are very high in USA and Greece. It was hard to find clinic with professional doctors, quality service and affordable price. Also we've read so many reviews about scammers! Those people know nothing about empathy and understanding. After a couple of months of thorough search, reading of hundreds reviews and contacting clinics directly we've found Ukrainian biotexcom. I wanted a baby who I will carry and give birth by myself. I wanted to be with him from the moment of his birth, from his first breath. Of course, I wanted baby to look like us. But as soon as the doctor made an embryo transfer, the only thing I was thinking about was pregnancy to be successful and my baby to be born healthy! Now, when I remember how I suffered and couldn't bear the thought that I have to resort to donor eggs, I cannot help laughing. My child is at home right now and every time I look at him, I see that every day he more and more looks like me. I raise healthy and, of course, the most beautiful baby in the world! We asked our doctor to find egg donor, who will have same features as I have. Now I have absolutely no feeling that my son is not mine genetically! No one can ever tell he is from donor egg. We decided not to tell our parents the whole truth. For them we had ivf with my eggs and my husband's sperm. If you have firmly decided to become a mother, no difficulties will stop you. I'm not going to tell my son that I used donor egg of another woman to get pregnant. I'm sure he doesn't need to worry about this in the future. This fact will change nothing for him. We are very happy that we addressed to biotexcom for this procedures. Thanks to their doctors I was able to get pregnant using egg donation program and I've never regret about my decision!

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Anonymous said...

I just found out today that my egg donor was pregnant and lost her child at 6 months. She had donated several times previous to us and wanted to save her fertility for her marriage.
She was marrried last year and they became pregnant earlier this year. She lost her first child at 6 months inutero. The guilt I have is overwhelming.

While I mourn her misfortune, I hug my child tight.

Anonymous said...

I hope you're doing fine dear! Your blog is so inspiring. I had so many thoughts on my mind before de ivf. It’s much easier for men to accept this. It will be their child, so why should they worry about such things? To be honest, at first I was completely against de ivf. I thought it’s unnatural and I won’t be able to love a baby of another woman. How stupid I was! This procedure was my only chance to become a mother so I persuaded myself to do it. Now I have no regrets. I look at Sammy and I consider him as my son and no one else's. We had an opportunity to give our doctor list of features we want to see in our donor. We mentioned hair color, nose and face shape, eyes, lips, etc. I should say everyone tells me my son looks like me! We told everyone, even our family, that we had simple ivf. No one can ever tell we used egg donor. Of course I’m grateful to our doctor and that girl, who donated her eggs. I will never forget what they’ve done for us! But I really have no feelings like my son is not genetically related to me or I feel differently toward him. Absolutely no! I love him with my whole heart! As soon as I knew I’m pregnant all my doubts faded away. I carried him, I felt him inside my stomach, I had toxicosis, I sang for him and read fairytales for him, I gave birth to him! He’s my son and only my! We decided we’ll not tell Sammy about egg donor. I think he doesn’t need to know that. I’m his mom and I’ll do everything for him so there will be no need for him to look for donor. Speaking about clinic, we had de ivf in Ukrainian BioTexCom. We had 2 attempts in general. I’ve got pregnant from the first one. The clinic also offers «packages» with 1 or 5 attempts. So we’ve just chosen «package», which suited us the most. I have no regrets! I'm the happiest mom in the whole world!

Anonymous said...

We chose option to get help abroad after two unsuccessful treatments here in Sweden. We searched for a clinic that could help us with donor eggs egg. After lot of research we fell for European clinic.
Our coordinator was really amazing. She has been a great support during the whole treatment. She quickly answered all of our questions. Need to say I had many of them! She has made this emotional journey so much easier. We could not thank her enough!
In our clinic staff was very clear from the beginning about what the treatment would entail including precise costs and timings which were important for us. They were really kind and professional. During our visit we felt very well cared for. No stress and good information of what would happen. The transfer day ran like clockwork. Things were calm and smooth, as we were escorted from room to room. I felt safe. The doctor was warm and friendly. The transfer itself was quick and painless. With the 5 day transfer we had time for some day trips to enjoy the city and its sights.
I recommended our clinic to couple of my friends who also struggle fertility problems. The staff is outstanding, so welcoming and helpful. The coordinators in particular make you feel in very safe hands. We can’t thank them enough – they have made our dream come true!