Aug 13, 2015

Don't Nobody Want These Genes

I had a goal for a while.  It was an excellent goal because it combined altruism with financial gain.  How can you make money but still feel like you're helping someone?

Egg donation.

This is something I only learned about a couple years ago.  Many fertility clinics have egg donation programs, and the payout is anywhere from $1,000 to $8,000, depending where you live.  Of course, there are some limitations: you must have a BMI in the "healthy range," be aged 18 - 30, and be overall healthy with a good family history.

Being as healthy as anyone I know, I figured my biggest hurdle would be the BMI thing.  So I waited a couple years to see if I'd get it together enough to lose some weight.  I didn't, of course.  Or at least not until recently.  I have lost some since cutting back sugar, but it's been a pretty slow process.

So this year I thought, "Well, I'm getting close to 30 and I'm getting married soon and might want to do things that interfere with my eligibility (like be pregnant).  So I'll see if they'll take me now despite the BMI."

I filled out the online application and, just for good measure, sent them an email explanation of how super awesomely active I am and that surely weight lifting contributes, at least in part, to my rather high BMI.  (I later realized the reason for the BMI probably has more to do with the ratio of fertility drugs to body mass and less to do with being unhealthy, but Sister2 says being active makes you more fertile so it was a good thing to mention.)

I honestly had no expectation of being approved.  And I wasn't, not directly.  However, in addition to the "frozen" egg donation (which has the strict BMI rules), there's another program where your profile is made available to potential recipients and they can choose who they want.  Fantastic!

The woman who responded to my email to let me know all this was also extremely kind, mentioning what a great accomplishment it was to have completed a 10 mile race, and she could certainly understand how weight lifting raises your overall BMI!  I began to feel like a small child who was receiving a pat on the head for getting good grades.

She directed me to their questionnaire, which they'd go over and let me know if I was approved.  I was pretty ecstatic at this point!  Buuuut... then I saw the questionnaire.  10 lengthy pages of in-depth family history questions.

I think I made it to page 3 before I started to think, "They're going to reject me.  Don't nobody want a piece of this!"

I answered question after question about overweight family members (that I tried to justify by mentioning that we have dense, heavy bones!  I swear, just look at the size of our wrists and ankles!), who was college educated (thanks siblings, you rocked this one), exactly how many relatives had had Melanoma, Leukemia, Alcoholism, Arthritis, and Dementia (oof!).

I wavered between thinking, "I'm a pestilence-riddled disease carrier" and "Well, everyone dies of something!"

They emailed me back after a day of anticipatory angst and, much more politely and gently than this paraphrase, told me, "Kindly keep your genetics to yourself."

It was a little disappointing.  But I think I felt almost as much relief as disappointment.  Because it's one less thing I have to do.

I briefly considered overthinking everything about the experience and worrying about my as of yet unconceived and unconceived of children, but you know what?  I really do think everyone dies of some disease or other.  I mean the survey told me not to put "old age" as a cause of death for anyone, so they know that.  That would mean they're either holding out for people whose grandparents are all still alive, or they'd rather have donors who don't know every detail of every family member's illnesses.  Sometimes the unknown is better than the blatant risks sitting in front of you.

So I'm not going to worry about it.  I put forth a good effort in following my goals, had a chance to deal with rejection in a positive way, and now have that much more free time.  Not to mention a mess of hormones and chemicals I won't need to put into my body in order to donate.

Like much else in life there's good and bad.  But despite being turned down, I would still absolutely recommend it to anyone else who's in good health and maybe has a less shaky family history than me.  I mean, you get to help other people to have a child.  What could be more rewarding than that?

Although I suppose some people might have hang ups about a child existing out there who was created with their DNA and never knowing or seeing them.  In my mind, the experiences that make that child "mine" are raising it and carrying it through pregnancy (and not even always that when you think about surrogate mothers).  So it didn't bother me at all.  But it's definitely something to think about if you were interested.

Would you ever donate eggs?  Are you a believer in nature or nurture?  Does my family sound super diseased to you or is yours similar?

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  1. I couldn't imagine donating my eggs, it would be weird to have a kid you didn't know walking around.

    They wouldn't want my genes either, we have a LOT of addiction and auto immune issues in my family.

  2. You did a great thing by attempting to donate eggs to someone who needed it. I think Im too selfish to think of a little me being raised by another human while I walk the earth though hehe. Also they wouldnt want me. Im 4'11 ... nope!

  3. My friend talked about doing it in college for the cash, but after researching it we both decided it sounded too painful. You could always apply to be a surrogate! ;)

  4. Hm. This is really interesting and I have to say got me thinking. I'm not sure I want to ever be a mom myself, but I love the idea of framing it as a charitable contribution. I'd love to hear more about how you decided on this path (before getting vetoed) and where you started your research?

  5. very interesting to read! i had no idea you could do this. i don't think i could fill out their questionnaire, purely because i don't know my father and his family.

  6. Even the fact that you went through that entire process is amazing to me! I've never seriously considered it and I probably wouldn't do it. Not because I'm against it but because I have zero paternal history - I mean ZERO - and without a complete history, it's pointless for me to even try.

  7. I don't want my own eggs, but surely someone else does. Come on, I'm adorable! No really though, I've looked it up too because I truly don't want these eggs and I'm smart so maybe someone wants my genes? But I'm adopted and know no family history, so I'm out. Oh well!

  8. I am not very clued in on my family's medical history so I wouldn't be putting my eggs up for donation for that very reason. But I think it is fantastic that other people do it and help those who have a hard time conceiving have their dreams you know?


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