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Are you my mother?

September 9, 2010

I am very, very grateful to the woman who is going through untold injections, restrictions and invasive procedures so that I can take her eggs. I will not, however, call her an egg donor.

She’s my baby mama. I’m my own surrogate mother.

Donors donate things. They give them away, like Abbie Hoffman (alav l’shalom) tossing around dollar bills at the Stock Exchange. This woman, the one with a few dozen eggs to spare? She’ll make about $6,000 for her efforts, which span a total of six weeks. It’s not lottery money, but it’s not minimum wage, either.

I will never know this woman’s name. I will never see an adult photo of her. All I have are two slightly warped childhood photos of her and a lengthy profile. I really wanted an “open” process, in which the child could contact her at the age of 18, but the clinic — the best in the country, according to stats — doesn’t do that. I could go open with an outside agency if I wanted to, but it would run me up to $80,000. I can’t afford that. I gotta save for the kid’s therapy. We’ll just buy a few extra sessions with the savings.

You imagine going through a huge catalog and finding just the right provider of genetic material. In fact, when we were given approval to look (after copious testing and a shrink session), there were about 15 women to choose from. Of those, about eight were black or Hispanic. Now, if I were adopting, I’d be thrilled with a black or Hispanic child. But on top of all the Willie Wonka shenanigans of this attempt at procreation, intentionally choosing a child who looks nothing like us seems a little perverse.

You also get huge, colossal, cyber-reams of information on these people, none of which tells you what you really want to know: Are you kind? Do you enjoy black humor? Are you intelligent? Will my baby enjoy black humor? Will she be funny, or mordant? Will she be happy, and will she forgive me for bringing her into this world?

Instead, you learn about the woman’s medical history, that of her siblings, that of her parents, her aunts, her uncles and her grandparents. You know more about her medical history than you do about your own. And you find out what Jim Morrison definitively proved: No one gets out of here alive. It’s like a chronicle of human suffering in there. Depression, arthritis, heart attacks hither and yon, sprinklings of cancer, mysterious deaths at age 45. A 20-something with gout.

Back when we started, we told ourselves we only cared about health and intelligence; anything else was a bonus. I learned early on that Jewish was not an option. Jewish donor eggs are only slightly less valuable than a three-bedroom on the Temple Mount. I told myself that there were plenty of Jews I didn’t like; perhaps a genetic connection to my people was inessential. Surely it wasn’t worth a $30,000 premium and placing begging, pleading ads in college newspapers.

We’d go with the Jewish sperm instead.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2010 11:43 am

    “…will she forgive me for bringing her into this world?” The number one question I ask myself when debating adoption vs. creation. Thank you for this blog…you are amazing.

    • September 23, 2010 11:40 am

      Thank you. It is a consistent, nagging question, not helped by the fact that neither answer is a neat package.

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  1. Lemme at those eggs: Part II, or The Carton Returns « Immaturity Failed Me

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