Starting Our Family

The reality of infertility, IVF and donor eggs

Donor Dickhead- From The Inside Looking Out

on June 7, 2013


I have a confession to make- I was a donor dickhead.  I’m not proud of it but its the truth and I’m here to make amends and set the record straight.  I hadn’t even realized how ignorant I once was until I caught myself responding to someone in a donor egg forum.  It was my response that made me realize damn girl you were an idiot .  I decided to write this blog to educate you all- just in case you’re a donor dickhead too.

Before I actually needed a donor I had preconceived notions of who a donor was and what their intentions were for being a donor.  My thoughts were not from knowledge or experience but just because I didn’t know any better.  I was not educated about it.   I guess I never had to be until now.

In my ignorant, stupid, donor-boner head I thought donors were all fat and ugly chicks that had nothing else to do with their life.  They were not educated and they only did it for the money.  I’m not proud of this but I guess I pictured Jabba the Hut sitting in her double-wide counting the money she is saving up for her next swap meet.  I could not be more wrong

The truth of the matter is most donors are attractive.  Especially if you are going through an agency it can feel like you are looking at a model catalog.  OK, maybe not runway models but from looking at a lot of agency websites I’m guessing a lot of them were cheerleaders or prom queens.  The donors want to look good- they want you to pick them!  Generally, not many of them are overweight.   For the most part they are pretty average or slightly more on the athletic side.  Shit, Buttercup (our name for our donor) is WAY more athletic than me.  She weighs less and is definitely more toned.  Maybe that’s because my version of exercise is walking up the stairs with a full laundry basket- she’s a runner- big difference. Reputable agencies and clinics put these women through the wringer to pre-screen them for acceptability.  They have to be healthy and pass all sorts of tests both medically and psychologically (at most clinics).  But I don’t want you to think that all donors are pageant queens.  There are all kinds of donors to match all kinds of recipients.  Some races and ethnicities may be harder to find or are more in demand than others.   With all the variety out there you should be able to find whatever it is you are looking for.  It’s all a matter of how far you are willing to travel, how long you are willing to wait and how much you are willing to pay.  Like everything else in this world donor eggs are not excluded from supply and demand. 

My clinic requires their donors to at least have a high school degree.  Majority of them are in college and working toward a career.  Buttercup is currently in college studying to be a physician’s assistant.  I think for the most part the donors are educated- at least when it comes to donating eggs.   They need to know what they are in for with the shots, they need to be disciplined and they need to know the potential risks.  

So now for the monetary aspect.   Egg donors get a lot of money- typically $5,000 or more per cycle.  Our clinic’s donor compensation is $8,000.  For that $5,000+ they have to not drink, smoke or do drugs while they are in a cycle and have to test negative to all that pre-cycle.  They have to be disciplined to take their shots.  The medications used come with all sorts of not so fun side effects.  Additionally, many of us going through this have the help of our significant other both for shot administration as well as emotional support.  Many donors are single women in their early 20’s who may be doing this alone without any help or support from anyone.  In fact, many friends and family might even be opposed to what they are doing.  They need to go regularly, mostly every other day, to all of their offices visits to have their blood taken as well as have several vaginal ultrasounds to check their follicle development.  When the follicles are ready they have to go under anesthesia to have the eggs removed.  Going under anesthesia comes with risks as does the potential of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, which can require a stay in the hospital.  So as you can see it’s not like money is handed to them and they just sit back, watch tv and eat some bon-bons.  It’s definitely money well earned.  And for anyone who has ever taken fertility drugs you know how shitty they make you feel- not to mention they make you bat shit crazy.    So is it worth it?  Apparently so and not for the reasons I thought like just making money.  Unlike the chick on the pole dancing to “get money for college” most of the egg donors are doing it for legitimate reasons.  A lot of donors, probably even leaning toward most, actually do it because they genuinely want to help people.   Imagine that!  Who would have thunkit?  On her profile, Buttercup listed her reason as wanting to help couples have a family.  She saw a close family member struggle with infertility and eventually have a son via IVF.  After witnessing that she wanted to do whatever she could to help others.

I just want to make one disclaimer.  What I’ve written pertains to most reputable agencies and clinics.  Of course not all donor clinics and agencies are the same and as with most things in life you will get what you pay for.  If you go to a straw hut in Guam and pay $1,000 for a donor egg cycle chances are you will not have the same experience as listed above.  In fact, you might just get the eggs from a 3 toed sloth- buyer beware!

It’s amazing how horrible infertility is yet how much it has taught me about myself and life.  I’m so ashamed of my donor ignorance.  I’m still a dickhead- I doubt that I will ever be cured of that- it runs in my blood.  I am however glad  that I now know the truth about donors.  I have learned my lesson on preconceived notions and how things look much different from the inside looking out.


3 responses to “Donor Dickhead- From The Inside Looking Out

  1. […] Donor Dickhead- From The Inside Looking Out […]

  2. […] Donor Dickhead- From The Inside Looking Out ( […]

  3. m says:

    That’s a good list of what a woman donating eggs is actually compensated for because your list aligns with the laws that prevent people from buying or selling human tissue or their parental obligations/rights over their own offspring. A gamete donation contract will specifically state that if there is any compensation involved it is for her performance of the specific tasks outlined in your article, and not in exchange for custody of her eggs or her offspring. The contract will state that she is free to change her mind about reproducing or custody of her offspring but that it is her intention not do change her mind. The contract will state that its terms are not enforceable by law but all parties agree to behave as if the terms were enforceable. That is to say that no judge would force her to let someone fertilize her eggs or implant her embryos if she had a change of heart and she would not have to return any money because legally she was not being compensated for the presumed right to fertilize her eggs or have custody of her offspring. Legally she can only be compensated for her performance of the tasks on her list and so in theory she could withdraw consent to implantation for instance and the courts would honor her reproductive freedom of choice and could not compel her to reproduce if she did not want to and would not compel her to return the money she received for following the list of duties in your article. This of course makes the undertaking a financial risk for people who are hoping to have custody of her offspring but it is essentially the same as providing money for living expenses to a pregnant woman who says its her intention to allow people to take custody of her offspring once born.

    So a very good clear article that does not mislead readers.

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