Saturday, August 16, 2008
Want to go egg donor shopping?
It's not a question frequently asked.
"Do you want to pop down to the local shops and help me buy half the genetic material for my future children?"
"Sure! What are you looking for?"
"Well, someone who looks like me. Tall, caucasian, blue eyes, blonde hair."
"Female, of course."
"Sure, meet you at Donor Warehouse in ten minutes."
I have spent the past few months looking at hundreds upon hundreds of egg donors from all over the United States. My criteria was really quite limited given what all one could ask for. I'm not after a tall, blonde, model with perfect SAT scores who comes from a line of Nobel Prize winners. I don't want Ivy League snobbery, nor picture perfect White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestants, nor Olympic athlete material, or a concert pianist. I just someone who looks a little like me, with an outgoing personality (to off-set Bob's shyness), some college education, and a bit of height.
The majority of the profiles are immediate;y dispensed with. African-American, Asian, red-haired white-freckly-skinned Irish. And ugly. Yes, I said it. Ugly. Not the former mentioned, but so many of the profiles. don't these agencies have any sense? Do they just sign up anyone and everyone if they pass the medical and psych tests? Is there no visual discrimination on the part of the agencies? They are setting these poor girls up for failure. Some of them are so unattractive they are simply never going to be chosen. It's like putting Chad Morgan in a frock and entering him in the Miss Universe pageant.
No-one wants an ugly kid. No one would deliberately choose buck teeth, or a flat boxer-esque nose, or truck-tyre lips to feature on their beloved child. Sure, if you've been struck with the ugly stick yourself, there's not much you can do about your off-spring's looks. But when there is a choice, and you're paying $12,000 for it, you'll go for the better looking donor. That's the law of attraction. It attracts. Cross-eyes, fat lips, big ears and hook noses do not attract. Neither does a body full of tattoos.
I won't apologise for my vanity because we live in a predominantly superficial society where talent gets you places, but looks and talent take you further. That is the sad fact of life. It happens in nature. The more colourful peacock gets the mate. Fish are designed with colour and beauty to attract other fish. We take our vacations at places of great beauty - The Great Barrier Reef, Yellowstone National Park, Tuscany, Mediterranean. Who books their holiday in a double-wide at a trailer park?
So why has finding an egg donor been a wee bit difficult? Because we can only afford to pay the ED's compensation, medical costs and the agency's fees, not travel, accommodation and meals for an out-of-town donor and her companion as well. We are now really scrutinising the budget, anticipating the worst, hoping for the best and paring back where we can. Therefore, we can only go with a donor who resides in Houston, Texas. Houston - you have a problem. Not enough tall, caucasian, blue-eyed, blonde haired, intelligent egg donors!
And height - that's where it all falls down. Don't they make women in the USA in sizes larger than five feet six? The majority of donors I have seen - and that is probably close to 500 now - are shorties. (That is short, compared to me).
Not wanting to be "picky" I drop the height limit from five-nine to five-seven, to little avail. So I change eye colour from blue to green - but the green eyes have brown hair. I take out hair colour and leave blue eyes - I am not negotiating on eye colour. I never knew so many black-haired people came with blue eyes.
DH and I are both fair-skinned, blue-eyed blondes. (Well, dirty blondes now we are older and our hair has muddied a little with age). I have a touch of olive skin from my father, who is Polish. We already have one dark-skinned, dark-haired, brown-eyed kid, his colouring coming from his south-east Asian mother. When we are in public there's no way anyone thinks he's ours. No, he's the poor little orphan we adopted. Aren't we good people to take in a stray. He hates it when I say loudly, in a pubic place for all to overhear, "Look buddy, if you don't behave I'll take you back to the orphanage."
"I don't come from an orphanage," is always his reply.
"Okay then, you don't come from an orphanage. If you really want people to know, then - if you don't behave, I'll take you back to juvenile hall".
He knows it's a joke. He doesn't want me to pretend I am his mother any more than his mother would like to hear someone call me his mum. He has a mother. I thoroughly respect the mother-child relationship. Therefore, I am not even step-mum, I am his friend, I am "Dude".
After scouring the profiles from four agencies, one boasting over 800 profiles, I come up with a shortlist of four. Two seem perfect, the other two have darker hair and hazel eyes, but I like their faces and more importantly, their achievements and what they wrote in their profiles.
My No.1 donor falls from a Gold to a Bronze when I see the size of her bust. "The poor kiddies!" I think. Those things are enormous. Then I see she has willfully and deliberately undergone breast augmentation from a B/C cup to a DD. Phew - it wasn't in the genes. But why would anyone want boobs that big? I have recently gained weight and gone from a small B to a proper C and I can't stand it. Boobs get in the way of things. They are so annoying flopping around in front of your body, especially when exercising. People notice them. Men and women alike, look at your boobs, not your face. And women-friends comment on them. "Gee your knockers are getting big!"
I decide I don't like the personality of a woman who would get her boobs enlarged. Fair enough, I thought, and donor No.2 shoots to the gold podium. (Bonus: her fee is $2000 less than Betty Booby Boop).
After taking DH to a cheapo Vietname restaurant and plying him with wine, we return home and I plonk the four profiles down in front of him.
"Egg donors babe," I tell him. "I know who I like but have a look at them and tell me your choice."
He pops off to his office/step-son's bedroom/room earmarked as future nursery and after a couple of minutes returns with the two I am not as keen on.
"This one's a rangga!" he declares. "No-one likes a ranggas. They are the last to be chosen for the sports team. We're not having red-haired kids." He dumps her ten-page profile on my desk. How very boldly superficial of him. In case he hasn't noticed, of late my hair is most certainly in the more coppery tones of dark blonde thanks to some unidentified red-haired relative from the Scottish side of my family.
"This one is mousey," he states, holding poor No. 3's profile aloft.
"I liked her!" I am now feeling rather protective of these girls, because of the gift they are giving to infertile couples like us, because she has a gorgeous smile, because, in every way she is a beautiful woman.
"Nope. Didn't you see the ears?"
Well, no I hadn't. But he's right. There in her baby photos are the same sticky out flappers that adorn the sides of not only DH's head, but also his son's. Those very same ears I wore as a child, that prompted my mother to go through boxes of band-aids in an attempt to train them to lie flat against my skull. Those ears that peak out of my straight blonde hair in every photo of me up to nine years of age. Those ears that ripped at the top when a comb got stuck in them, that were the source of bullying, and fun-poking by the others kids, that my father ensured were pinned back with surgery when I was in Year Four. (Bless him for his foresight ... had it not been for him I could have endured a lifetime of looking like Prince Charles' long lost sister.)
Plate-eared husband plus plate-eared wife or egg donor = big sticky-out-eared child. Another one bites the dust.
He takes the remaining profiles back to the nursery and within minutes I hear chuckling, then a "Hoh, no way!"
"What?" I call out.
"This one's got a Cherokee Indian father."
"I don't want kids of mine building tee-pees in the back yard," he declares. It seems my dear husband's father's racism has rubbed off the prodigal son.
"I thought that was kinda nice," I defend. "She's as fair as you and I anyway."
"But look at her profile," he objects. "It looks like something a 15-year-old would put up on MySpace. Look at this photo, and this one. Ooh ahh, I am so sexy and spunky, come get me boys."
"Alright, alright, you've made your point. Do you like the other one?" I wearily ask. It's not DH who has
"Yes," he says quite firmly. "She has Scottish heritage. And she looks like you."
"How so?" I inquire.
"She has your strong features. She's not a waif. She's ... solid .. like you." He is treading into dangerous territory here. "I mean athletic. She has bones holding her together."
Big is not a good word to describe a tall girl. Neither is large, or solid or gigantic. Athletic is fine. He saves himself the wrath of my tongue.
His comment is interesting and confirms our choice. "Your strong features" was exactly the same term our surrogate used when I sent the profiles of the contenders to her.
I tell Bob this and he says, "Has Amy seen these?"
"Yes, a week ago."
"Did she really say that?"
"Well there you go. She's the one. If Amy's happy, you're happy, then I'm happy. Job done. Book her, Danno."
Amy Amy Amy ... Bob's new best friend Amy. Not that Amy has any part in our decision as to who our egg donor will be. But it's nice Bob trusts her and wants her to be more a part of the creation of our children than simply being a "womb we rent".
Although $2000 more expensive (apparently I am being cheap) we have our five feet ten, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, college educated egg donor. Sure, she has huge knockers, but DH assures me choosing to have cosmetic surgery when it's not needed will not genetically mutate our child into Jessica the White Rabbit.
We'll see ... Bob - you'll be the one tearing the boys away from the window of our 16-year-old daughter's bedroom, not me!
Posted by Phoenix at 9:26 AM