Sunday, September 6, 2020

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me A Match

It was a match made in…well, a laboratory if we’re being honest. But it was a match, and that was all that mattered.

On July 16, my husband and I received a 62-page report on the egg and sperm donors that made our potential embaby. The report detailed their basic physical attributes (pictured below), plus generations of family health history, sexual history, reproductive history, and lifestyle details.

The egg donor profile provided information I never would have thought to ask for (like if she had exposure to certain chemicals or had ever engaged in prostitution) and things I felt were nice to know but ultimately superfluous, like the number of body piercings (two), her favorite movie (Pirates of the Caribbean), favorite book (Wuthering Heights), and favorite food (spaghetti).

The egg donor described herself as “happy, independent, compassionate, curious, grateful. I am a beautiful angel. I am a rare gift from the gods.” (Also, clearly, humble.) She was artistic – a singer, dancer, and painter. She had two children, both 8-pound, 7-ounce girls, both spring babies born on or after their due dates.

The sperm donor was Christian and described his artistic ability as “meager,” but he could play guitar and piano. He was athletic, with a background in football, tennis, baseball, and wrestling. He described himself as “spontaneous, tenacious, outgoing.”

The red flags were few. The egg donor had both chlamydia and herpes in the past, but since neither of those posed a risk for the embaby, they weren’t reason enough to reject the profile. There was a handwritten sample from the sperm donor, which made me wary because his handwriting was sloppy and he had misspelled “experience.”

But other than those minor flaws, nothing gave me pause. And that’s what surprised me. How did they have such pristine health histories? Were they lying just so they could donate and get paid? Or was it just that, in your early 20s, you don’t tend to have major health problems, nor do your parents?

Questions aside, when I saw the donors’ reasons for donating, I was sold.

Hers: “I want to help a family experience the amazing feeling of children. I am making someone’s dreams come true.”

His: “Because my aunt is barren and I witnessed their struggle and problematic procedures of trying to
have a child, so I figured I could help and do my part to help other families.”

When asked how she would think of the child(ren) she helped create in the future, the egg donor answered, “I would be happy if I think anything.”


My husband and I signed our acceptance page the same day we received it and mailed the $21K check; unusually fast, if the Facebook Group for West Coast IVF patients was any indication. A moderator made the point that “there is no perfect profile,” but that didn’t stop patients from lengthy debates about what parts of the profiles they could accept (like hair color, height, or age) and those they couldn’t (like obesity or marijuana use). I recognized that my own genes wouldn’t win any popularity contests if put to the profile test, and was therefore grateful that such healthy people were willing to share theirs.

For me, there was no deliberation, no debate. This was our embaby. Now I just had to prepare my body to receive her. How? With lots andlots of drugs

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