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article in W magazine

January 16, 2008

This is the agency I donated/sold my eggs through:

Daddy’s Little Helpers
Thanks in part to surrogacy coordinators Growing Generations, gay Hollywood is in the midst of a baby boom.

I feel especially awesome being a contributor to “gay Hollywood.”

somebody’s kid is going to be half-gay and half-really good at the SAT

October 17, 2007

I am donating eggs to a gay man (again). I’ve been at it for weeks, actually, but today I finally started the egg-makin’ hormones. I just gave myself no fewer than three injections in the stomach. I feel tingly and fertile.

Knowing I was going to be sticking needles into myself, I’ve been eating burritos freely so I’d have a protective layer of bodyfat. Who knew that burritos had so many salutary side effects?

My ovaries are on overdrive! When I say I “contain multitudes”, I really mean it.

Egg Donors vs. Sperm Donors: Who Is Valued More and Why?

July 10, 2007

This article suggests that sperm donors are underpaid because we don’t really value fatherhood. And additionally, that egg donors are treated like precious, beatific saints because that’s what we like to think about mothers.

That sounds kind of flattering for the women, at least, until you realize the flipside — women who are mostly in it for the money are pathologized, whereas it’s expected that men would donate sperm entirely for the money.

This stigmatizaton of market-motivated egg donors is aptly analogous to issues surrounding motherhood, as women who prefer participation in a market economy to the oh-so-precious task of wiping tiny noses have also long been pathologized.

I’m off to the fertility clinic for an ovarian reserve test to see if my eggs are still any good (28 is antediluvian for an egg donor!) If they are, I have a taker!

there is no more anonymity

May 22, 2007

An addendum to my last egg post (The “Egg Donors Are People Too” Story), another topic of discussion in the panel was the fact that anonymity cannot be promised; the child you produce with donor eggs or sperm is going to become a teenager with internet access, and very possibly find not only the donor, but genetic half-brothers and half-sisters. This Broadsheet post says much the same thing. Here’s the money quote, from a woman born of sperm donation:

“We didn’t ask to be born into this situation, with its limitations and confusion. It’s hypocritical of parents and medical professionals to assume that biological roots won’t matter to the ‘products’ of the cryobanks’ service, when the longing for a biological relationship is what brings customers to the banks in the first place.”

The "Egg Donors Are People Too" Story

May 21, 2007

A couple weeks ago, I participated in a panel discussion entitled “Egg Donors Are People Too,” which was part of a fertility conference at the Grand Central Hyatt (a quite nice hotel). The woman moderating the panel was a psychiatrist (maybe a psychologist, I forget) specializing in fertility issues. She was beautifully dressed and coiffed and had a sort of blue-blooded air about her, as though, despite having an enviable job, she didn’t actually need to work. She was the one who named the panel.

Things got off to, in my view, a hilarious start when Dr. Upper Class began with a poignant paean to egg donors, women who really care about other people’s infertility and are so giving of their time and of themselves. Because, of course, no one would go through all that just for the money!

And then the floor was turned over to me, to introduce myself and talk — in a teary, estrogen-fueled sort of way, I imagine — about what it meant to donate eggs.

“Of course,” I began, “when we say ‘donating,’ we’re not really donating at all. That’s why all the ads in the Village Voice prominently list how many thousands of dollars the gig pays.” Some egg professionals in the audience looked stricken.

I then spent the next ten minutes metaphorically pointing at the white elephant in the room and jumping up and down, saying the same thing I always say: women are adults who can make their own decisions in a market economy. If our bodies are our own, then we can make economic decisions about them as well. Men can choose to endanger their health working in coal mines; women can choose to inject themselves with hormones for cash. (Imagine a blue-blooded society woman claiming “No one would go underground in those dirty pits and mine coal and risk black lung disease just for $25,000 a year! Surely these kind souls must really care that rich people need to burn fuel for energy!)

Egg donors aren’t heartless people who don’t care about infertility, I pointed out, but seriously, but I think a lot more broke twenty-year old women apply their altruistic instincts towards, say, Darfur, or global warming, or AIDS in Africa, than towards the inability of American couples to conceive. And rightly so. What kind of arrogance does it take to think that, when typically lower-middle-class women donate eggs to upper-middle-class buyers, it’s not about the money?

On the question of whether $8,000 is enough to go through all the hormones, I said that, towards the end when it was two injections a day and lots of PMS-type side effects, I simply took the amount of money I was still owed, divided it by the number of injections remaining, and told myself that figure every time I had an injection to do. The number was over $100. Was I, and had I always been, in an economic position such that I felt that a worthwhile exchange? Obviously. That’s why I signed up to do it.

Of course, it’s not entirely about the money. It’s also about a desire to spread my genes anywhere I can, just as men have always done, and male hip-hop artists regularly rap about. That (“I’d like to knock you all up, quite frankly”) didn’t go over so well at the panel either, at least among the organizers. However, a number of people-trying-to-be-parents came up to me afterwards and thanked me for making them laugh. (If only “comedian on call” could be my title! Of course, it’s easy to make people laugh when you’re the only comedian in the room and no one is expecting a comedian).

On a related note, a Melbourne IVF clinic is
offering a children’s book explaining egg donor conception.
The title sounds just a bit dirty though, doesn’t it?

"You supply the pictures and I’ll create the war"

May 10, 2007

This article, from the UK’s Daily Mail, screams out “I donated eggs to friends… now I’ve been left infertile.”

Ooh, scary! Our heroine here, Donna, donated eggs to two women out of the goodness of her heart (paying egg donors is illegal in Britain), and now she’s infertile. Hrm. Here are two key quotes:

Although the doctors would not make a definitive link with the treatment she had in donating eggs, one gynaecologist admitted: ‘It could be scar tissue from the procedures.’

One doctor “admitted” it “could be”? Even my toothpaste has four out of five dentists behind it.

And this:

In order for Gina [the egg recipient] to jump the waiting list she [Donna] had to give eggs to an anonymous recipient as well. It meant a higher dose of hormones and 20 eggs were retrieved.

Whoa, shit! It’s illegal to pay egg donors in Britain, therefore the few extremely generous souls who do donate (often to sisters, for instance) have to also donate eggs to strangers, for free, by undergoing a more dangerous procedure! (20 eggs is off-the-hook crazy — reputable Americans agencies are looking for 10-12 eggs per retrieval).

So much for the paternalistic British government “protecting” egg donors! Not paying donors = incredible shortage of donors, therefore the answer is … subject the few who will do it for free to overdoses of fertility drugs and force them to share eggs with everyone!

My point here is as it always is: adult women can handle making their own choices in a market economy.

At the bottom of the article, we’re informed that “A full version of this interview plus more pictures appear in this week’s copy of Grazia Magazine.” Grazia’s story-teasing (or story-hoarding) indicates that, as is common with British tabloids, they have almost certainly paid Donna for this story. The truth and nothing but the truth? Dubious.

(I donated eggs to a gay man in 2005. For my previous egg donation posts, go here).

an army of me

April 17, 2007

I was quoted in an article about egg donation in the Penn State Collegian, a newspaper produced by students at a school to which I have no particular connection.

I love this image, with the needle poking askancely into the ovary:

I’m really glad that the journalist mentioned that I’m a comedian before quoting me as saying, “I think I have completely fabulous genes, and if someone’s going to make a baby, they should only buy the best. I think all babies should be part-me.”

I mean, otherwise, I’d sound like a super-arrogant prissy bitch that other women should try to slap. For real. I could post a list of my flaws if that would ameliorate things. Did I ever mention the jump-rope/manhole-cover-accident scar on my right knee? Let’s start there.

A Modest Proposal to Anti-Choice Folks

March 22, 2007

Update: What timing! Pro-life Senator Dan Patrick said, er … much the same thing. He’s just really, really off about the price. Here’s my original post:

If anti-abortion types really just want to save fetuses, why not the most obvious solution: make it legal to sell babies?

Okay, I didn’t really mean that — what I meant was, it’s legal to pay an egg donor for her “pain and suffering” in the egg donation process, without actually paying her for the eggs themselves (uh-huh). So why not make it legal to pay women for their gestational services in “donating” a full-on baby?

I love when anti-abortion people ask abortion-seeking women, “Why not just have the baby and then give it up for adoption?” Are you kidding? You can sometimes get a guilt-riddled Christian teenager to do that. But, obviously, very few employed adult women are interested in carrying a baby, enduring childbirth, getting stretch marks and getting fat and possibly incurring other, more serious, physical consequences (urinary incontinence is way more common than most people want to discuss, and I’ll never forget the diagram I saw in a medical textbook of a “clitoral fissure”), taking time off work (those employed outside large corporations do not get maternity leave), and explaining the whole thing to people who ask questions about your obvious pregnancy. If you don’t have a religious belief in the all-out personhood of fetuses, there is simply no reason you would do this. Well, no reason you would do it for free. (I wouldn’t have donated eggs for free, and that doesn’t even cause stretch marks).

As you undoubtedly have noticed, we live in an increasingly commoditized world, one in which we have already put a price on this service: surrogate mothers receive about $20,000, plus medical expenses and sometimes payment for lost income, for carrying and giving birth to a child.

As per current law, surrogate mothers are always carrying babies made with someone else’s eggs, that way they cannot be said to be “selling their babies.”

But if you’re really against abortion, and perhaps you’d like a baby for less than the $50,000-$100,000 you might spend on a combo of egg donor fees, surrogate fees, IVF, legal and medical expenses, why not legalize one-stop baby production and delivery?

Or, more specifically, why not make it legal to pay women for gestational services they provide in offering babies for adoption? Someone could found a matching agency. Pro-lifers: if you believe abortion is murder, certainly this is better, no? Pro-choicers: if you believe abortion is a human right, then perhaps you might also get behind the idea that women deserve to be compensated in a market economy for tasks traditionally considered “women’s work,” just as various feminist thinkers (mostly in Europe’s socialist nations) have proposed compensating women for domestic labor, and just as women are sometimes compensated for domestic labor (after the fact) in U.S. divorce cases.

Now everyone’s offended! By a comedy blog! Discuss.

filmmaker Vincent Gallo is selling his sperm for $1 million

December 17, 2005

This is far greater than the fee I received for my eggs, although Mr. Gallo is going to pay for the in-vitro fertilization out of his fee. He also specifies “If the purchaser of the sperm chooses the option of natural insemination, there is an additional charge of $500,000. However, if after being presented detailed photographs of the purchaser, Mr. Gallo may be willing to waive the natural insemination fee and charge only for the sperm itself.”

He also specifies that his family contains “no cripples,” and that “If you have seen The Brown Bunny, you know the potential size of the genitals if it’s a boy. (8 inches if he’s like his father.) I don’t know exactly how a well hung father can enhance the physical makeup of a female baby, but it can’t hurt.”

Things get messed up and racist after that. Here’s the link (scroll to the bottom).

Related posts:

a few thoughts on egg donation after the fact
No one ever refers to women as “virile”
I’m going to end up in bar fights
the state of things
egg tales
imagine being a nurse in the maternity ward who wasn’t told about any of this
cheaper by the dozen
update from solitary hotel room
I’m sure a male comedian who became a sperm donor would not receive cute sperm-related gifts
thanks for all the love

a few thoughts on egg donation after the fact

November 18, 2005

I read a couple of egg donor blogs today.

Apparently, the UK prohibits egg donors from being paid, and then some infertile couple ends up in the paper just pleading for an egg donor to help them out — as though other people’s eggs are necessary in the way that a donor kidney might be.

Of course, I take a bit of a libertarian view on the matter — if our bodies are our own, I think we should pretty much be able to sell them (with caveats against exploiting destitute people, and perhaps legally mandated minimums, sort of like a minimum wage for biological components).

But even if your view is more moderate, surely one wouldn’t expect (very many) egg donors to endure some-odd ten weeks of drugs, injections, specifically-timed doctor visits, egg retrieval under general anesthesia, and lost income during this period out of sheer altruism. While I could see doing such a thing for, say, one’s own sister, I would kind of wonder about the mental health (or potential martyr complex?) of anyone who volunteered to do such a thing for a stranger — what is it that this person really wants back? I think you might be getting some crazy-lady genes for your baby. How nice!

Interestingly, when I asked the egg agency how the egg donor fee should be reported tax-wise, I was told it was a (tax-free) “pain and suffering” payment, the same as if someone had hit me with their car and I had won a lawsuit against him or her.

I also came across a mention (on a “happily child-free” blog) of egg donors who have no interest in children prior to egg donation, but who develop an interest afterwards, perhaps due to the hormonal shifts inherent in the egg donation process (or just due to spending so much time thinking about babies).

Incidentally, I am back in my agency’s egg donor database. They asked me to log in and view my profile — it’s sort of like a dating site for parents and donors! — and I discovered that someone had listed my IQ at 140 or 150 or something.

I have never had my IQ tested formally, but last time I took an IQ test on my own, I scored freaky-high because I am a standardized test-prep teacher and an IQ test looks disturbingly like an SAT, with the addition of some little patterned boxes you have to rotate (and if I spent some time, I’m sure I could think of a near-foolproof method for boosting students’ scores on that as well). I don’t think that much of IQ tests. In any case, the egg agency said the value probably got filled in when they were switching to new software.

The writer of this blog was joking about how big your follicles (the pockets in the ovaries that hold each individual egg) get when stimulated — so big….

…that they beep when I back up?
…that they have their own zip code?

This is humor for a very small audience (with very large ovaries).

Related posts:

No one ever refers to women as “virile”
I’m going to end up in bar fights
the state of things
egg tales
imagine being a nurse in the maternity ward who wasn’t told about any of this
cheaper by the dozen
update from solitary hotel room
I’m sure a male comedian who became a sperm donor would not receive cute sperm-related gifts
thanks for all the love

thanks for all the love

November 11, 2005

I don’t know who’s been linking to me or giving handjobs on my behalf, but the value of my blog has increased $3,951.78 since the last time I posted about it, making my blog now more valuable than my eggs (last valued at $8,000, now up to $10,000):

My blog is worth $11,855.34.
How much is your blog worth?

I spoke to another comedienne last night about donating eggs. It’s weird what the market wants. She was concerned that her SAT scores weren’t great, but it turns out she had a great GPA. I was the opposite — hott SATs, GPA suffering from my propensity to do all kinds of crazy shiznit at once (sound familiar?)

Who knows what people want? I saw one ad from someone looking for an egg donor with no history of male baldness in her family. 100% Japanese or 100% Jewish donors are also in demand.

It’s true that many people shopping for eggs want tall, blonde, Roman-nosed women (even if the intended parents look nothing like that), whereas, I think, some intended parents just want to see a picture of a nice girl and kind of fall in love. They want to say “I hope my daughter looks like that in 26 years.”

I’m sure a male comedian who became a sperm donor would not receive cute sperm-related gifts

October 4, 2005

In commemoration of my recently concluded egg donation, Megan brought me a gift — a graphic novel about eggs who escape from the fridge to pursue life on the outside, and then one of them becomes a ninja.

I bring you Egg Story.

and so it ends, with a cab ride and a Cuban sandwich

September 26, 2005

I am back in New York and looking forward to many fruitful non-ovarian discussions with all you fine people.

As a (near) final reflection, I will say that producing offspring is indeed our insurance against our own mortality. Having contributed in some minor way to producing a child or several, I can earnestly say that if I were hit by a truck tomorrow and had one last moment to think things over, I’d be that much happier that I had sent some genes off into the world. Good luck and godspeed.

an ode to room service

September 25, 2005

The only thing I love more
than an English muffin

is an English muffin
delivered to my door in a little basket

lovingly nestled in a cloth napkin
accompanied by individual pots of jam

and paid for by an agency that helps gays and lesbians produce children in ways that would have been biologically impossible just years ago, but now allows for the purchase of genetic material from young women with good SAT scores, and its transport across state lines.

That is how much I love English muffins.

update from solitary hotel room

September 24, 2005

I have now contributed exactly nine eggs towards the production of little half-gay Jenlets.

When I woke up, one of the nurses marveled at my “perfect makeup.” I thought well, it was perfect when I went in — what exactly were you doing with my face that would make it any different?

The anesthesiologist heard I was a comedian. Then he gave me drugs that made me think I was hi-larious (when, even now, as I am still quite dizzy, it is clear I was not). Highlights:

When the anesthesiologist told me he was going to give me some “relaxation medicine”: “That’s very flattering, because I hear a lot about roofies and no one’s tried to slip me any yet.”

As the anesthesiologist was putting in an IV and told me not to move or look: “That’s what all the boys say.”

When I asked how many eggs had been retrieved and was told it was nine: “Can you tell ahead of time which ones have the best college prospects? Because I can teach them how to take the SAT.”

There was more. So much more. Making Jenlets. Need room service. Where IS everybody?

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