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February 06, 2006


Past tense

Do you know if they used the sperm you did give them?


I have no idea. I suspect not -- my understanding is that they only use sperm donations from regular donors.


Your post reminds me of this article. (The author describes his adventures with sperm donation last year.)

I looked into egg donation in college. (Which is *a lot* more lucrative for women then it is for men. If I had wanted to be an egg donor for a private fertility clinic, I could have made $15,000 without too much trouble.* The base price for egg donation tends to be between $1,000 and $3,000 given the fact that it involves high doses of hormones and a needle aspiration, rather than 5 minutes alone with a Playboy.)

I have to admit, I found the process depressing and dehumanizing. At first, it seemed wonderful to help someone else have a baby, but the prospect of hyperovulatory drugs and needle aspirations for money seemed, well, wrong.

*I have the good fortune to be white, well-educated, tall, and have a very clean family health history. I've seen ads offering up to $50,000 if you meet some damn stict criteria, including athleticism, hip-waist-bust measurements, height, skin color, eye color, hair color, 1500+ SAT score, and perfect vision. Sadly, I'm not joking.


I have to admit, I found the process depressing and dehumanizing. At first, it seemed wonderful to help someone else have a baby, but the prospect of hyperovulatory drugs and needle aspirations for money seemed, well, wrong.

Seems painful and scary as well. Ouch! 0.o


I also think they're investigating links between ovulatory-stim hormones and ovarian cancer...


They are. Nothing's definitive yet, and it's rather hard to study. Most women only take hyperovulatory drugs for short periods of time and many of those have some kind of underlying medical problem to begin with. (They're seeking fertility treatments for a reason.) The effects of such drugs would have to pretty strong before you'd see changes in the epidemiological pattern. The current thinking is that hormones which get the ovaries to operate normally, so to speak- like the pill- help reduce your risk of ovarian cancer. Otherwise, there's not much consensus and rather limited data.


Hugo: Did they actually give you a Playboy? You always hear people mention it when they talk about sperm donation, but it seems inconsistent with the whole clean and sterile image of the medical profession. (Either way -- as an actual practice or as a widespread rhetorical flourish -- it could make an interesting post.)


Stentor, they had back issues of Penthouse (I remember vividly.)


my boyfriend also considered sperm donation briefly in grad school (we were pretty broke!). though he has absolutely no religious or spiritual convictions around conception, in the end, it was a little too weird even for him. he couldn't put his finger on why, but he just wasn't comfortable doing it. there are certainly strange, very ephemeral emotions stirred up by the possibility of parenthood, however remote and removed it might be!

oh, and evil fizz, i also considered egg donation (my eyes bugged out at the compensation, too), but honestly i'm just too lazy! what a process. even for $15,000, i wasn't willing to give up 6 months of my life, be a slave to doctor's appointments, and get stuck with all kinds of needles.

Lynn Gazis-Sax

I thought of egg donation when I was younger, not for the money, but because we ourselves were infertile, and I had reason to suspect that the problem was elsewhere than in my eggs. I thought, if I can't have a child myself, maybe at least I can help someone else have one.

What deterred me was the fear that the process would ultimately involve general anesthetic; I had a miserable (though necessary) childhood operation which has left me with a terror of general anesthetic.


Most women who go through with egg donation do it for reasons similar to Lynn's: empathy for or experience with infertile couples. A surprising number of both egg and sperm donors have provisionally decided that they aren't themselves going to have children and don't want their genetic material to go to waste. A little strange but true. Many work or live around health care professionals and don't get turned off by needles. Also, Lynn, general anesthesia is the exception -- most egg retrievals involve the use of twilight sedation where you're not really under but you don't remember anything.

It's definitely a "don't do it if you don't want to" situation. One reason clinics make the screening process so rigorous is to discourage the unmotivated.


"I still was moved by Letty's thoughtful defense of church teaching about conception."

This is an interesting turn of phrase. Are you implying that, just because her beliefs were similiar to the teachings of the church, they were not still her own beliefs she was sharing?


My bad, Dan, if that was what was implied -- Letty was a very faithful Catholic in every respect. Her views were shaped and informed by Holy Mother Church, but they were also fundamentally her own.

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