Friday, October 7, 2011
Shopping for Eggs
For the past two weeks we've been trying to select an egg donor.
In some ways, it's not so different from shopping for anything else online.
The problem is I suck at online shopping. I love online looking, clicking through pages and pages of beautiful things that I imagine myself owning. I'll envision a life in which I strut around in purple suede thigh-high boots, attend garden parties wearing sweet embroidered frocks, and have a spare closet filled with unique knick-knacks so I always have a gift on hand when I've forgotten someone's birthday.
But as my mouse hovers over the "add to cart" button, I convince myself those boots are impractical, that dress won't work with my sallow skin and garden-party-less lifestyle, and trinkets crafted from old typewriter keys and Scrabble tiles are the kinds of gifts that only I would appreciate. The cursor meekly slides over to the corner of the screen and I close the window, buying nothing.
As it turns out, I'm just as ambivalent when shopping for DNA.
Our clinic has an in-house donor pool and strictly safeguards the privacy of everyone involved. Donor profiles are stripped of any identifying information; photos show them as babies or young children, not adults. They provide basic facts: height and weight, hair and eye color, racial and cultural background, personal and family health history, education and talents. It's all there to browse through, in the online database.
We have to assemble all these discrete bits of information and try to create an image of the young woman they describe. It's like doing a jigsaw puzzle without first seeing the picture on the box. You really don't know how the pieces fit or if you're putting them together the right way.
At first glance, I saw lots of potential. I envisioned healthy and attractive young women generously donating precious gifts of hope. I pictured the children that would result from blending their characteristics with my husband's. I fantasized about finger-paint masterpieces created by a child who combined Donor A's artistic abilities with Mr Wren's self-discipline and focus, or the easy friendships enjoyed by one with Donor B's outgoing nature and Mr Wren's winning smile.
But the deeper I delved into their profiles, the more I faltered. Donor A has a troubling amount of alcoholism and mental health issues in her immediate family. Donor B has other medical conditions that could combine with my husband's genes in a most unfortunate manner. Donor C, our last remaining option, is nothing - and I mean NOTHING - like me. She's fair where I'm dark. She's an athlete where I'm an uncoordinated clutz. She's smart and motivated where I'm smart but a slack-ass. OK, so in some ways she's better than me and that's cool.
In all, Donor C is our top candidate. But I keep getting caught up on her conspicuous lack of physical resemblance to anyone in my family. Her baby pictures show an adorable tow-headed toddler with bright blue eyes and a wide laughing smile. She looks like Mr. Wren's cousins and even though his hair is dark, his eyes are blue so a blond-haired blue-eyed baby could believably take after his side of the family. But only his side.
And I don't know why it's so imperative that this child resemble me. Any resemblance would be superficial. Even if I could find a clutzy, slack-ass doppelganger of a donor and gave birth to a sallow brown-eyed child, he or she wouldn't have "my" eyes so why would it matter? Maybe it shouldn't matter at all. The ONLY thing that really matters is that the baby is healthy. Obviously if we adopted a child it wouldn't look like me and I wouldn't care, so why do I care now?
I have a lot to think about. I convinced the clinic to extend my access to the database by one more week.
To be continued....