And admittedly, there are times where I have made shallow choices: Getting the black car with a higher insurance rate instead of the white car with a lower rate, because the black one was better looking; Buying the Guess button down shirt instead of the Target button down that looked almost as good, because…well, it was Guess; Gluing fur back onto my cat, because sadly for her, bald is not beautiful.*
But I had never been put into a situation anything like what I had to face on this surrogacy journey: Picking out an egg donor.
It’s been about a week since meeting our egg donor, and Frankie and I still feel great about our choice. But you might be wondering, “Out of all the profiles, how did you pick hers?” You might also be wondering, “How many licks DOES it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?”, but since I’ve never made it without biting, I can’t help you there.
Obviously, this wasn’t a decision to take lightly; in fact it’s quite possibly one of the most important decisions we’ve ever made or will ever make as a couple. I found myself wondering: Is this a practical decision? After all we want our children to be clear of medical calamities and have a good family health history. Or, is this a shallow decision? Because, quite frankly, you also want to pick an attractive egg donor.
Well of course, I don’t like to think of myself as a shallow person, and generally I don’t feel that I am. So, I found myself trying to eliminate donors because of practical reasons:
“Well, she doesn’t have the best teeth, and straight teeth are genetic. I really don’t want to have to pay for braces down the line….so maybe not her.”
“She’s only 5ft. tall? Well, Frankie is just over 6ft, and I’m about 6 ft myself, so I wouldn’t want our child to develop an inferiority complex because he or she is significantly shorter than both of us….so maybe not her.”
“I can’t help but notice she’s a little overweight. Type II diabetes does run in my family…well, okay, it doesn’t actually run in my family, but it could. So, I wouldn’t want my children to be even more predisposed….so maybe not her”
“Are those cut-off jean shorts? No...”
I was unprepared to admit that physical features had to play a role in this decision, and not for practical reasons; but purely because I wanted someone physically attractive. For a guy who used to look like Jared from Subway before he discovered Subway, it’s really hard to feel like you have the right to judge people based on their looks. But in this case, I had to give myself that right.
We decided that the process was not entirely practical, nor could it be entirely shallow. We started by narrowing the pool to donors who had a good family medical history, had a college education, had previously donated eggs successfully and shared similar interests to us (although, strangely none of the egg donors listed RuPaul’s Drag Race as one of their favorite TV shows, which we found slightly disappointing). After the playing field was narrowed by practical factors, we then turned our attention to physical features; as like it or not, those had to play a part in our decision.
Frankie and I decided we would both pick out our top choices from the remaining profiles, then compare to see if we had picked any of the same ones. So, I went off to my corner to ponder which egg donor was best suited to us…and also whether or not decent Mexican food exists on the East coast, because I’ve failed to find any thus far.
We compared notes, and came up with our top five. In the end, cut-off jean shorts made the cut. As my surrogacy coordinator and friend put it, “better to go with the fashion challenged as style can be taught.” Truer words have never been spoken. There was also a Caucasian donor living in Thailand, a girl with an impressive family history of good health, a donor almost as tall as my husband and me, and the donor we ended up picking.
There were several reasons we picked her. There was her medical history, height, looks, educational achievement and answers on her questionnaire. My favorite part of the questionnaire was her response to “have you told your family about your decision to donate eggs?”. She responded with “I make my own decisions.” She seemed strong, independent, intelligent, and attractive. All qualities I would be happy with any potential children possessing.
But in the end, it just came down to one thing. It just felt right.
*Just to clarify, no Willows were ever shaved or harmed for this blog. She's way too cute with all her fur...plus those bald cats freak me out.