Egg Donation Confidentiality: Does it promote “designer babies?”

29 Jun

It’s been a while since I have been able to write about the egg donation process. I’m choosing to write about it now, despite having made no further progress in my quest to become an egg donor. And it’s for the silliest reason: I do not have blue eyes.

I am blonde. I am tall. And musical (degree in Opera), and athletic (I run half-marathons). I am educated (BA’s in both Opera and English, and an in-progress Masters in Psychology). I am thin(ish… a size 8 still counts, right?). I am employed. Ostensibly, I am an “ideal candidate” for egg donation. And yet, it’s been well over a month since my name and my photographs (10 pictures in all, ranging in age from 18 months to current) have been screened by potential recipients. Not a single interested family. The only reason that my coordinator can give me: “you do not have blue eyes.”

Genetically speaking, the possibilities are endless for eye color when blue and hazel are mixed. I have every shade of color in my eyes in some form or another. I have hints of blue, a significant portion of my eyes are green, and I have a brown star around each iris and a brown ring around the outside of each eye. My coordinator has closeups of my eyes to prove this detail to potential recipients, and none of them want to risk “having a baby with brown eyes. How would we explain that?”

It has left me wondering why this seemingly insignificant detail has left me out in the proverbial cold. Is it that couples are interested in “designer babies?” Or is it to preserve the confidentiality of the situation? I’m not convinced either way.

The confidentiality agreement states that you and the recipient will have no contact. Completely anonymous. The child that results from the donation will never know that they were a donor-baby. They will never have access to your medical information, and you will never know anything about them. It is illegal to seek them out, and your information will never be provided to them, even after they are over the age of majority.

I understand why these confidentiality agreements exist, and for the most part, I agree with them. I disagree with the medical information restrictions for a few reasons, but those concerns do not warrant not doing it.

I keep coming back to the designer babies argument. Yes, these parents do want designer babies. The amount of genetic, psychological, intelligence and medical testing that goes into this process makes this indisputable, especially combined with the amount of rejection that I am experiencing based solely on my eye color. “How would we explain that?” Well, a recipient could simply explain that they used a donor, but most will not. Why? Stigma.

Women are worthless unless they can reproduce. We are failures if we do not/cannot. And we will be shunned if anyone finds out that we don’t want to/can’t.

This is a load of bullcrap, but it is what society continuously pushes on women. Even women who want to reproduce are not exempt from stigma. We are in a no-win game.

So women who are desperate enough to become mothers will use an egg-donor, but they will not use the best candidate. They will use the candidate who looks the most like them. They will “design their baby,” because they don’t want to be subjected to the judgment of society.

It makes sense. If I had the choice to endure stigma or to not, I probably would choose not to too. But this stigma, contained within something that should just bring joy to families is the dark side of egg-donation. And in this act, there should be no “dark side.” My gift should simply be able to make potential parents dreams come true, regardless of the color of my eyes.


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