Today, we’re going to talk about making money by making a life. Way back on Episode 2, we talked about being a surrogate mother. Today, I want to cover becoming an egg donor, which is less involved because you don’t have to carry a child, but more involved because you’re contributing your own DNA. My guest is named Candace, and she has donated her eggs 5 times resulting in the birth of 6 children.
YOU FIRST DONATED EGGS WHEN YOU WERE IN COLLEGE. I THINK WE’VE ALL HEARD THAT THIS IS POSSIBLE, BUT HARDLY ANYBODY HAS EVER DONE IT. WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO GET INVOLVED?
I initially became interested in this while I was working at an IVF clinic. I’m not sure if I wasn’t working there if I would have otherwise been exposed to this. I was finishing my college degree and bartending to get through college and they had a receptionist job open at clinic so I got in and fell in love with the field and then decided to donate my eggs to research initially. I did not get paid for that. The research was for a cure for gestational diabetes and I wanted to be helpful since my Dad has type 2 and there were benefits for genetic testing free of charge so I could make sure I didn’t have any abnormalities.
YOU THEN WAITED A FEW YEARS BEFORE DONATING EGGS TO ACTUAL COUPLES WHO WANTED TO CONCEIVE. WHAT IS THE PROCESS LIKE?
I was 26 when I donated to a family for the first time. My last time was when I was 31. There is a matching process. Sort of like a dating website. Couples see the profiles. I fill out my profile, add pics and a couple finds someone who fits their background. Then agency tells me a couple is interested and I can read and decide whether to donate.
You go through an IVF cycle. Inject with medicine to try and develop more follicles then would in your normal cycle. Produce more eggs than you normally would. My first donation I had over 60 follicles. Normally you’d see single digits. Turns out I was a really good donor. After egg retrieval they have to fertilize to see how many embryos. Then tell you when transfer into surrogate or parents. All of mine took.
SO THE BABIES THAT ARE BORN HAVE YOUR DNA. DO YOU THINK OF YOURSELF AS THEIR MOTHER, OR WHAT’S THE RELATIONSHIP?
Because I don’t have kids as my own, I look at them as my nieces or nephews. I’m not their parent but it is my DNA. For me it is very easy to make that emotional separation. I haven’t met any donors who seem to find it hard. A lot of my girlfriends did it. I don’t feel any motherly connection to the children.
ARE YOU IN TOUCH WITH THE PARENTS YOU DONATED TO AND THE CHILDREN WHO ARE REALLY HALF YOU?
It is preferred to generally be anonymous but I was open to knowing couples too. That is more rare to have the open situation. It’s pretty exciting, especially the two I knew. I really wanted them to have a positive pregnancy. Two weeks after the baby in France was born, they drove here and I got to meet him two weeks after. Ever since then we go meet each other. I go there or they meet here. We had a huge family BBQ. I have 17 nieces and nephews, five siblings and everyone got to meet.
AND DO THE CHILDREN UNDERSTAND WHO YOU ARE TO THEM?
I Skype the boy and he asks who I am. He is 3. He still really doesn’t get it. We Skyped on his birthday and he asked who is she and why is she calling. They explained I was part of helping make him and I think each year it will grow into more detail. To me it is super special. I am happier with my open donations and knowing the children. It is peace of mind to know they are doing well and have a good family life.
WE KNOW HOW YOU ENHANCED THE COUPLES’ LIVES WHO WANTED CHILDREN. BUT HOW DID THIS AFFECT YOUR OWN LIFE? DID THE MONEY YOU EARNED MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
The money helped me get through school and not kill myself bartending and getting up at 7am for my first class. Gave me more flexibility to focus on school and not just trying to life. Then I put it into savings and that was huge for me. And now I was able to go and finish my Masters. Got me thru Bachelors and get me to my Masters. Was huge for me.
One of my girlfriend’s had $20,000 credit card debt and it helped her pay that off and then be able to buy a house. Win/win. Giving someone something who has a huge desire for so long. A lot of couples have gone through heartache. You can help them and help yourself.
ALRIGHT, THE QUESTION EVERYBODY’S BEEN WAITING FOR ME TO ASK: HOW MUCH MONEY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? On your first donation you make about $6,000. That helped trying to get through college. Each consecutive time after that you go up about $1,000 if you are proven donor. Made about $10,000 with the last one.
THAT’S CERTAINLY TEMPTING. CAN ANY WOMAN DO THIS?
Nobody can just do it. You have to do psych evals and be healthy and the right weight. You want to be at your peak health. You have to go through interviews and take a test to make sure I am emotionally stable. Not easy. Can be time consuming and you do have to take time off. At the mercy of the cycle itself so you have to be flexible. You are injecting yourself with medication.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN WHO ARE OPEN TO BECOMING EGG DONORS?
I would definitely have the right people. Important to have someone who understands process so go thru agency or clinic. Lots of unknowns. Legal aspects. Medical aspects. Need someone to help mediate.
Candace, thank you for being my guest on Easy Money. And folks, Candace treasured this process so much that she now works for extraordinary conceptions, a firm that helps match egg donors with prospective parents. She’s provided the firm’s detailed list of requirements for becoming an egg donor, so you’ll know more about what it takes. You can find that list as well as this week’s guest blog post at easymoneyshow.com/34.