@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
When I was in my early 20’s I had decided to donate my eggs. Not for any altruistic reason. They pay you $8000 to $10,000 to do so. As a recently graduated college student with a drive and diligence to pursue a career as a writer and a comedian, I thought that a nice sum of money to help out to rid my student loans, put money towards an apartment AND go on a cool vacation.
Before deciding, I did hours of research. Donating eggs is a process, and rather daunting. You have to get injected with all sorts of hormones and check-ups and stuff and then go through a procedure, and it can be painful and takes months to do. Pain, I could handle. My biggest trepidation was that there would be some kid out there with my DNA that I would never meet. It’s a strange thing to consider. At that point in my life, I was already 85% sure I would never have kids, which was the lead reason why I was willing to do this.
Here I was, the prime candidate. A recent college grad, straight A student, young, healthy, fit, good-looking. You have to provide photos of yourself as a little kid, and I don’t mean to brag, but I was a ridiculously cute little kid. Unlike the brass ass I am now, there was a time I was actually quite sweet, and I had a head that was too big for my body, bleach blond hair and a shy little smile. Who wouldn’t want to have my babies (except for me, oddly enough)? It would be a shame for all my eggs to go to waste.
This was a time before I’d be medicated for depression, but even then I had my issues. I knew I’d pass a physical. But there was also a test to pass with a psychologist and I was iffy about that. I already knew I had these high and low streaks. The low streaks being really fucking low. And that scared me too. What if my offspring have that? It’s got to be genetic to a degree.
The company I went with had good reviews (again, I did a lot of research) and the woman who was a sort of “match maker” for donors and wannabe parents was responsive almost to an obsessive degree. Her position is like a real estate agent. She gets a piece of the price of whomevers eggs she’s selling. I don’t write this to diminish this woman’s character. I liked her. But I’m also realistic. I would describe her clothes as “looks expensive.” And yet, there was a maternal warmth to her.
I had do to a bunch of online quiz screenings, send in pictures of myself throughout my life, and go to certain doctors for blood work. All of which covered under their cost, none of which was ever billed to my health insurance. My “Matchmaker” called me one day to say that the couple (a gay couple) who wanted to purchase my eggs wanted to meet me. She said this is not standard procedure. Usually they don’t allow it. In fact, I had to sign contracts stating that I wouldn’t try to seek out my buyers or ever try to find my genetic child. I not only obliged but I was happy to meet them. It was my preference to know where my eggs were going.
They came in from the city to meet us on Long Island. They were both good looking gay men, with a great sense of humor. One was about twelve years older than the other and they said people often joked about that age gap. I was already a comic at this time and that information was disclosed. You would think this would be an extremely awkward dinner, but it really wasn’t. Conversation flowed, and we joked, and they were smart and funny; I thought they would be great parents. By the end of the dinner, I was actually excited that they would be raising my genetic child. These are good people, I thought, I want them to have my eggs. They liked me too. “I can tell if someone is crazy immediately, so we had to meet you,” the older one said to me. Well, I always considered myself crazy, but not in a psychopath way. Maybe more quirky over crazy (I’m kidding, I’m totally nuts)?
Now I actually felt good about this decision. I’d make money, and these good people would have a smart, healthy, cute child. Yay! We all win. Life finds a way.
The next step was to get an ultrasound, which I’m pretty sure I hadn’t ever had until that point in my life, which I would describe as “uncomfortable.” Technicians are not doctors and therefore not allowed to disclose what they see. But the technician that day erred. She made a sort of face, and called in a nurse and she pointed to the screen, and understandably, I said, “what’s up. what’s going on? WHAT DO YOU SEE?” They didn’t tell me. I went home a little nervous. Why did she react that way?
Turned out— my ovaries had many follicular cysts. Harmless, painless, formed when an egg get doesn’t get released as expected. It is a common symptom of people of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get pregnant, but it could mean it will be difficult. Your body isn’t properly or evenly distributing eggs. I don’t really know what that means, but when told this it sounded like my ovaries were abortion machines. Creating eggs and destroying them.
This meant I wasn’t a candidate for egg donation. Too much risk in inconsistency. That fun gay couple wouldn’t raise my genetic kid and I wouldn’t get $8000. And I now knew why my periods were irregular for my whole adult life.
This did not mean I couldn’t have kids, especially given today’s medicine and technology, it just might be hard/take time. I thought, great, I’ve wasted so much money on pregnancy tests because my period was late but it turns out my body was just killing my never to be born babies anyway (FYI, I am not a scientist or doctor, take that into consideration when reading this blog or anything I write).
I’m not a proper candidate for PCOS. The usual obvious physical side effects being struggles to lose weight/excess hair, neither of which remotely describe me. Irregular periods are big one, and despite that being par for course for me, my gynecologist never suspected PCOS because I didn’t have the other two side effects. Though in retrospect, I’m weary to have ever trusted my first gynecologist. Because I didn’t get my period till well after 16, and into my 20’s they were very inconstant, and since I was extremely skinny, she accused me of being anorexic on more than one occasion (which is hilarious if she only knew how much pizza/bacon cheeseburgers/ice cream I consumed at that time in my life). She once told me a lot of women in their 20’s don’t want kids and then change their mind later in their life in the same visit she told me I had a titled cervix, narrow pelvis, and no hips— meaning 100 years ago I would have bled to death giving birth. I don’t have those birthing hips.
And another time she confused me for my sister (we do look at a lot alike) until looking at my vagina and going, “oh yeah, you’re not Lisa.” To this day I have no idea what that means and never want to.
My health insurance covers getting your tubes tied, which I considered, though pretty much every person told me not to do that. It wasn’t their advice that kept me from getting the procedure, it’s PTSD from that time my tonsillectomy didn’t take and I almost bled to death. That surgery left me really spooked for any other surgery I may have to get, especially internal ones.
I think having a family is swell. And I believe my parents and my sister when they say having kids is another level of love you couldn’t fathom. Having a family and kids is special. But I still don’t want them. I’m not bringing more humans into this godforsaken world. My kids are too good for this world, that’s why they’re killing themselves upon my ovaries and dying as painless cysts regularly. Like their mum, they die by their own hand (even though they don’t technically have hands).
But if I do get my tubes tied, rest assured, you’re invited to my “No Baby, Ever, Baby Shower.” I’ll register at the liquor store. Sushi will be served. And instead of Baby Bingo, we’ll do bong hits because no one likes Bingo.