When I was 26, out of a carefree and thoughtless boredom and a desire to make some seemingly easy extra money, I filled out an online egg-donor application for a respected clinic in upper Manhattan. At the time, I was working full-time as an office manager, I lived with my boyfriend, and I was a month away from the publishing date of my first book of poetry. Sure, I was a few thousand dollars in debt from a more carefree time in my life, but things were for-the-time-being extremely stable in my life, and the single-page online application was uncomplicated enough to fill out in the middle of my workday without much thought: Yes, I have both ovaries; no, I don't have chlamydia or gonorrhea; no, I am not currently prescribed any antidepressants.
A week later, I received a form-like email that invited me to fill out a second application: a massive, 60-page questionnaire that asked detailed questions about my family history (how tall was your great-grandfather on your mother's side? What was his complexion? Is he dead, and how did it happen?); my personal goals (oh, I've always known I wanted to become a writer, except for a brief stint in the second grade when I wanted to become a squirrel); and what I would like to say to my future-child, if given the chance, though it was also made extremely clear that as a donor I would be completely anonymous. I would never get the chance to meet the future-baby, and the birth mother would never know my name or see the baby pictures that I included with the second application. The clinic wanted to know I was a nice young lady, even though I didn't actually need to be.
And then, I was in. Over the next two months, I visited the clinic for even more tests. These included: a 650-question true-or-false personality test that was filled with queries regarding whether I heard voices in my head before falling asleep, whether I became suspicious of my friends if they were being too nice to me, or whether I thought my dad was a good person. I completed a physical and multiple blood and urine tests to screen for drug use and any physical and genetic disorders. I met with the in-house psychologist who explained very plainly and repeatedly that even though I was providing my eggs to create a human, this was not my baby. I nodded along, signed some papers, and a couple of weeks later, I was matched with a mom.
We were both put on the same birth control to sync our cycles. While she didn't know my name or what I looked liked, she knew I was a college graduate, average weight for my height, and half-Korean.
Around this time, I noticed a shift in my emotional balance. I started crying almost daily at work and picking fights with my boyfriend. I couldn't tell if it was the hormonal birth control or if it was just me, in that moment. Then, after about a month on birth control and a particularly messy cry in the women's bathroom, I quit my job, to my and my boss's surprise. I told them my boyfriend had gotten a job in LA and that we were moving there next month. This was partly true — he and I did plan on moving to LA for new work, but not until the end of summer. The imminent payoff from donating my eggs led to a disregard for my finances.