Eggs in a Basket: Picking Our (Genetic) Baby Mama

19 Jun

On Sunday night Matt and I went to a big annual fundraiser called Broadway Bares, raising money for the fantastic charity Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. (They raised more than $1.2 million that night, more than any previous year’s take, after 22 years of holding the sexy, funny, hugely popular event.)

They do the event twice in one night, at 9:30 p.m. and at midnight.

“Which one do you want to go to?” Matt asked me, several weeks ago when we bought the tickets.

I sighed. “I hear the midnight show is a little more fun and raucous. But midnight? On a Sunday?

“I know, but when are we ever going to go to a midnight anything if we have a kid, or kids, this spring?”

“Book it,” I said.

And so we went to the midnight show.

We got home just after two o’clock in the morning, exhausted but still lingeringly energized from the high-energy show. By two-thirty we were in bed.

Then Matt’s phone chimed. E-mail!

Since we started this whole surrogacy process, we get inappropriately excited when Matt’s e-mail chime goes off on his iPhone. We get additionally crazed when it happens after midnight, because that means chances the e-mail is from India (which is nine and a half hours ahead of NYC time), increase dramatically. (It also increases the chances that it’s an e-mail from Brandi asking in an e-mail subject if we want to “make size so much bigger!” or a pleading note from a Nigerian prince who just needs us to wire $4,000 and then he’ll give us $40,000 next week. You get the picture.)

But in this case the e-mail really was from our surrogacy clinic in India.

“Please find attached the potential egg donor profiles for a July visit to our clinic. Please select three donors, in your order of preference, and we will check their availability in that order.”

Matt and I looked at each other. It somehow seemed poignant that it was Father’s Day.

Attached were sixteen profiles, showing a photograph of the egg donor, describing her height and weight, blood type, marital status, the number and age of her children, and specific hormonal markers. (The hormonal numbers, like prolactin numbers, were within the “normal” range for all donors. They were all also noted as HIV-negative and free of major diseases, sexual or otherwise.)

We agreed to get some sleep, as it was almost 3 a.m., and we both had to work in the morning, but made a pact to pick the genetic birth mother the next day after work. (The surrogate, who would carry the fertilized egg to term, will be picked in a later, separate round. For many good reasons, the egg donor and the surrogate are not the same woman.)

During our lunch hours, Matt and I sent the donor profiles to a select few family and friends and pored over every bit of information we had. Via text Matt and I agreed that we’d each pick five potential egg donors, compare our picks, and see which of them matched up.

That night we sat on our sofa in the living room and, like a really odd biologically-themed card game, or an America’s Next Top Model elimination, we revealed our picks one by one by placing printed copies of the egg donor profiles on the sofa cushions.

We had a few in common right away, which was exciting. We were able to eliminate about half of the sixteen in a matter of minutes. Then it was time to whittle away at our remaining top picks.

“What do you think of Janeane Garofalo?” I asked, holding up one of the profiles. Each profile started getting a nickname, which was helpful as there were no names on the profiles (only initials). The woman in the picture really did look like an Indian Janeane Garofalo. The next woman looked like she’d be an art teacher, so she became The Art Teacher.

“She could be a finalist,” Matt said. “What about Yearbook Pose?”

“Yep. Yearbook Pose is in. I’m still really all about The Lady in Yellow, though.” The woman in the photo looked like a mom I sometimes saw on the subway in the morning. For whatever reason, the photo and bio spoke to me.

“Yellow could be a finalist, too,” Matt said.

By the end of the night, we had it down to five. We decided to sleep on it one more night.

Today, as I was eating lunch at my desk at the office, trying to finish a million things before yet another work trip, Matt called.

“Ready to pick our final three?”

We went over the profiles that had become favorites one last time. “Okay, we have The Art Teacher, Yearbook Pose, and The Lady in Yellow. Do we feel good about that?”

“So no Janeane Garofalo?” Matt asked.

“I don’t think so, do you?”

“No,” he said. “I’m good with these three.” There was a pause. “Wow. We just picked the genetic mother of our child. Or children.”

“We did,” I said.

I was still smiling when we hung up.

One more step complete. One step closer to becoming dads.

–Josh

2 Responses to “Eggs in a Basket: Picking Our (Genetic) Baby Mama”

  1. farmboyz June 20, 2012 at 5:34 am #

    Fascinating. Here’s what I don’t get—and I think you should become accustomed to many naive questions—just because the clinic/agency is in India, does that mean all your options for choices were Indian women?

  2. newdadsontheblock June 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    No, we were given the option of having an egg brought in from Scandinavia for a rather large supplemental fee. Honestly tho, Josh and I have talked about all of this, and we were perfectly happy with the decision to use a local egg donor. We made the right call, I think.

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