How it started
Seven months prior to my first donation, my cousin, Teagan Reddy, casually suggested a fertility clinic seeking eggs in exchange for money. No stranger to handing out flyers at a stop street or filling out lengthy research surveys, I was a typical student – always in pursuit of a quick buck. But I was less than mildly interested in Teagan’s proposed alternative, which she likely sensed because she didn’t bring it up again. And if I’m being completely honest, I was eyeing her sideways for even mentioning something that I thought so far-fetched at the time. So there was no shortage in irony when, months later, I was lying on an operating table at a fertility clinic.
April 2014 was a rough month! As a fourth-year media student at the University of Cape Town, my streams of income were limited to the tips I earned from waitressing at Cubaña and the monthly allowance my parents gave me, from which I often needed an advance on. At this point, I was about three months in overdraft with the Bank of Carol (my mother) and my tips barely covered travel expenses. Every now and then, my mind would wander back to the conversation I had with Teagan. Unable to afford my social life and drowning in stubborn bills that just refused to pay themselves, the financial frustration eventually drove me to one of the most meaningful Google searches of my life.
The first thing that popped up when I searched for “egg donation” was a clinic named Cape Fertility. I didn’t have to scroll too far down to see what the offer was. In that moment, being an egg donor turned from an abstract idea to a concrete plan. Desperation clouding my scepticism, I filled out the online application. A week later, I was sitting across the table from Kinny Ramoeng, a Cape Fertility specialist. She was very specific and clear in her explanation of egg donation – hammering out all the possible risks and side effects. Some people may have been scared off by the possibility of bleeding out every day or any of the other complications, but hearing this information from a professional instead of just reading it online, gave me a sense of comfort and helped normalise this whole concept.