How it started

Glamour (South Africa) - - Think -

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.

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