I Was Strapped For Cash So I Sold My Eggs & It Was A Nightmare Experience

I opened a Gap credit card in high school, went on a shopping spree, had shopaholic-amnesia, then neglected to pay a dime of it off. I hope my teenage-self enjoyed those jeans and colorful sweaters because I’ve been strapped for cash and desperate to catch up ever since. After years of paying for my teenage mistakes (literally), I decided to give in to the idea of selling my eggs. How hard could it be?

  1. The early morning appointments were exhausting. Every woman dreads going to the gynecologist and it only happens once a year. Can you imagine having to go 10 times in two weeks? I’m not sure what was more awkward, the stirrups or the ultrasound tool shaped like a dildo with a tiny condom on it.
  2. I was so bloated that I thought I might float away. I had to lay on my bed to put my fat pants on, which was not a proud moment. The bloating did not only concentrate in my belly but also landed right on my cheeks. I felt like Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
  3. The hormones turned me into a psycho. I was started on birth control in order to time my cycle with the recipient. Birth control is enough to send me over the edge and straight to the psych ward. I didn’t think it was possible to go beyond such unstable behavior. Then, I started the injections. With each needle, I could feel myself changing from Dr. Jekkyl to Mr. Hyde. I cried over the Charmin toilet paper commercials (the bear cubs are so cute, though) and threw a fit of rage when Starbucks was out of soy milk. People had every right to fear me. I feared myself.
  4. The injections were really intimidating. I can’t believe that doctors allow normal people to do these injections on their own. While they were always unpleasant, the first one was especially intimidating. I sat at my kitchen table with syringes, needles and alcohol swabs splayed out in front of me after washing my hands approximately 16 times. I played the video tutorials on loop for two hours and overanalyzed every word. I tried to think of it as Chemistry class, but then I remembered that I got a D in Chemistry. My anxiety level shot through the roof. While I somehow became more comfortable with jabbing needles into my stomach, the burning sensation of the meds had me screaming tribal noises every time.
  5. There were a few times that I wanted to quit. There is no part of the process that was easy and I was reminded of that daily. I cried on the bathroom floor towards the end of my stimulation because I was riddled with headaches, bruised from the needles and seriously uncomfortable overall. I didn’t have anyone to talk to because I was afraid of the backlash I would receive when I told them I was making this sacrifice for money. The loneliness made everything worse.
  6. Who knew someone could create so many eggs? I felt like a fish carrying roe. The day of my egg retrieval, I was honestly sure that I was going to explode. Not surprisingly, they collected 38 eggs. On a normal month, I would only release one.
  7. Just my luck: I overstimulated. Following my egg retrieval, I was super uncomfortable. This is to be expected after someone jabs needles repeatedly into your ovaries. I was so bloated that I had to sleep standing up in order to breathe. I gained 10 pounds in two days. The reward I had been given for donating my eggs was Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). It was hell.
  8. The money was tempting, but in the end, it wasn’t all mine. As if women need to add another injustice to the list in life, egg donations are classified at the end of the year as “Miscellaneous” income, as if winning the lottery. What kind of messed up lottery is this? Although I should’ve researched this on my own, no one told me until I was partway through my stimulation and was handed a 1099 form.
  9. I was quick to take this risk, but never once considered the long-term side effects. Once I recovered from my egg retrieval, I assumed that I would never have to think of this time in my life again. The swelling in my face and stomach would subside, I would eventually fit into my skinny jeans and ride off into the sunset with my earnings. The opposite has been true. I worry almost daily that I’ll become riddled with cancer or one day infertile. Few studies have been done on the long-term effects of infertility drugs, yet I was willing to risk my health for a taxable $8,000.
  10. A child somewhere is carrying my DNA. It’s a beautiful thing that I was able to help an infertile woman carry a child on her own and I’m so happy that I could provide that. She wished for jeans with elastic waistbands and she got them because of me (a phrase that does not make sense in any other context). Once in a while, though, more often than I care to admit, I’ll see a baby in Starbucks with my almond-shaped, hazel eyes and wonder if she’s mine. My heart aches a little, but I can only hope that they are just as loved as they were desperately wanted.


Caitlyn is a freelance writer living in Washington D.C.