February 2009


Right now I’m sitting down with my big ol’ folder of paperwork.  Most of it is pretty predictable: liability forms, consent to allow peer review, etc, etc.  Basically just my signature required a bunch of times.

The most interesting form is the Donor Profile.  I was a little confused when the nurse handed it to me, as I’d already submitted to them information about my height, weight, ethnicity, etc.  Apparently, potential parents want to actually see something handwritten in front of them.  “So make sure your writing is neat and you don’t scratch out anything,” the nurse told me.

Using the utmost care and neatest penmanship, I began to fill it out.  Pretty basic stuff at first.  Racial group, religion, blood type, hair color and type…

There was a whole section devoted to what my skin was like.  Whether I had lots of freckles (only a few), my pigmentation (ghostly white), and so on.

Then came the “Personal Characteristics” page, which feels more like a questionnaire for a dating service than to be an egg donor.  Well, a combo, I guess.  They ask about a bunch of personal, first-date type questions combined with questions about your math skills and athletic skills, which I guess some people think will get passed on to any children produced from your genes.  I can’t put in my exact answers for fear of too much identifying information, but these are all the things they wanted to know about:

1.  Math Skills/Ability.  Okay, I can understand that your little future chitlin needs to be proficient in math to make it through those tough elementary years.  I enjoy math a lot, but never really pursued it.

2.  Mechanical Skills.  I mentioned that I built my own computer, but then I didn’t know if they were looking for, “I replaced the engine in my car in under an hour,” so I mentioned that I didn’t really know much about cars.  If you were wanting your child to grow up to be an auto mechanic, look for another donor’s genes.

3.  Athletic Skills.  I can also understand this one.  I know many parents have dreams of their child, in addition to  being a math whiz, growing up to bring home a gold medal.  Unfortunately, the chances of me bringing home a gold medal in the olympics are incredibly low unless they add a competetive turn-your-tongue-into-a-clover event within the next year or so.

4.  What is your favorite sport?  The truth is a big fat “none,” but the tone of the questionnaire so far has been pretty anti-sports, so I made a stretch and said that I like watching baseball.

5.  Musical Skills.  So we want a math whiz, and a gold medal-winner, AND a future maestro.  Luckily, I do have a little bit of musicality in me.  Played the flute for a few years, and now I’m trying to learn the finger symbols.

6.  What is your favorite type of music?  Okay, what the hell is this?  Why do my musical preferences matter?  Maybe the whole point of this survey is to see if I’m the type of person the potential father would bang.

She likes Bon Jovi? Yeah, I’d definitely see myself mixing genetic material with her at some point.  Call ‘er up!”

7.  What languages do you speak?  Some French and Japanese.  According to Kookey’s Kooland, this is an inherited trait.

8.  Special Hobbies/Talents.  I wasn’t sure what to put here.  I have a bunch of hobbies, but I don’t know that I’d call any of them “special.”  Bellydancing?  Knitting?  Being really good at being a student?

9. Describe your artistic abilities.  Finally we can talk about my forte.  I mentioned all the acting and drawing and dance and everything else that I enjoy way more than sports.

10.  What are your favorite foods?  Um….okay, I guess it’s another one of those “would you bang me?” questions.  I couldn’t pick one, so I put all of ’em.

11. What is your favorite color?  Now it’s starting to feel like a myspace bulletin/survey/chain letter.

12.  Do you like pets?  If so, which is your favorite?  Now it REALLY feels like a myspace bulleting/survey/chain letter.

13.  To where would you most travel and why?  I got pretty specific on this one.  Maybe if I could convey my sense of desperation to visit Japan, they’ll kick in a few extra hundred dollars.

14.  How would you describe your personality?  They give you 3 and a half lines for this.  Seriously?  People write autobiographies trying to figure their own personality out, and I have to put it down in 3 and a half lines with no scratching out allowed.

15.  What is your ultimate ambition or goal in life?  See my above complaint.

And on that rather deep note, the survey ended.   I tried to be honest, and I’m not entirely sure if that will help or hurt my eggs’ sales pitch.  But I’ll be damned if you can’t read every single letter crystal clear.

Advertisements

On January 14th, I made the drive down to Roseville for my physical examination.  I ate a small breakfast, and after the two and a half hour drive, I was pretty much famished.  Thank God there was a crummy little gas station near the clinic.  Wading through the many different varieties of disgusting-flavored fiber and protein bars, I came out with something much more satisfying:

Photobucket

Yellow Zingers.

The last time I had a yellow zinger was on a car ride down to the Sacramento Zoo on my best friend’s 16th birthday. I ate about a whole box and swore I’d never eat them again, but chowing down on them while parked outside the fertility clinic was an experience akin to nirvana. If you’ve never had one of these, I feel sorry for you. Just make sure you don’t eat a whole box when you do try them.

While I’m sure the preservatives and chemicals in the zingers probably diminished my reproductive capacity by at least 5%, I went ahead with the appointment anyway.  The nurse coordinator assigned to me was very nice and carefully explained the entire process.  Before I’m even chosen, I have to call her on the first day of every period so that she can consider whether or not to schedule me for hormone testing.  Apparently the birth control I’d been using up to that point was suppressing my hormones too much, so I have to switch to the pill for at least a month before I can have my hormone testing done.  Inconvenience #1:  Going from set-it-and-forget-it birth control to taking a pill every day at the same time.

Once a couple has chosen me, it’s time for Inconveniences #2-4: setting up appointments for (A) a consultation with a social worker in Roseville, (B) a 3 hour written psychological exam in Sacramento, (C) a consultation with a genetic counseler in San Anselmo, and (D) a legal consultation with an attorney in Oakland.  The good part is that all of these are totally free for me, I just have to drive around everywhere.

After then explaining the actual medication administering schedule and process (I get to give myself injections. Yay.), I was introduced to the physician assigned to me.  We talked a little bit about my medical history.  By “talked” I mean that he reviewed my medical history as a lightning-fast string of medical jargon topped with a heavy accent to boot hit me in the face, and I sat there and tried to wade through it.  After this, it was time for an ultrasound of my ovaries to determine if they were easily accessible.

Now, when I hear the word “ultrasound,” I think of an obstetric ultrasound.  You know, the kind that pregnant ladies get and which you always see in movies and TV.  The doctor always says, “This is just gonna be a little bit cold,” as he rubs gel on your belly and then slides this device known as a transducer over it.
Photobucket
“The transducer will seduce ya!” as they say.

I was a little confused as I was putting on the requisite paper gown that the transducer looked nothing like the one above. The one in front of me looked more like a….stick blender.
PhotobucketPhotobucket

That’s the transducer on top and a stick blender on the bottom. I hope I’m not the only one who sees the resemblance.

Anyway, turns out that the stick blender was NOT going to be rubbed on my belly, but rather, jammed into my vagina in a rather unfriendly manner. Yeah. The doctor didn’t even warn me about that one.  The transducer will seduce ya, indeed.

Uncomfortably intimate experience with a stick blender aside, my ovaries are quite accessible and just begging to be chuck full of lil eggs.  Huzzah!

I was sent home with more paperwork than you can shake a stick at, which I’ll go over in another post.  As of right now, it’s kind of a waiting game.  I just have to fill out a bunch of forms and wait for some infertile future parents to pick me.  And not go into “walk of shame” mode whenever I see a stick blender.

The first hoop I had to jump through to become an egg donor was filling out the longest doctor’s office questionnaire of my life.  Times about 5.

Before the clinic even contacted me, I had to apply online and fill out a basic, pretty short questionnaire just about myself, a little bit of my medical history, contact info, and so on.  I was shortly contacted via email thanking me for my interest and informing me that I would have to fill out “a few” more questionnaires to see if I met the basic qualifications.  Little did I know that “a few” actually meant “a few” hours worth of checking in little checkboxes and bubbles.  They needed my complete medical history, my family’s complete medical history, my reproductive history, exact dates and locations of surgeries, exams, checkups…Needless to say, I went a tad crazar filling everything out.

And then when you finally finish….you essentially have experience it all over again because a nurse has to review the entire thing while on the phone with you.  At the end of all this, I have a pretty good working memory of the medical history of everyone within 2 generations of me, so if you’re ever super curious about my maternal grandmother’s ailments or something, I’m your man.

I also had to send in some pictures of myself.  I sent in a headshot of myself that was taken this last summer, but I didn’t really have any good bodyshots.  Tyler and I did a little photoshoot in my landlord’s garden.  Tyler’s a big fan of this one:

P1020526 copy

And no, that’s not the one I sent in.

After squeezing as much information out of me as possible, I was finally contacted by the clinic to set up an appointment to see a physician and a nurse coordinator.  But I was far from out of the questionnaire woods, I would soon find…