Is Selling Your Eggs A Deal-Breaker In Dating?

By Gwen Farrell
·  7 min read
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In college, I distinctly remember lying on my dorm room floor with my girlfriends brainstorming creative ways to make money. The internet plied us with tons of suggestions, of course.

To make a buck, we could try selling pictures of our feet (gross) or our underwear (also gross), but nestled among them seemed like a viable option, and one many young women have turned to for a variety of reasons, namely the financial benefit: selling our eggs.

When we’re young, we view our eggs like we view our cruise control or hazard lights. They’re nice to have, but we likely won’t use or need them for…a while. Our fertility isn’t something we’re thinking about because the majority of us aren’t actively trying to get pregnant, and therefore not concerned with crucial knowledge about our bodies like our cycles or ovarian reserves. It’s due to this lack of interest (and the substantial financial stake in selling eggs) that we’re led to make a decision like this. But in doing so we might fail to consider that selling our eggs might be a deal-breaker in dating.

Here’s What Men Are Saying

I know how I personally feel about selling my eggs, in that I believe there are huge ethical considerations and complications associated with it, not to mention the emotional and physical risks (including loss of fertility, ovarian torsion, kidney disease, ovarian cysts, hemorrhage, stroke, cancer, and premature menopause, to name a few). But to get to the heart of this, I wanted to survey the men in my life about the prospect of dating a woman who has sold or wants to sell her eggs. Women, for the most part, probably feel that selling their eggs is harmless. But how would their boyfriends or husbands feel?

Naturally, I first surveyed the most important man in my life, my husband. “Would you date a woman who sells her eggs?” (Yes, I realize there’s an element of the absurd to this, given that we are, in fact, married...but I trust both his intelligence and his honesty, and my curiosity got the better of me.) He didn’t have the answer I expected, but one I respected anyway. He said no because “it unsettles me, but I can’t put my finger on why exactly.” Fair enough.

I then turned to our friend Justin, who’s single, never been married, and has no kids but hopes to one day. In our social circle, Justin is one of the few among us still on the modern dating scene. He’s also very opinionated, very smart, and very honest about what he likes and what he doesn’t like in a prospective girlfriend. I wanted to have this conversation with him, given that we often exclude men from conversations like these on the arbitrary basis of “her body, her choice.” Men are allowed to have opinions and often do, even if we think they shouldn’t. 

“Egg donation,” is seen as a selfless act for the many people who aren’t able to have kids. 

“It would really depend on the woman, but I don’t think so.” Of course, I asked him to elaborate. “I understand being young and broke, but what if I want to settle down and her decisions affect our future? What if we can’t have any kids of our own because of this choice that she made?”

Doing the Bare Minimum for Our Kids

Being young and broke (with a functioning reproductive system) is essentially the only prerequisite required to sell your eggs. Donors can receive between an estimated $5,000 to $10,000 per donation, but some private clinics may pay even more. As couples wait longer to start families and women postpone having kids while their most fertile years have come and gone, young women are enticed by glossy online marketing campaigns and even advertising on college campuses. An extremely lucrative business has originated as a consequence of this supply and demand. 

It’s not without its complications, though the business may downplay those risks as much as possible. One woman, an M.D. and a Ph.D. who sold her eggs, writes, “Even though I suffered immediate life-threatening complications from the process [egg donation and retrieval], it wasn’t until many more years of medical training that I was able to understand the full scope of how I had been taken advantage of, mislead, and abandoned by the egg harvesting industry.”

Selling eggs, often referred to as “egg donation,” is seen as a selfless act for the many people who aren’t able to have kids. It’s marketed as the ultimate act of altruism – an act of selflessness that also pays thousands per donation. It might seem like egg donation is only concerned with helping couples have the families of their dreams, but it’s still a business, first and foremost. Make no mistake.

The woman who sells her eggs will likely never meet the children that resulted from her giving away an intrinsic part of her biological makeup. But isn’t ensuring our kids know who their parents are the bare minimum we can do for them?

Making Big Decisions When We’re Young Complicates Our Future

When we’re young, it’s understandable that we’d be easily swayed by the supposed benefits of selling our eggs. We get to help others and get a check out of it. What could be better?

But decisions we make at 22 or 24 might not have the same allure that they did when we’re 35 and trying to have kids of our own. Not only that, but even as we struggle with potential complications like infertility, there could be potential biological children of ours out there who are struggling with their own identities as a result of this choice. Those kids would be the best-case scenario in this situation – some of our eggs might be used in experimentation, failed procedures, or sit waiting in storage for decades to come.

Decisions we make at 22 might not have the same allure that they did when we’re 35.

Progressive messaging with regard to women is all about empowerment and self-fulfillment. But once we do something this invasive, we lose any say over what happens to this fundamental aspect of our biology. And even if we’re blessed to find someone who respects a decision we made long ago, what kind of future are we giving them? 

These kinds of disturbing, real-world possibilities are what can occur when we make choices with little to no regard for our bodies, in the same way we would with things like abortion or hormonal birth control. These decisions seem like the right ones at the time, but what about one or even five years from now? We have absolutely no way of knowing how we’ll be affected, nor what our lives will look like as a consequence of this choice.

We might be offended at the thought of this choice being a potential deal-breaker in a relationship. But how could we have even a modicum of consideration for a romantic partner if we have so little regard for ourselves and our own bodies?

Closing Thoughts

It is only natural to be single and hope and pray you’ll find the right person to spend the rest of your life with. At some point during our single days, we should evaluate our lifestyle and our choices and ask ourselves, am I the best possible version of myself and worthy of the right person, were they to come along? Not only that, but are my decisions ones that will benefit or damage our lives years from now?

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