Every desi millennial has in all probability watched Vicky Donor. Yeah, the same film where we see Ayushmann Khurana donating his sperm and making big bucks out of it. It seemed like such a strange concept back then. We partly judged Vicky and partly envied him, didn't we?
But the one thing that the film did was to get 'taboo' topics like infertility and sperm donation out in the open. We may have started out judging Vicky but the last scene left us convinced that what he was doing wasn't all that bad.
It seems like the movie left quite an impact on young girls as well.
Many young girls now flock to fertility clinics to donate their eggs. It is partly because they feel they're helping out someone in need and partly because of the money involved.
One quick Google search and you'd know how common this really is. I was lead to sites which were more than welcoming to anyone ready to donate eggs. Within 45 minutes of entering my contact information, I got a call from a clinic located in a posh locality in South Delhi.
Just when I had given up on gynaecologists with strong moral sensibilities of ever being able to guide young women like myself, I posed as an egg donor. The woman on the other end sounded professional but also easy to talk to. She started out with asking for my basic details like age, height, blood group and my family's medical history.
After taking down my details, she told me she'll be explaining the procedure next. It seemed like a conversation she's already had, something that was mechanical. The procedure didn't sound as scary:
The donor is put through regular tests that make sure you're healthy enough for a donation. The tests include a pelvic examination and regular blood tests. The donor also has to go through a psychological consultant to see if they're really ready to donate an egg.
Once the doctors have made sure you're ready, you're given hormonal injections to make sure your body produces a good number of eggs. It is a process that can take several days and when you visit the doctor, the eggs are extracted in a way where no surgery is involved.
My phone conversation lasted for about 15 minutes and I was told how common this is. Also, I'll be honest, it seemed like the best deal, till I got to know of the cons.
And while it will fetch you the money, there is a murky side to this business as well:
In terms of the biological downside, the donor may experience nausea, headaches and irritability after the hormone injections. However, since the hormones will be an extra addition to your body, it also means that you could end up with Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome where your body might keep producing extra eggs. It can be mild, which would mean mood swings, nausea and headaches. But if it is serious, you can end up in the hospital as well.
Moreover, this industry rests heavily on your complexion. Yes, even in the 21st century, couples want fair babies. The amount you get paid depends mostly on how fair you are. You could be paid anything between ₹20,000 to 70,000, which is a huge difference, depending entirely on your skin tone.
So, having eggs to donate is not enough. You need to be mentally prepared for all the games that your body will play with you and realize if you really want to help out people who reject your skin tone.
A Delhi-based gynaecologist, Dr. Ramandeep Kaur, said, "I think it's a good practice as long as people do it with all the right intent and for all the right purposes. A lot of women cannot conceive and if it helps them have a baby, it's a good thing. The problem arises when it gets commercialized. That's where you lose out on the good. "