One day, when this journey began, I received a call from the friend of a friend of a friend; she shared with me that she had finally come to terms with her need for an egg donor. She explained to me that her journey with infertility had been a long and difficult one, that it had taken her through many a heartbreak because of pregnancy loss and cycle failures and that she was now ready to move on. She described her panic, confusion, desperation and fear when she first heard the doctor utter the D word, that she had spent many a night weeping over the loss of her own child, over the loss of her family's legacy, over the loss of the child she had always dreamed of, the one who would look like her, like someone she knew.
And then she shared her most recent frustration. After finally accepting that she would need a donor in order to fulfill her lifelong dream of a child she was faced with the realization that finding a Jewish donor, she had been told by the many Egg Donation Agencies, was a difficult thing to come by. I shared with her that in the 7 years that I had been searching for wonderful donors for the families that I was fortunate enough to work with, in the 7 years that I had reviewed the 100's of responses to ads that we had placed, that I had only come across 3 Jewish applicants. I was, however, very hopeful that I might somehow be able to help her. I had often thought about the issues that influenced a woman's ability to contemplate Egg Donation; cultural, familial, social and personal issues. There were times that even the most determined search had not yielded a single applicant, as in the search for a donor for my East Indian client. I had concluded that it was not about how generous a specific group of people was inclined to be, nor was it about the value that they placed on the virtue of kindness but that it ran much deeper. And as a Jewish woman myself, I had often thought about whether I myself would ever have been able to donate an egg to another family.
It has been the very reason that I have had such profound respect for these young women who are able, through some mysterious quality that they possess, to consider such an amazingly generous act. Though some are inclined to brush all altruistic motivations aside, I cannot, because I am acutely aware of the uniqueness of character that these women possess. I am grateful for each and every one of them who has helped my families achieve their dreams. I shared my thoughts and feelings with the no longer stranger at the other end of the phone. What was clear to me, above all else, was what she was feeling about the importance of finding of a Jewish donor. I would have most certainly felt the same. I was raised in an Orthodox family, the granddaughter of a Zidichiover Chasid on my father's side and the daughter of a Holocaust Survivor on my mother's. There was no need to try to explain what she was feeling, I explained to her. I understood.
Those of you who are frightened by the prospect of not finding a Jewish donor will be overjoyed to hear that in my search for a donor for this friend of a friend of a friend that I discovered a wonderful thing. I have discovered that young Jewish women are very happy to contemplate the prospect of donating an egg; especially to another Jewish family. I probably don't have to explain.