Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
Apparently, in our looks-obsessed society, struggling actresses and models in New York City are now the “it girls” for couples undergoing IVF. According to the New York Post, “In an industry where attractiveness is a prerequisite, and steady income is hard to come by, actresses often are an egg agent’s perfect target.” In fact, ads are even being placed on acting trade sites like BackStage.com to entice women looking for work to donate their eggs at a premium. The beautiful wannabes are being paid anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000 for their egg donations—much more than your average bartending actress would make in a month.
It’s like there’s this whole underworld designed to find eggs for rich people—like a black market, only legal. “Egg agents” do a full background check that includes school transcripts and SAT scores, blood tests for diseases, and a psych exam. The higher the woman’s GPA and SAT scores, the higher her payday.
But it’s not exactly easy money. A prospective donor is put on hormones for two to nine weeks to increase her egg production, and the harvesting of eggs for IVF can be very painful. After the surgery, she is left feeling sore and bloated, and as of yet researchers do not know if there are any long-term effects associated with donating eggs. What they do know is that you lose eggs, and it increases your risks of developing cysts. Because of that, there are rules in place that only allow a woman to make six donations in her lifetime.
Trying to Conceive: 5 Common Fertility Mistakes
Those donating the eggs are of course also helping to bring life into the world. But they will likely never know for sure if children were born from their donated eggs, because donors often sign waivers saying that they will not be notified of the outcome. Sperm donors have been around forever and are now becoming trendy with movies like Vince Vaughn’s Delivery Man, and MTV’s show Generation Cryo—which follows a girl and her 15 half-siblings as they try to find their sperm donor dad. So it’s no surprise that egg donors are now in demand, especially considering more than 7.3 million couples in the US struggle with infertility.
Does wanting to have attractive egg donors make us as a society superficial or smart—thinking of survival of the fittest in every sense of the word?
TELL US: Are you surprised actresses’ and models’ egg donations are in demand? Would you choose a pretty donor over a less attractive one?
NEXT: If you got pregnant today, what would your due date be? Find out!
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Image of woman courtesy of Shutterstock.
Friday, June 28th, 2013
Men have biological clocks too! While we just learned that women shouldn’t panic about their eggs shriveling up and dying by age 35 (what a relief!), men actually do have to worry about their sperm taking a nosedive in numbers—and actually mutating—once they hit the big 3-0.
Testosterone levels drop about one percent per year after age 30. The older a guy gets, not only is his sperm count lowered (which can lead to a higher risk of cancer), but the sperm cells divide more and more, causing higher genetic abnormalities that can create autism or other health issues in children.
According to New York City-based urologist Joseph Alukal, who is now known in the industry as “The Sperm Whisperer,” (ha!) more men than ever are choosing to freeze their sperm in an effort to make sure they can father healthy babies later in life. Page Six Magazine, which interviewed Dr. Alukal, reports that this involves “cryobanking,” and costs roughly $500 to start, with annual storage fees ranging from $450 for one year to $2,550 for 10 years.
This preventative measure is pricy, so don’t let your guy’s age get you own. To quote the dearly departed R&B singer Aaliyah (RIP), “Age Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number.” No matter whether your guy is 20, 30 or 40, there are things he can do—for free—to ensure he’s producing strong swimmers. A healthy lifestyle can help you delay the aging effects that lower fertility.
Regular exercise and a low-fat diet are key. If your man’s overweight or underweight, it can kill your chances of getting pregnant. If he’s a smoker, help him quit, because it can also decrease sperm count and cause sperm to move more slowly, making sure they never make it to the egg to fertilize it. He should also limit drinking to weddings, reunions and really important sporting events (those are my words, not a professional’s—doctors say to avoid alcohol, but you can’t take away all his fun!).
Stress levels can also increase abnormal sperm and reduce its concentration. So getting enough sleep and taking time to relax can really make a difference for him in the bedroom. And as silly as it sounds, don’t let him get overheated! Time spent in saunas, Jacuzzis and steam rooms should be limited to 15 minutes no more than twice a week since sperm production thrives in a cool climate. This even means he shouldn’t spend all night on his laptop either!
I bet when you were getting all of those lectures in Sex Ed, the 16-year-old you had no idea how complicated the science of having a baby really is!
TELL US: Are you worried about male infertility? Would you ask your husband to freeze his sperm?
Image of sperm courtesy of Shutterstock.
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