When my 11-year-old nephew asked me on Friday the 13th if anything bad would happen to him, I reassured him that something bad could happen to him any day.
My obvious lack of parenting skills is one reason why I've opted out of motherhood.
I am thirty-ish, happy, healthy and in a stable, long-term relationship, but have remained childless by choice. Simply put, I didn’t come with the programming to procreate.
Yet, I still have the equipment for it. So when a friend suggested I become an egg donor, I jumped on the opportunity, motivated both by curiosity and a wish to fulfill a dream.
I desired the financial means to travel to an Arabic-speaking country and study the language, and the recipients of my eggs desired the biological means to make a baby. Science would happily facilitate the swap, I reasoned.
After months of extensive medical testing, self-administering a strict regime of hormone injections, and going into the clinic for daily blood draws and ultrasounds, 18 eggs were extracted from my ovaries using ultrasound-guided needles. As my eggs were transported to the fertility lab in the hopes of creating a new human life, I deposited my hard-earned compensation check into my savings account and began planning my trip.
I settled on Egypt, and my partner agreed to come along. Our plan was to get certified to teach English in Alexandria and travel to Cairo to teach for a few months.
However, due to a sudden twist of fate, the tickets we had purchased for the cheapest price possible became wildly momentous just as we set off. After a day in transit, our plane touched down in Cairo at 5 p.m. on Jan. 28, 2011, on the historic Day of Rage.
We had flown straight into a revolution!
Like an event horizon, a revolution is an unstoppable force. It caught up to us scarcely a few miles outside the airport, sucking us into its orbit as the sun set and the city became the scene of pitched battles between riot police and protesters. From the back of a taxi we watched a popular uprising unfold, hardly believing what we were seeing.
Cairo, a mega-city of 20 million, was in an athletic fit of rage. Bridges and buildings were on fire, roads barricaded with smoldering tires and the detritus of battle. The city’s arteries, big and small, surged with bold defiance.
Cairo stuns on an ordinary day. But on this day it asked you to abandon everything you knew as it swelled with a spirit beyond ordinary experience. It was an incredible moment and truly humbling to have been there to experience it in some small way, to witness history in the making.
Eventually, that night, we made it safely to our destination and settled in for an abbreviated but very interesting stay.
Since then, I have returned to Egypt two more times, persuaded by the unlimited warmth and energy of the Egyptian people. The connections I forged there will last a lifetime. As a working person with limited resources, none of this would have been possible without my participation in third-party reproduction as an egg donor.
On my donor profile I checked the box giving the children conceived with my DNA permission to one day seek me out. And I hope they do. Because I am proud I defied taboos about blood relations and motherhood and helped people do the one thing I've never wanted to do: start a family.
And boy do I have some stories to share!
I have always been the "weird aunt" to my nephew, but maybe, one day, I can be the "cool mom" to my own biological children, whoever they are.
Michelle Ryder is a freelance writer living in Bonney Lake. She is one of six reader columnists who write for this page. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.