The Sex Lives of College Girls: Egg Donation Fact vs. Fiction
Perhaps you've seen the popular Mindy Kaling HBO series The Sex Lives of College Girls or our TikTok about it. The first season saw one of the main characters, Kimberly, get into deep financial trouble, unsure of how she will pay her tuition at the fictional elite college, Essex. The most recent season, (which aired this past fall), featured a plot line where Kimberly solves her tuition problems by donating her eggs. Now of course SLOCG is just a fun show and not expected to be totally accurate, but it's also very widely watched and it's important to distinguish what is true about egg donation, and what was made up for the sake of the plot. Here is the fact and the fiction of egg donation on the SLOCG:
Fiction: the timeline
The way it's portrayed on the show, Kimberly reads a pamphlet about egg donation, thinks over whether or not to do it, applies, gets chosen, goes on medication, and completes her retrieval within the span of about four episodes; in the show's time, this is maybe a couple of months. This is definitely not a realistic timeline for egg donation.
It actually takes about 4-6 months to complete one donation cycle, and that’s after going through the application process. There are a lot of interviews and screenings that you have to complete to even get on the donor database, and then once your application is accepted, there is no guarantee that any intended parents will choose you right away. Some donors sit on the database for months before getting chosen. Once you have been matched, there are more screenings to be done as well as legal contracts to be drafted and signed before you go on medication, not to mention you have to align your medication cycle with your menstrual cycle. So in total from start to finish, the whole egg donation process for a new donor probably takes almost a year - if you’re lucky!
Fiction: the compensation
Kimberly manages to solve her financial issues all at once, making $80,000 on her first donation. Unfortunately, in real life you are almost certainly not going to get compensated $80,000 for a single donation, even if you did go to an Ivy league or elite school. Compensation varies from agency to agency and by who the donor is, but donors typically don't make more than $18,000 on their first donation. $80,000 is much more than most donors make in one go, so we would not necessarily advise egg donation as a solution for financial stability!
Click here for our compensation information.
Fact: friends helping with injections
In the show, Kimberly "doesn't like watching things go under her skin" and has her roommate Leighton help her administer her hormonal injections. Many donors ask friends or family to help them with the injections. A lot of people are skittish with needles and having help is very common and totally ok!
It’s also true that you have to take the injections at the same time each day. In fact, injections happen twice a day at very specific times. In the show when Kimberly is dragging Leighton to the bathroom at parties every night, that can happen if you are a college student who chose 10pm for your time!
Fact: support person
Leighton not only helps Kimberly with her injections, but also drives her to her retrieval and stays with her through the procedure. This is definitely true! You need to have a support person drive you to and from your retrieval, and they will be helpful as you recover from the procedure. Because support people are necessary to the process, their travel expenses (including flights, hotel, transportation, and food) are also paid for (to a certain point).
Fact: thinking through the decision
After learning about egg donation, Kimberly takes her time thinking about whether or not to go through with it. She makes a detailed pro/con list and talks it out with her friends. While pro/con lists aren't everyone's thing, it's definitely a good idea to think about the decision carefully. Talking to friends (and family if you are able) is incredibly beneficial, because having a support system as an egg donor is critical. Becoming an egg donor is not something to take lightly, and it's important to be thoughtful about your decision. After all, you are not only impacting your own life, but someone else's as well.