The XX Factor

Eggs, Apartments, and Ethnicity

This week’s fascinating conversation about surrogacy has got me wondering: Where does race fit into this already complicated picture? It has to, somehow-doesn’t it?

Way back in the early aughts, when I was a fresh-faced college graduate, an urban legend began circulating among my crowd: A girl had been approached by a friend who asked if she would consider donating some of her eggs, so that he and his partner could have a baby. In exchange, he’d buy her a classic six on the Upper West Side. She declined.

I know! I know! But that’s the way the story gets told. And frankly, I can’t say I would have done differently. Even then, when my real estate lust was nowhere near the fever pitch it’s at now, I knew that a big Manhattan apartment represented some pretty sweet compensation. But I always hesitated, and usually decided that I would have turned it down, too-and it always came down to race.

I’m biracial, which means that, perhaps more than most people, I’m constantly aware of the fact that I’m the product of two very specific people’s very specific genetic make-ups. If you see me alone with my light-skinned, Chinese mother, we don’t make much sense as a unit-until my Indian father enters the picture. Obviously, I don’t think genes determine “family”; I know too many blended families, and families with adopted kids, to believe that. But given my personal history, the thought of a kid out there who looked half like me, but wasn’t mine , made me uneasy in a very weird, very primal way.

Double X ers who have donated eggs or are members of the surrogacy community-care to share your thoughts? How often does race come into play in these kinds of transactions?

Photograph by George Doyle/Getty Images.