Working with the egg donor applications at Circle Surrogacy, one of the reoccurring themes that I see is about faith. We of course have questions about religion, as this can be important to intended parents. Aside from those specific questions, donors sometimes bring up faith in their personality section, extracurricular activities, and sometimes even their educational background.
Starting about three years ago, I started reflecting and searching for my own faith. I always identified as Jewish, but this identity is always complex as it reflects faith, culture, community and ethnic background. Ethnically, my mother is Jewish and we celebrate the Jewish holidays with her side of the family. Up until three years ago, my faith was always just a faint question in the back of my mind that I never bothered to ask myself.
As I went to Germany for study abroad, I started to find my faith. It seemed like everywhere I looked there was footsteps of Jewish history as well as many other religious sites. It was overwhelming. Throughout my experience abroad, I felt my faith and spirituality sort of awaken.
As I came home and continued to reflect on this journey, I applied to a Jewish-specific agency. Working at Circle I knew that Jewish donors were especially needed. Within the Jewish community it’s commonly believe that Jewish heritage passes maternally, which translates to a need for Jewish donors. With a small Jewish population already, the donor pool is even smaller.
My second set of intended parents wanted me to be Beit Din certified by a rabbi. This involved some digging into my Jewish heritage and speaking to my family members. I had to find out where my family members were born, married, and even where my deceased family was buried. I had to ask about Hebrew names, what tribe we were part of, and had to write about my Jewish experiences. I even had to get written references from my Jewish friends stating that they knew me to be Jewish.
After donating, I felt like I was more connected within the Jewish community through egg donation. It became part of my Jewish identity as it is a decision that will always be with me as a two-time donor with successful pregnancies for each.
Next, there was my Birthright trip. This is a free trip to Israel for Jewish young adults, where they get to explore the country and reflect on their faith. My time spent there was eye opening to say the least. I was bat mitzvahed and given the Jewish name Gal, which means “wave”. I explored many places throughout Israel and made lasting friendships with the people I met.
While I was in Tel Aviv with my group, I was able to meet up with the women in charge of the agency I donated to, A Jewish Blessing. Being able to meet with her while on my Birthright trip made my experience with Jewish egg donation come full circle.
The incredible young women that deicide to be donors have many reasons to donate. For myself, my intentions intertwined with my faith. One of the many things I gained out of being an egg donor was a worldview on my faith and new way to reflect on my Jewish identity.