University girls in the city are now selling their eggs for Sh30,000, it can now be revealed.
The money supplements the allowance from their parents, assorted ‘sponsors’ and side hustles to make ends meet. Human eggs are sold to fertility clinics in Nairobi.
Students claimed that unemployment and high cost of living is what is driving them into the trade. Julia Akinyi, a 21-year-old student at the University of Nairobi holing up in one of the city’s hostels learnt of the lucrative side hustle from her colleagues whose flashy lifestyle she envied.
Julia thought they bankrolled their extravagant lifestyles by leeching on sponsors until she was let in on the new trend of selling their eggs in one of the few In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) centres in Nairobi.
“The day I was paid Sh30,000, I was super happy,” she told The Nairobian.
In Kenya, selling of eggs by women can fetch up to Sh50,000, but in Western countries, the amount can be as much as $8,000 (Sh800,000).
Julia revealed that the process is simple. She filled some forms and had to get daily injections for seven to 14 days when her menstrual cycle began, followed by a small procedure and voila! she was paid Sh30,000.
Further, she was given transport money for the two weeks she visited the clinic.
Among the forms is the seller’s family medical history, school background and age. No other background investigation is conducted. To be eligible, one has to be between the ages of 18 and 29 years.
“As soon as I finished filling up the questionnaire, I was ushered into the doctor’s office where he informed me what the procedure entails. I was supposed to get a daily injection on my abdomen for about five days. Thereafter, I would have a scan to see how far my eggs were and continue with the treatment till my eggs were ready for harvest.”
A blood screening was also done, though they did not wait for the results to start the hormone injection.
After Julia’s blood was drawn, she was handed Sh2,000 transport money before being ushered into a room where she got her first injection.
“After the injections, my stomach started bloating. I was not supposed to drink any alcohol or use contraceptives since that would have hindered the development of my eggs.”
The ‘donors’ are never given the identities of the women who will buy their eggs.
Julia had the same hormonal injections every day at the same time to help stimulate the ovary to ripen her eggs. After six days of injections, Julia had a scan using a vaginal probe to find out how far her eggs were.
“Apart from my stomach bloating, I really had it smooth during the injections. The only thing that got me frustrated was the daily injections that I had to go for at the clinic. I was moody all the time because of the hormone injections but besides that, everything was okay.”
After her scan, Julia continued with the injections for five more days to find out if her eggs were ready for harvest. “My eggs took a while to develop; hence I had to have a second set of injections after the scan. I was given another Sh2,000 for transport, so I didn’t mind that much.”
After 10 days, Julia’s eggs were ready for harvesting.
“I was told to be at the clinic by 6am. I was advised not to be late because if I did, my body would release the eggs and I wouldn’t get paid. I was there by 5:30am. They ushered me into a room where I slipped into a hospital gown. Then I was told to pee before surgery.”
In the surgery room, a general anaesthetic was administered and she passed out. Thirty minutes later, she was woken up by a nurse.
“I was groggy at first, and when I fully became conscious, I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen. The cramps were bad. I was taken to a recovery room where I stayed for an hour. Later, a nurse came with some medication and an envelope that had my money.”
After her rest, Julia was fine and she took a matatu home.
“I had no side effects at all. Six months later, I went through the same process. But when I got a well-paying job, I closed that chapter of my life. Two years later, I was blessed with a son and did not even experience complications.”
None of her family members or friends are aware of her secret.
But another girl, Stella, a 20-year-old student at Kenya Methodist University (KeMU), experienced a few complications, including a bloated stomach. “It used to hurt so much,” she recalls, adding that, “I was acutely aware of where my ovaries were, and I could feel a pulsing pain every time I tried to pee.”
As it turned out, she was suffering from moderate Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS) after the doctor extracted 14 eggs from her ovaries. She used to vomit and only managed bowel movement after eight days.
Wellington Wafula, who has a 20-year-old daughter studying law at the University of Nairobi, is horrified by this new trend.
“God created everything for a purpose. If you go ahead and give away your eggs in exchange for money, there is only a limit the human body can endure.”
Daniel Omondi, a 28-year-old social media manager told The Nairobian that he can never date a woman who has sold her eggs.
“I cannot date a woman who has donated her eggs. What if she develops complications and cannot bear kids? Do you know the pain of being stuck with a barren woman? If she really needed the money, she should have looked for a job, even if it means being a bartender, instead of selling her eggs,” he argues.