In the July 2015 issue of babys and Beyond...
Egg donation is a
solution to persons who have no other recourse to conceive. It is a chance where there is no other.
The field has increased
in awareness and popularity in the last decade.
South Africa has
established a very reputable and ethical base of egg donation practices and
principles making our country a sought after destination for these very
services from persons from all corners of the earth. Professional medical care coupled with high
success rates for treatments at the key cities in South Africa is also highly
advantageous for persons wishing to include medical travel with some leisure
We have a very
advantageous system of providing extensive information about egg donors, but
not to the extent that confidential and identifying information is
compromised. This means that recipients
receive adequate content of their anonymous egg donor and the latter has the
reassurance of knowing that her responsibility about her good deed ends on the
day her donor eggs are retrieved. She is
not obliged to be available in the future and has the comfort of knowing that
any child(ren) conceived of such egg donation will never be able to contact
her. This is the basis upon which South
African egg donations are managed, supporting the concept of anonymous tissue
donation. To understand further – this
is anonymous in terms of identifying details, but known in terms of physical
traits, academic and personality traits.
No adult pictures of egg donors are divulged. Recipients only have access to childhood
pictures of egg donors. This is a
highly attractive option for both egg donors and recipients who can then
continue their lives in privacy, with the focus on helping namelessly for egg
donors and becoming parents for recipients.
Ethically, egg donation
in South Africa takes on a kind and gentle vive. Egg donors are given a donation (amount
approved by the Department of Health) for their participation and devotion to
the process and appointments. This keeps
the motivation on an ultruistic and loving nature. The profit and greed incentive is completely
removed. Financially, the process is
therefore viable and affordable by comparison to other areas in the world.
popularity of egg donation is due to a change in lifestyles, information and
understanding of egg donation. People
are living longer, so the option to start a family later in life becomes more
feasible and accepting. A fast paced
life also forces people to focus on careers fully delaying the decision to
start a family. At such a point, woman
may find their fertility levels have declined and they need to consider egg
donation. This typically happens from
Finding the ideal life
partner may only happen later in life when women’s egg reserves have been
depleted. Many cases have also surfaced
where second relationships have been initiated later in life and one of the
partners does not have children. The desire
to have a family of this union compels people to consider egg donation as the
solution to conceive.
Woman are born with a
fixed ovarian reserve and this ‘basket’ depletes throughout life due to eggs
being lost in the monthly cycle, exposure to pollution, auto immune disease,
etc. Accordingly, around late 30’s, egg
donation is encouraged as a means to conceive to limit excessive fertility
treatments with own eggs.
Woman who are carriers
of genetic concerns who seek not to recreate these challenges also look to egg
donation as a means to stop such. The
beauty of these processes really comes to a notion of giving and understanding,
really improving life. An egg donor, who
was actually conceived through egg donation too, elected to help because she
was grateful that her parents took the effort to stop the genetic hearing
problem in their family. She looks at
her older sibling with a hearing struggle, conceived naturally, and knows that
her parents considered another option to prevent her from inheriting this same
Egg donors are woman
aged between 18 and 34, with a healthy BMI and who have the ability to
contribute in a mature and disciplined manner.
All egg donors have an appointment with a psychologist and have
appropriate medical screening and counseling before embarking on the process of
donating their eggs. Full and dedicated
support is offered to the donors.
The process of donating
eggs involves a facilitation of synchronizing menstrual cycles between
recipient and egg donor so that the bodies are behaving as one. Ordinarily the uterus and ovaries work
together to get ready for pregnancy, now the readiness of uterus of the
recipient has to be aligned with the ovarian function of the egg donor. An egg donor has to avail herself for about
three scans during the two week process during which the eggs are stimulated to
ripen. This is undertaken by injections. It is important to note that an egg donor
will shed the same amount of eggs during an egg donation cycle as a normal
cycle. The purpose of the treatment/
injections is to aid the ripening. In a
natural cycle, it is predicted that hundreds of unripe are simply lost.
The egg retrieval is a
vaginal process of sucking the eggs from the follicles of the ovaries. Whilst the egg cell is one of the largest
cells in the human body, it is still only about 10% of 1mm. The egg retrieval does not involve an
operation and egg donors are not cut, but sedated to reduce the discomfort of
The eggs are then
fertilized by the sperm and grown in a medium that mimics the uterine
environment for a couple of days, then transferred into the recipient. A pregnancy test is done about two weeks
later and the recipient is able to enjoy the full benefit of being a mom,
including breastfeeding and preferred type of birth – where possible.
Whilst egg donation is
a medical process largely, there is a significant emotional involvement that is
key. In over eight years of egg donation
facilitations, I have found that egg donors and recipients love to send
messages and care to one another - anonymously. They want to know how the other is coping, they
want to send letters, wishes and hopes.
They will not meet, but they shed tears of emotion together – at the
news of joy or loss. They are connected
in a way, that is so special. There is a
spiritual and emotional connection. Egg
donation is a way for people to care and unite.
By Jenny Currie,
founder and owner of baby2mom Egg Donation Agency, www.baby2mom.co.za