Throughout the month of August, we have focused on Egg Donation and all you need to know as a potential egg donor.

Kinny Ramoeng

We sat down with our Egg Donation expert, Kinny Ramoeng, and asked her important questions regarding the process from start to finish:

What is egg donation?

Egg donation is the process by which a woman donates her eggs to enable another woman to conceive through the process of IVF at a fertility clinic.

Donating your eggs is one of life’s most generous acts. Although most people donate their eggs for altruistic reasons, as an egg donor, you will be compensated for your time and effort.

What are the requirements to become an egg donor?

  • You must be between the ages of 19 and 29
  • You must have a normal BMI (Body Mass Index)
  • You must have no family history of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia
  • You should have Grade 12 (Matric)

Why is BMI important as an egg donor?

BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. BMI is a simple screening method for weight categories i.e., measuring whether you are underweight, a healthy weight, overweight, or obese.

BMI is particularly important if you are considering egg donation and matters solely because of your own health as an egg donor; in addition to the impact a higher or lower BMI has on your own fertility and egg quality. Your BMI also impacts how much medication you are prescribed during the donation process.

Why can a donor only be between the ages of 19-29?

Whilst the legal age is 18-35, we work with different criteria. In the field of fertility, women aged 35 and older are considered to be at an “advanced” maternal age.

Unfortunately, the quality and quantity of eggs decreases rapidly after the age of 35; and is the reason why so many women are in need of egg donors and why donors should be younger than 35.

How many eggs do I donate?

The average female is born with about 500,000 eggs.  Each month your ovaries release follicles, which contain eggs. The average number of follicles is between 4 – 13 each month.

Exact egg numbers are difficult to predict as every woman is different. Some factors are genetic, or lifestyle related.

Can I specify for my eggs to be donated to an LGBT couple?

Being an egg donor gives you the opportunity to help an LGBT family start their family! Besides heterosexual couples using egg donors, male couples and single men can make use of egg donors along with help from a surrogate to start their families.

We also have many LGBT egg donors in our ranks who want to support fellow members of the LGBT community and we have loved walking this journey with them.

What is the step-by-step egg donation process?

  1. Contact us so that we can take you through the application process
  2. Meet our Egg Donation Coordinator
  3. Fill out our Egg Donation South Africa application form, which will include details of your family’s medical history
  4. Once your application form is approved, you will be booked in for a medical & psychological screening
  5. Once screenings are completed/approved, you will an official DESA Egg Donor
  6. You will be added to our anonymous egg donor database where recipients can select you as their perfect egg donor
  7. Your Egg Donation Coordinator will confirm details regarding your egg donation cycle/process

Is Egg Donation legal in South Africa?

Andrew Martin, Founder & Director of Fertility Law had this to say:

“Egg donation in South Africa is legal, and is done on an anonymous basis, with the recipient only knowing your specific Donor Alias.  The recipient will only have to access very limited information about you as the donor such as age, height, weight, eye colour, hair colour, complexion, population group, nationality, religion, occupation, highest educational qualification, fields of interest, family history (i.e., possible genetic condition or carrier status and mental illness in respect of any child, brother, sister, parent or grandparent of the egg donor).”

As an Egg donor, am I protected by the law?

Andrew Martin continues by saying; “By law anyone who donates eggs or sperm is protected by anonymity in South Africa.”

What happens at my ultrasound scan?

Sr. Cyndi Nel

Sr. Cyndi Nel of HART Fertility Clinic explains, “Once you have started your injections, you will need to see the doctor for 3-4 ultrasound appointments during your donation process. This is to make sure that your body is responding adequately to the medication. The ultrasound is done vaginally by the doctor as part of the consultation. During the ultrasound, the doctor will measure your growing follicles and will chart them accordingly. He will instruct you further on how to proceed with using your medications.”

Will donating my eggs affect my fertility?

It is extremely unlikely. In fact, donors are cautioned to take measures against falling pregnant whilst on a donation cycle, as you will be extremely fertile whilst you are on the medication. Donating your eggs is also an opportunity to assess your own reproductive health at no expense.

Overall, the donation process allows a woman to take ownership of her reproductive health, learn more about her body and embrace the different decisions we can make about our bodies.

Will I meet my recipient?

 No, your identity as a donor and that of your recipients are strictly confidential, and we never disclose your personal details, your adult photos, or your name.

  • Only childhood photos up to age 10 years old are seen by the recipient/s looking for a donor
  • You will not receive any information regarding the recipient/s, and as a donor you are free from any and all responsibility to the biological offspring, produced by your donation
  • A record is kept of all donations as well as resultant pregnancies
  • The legislation in South Africa on egg donation is published in Chapter 8 of the National Health Act (Act no 61 of 2003)

Is egg donation painful?

Some people experience PMS symptoms but really nothing more than what some women experience each month.  These could be moodiness, tender breasts, feeling bloated or mild headaches. You won’t have to take time away from work or change your lifestyle, you can continue as normal whilst you donate.

You may feel slight cramping, like period pains, but the actual procedure of retrieving the eggs is done under general anaesthetic. It is advisable not to partake in exercise on the day of your egg retrieval as you may feel a little tender.

What is the process once I have been chosen as an egg donor?

As an egg donor, you will see our social worker or psychologist. You will also see a doctor for a full consultation, a scan and a blood test. You will be screened for the following:

  • HIV I & II antibodies
  • RPR (Syphilis)
  • Hepatitis B surface antigen
  • Hepatitis C antibodies
  • CMV IgM
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Blood Group
  • Cystic Fibrosis

On occasion, your recipient may request additional genetic tests, not named above. The pros are that you would know if you are a carrier of certain genetic diseases. There are no cons. The testing is done using one blood sample, and at no cost to you.

​​What does the medication I need to take do?

Egg donors use the same medication as fertility patients undergoing IVF. The sequence, dosage and schedule of administration of the medication for each egg donor is carefully planned by the nurse coordinator in consultation with the fertility specialist. All donors are required to undergo controlled ovarian stimulation, in which medications are used to stimulate the ovary and produce multiple eggs.

Our Egg Donation and IVF Coordinators will give egg donors detailed instructions on how to take the medication as part of your donation cycle.

How many times can I donate my eggs?

Many of our egg donors donate more than once!

According to Chapter 8 on Artificial Fertilisation of the National Health Act (2003), a donor may not have more than 6 children born from their donation/s.

Are you ready to be somebody’s miracle?

We love it when new donors become part of our family, so if you have any more questions regarding egg donation, please contact Kinny Ramoeng directly on co-ordinator@eggdonationsouthafrica.co.za

 

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