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FAQ

1Who needs an egg donor?
● Women whose ovaries have been surgically removed for one reason or another, or those who have undergone chemotherapy and find their ovaries aren’t functioning correctly.
● Women who have been through early menopause or have poor ovarian reserves.
● Women who fail to fall pregnant after repeated IVF treatments or do not respond to the drugs used in IVF treatment.
2What screening is done?
You will see our social worker or psychologist. You will also see a doctor for a scan and a blood test. You will be screened for STI’s, HIV and some genetic diseases, namely sickle cell disease, and cystic fibrosis. The pros are that you will now know if you are a carrier of a genetic disease. There are no cons. The testing is done using one blood sample, and at no cost to you.
3Will I be compensated for donating my eggs?
Yes, you will be compensated R7 000 for your time and effort, each time you donate.
4Do I need to pay for any medical bills?
No. The egg donation cycle is done at no cost to the donor.
5I want to have children in the future. Will being a donor affect my future 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 medications.
6Will my information be given out without my consent?
No. By law, the egg donation process in South Africa is anonymous. As such, only childhood photos up to age 10 years old are seen by the couples looking for a donor.
7How much time will the donation require of me?
The process involves more or less four visits to the clinic to monitor the response with vaginal ultrasounds and blood tests. These visits take between 15-30 minutes and are done between 7:00 and 16:00 depending on which clinic you donate at. You will be required to be at the clinic for about an hour on the day of the egg retrieval.
8How are the eggs retrieved or taken out?
Once the ultrasound shows that the eggs are mature, the retrieval is scheduled for two days later. This procedure is done under conscious sedation so you won’t feel anything. The eggs are retrieved through the upper vagina using a needle guided by ultrasound. The procedure itself takes about twenty to thirty minutes.
9What financial compensation will I receive for travelling and being off work?
You will receive R7 000 for each completed cycle.
10What procedures and medication will be part of the donation process?
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. Donors are instructed on how to take daily injections as part of the treatment cycle. The timing of the treatment cycle is based on the menstrual cycle. Medications begin at the start of the menstrual cycle and continue for approximately two weeks.
11In a nutshell, what does the medication do to my body?
Every month a woman’s ovaries will produce between four and 13 oocytes (eggs). By the time ovulation comes, only one egg (the healthiest egg) is released in the hopes of being fertilised by a sperm. If fertilisation does not happen, about two weeks later the woman will have a menstrual period and all eggs are lost. All the medication does is to ensure that all the eggs that are available for that month are allowed to grow to their fullest and healthiest state. Those are the eggs that your doctor retrieves. Some women get symptoms typical of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS).
12If I donate my eggs, will I still have eggs left?
Yes. The average female is born with about 500 000 eggs. The body only makes between four and 13 eggs each month.
13Are there any side effects?
Egg donation is a medical procedure and all medical procedures carry some risk. The primary risk in egg donation is a condition called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). This is relatively rare (1% of IVF cases). It is caused by the ovary producing too many eggs in response to the drug stimulation. It is for this reason that numerous doctors’ appointments are scheduled, as scans allow the doctor to quickly identify if the ovaries are being overstimulated, in which case medications can then be reduced. Donors are monitored very closely and we work with the top fertility clinics in South Africa. If ovarian hyperstimulation does occur, it reverses completely over a matter of two weeks. In very rare cases, OHSS can be life threatening. That said, the risk of natural childbirth far exceeds any risk associated with egg donation.

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