Kinny Ramoeng is DESA’s Egg Donation Coordinator and Supervisor. After seven years with South Africa’s most experienced agency, Kinny works to support infertility patients.
As a consummate professional, she balances her care for the egg donor, ensuring the best chance of success for recipients undergoing treatment. Kinny takes time to get to know each individual donor, helping ensure each experience is comfortable and memorable, and that donors are supported at every stage of the process.
We sat down to chat to Kinny regarding egg donation and the process of freezing eggs (embryos) and why certain women need to (or request to) freeze their own eggs:
When should women freeze their eggs?
Women in their late 30s who still want to defer pregnancy for some years, and who are in a stable relationship, may consider embryo rather than egg freezing.
The procedure is the same as for conventional IVF, but instead of the embryos being transferred back into the uterus, the resultant good-quality embryos are frozen, sometimes for years.
Survival rates of frozen embryos are better than for frozen eggs, so couples may want to choose the former option to improve their chances of becoming parents further down the line.
Is the embryo transfer painful?
No. The embryo transfer is a painless and easy procedure much like a gynaecological examination done under ultrasound guidance. Following the embryo transfer you are advised not to do any heavy exercise for at least a week.
What is the procedure I will go through if I want to freeze my embryos?
You will undergo controlled ovarian hyperstimulation, as you would with IVF, to produce eggs we can retrieve for freezing. They are frozen immediately afterwards, and can be used years later when you are ready to try for a baby. The eggs are then thawed, injected with a single sperm to achieve fertilisation, and then transferred into the uterus.
How 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.
What 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.
If I donate my eggs, will I still have eggs left?
Yes – definitely! The average female is born with about 500 000 eggs. The body only makes between four and 13 eggs each month.
Will I be compensated for donating my own eggs?
Yes, you will be compensated R7 000 for your time and effort, each time you donate.
Are 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. 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.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I am constantly humbled and encouraged by the generous and willing spirit of egg donors, and I find the process of matching recipients and donors, very gratifying and meaningful.
Email Kinny now with any questions you may have regarding donating and or freezing your egg:: firstname.lastname@example.org