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Egg Donor: Frequently Asked Questions


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What is an egg donor?

An egg donor is a young who donates some of her own eggs to intended parents who are struggling to have a baby. Egg donors donate their eggs, in instances where the intended mother cannot produce good quality eggs for fertilisation. After the donor has undergone egg retrieval, the donor eggs are fertilised through IVF with either the partner's sperm or donor sperm. Through fertilisation an embryo forms and is placed back into the intended mother's womb.

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Why would someone need donor eggs?

There are a number of reasons that could lead to someone/couples requiring your help through egg donation. To be able to fall pregnant, an important factor for the mother is to have good quality eggs for fertilisation. There are various factors which could lead to a decreased amount- and quality of eggs. These could include: age; early menopause; treatment of medical conditions e.g. chemotherapy which could damage eggs; and many more.

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Who may become an egg donor?

Ladies of all races, between the age of 20 - 32 are welcome. You have to have atleast a matric certificate, a BMI of less than 30, non-smokers, no alcohol or drug abuse.

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How long does the whole donation process take?

The screening can take approximately 2 - 5 weeks to complete.

Once you have passed the screening process, you can proceed to the hormonal stimulation and egg retrieval process. From start to finish this phase takes about two weeks.

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What is the time commitment for egg donation?

Screening appointments can take 30 min to an hour and on average you will attend 1 - 2 appointments per week for 2 - 3 weeks. 

The stimulation phase takes about two weeks and during this time you will also need to visit the clinic for two quick ultra-sounds (15 - 30 min appointments).

On the day of egg retrieval you will need to take the day off to give your body some much deserved rest.

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How are donors chosen?

Intended parents, together with their medical team, often look for traits similar to their own e.g height, hair colour, eye colour, interest, education etc.

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What is the process of egg donation?
Follow the link to read about the Egg Donation Process.
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Will there be cutting during the procedure?

None whatsoever. The eggs are collected through the assistance of transvaginal ultrasound guidance. A fine needle and catheter is used which provides light suctioning to draw the eggs out. This is a 15 minute painless procedure under light sedation.

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How soon can I return to my normal life after the procedure?

You will need to take the day off from work/studies when you come in for your retrieval and you will not be allowed to drive for the remainder of the day. Furthermore, during the hormonal stimulation phase and a a few days after the retrieval, you will need to adapt your physical activities based on your symptoms. If you have any concerns, our doctors and nurses are there to answer any questions and provide guidance.

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How do I start the application process?
Interested in becoming an egg donor? Follow the link to learn more about the application process.
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What medical tests will I have to undergo?

At mininum you will undergo: drug tests; infectious disease tests; physical examination by a physician; fertility test (AMH blood test as indicator of your ovarian reserve); transvaginal ultrasound to help make sure your reproductive organs are healthy; and a psychological examination.

Additional tests might include: genetic tests, psychometric tests and criminal record checks.

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Is egg donation anonymous in South Africa?

Donation of ova is legal according to the National Health Act, 2003: Regulations regarding artificial fertilisation and related matters.

Egg donation in South Africa is anonymous. This means that neither the donor' or recipients' identity will be revealed to each other.  

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Will donating affect my own chances of pregnancy later?

No - no need to worry about that. Women are born with all their eggs and many of these eggs die monthly. Only the eggs that would have gone lost during that month's cycle can be matured and used during the donation.

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Will I know if my donation resulted in a pregnancy?

If you are interested in knowing, we can inform whether a pregnancy resulted from the donation.

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What are the legal responsibilities regarding the conceived child?

You have no liability or parental rights to a child conceived through egg donation.

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Will it cost me anything?

No. All costs for screening and donation is covered. You are compensated for your time, effort and loss of income during the donation.

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What is the compensation for egg donation?

Donors are compensated approximately R 7 000-00 per donation cycle.

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At what stage am I compensated?

In order to donate through Aevitas, donors go through a screening process to qualify as an egg donor. Unfortunately, not all applicants qualify. A qualified egg donor futhermore has to be selected for donation and undergo donation, in order to be compensated. Compensation takes place on the day of egg retrieval.

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Can I donate if I am on the PILL?

Yes you can. Please be sure to provide the name of the birth control and how long you have been using it, as early as possible during your screening and donation process.

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Can I donate while breastfeeding?

Unfortunately, you have to finish breastfeeding and have two normal periods before entering the donor program.

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Can I donate my eggs if I am a virgin?

Yes. However,  you will need to be prepared to have an internal examination. If you find the examination to be uncomfortable you may stop the procedure and withdraw from the donation process.  

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If I have been sterilised can I still be an egg donor?

Yes you may.

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Can I donate if I'm HIV positive?

Unfortunately not.

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Can I donate if I've had a miscarriage or termination of pregnancy?

Yes you may.

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What are the side effects and risks associated with egg donation?

Side effects associated with stimulation:

Symptoms during the stimulation phase are similar to those you commonly feel during your normal menstrual cycle. They may however be a bit more noticeable due to the increased hormone levels. The most common symptoms are tiredness and bloating. Drinking a lot of water helps to minimise any discomfort.

Less common symptoms are cramping, nausea and headaches. A donor may experience abdominal discomfort as their ovaries enlarge. If you exercise, it is recommended that you do gentle exercise during this period, limmiting jarring of the ovaries.

 

Side effects following follicle aspiration:

The most common side effect following follicle aspiration is cramping. The cramping is mild and similar to regular menstrual cramps and should subside after one day. Your regular period should occur 10 to 14 days after follicle aspiration.

Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS) may occur, however this rarely happens (1% of IVF cycles worldwide). The treatment for OHSS is observation, rest and intravenous fluids. OHSS usually resolves spontaneously one week after follicle aspiration.

 

*From the time you commence follicle stimulation until you get your next period, you will be highly fertile and if sexually active, you must use a non-hormonal form of birth control like condoms or abstinence to avoid pregnancy.

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Can I donate more than once?

In South Africa a donor is limited to 6 donations, or 6 live births, depending on which comes first.

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How long must I break before donating again?

It is recommended to have at least one normal cycle/period before donating again.

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May I register with more than one agency?

Yes you may. However, if you have been chosen to donate through another agency, please let us know, to prevent two donation cycles being planned at the same time.

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Can I donate if I do not live near the clinic?
If you are interested to donate, please complete the Interested in Becoming and Egg Donor form at the bottom of the Egg Donor Process page. We will receive your personal information and if we have a screening facility near you we will be able to assist you. When it comes to the egg retrieval itself, we fly you down to Cape Town.
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What is the difference between an egg donor and a surrogate mother?

With egg donation you donate eggs to be used during an IVF procedure. The fertilised egg, now called an embryo, is placed back into the intended mother's womb to develop into her baby. A surrogate mother, is someone who carries the baby on behalf of the intended parent as the intended parent might not be able to carry a baby, due to medical reasons.  

 
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