We’re delighted that you want to be part of the fantastic, rewarding ababySA experience. It takes a special generosity to do this; you’re a very special woman, helping infertile couples to realise their dreams of parenthood.
You will be committed to work with us and the future parents for anywhere from six weeks to four months.
ababySA is not a medical facility, but a service to South Africa’s best Fertility Clinics and their Recipients, infertile and same-sex couples. We work with the best Specialists in Reproductive Medicine to keep you safe while donating and to make you comfortable with the crucial role you play in this fabulous environment.
We know you’ll enjoy the experience. It’s very special and it may just be the greatest thing you do in your lifetime. Respect.
REGISTER AS AN EGG DONOR
You’re female, aged 20 to 33, of any race, healthy and from a healthy family, with a regular Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 29 and a regular menstrual cycle. Then, it all starts here, where we perform a short initial check to make sure that you are likely to be suited to this very special role.
An online, secure form will magically appear and you can tell us some basic information about yourself. Our cyber-imps have a look and – as long as you fit the basic requirements – we’ll then ask you to commit by filling out a detailed application that gives enough information for prospective parents to decide your eggs and genetics fit their profile!
We will look at your family’s health history, your personality type, your interests, education, employment and fertility. All these things are critical to give future parents a sense of the unique you.
We’ll also ask you to upload a few pictures of yourself as a baby or toddler.
You will choose a pseudonym or name by which you will be known on ababySA, to keep your identity private.
REVIEW AND SCREENING
When your complete application is approved, we’ll contact you and confirm you’re good to go. We have an online presentation that will be opened to you, and we are available to discuss any further questions or thoughts that may arise.
JOIN OUR ONLINE DATABASE
With your final consent, you will officially join our Egg Donation Program: your anonymous profile goes live on our website. You could be chosen in a few minutes, or a few months!
Our secure database is password-protected. Registered ababySA Recipients (those looking for eggs to start a family) can view your profile; they will not know who you are, but will see a bit about you, physically, as well as relevant details from your questionnaire that will help them to choose you to donate.
We are a completely anonymous egg donor agency! Confidential or identifying information will not be shared with anyone, ever.
YOU ARE CHOSEN
Often, after repeated in-vitro fertilization procedures and repeated pregnancy loss, a couple will choose to use the male sperm to fertilise a donated egg so that their child carries half of their genetic material.
A recipient couple can also be a male or same-sex couple.
Our Recipients are patients undergoing fertility treatment at a Fertility Clinic. They are looking for the best possible match to create their family unit and they take your gift very seriously. When they choose you, we will let you know, and make sure that you’re ready to start the donation cycle.
Generally, Recipient couples want to start the process as soon as possible. Your Recipient parents will never forget you.
Please go to the next tab above: “The Egg Donation Cycle”
Introduction to the Cycle
We perform a special role in the Egg Donation cycle, where we concentrate on making sure that our Donors are most suitable for a specific match. Our professional medical partners are the medical specialists and will provide medical advice unique to you. There is, however, some basic information that is important for you to understand your role in this special journey.
An Egg Donation Program typically lasts from six to eight weeks.
During the first two weeks, a fertility specialist will perform a medical examination (including a pelvic exam, ultrasound and blood tests) and a psychological assessment, at your Fertility Clinic. This pre-cycle screening will confirm that you are both mentally and physically ready to donate. The Clinic will be reasonably close to your home or workplace.
The Clinic will close a contract with you, as well as your Recipient, to protect your equal rights and in which you agree to the Donation, as long as the results of the screening are all OK.
Next, you are started on a low dose birth control pill, so that your menstrual cycle can be synchronized with the Recipient. This usually takes four to six weeks, marked by the first day of your next menstrual cycle.
Pre-donation: the last two weeks
During the last two weeks of the program, you take a two-week course of fertility medication, to stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs on time. You’ll have to visit the Clinic regularly, now, so the doctor can keep a close eye on you make sure that you are managing, and that the medication is at the proper dose to help produce eggs.
Eggs grow at their own pace, and Clinics use slightly different methods, but these last two weeks typically work like this:
Your menstrual cycle starts. Let your IVF co-ordinator know and they’ll schedule your next appointment: usually 8 days later.
You start medication, a daily injection.
DAY 8 – DAY 12:
You’ll be on medication for about twelve days. The doctors will do ultrasounds three times this week to see how the egg follicles develop in your ovaries. They are also watching you carefully to make sure that Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) stays away. There’s no pain involved, don’t worry!
Almost there! Your doctor can now give you a date for the Retrieval and will ask you to take final medication, exactly thirty-six hours before the procedure. (This injection starts the last stage of maturation, to time the Egg Retrieval perfectly, and goes hand in hand with your commitment to the Retrieval Date.
No medication. None.
Egg Retrieval: the day is here! You’ll have to take a day off, as it’s now or never! This day can’t be rescheduled, or the Donation WILL fail.
The retrieval is an in theatre procedure, scheduled for thirty-six hours after the final injection, usually in the morning (between 07h30 and noon). You are put under a mild anaesthetic while the doctor retrieves your eggs vaginally, using a suction needle.
Guided by an ultrasound scan, the doctor can position the needle precisely into each follicle for aspiration or “suction”. The eggs are released and collected and taken straight to the lab to be fertilised.
The process takes fifteen to thirty minutes; you’ll rest few a few hours at the Clinic and you may want to relax for the rest of the day. Take it easy for a few days, the same as with any medical procedure: your doctor will tell you exactly what he expects after the Retrieval. And you MUST have someone drive you home after the procedure. It’s the law.
You may feel a little bloated and uncomfortable, possibly with some mild cramping and even spotting after the procedure. You’ll have some pain medication just in case and you can resume light daily activities a few days later.
Avoid unprotected sex for seven days before the Egg Retrieval and for two weeks afterwards (until you get your next period and can commence your regular contraceptive).
You will be paid your Donor fee on the day of retrieval.
You will be paid on the day of the egg retrieval, after you have completed the program. The current rate is R5000 – R6,000, depending on your chosen Clinic.
Recipients also cover your medical costs related to your donation process, so you will NOT pay for doctors, evaluations, blood tests or medication prescribed as part of your donation.
In-vitro Fertilisation and Embryo Transfer
We told you how your eggs are retrieved and then sent to the lab. Here, an Embryologist examines them and puts them in a special fluid that protects and prepares them for sperm, which is added after two or three hours (outside the body: in-vitro). Once fertilised, the embryo’s are observed by the Embryologist and are ready for transfer to your Recipient after three to five days growth.
Nature will then decide if the embryo transplants successfully and your Recipient falls pregnant.
Return to us for further selection, if you want
In South Africa, the medics suggest a maximum of six donations, or five pregnancies, whichever comes first. Clinics may differ slightly in this, but will be able to justify their policy to you.
Once you are matched, or chosen, we remove your profile from our website. After at least one normal cycle and period, you may choose to donate again – so you have at least three months break between donations, and the decision to continue is yours and yours alone.
It is not an automatic process; let us know and we’ll welcome you back.
Please go to the next tab above: “Compensation”
The South African Medical Ethics Committee recommend the rates we pay to Egg Donors per donation cycle. This is an inconvenience allowance for the time and energy you expend in gifting your eggs, to help parents with their dream of having children.
You will be paid on the day of the egg retrieval, after you have completed the program. The current rate is R6,000, invoiced and paid to you by your Clinic on the day of your retireval. Recipients also cover your medical costs related to your donation process, so you will NOT pay for doctors, evaluations, blood tests or medication prescribed as part of your donation.
Eggs are not sold, they are gifted and no price can be put on that gift. Your Recipient parents are investing a lot in you, both financially and emotionally and we rely on you to be reliable and responsible and fully committed to a successful pregnancy.
Your most important obligation is to stick to all instructions you are given by your doctor, while on the program.
Please go to the next tab above: “Risks & Side Effects”
You’re born with about two million immature eggs, or follicles in your ovaries. By puberty, only 300,000 immature eggs are left; this process is called atresia. Each month, a group of ten to twenty eggs grow and develop; your body selects one of these to ovulate, once each cycle. One egg! The remaining eggs from this group don’t develop fully and are flushed in the menstrual cycle or reabsorbed by your body.
When you donate in an Egg Donation Cycle, you are given fertility medicine to develop the eggs that would normally have been discarded by your body. You work with the Fertility Specialist selected by your Recipients, who is concerned with both the best possible retrieval, and dedicated to your safety and wellbeing.
It’s critical that we know about any medicine you are taking, or if you need to take any course of medicine while on our ababySA database. Please take only medicines approved by the Fertility Specialist during the Donation cycle itself and try to lead a healthy lifestyle (which includes being careful with alcohol and cigarettes)! This is because other medicine, or alcohol may affect the stimulation medicine and reduce the quality and quantity of your eggs and, later, the embryos.
Some women may experience some side effects typical of Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS), which includes breast- or ovary-tenderness, fluid retention, mild allergic sensitivity, abdominal bloating, headaches and moodiness. There could be minimal spotting, but you may feel a little bloated and uncomfortable for a day or two at the most afterwards.
Some women experience no side effects.
It may take from a day and occasionally up to two weeks after the egg collection, to get completely back to normal. And there are risks, although extremely rare: they’ll also be discussed during your time with the Fertility Doctor.
The main risk is a condition called Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which happens in 1% of In-vitro Fertilisation (IVF) cases.
If you fall into the unlucky 1%, once the hormone treatment starts, your ovaries may start producing too many eggs. That means you’ll feel sick, you’ll bloat and be in some pain. You’ll have all the necessary cell numbers; immediately, your doctor will ask you to get to the clinic for a check up. Treatment is usually a bit more bed rest, but if the doctors think it’s necessary, they’ll check you into the clinic to be treated with antibiotics.
And that’s also why we make sure that you can get to the clinic for occasional scans: they’re an important part of managing your donation and the medication with it.
Secondly, on retrieval, as with any medical procedure – there is a tiny chance of infection, or reaction to the anaesthetic. An antibiotic shot is given together with the anaesthetic as a preventative measure.
According to the professionals, there is no link between ovarian cancer and ovulation drugs. Long-term, the consequences of egg donation are not known, but records show that the medical risks associated with egg donation are very low; it’s a safe process.
Most Egg Donation Cycles are hassle-free, but – if you experience any side effects from the medicine given to you – you must let the doctor know immediately. If you don’t, you may have unnecessary complications. Your health and well-being is THE most important thing, so please monitor how you feel and call if you have any questions or any odd symptoms.
Your doctor should give you written information about the medicine and procedures, and will talk openly with you about any possible side effects and risks associated with each medicine or procedure. Please ask the doctor if there’s anything you’re uncomfortable about.
There is also a risk that you fall pregnant: obviously, you are highly fertile while taking the special medication and – without care, you may be out of commission for some time!
Or you may contract an STD. If so, we would have to cancel the donation. From the time you start follicle stimulation, until you get your next period (about 4 weeks) you’ll be highly fertile. If you want to avoid pregnancy, use non-hormonal birth control like condoms. Or preferably abstinence up to eight to ten days after the retrieval, when your menstrual cycle starts again and you can resume your regular contraceptive method.
Thank you for reading all the information; that’s a great start!