Frequently asked questions

What is an egg donor?

An egg donor is a woman between the ages of 19 and 33 who donates a few of her eggs to another women, who is unable to fall pregnant with her own eggs. Once the 8 to 10 or so eggs have been removed from the egg donor they are fertilized with the recipient women’s male partners sperm. If fertilisation occurs the embryo/s are then transferred into the recipient woman’s uterus. This is the only way that the woman has a chance of becoming pregnant, carrying and birthing a child.

Egg donors are special angels who help others to receive the Gift ov life. At Gift ov life we nurture you for the egg donor angels that you are. Our Egg Donors are treated with the care, respect, admiration and the absolute confidentiality that they deserve.

Who is the Recipient woman?

The recipient of donor egg(s) is the women (or recipient parents/ intended parents as they are sometimes referred to) who receives the donated egg/s.

Why do some woman need an egg donor?

There are various reasons why a woman may need donated eggs to help her fall pregnancy, including: Premature ovarian failure, absence of ovaries, early menopause, age induced ovulatory dysfunction, advanced endometriosis, repeated In-Vitro fertilization failure and repeated pregnancy loss, carriers of undesirable genetic traits, exposure to auto immune diseases may kill eggs and cancer treatment which may harm remaining eggs.

Is egg donation legal in South Africa?

Yes, donation of eggs is completely legal according to the following act: National Health Act, 2003: Regulations regarding artificial fertilisation and related matters.

How much do egg donors get paid in South Africa?

The South African Medical Ethics committee have recommended R7,000 to the Egg Donor per donation cycle. This compensation paid, is not intended to pay for the eggs donated (as donors donate their eggs as a gift of life), it is as an inconvenience allowance for the time and energy you expend in gifting your eggs, to help parents with their dream of having children.

What kind of a person becomes an egg donor?

Women between the ages of 21 and 33 years, of any ethnic background and who are in good health. A donor must lead a healthy lifestyle, should preferably not be overweight (i.e. a Body Mass Index of less than 30 – which Gift ov life can ascertain for you) and not be addicted to alcohol or any drugs. A donor should be prepared to have internal examinations by the fertility specialist and injections (similar to an insulin pen injection) on a daily basis for 14 or so days. Also, if you are married, your spouse’s consent is required to participate in the Gift ov life Egg Donation Program.

Are there any risks?

Egg donation is a medical procedure and all medical procedures carry some risk. The primary risk in egg donation is a condition called Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation 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 over stimulated and 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 occurs it reverses completely over a matter of 2 weeks. Very rarely it can be life threatening however; you are 10 times more likely to die following natural childbirth than from donating eggs.

What characteristics does Gift ov life look for in its donor angels?

A kind and compassionate woman who will responsibly give of the time and commitment required in order to help another human being become a mother/father.

How do recipients choose me?

Once you have registered online with us we will email your own password. You can then log on and completed your detailed online application form. Once we receive your detailed online profile and you qualify to be an egg donor, you will feature on our secure password protected donor database. Only your basic physical characteristics, age, pertinent medical and family history is shared along with a baby picture of yourself. You are allocated a donor number, as your name is kept confidential. Our couples looking for an egg donor can then access your information. You can then choose whether you would like to work with the couple that request you to donate for them.

Can anyone view my profile on the database?

No, recipients need to contact us in order to receive a password (which is changed regularly) in order to access our database of donor angels. Also, remember that only baby pictures of you appear on the database and no contact information or names are revealed.

What is the chance of a couple achieving a pregnancy if they receive donated eggs?

Generally a couple has a greatly improved chance of achieving a pregnancy with the help of a young, healthy egg donor. Generally, the younger the donor, and therefore the eggs, the greater the chance of achieving a pregnancy.

What happens to the additional eggs that are not needed?

The clinic will attempt to fertilise (add sperm) all the eggs that you donate. Some eggs may not fertilise but those that do fertilise become embryos. The embryos are allowed to grow for a few days before 2 embryos are transferred to the recipint mother to try and achieve a pregnancy. Any additional embryos are frizen for the couple, if they are viable for freezing.

Why should an egg donor work with Gift ov life?

Gift ov life egg donation program offers you our professionalism, guidance and dedication to your wellbeing during and after the egg donation process. Our donors are our precious angels! We work with the top medical fertility clinics in South Africa. We have a national program and thus you may be offered the chance to travel within South Africa to donate your eggs. We also attract international recipients, which gives you more chance of being chosen to donate.

What is the time commitment for donors?

Each case is unique but it takes approximately 2 to 3 months from the time you are chosen to actual egg donation. Specifically, 4 to 5 or so doctor appointments over 2 to 3 weeks to coordinate and complete psychological and medical screenings and another few weeks to coordinate your menstrual cycle with that of the recipient. One full day of your time is required on the day of egg retrieval. It is possible to arrange a letter for sick leave if desired.

What medications do I need to take and when?

The donor is “stimulated” with injections of hormones and/or tablets from day 3 or 4 of her menstrual cycle. The injections are fine needles that are injected subcutaneously (into the fat and not the muscle – both the Gift ov life co-founders have undergone this more than once in our own IVF treatments..its really not bad!) The fertility specialist will decide on actual medications and quantities once you have had a consultation at the clinic. The injections are administered subcutaneously (not into the muscle but into the fat layer of the skin) the ova develop in small “sacs” called follicles. Trans vaginal scan is done on day 8 of the menstrual cycle to measure follicle growth. Stimulation medication is continued daily until the follicles have reached a size of 18mm in diameter. The number of follicles can vary between 5 and 10, but could be more.

A final injection is administered 36 hours before the follicle (egg) retrieval. This injection matures the eggs for the day of egg retrieval.

Will I undergo surgery?

No. Your eggs will be retrieved vaginally. The procedure involves needle aspiration or a “suction needle”. You will be under conscious sedation for about 20 minutes and will feel nothing. You will be under the care of a fertility doctor and be treated at a leading fertility clinic. There is no cutting. Gift ov life donor support is available to you during the entire process. You should however take the afternoon off, as you can be drowsy from the sedation.

Can I have sex during egg donation?

Yes. Be aware however that from the time you commence follicle stimulation until you get your next period (about 4 weeks in total) 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.

What if I am a virgin?

A virgin can donate eggs, however you must be prepared to have an internal examination. You should also be aware that when the eggs are retrieved, your hymen may be ruptured.

Don’t I need all my eggs?

Remember that you are born with approximately two million eggs and by puberty about 300 000 immature eggs remain. Every month a group of eggs grow and develop. Fertility medications allow a donation to yield approximately 10 eggs. The eggs you donate would have been flushed away with your menstrual cycle were they not donated, or used in a pregnancy of your own. Secondly eggs alone do not result in a pregnancy or child. The partner’s sperm and the mother’s womb take over to hopefully result in a new life for a couple that desperately wants a baby.

Will I be able to have children after egg donation?

There is no evidence that egg donation results in infertility on the part of the donor and the fertility medication has no proven long-term effects. Many donors donate several times and then go on to have children of their own or have their children first and then donate their eggs. The eggs which do not result ina pregnency each month are “flushed away” with a menstrual cycle.

Who pays my medical bills?

The recipients fund all medical costs related to the egg donation.

Do I meet the couple receiving my eggs?

No. The law states that egg donation in South Africa must be anonymous.

Can you donate your eggs if you are on birth control?

Yes, if you are on the Pill, continue on this contraception until you are selected by a recipient and it is time to start with hormone stimulation. If you are on Norplany or Depo Provera injection you will need to discontinue this form of contraception for a few months prior to joining our egg donation program. If you have an IUD such as the mirenda this will have to be removed prior to donation and will be replaced at no cost to you at the time of egg donation. Other IUD’s such as the “Copper T,” that do not release hormones, do not need to be removed for egg donation.

Can I donate eggs if I am sterilised?

Yes

May I donate more than once?

Yes, you may donate as many times as you want and many donors do, but a donor may not have more than 5 ongoing pregnancies as a result of her egg donation. The clinic/s keep records of all egg donations. You must also have at least one normal cycle and period before donating again.

Are there any side effects?

Egg donation side effects vary from one donor to another. Some women experience no side effects at all. You may however experience mild PMS type side effects like breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, headaches and/or mood swings. These are attributable to the hormone injections prior to egg donation, which are given to increase levels of your normal egg producing hormones. As with any medical procedure, there is always a miniscule chance of infection, and/or reaction to the anaesthetic or medication(s). Bleeding is usually minimal and infection is unlikely as an intravenous antibiotic is routinely administered at the time of the procedure. You may feel a little bloated and uncomfortable for a few days after theaspiration.

Can I be registered with other donor agencies?

We prefer not :-). All donor agencies like their angels to themselves! We want to eliminate the possibility that you may be chosen as a donor by two separate couples simultaneously. Besides, we are kind and professional to work with, love our donors for the angels they are and have lots of local and international potential parents just waiting for donors like you! The co-founders of Gift ov life have both experienced infertility and appreciate the gift of a donor more than you know.

Can one donate eggs while still breastfeeding?

No, first finish breastfeeding and then you can donate eggs one month after you have stopped breastfeeding.

Can I see what other egg donor angels are saying?

Yes. Please read our Testimonials from Egg Donors Click here.

 

Tasneem is personally available to answer all your questions regarding becoming an egg donor angel. She can also email you a full egg donor information pack to review.

You can email her now at tasneem@giftovlife.com or click here to register with us now as an egg donor angel.