Changing lives forever

Have you ever wanted something SOOO desperately – you absolutely have to, h-a-a-a-a-a-v-e to have it ……but despite all efforts were unable to?  (And we’re not talking about a Louis Vuitton handbag here!) Or, perhaps you were able to get what you really, really lvwanted, but you needed the help of an incredibly special “stranger” to achieve your dream.

Now imagine that what you wanted more than anything else in life was to be able to have a child of your own, but you were unable to do so by yourself. Sadly, this situation is a heart breaking reality for many and these recipients rely heavily on the help of a compassionate, generous, kind, selfless, amazing woman who understands that through her egg donation she could make it possible for their dream to become a reality.

If you are a woman who would like to change lives forever, we urge you to consider egg donation. You can help Intended Parents to start the family they have yearned for, for so long. By becoming an egg donor, you will be giving the ultimate gift of love and changing the lives of a deserving parent forever.

Visit us here for more information.

Nurture’s Referral Program

10636205_1500205490261107_2838363289492232517_nAre you an active or retired egg donor? Or perhaps you have just completed your final egg donation (sob!) but still want to help spread the word about becoming an egg donor? You’ve come to the right place!

One of our biggest challenges is getting the message out to the fabulous, kind, generous, selfless, amazing and like-minded women out there… and YOU can help us to make a huge difference!  We need your assistance with recruiting more wonderful women just like yourself!  After all, no one knows better than you how truly rewarding it is to be a Nurture egg donor!

To kick start what could be life-changing for someone, please shout out to your friends, family members, colleagues, acquaintances, Facebook peeps and spread the word! You can do this easily by sharing this link

Lets think about it, if each of you were to tell a friend (or 10!), think how many people could be reached (their friends, friends of friends and even more friends) who might be willing to help someone else create the family they’ve struggled for and dream of.

So, you have a person in mind, how does it work ?

  1. She will need to meet Nurture’s basic requirements listed here
  2. She needs to complete Nurture’s online application found here
  3. She MUST reference YOU in the original application under the heading of “How did you hear about Nurture”
  4. Once she becomes an “ACTIVE” donor on Nurture’s database, we will pay you the referral donor bonus fee.  We are firm believers that sharing is caring after all!

If you’d like to be a guest blogger and share your donation journey through us, please let us know! We’d love to highlight your specific journey and perhaps you too will inspire others to support the potential recipients out there!

Should you or your referral have any questions about the process please get in touch with us at info@nurture.co.za

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How to make a difference!

As the festive season fast approaches, people are franticly preparing for the start of the school holidays, planning their get-away, makeadifferencebraving the malls and not to mention the parade of Christmas holidays just around the corner. With all this on the go, it is heartwarming to see that there are still many young women looking for ways to make a difference. You’ve come to the right place!

Making a difference in the lives of others does not need to be a big heroic act or cost an arm and a leg! Even simple gestures, done with the greatest intentions can bring huge joy and really make a positive impact on the lives of others.

The list is endless, but here are a few acts that you can do to help towards making a difference in someone’s life.

  1. Donate any unused items (clothing, bedding, food, books, toys) to a local charity of your choice. They are clogging up space in your home and can still be put to good use by someone who is less fortunate than you
  2. Volunteer at your local animal shelter. Take the doggies for a walk
  3. Volunteer at a Children’s home or orphanage – read stories, play with the children – they love the individual attention and their happiness really is food for one’s soul!
  4. Visit the elderly. Many are “stranded” with no family or friends to visit them.  A cup of tea and your youthful energy is a breath of fresh air for them.
  5. Be a clown at the paediatric ward in your local government hospital.  Laughs and giggles are their best medicine! Many little one’s families are too far away for regular visits
  6. Bake biscuits / hand out sweets to the street children
  7. Donate blood – the blood banks never have too much and the demand rises during accident peak season
  8. Become an egg donor. Many people dream about becoming parents and having their own children. In all likelihood, having had a heartbreaking year fighting infertility, it is especially hard at this “family orientated” time of the year. By being an egg donor you are giving hope to people who long for and have struggled for a family of their own! You really can be their light at the end of a very dark tunnel and help make their dreams come true!

We know there are many things women can do to help people. If becoming an egg donor is something you would like to learn more about, please do get in touch, Nurture would love to welcome you to our program.

The Donor Diaries

One of our special egg donors shares her egg donation journey through Nurture:

“I’ve had all soEgg-donationrts of reactions to my decision, ranging from “Are you MAD?” to “That’s incredible!” from “Aren’t you petrified of the needles?” to “Aren’t you worried that one day your recipient’s baby [from your egg] might meet and develop a relationship with one of your own children?”

To answer briefly – I don’t think I’m mad at all. I have two BEAUTIFUL children who are happy and healthy. Needles schmeedles. The inconvenience of a handful of jabs is far less to me than the years of desperation and sadness that a woman struggling with infertility would experience”

To follow her story

With special thanks to Nicki Dadic xx

Why are egg donors compensated? Is the egg donor compensation enough?

piggybank4These are questions which are often raised by both potential egg donors as well as intended parents. When on the fence and still deciding if donating some of your precious eggs is right for you, some donors may initially think ”this is an easy way to make a quick buck.” With our extensive experience as SA’s top Egg Donor Agency we know this is not the case for many of our donors.

Whilst a couple of extra ronts can go a long way – our donors know that there is a very special recipient on the other end of the donation – a recipient who has probably been to hell and back a few times.  A recipient who has invested a huge amount – both financially and emotionally.  It is THIS that motivates our fabulous Nurture donors.

You know how you get some people who volunteer, who recycle, who seem to genuinely care about their fellow human beings? That is the type of donor we have on our database. Genuinely amazing people.

Nurture’s Egg Donors do receive a set compensation of R6,000 per donation cycle. This is to compensate them for their time, travel and effort during the donation process. The compensation is paid to them on the day of the egg retrieval, regardless of whether a successful outcome or not. The Southern African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynecological Endoscopy Regulations (SASREG.) have strict guidelines and protocol procedures, as well as set guidelines for compensation that Nurture abides by.

We do think that the compensation is sufficient for the egg donor’s time and commitment involved. Donors feel a tremendous sense of pride and happiness when they are able to help a recipient build the family they have struggled for. Egg donation really is a great opportunity to give back and make a remarkable difference in someone else’s world. This cannot be equated to in monetary value. As one donor stated “ The financial reimbursement I felt was eclipsed by the happiness I felt”.

Egg Donors are motivated for different reasons and there is no question that an extra R6,000 could make a difference for an egg donor at some stage in their life. At the time of donation, donors are not planning to create a child of their own so many feel that it is a selfless way they can make a difference for intended parents who desperately want a child to love.

209c12e8d5e3362cfe8040eeb0c872b3

 Some of the amazing women who have decided being an egg donor is right for them, have taken a few moments to share with us why they have decided to be an egg donor.

“Being a mommy myself I know there is no greater gift I can give someone other than helping them become a parent. I myself can’t imagine the pain involved in not being able to become a parent and if there’s a chance that I can help, I would gladly love to give that gift :)”

“I would love to have the opportunity to help other parents experience the joy of children. Little angels to bless your day and fill your lives with love, happiness, sadness, joy and tears – pure pleasure in experiencing the miracle of a child. Helping women experience these gifts will fulfill my life”

“It has been something that I have been thinking about since becoming a young adult.  After having my first child, it made it so clear to me that I have great compassion for those couples out there that so desperately need an angel to make there lives blossom the way my children have changed mine.  I would feel honoured to help those who are in need of assistance.”

“Every month my eggs are flushed out of my system without a thought of what miracle they could become for someone else. I am a healthy, active, young 21 year old woman who currently is not using her eggs and I would like to help a couple/ woman who would love their own miracle. There are so many women out there who have good, working ovaries and beautiful children, but who do not appreciate the miracles they have been given and who unfortunately and sadly mistreat them. I want to give a life to people who are dedicated to raising and nurturing a family, but cannot do that on their own. The detail that goes into making a life is so precious, delicate and detailed beyond anyone’s imagination, how could anybody not think they’re making a difference by giving future parents a chance to raise their own human being who will become something great one day. I want to be a part of that design and sow a part of my love into that future little person. No one can ever have enough love.”

“I would love to become a donor to make a positive difference in someone else’s life. All I want to do is help where I can. It will be such an enriching experience to know that I could bring happiness and a blessing to a family” 

For more information on becoming an egg donor, please visit us here.

Or email us at info@nurture.co.za 

Why is it important for an egg donor to have a healthy BMI?

bmi2Firstly, lets address this Body Mass Index (BMI) that everyone talks about…

BMI is the measurement of a person’s body fat percentage, based on their height versus weight proportions.  To help you determine your BMI click here

One of the basic requirements for being an egg donor is to have a healthy BMI, ideally between 18 and 28. This has absolutely nothing to do with us wanting size 6 swimsuit models as donors!  Who doesn’t love a bit of curve after all!  But, on a serious note, we all know that being too voluptuous or too skinny-malinky is not good for one’s health – there are many medical facts to substantiate this and people with an unhealthy weight are prone to many health problems, never mind infertility.

When it comes to Fertility Medication

It has been proven that fertility drugs aren’t as effective in an over /under weight person as they are with those with a healthy weight.  Having to regulate the donor’s menstrual cycle with that of the intended parents is a critical step in managing an egg donation cycle. If your BMI isn’t within the correct range it can be difficult to predict a safe dosage of fertility medications for the best possible outcome. It may require higher doses of medication for the drugs to have the same effect on a woman with a high or low BMI. This higher dose of fertility medication puts the donor at risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) we never, ever want that!

It can also result in the Dr having to stop the treatment cycle entirely if the follicle growth just ain’t happening.  Extremely disappointing for both the Donor and the Recipient who is heavily invested, both financially and emotionally in the process – again, we never, ever want that!

Anesthesia

During the egg retrieval you will be placed under anesthesia for about 20 minutes.  Anesthesia with a high (or low) BMI can cause a greater risk in respiratory and airway complications. The Doctors will never do anything potentially unsafe for a donor.  Becoming a donor is one of the most amazing gifts that you can ever give to someone, however it should come with as little risk to you and those precious eggs during the retrieval.

As an egg donor it is important to focus on the end result. You are providing what could be another life.  You will be providing intended parents the ability to have the baby they have longed for (phenomenal person you are!)

We cannot stress it enough – not only is it important for those eggies to be the best they can be but also the safety of the egg donor.

Having a BMI set within the normal range, between 18 and 28, is something that is important – Nurture cares about YOU!

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Another egg donation…done and dusted!

02d7c2ad9c5ad9a5592eb973e194e2ed“Thank you!  It was a great experience and I can’t wait to hear the results!  I am holding everything that I can… crossed for my recipients!

I will definitely do it again! And, I made a full recovery with no problems whatsoever!! :-)

If being an Egg Donor isn’t right for you, why not consider being a Gestational Surrogate rather?

BwGrf6eIEAAcVFpSurrogacy is the incredibly selfless act of carrying a baby for someone who is medically unable to do so themselves. With Gestational surrogacy (most commonly practiced nowadays), the surrogate has no genetic ties and is not related in any way to the embryo she is carrying. Embryos may come from the intended mother and father or from an egg donor.

There are many medical reasons why people may need a surrogate. A surrogate is used most often when the intended mother is capable of producing healthy eggs but can’t get pregnant herself.  This is often because the intended mother has no uterus e.g. the woman has had a hysterectomy or has an abnormal uterus which prevents her from carrying a baby of her own.

There are also many gay couples who long to be parents and have a family of their own. For obvious reasons, they are unable to become pregnant and therefore rely on the generosity of a surrogate mother to do it for them.

What makes a surrogate pregnancy so extraordinarily special is that a surrogate mother carries the baby for another person who, without them would not be able to fulfill their dream of having a baby.  If it were not for women who are willing to perform this ultimate act of human kindness, there would be so many men and women out there who would be forced to face a future of broken hearts and empty arms.

Surrogacy is a complex and expensive option (for the commissioning couple), and is really only suitable for women without a uterus, women whose uterus is damaged or for gay male couples.

Once the High Court has approved the medical certificate from your doctor saying that you are medically unable to carry a baby, a legal contract is made between the intended parents , their chosen Surrogate Agency (www.surrogacy.co.za) and the surrogate mother. It may also include the participation of an egg donor (www.nurture.co.za) whose eggs will be retrieved and fertilized with the partner’s sperm and then implanted into the surrogate mother’s uterus.  This legal agreement will have to be confirmed and authorised by the high court before any treatment can commence.

InVitro Fertilization (IVF) is then used to form the embryo which is implanted into the surrogate mother’s uterus for the purpose of growing the miracle baby and hopefully carrying a healthy pregnancy to full term.

What’s in it for the Surrogate Mother ?

  1. Without an ounce of doubt, front row, VIP seats in heaven!  No amount can ever equate to what a gift the surrogate mother has given.
  2. In terms of South Africa’s “New Children’s Act”, surrogacy can only be done for altruistic reasons and not for commercial gain. This means that you may claim for any expenses that are directly related to the surrogacy/pregnancy and you may claim within reason for loss of income. The commissioning parents will cover the cost of a medical aid for the duration of your pregnancy/birth, including a few months post-partum. A life insurance policy will also be provided by the commissioning couple for the duration of the surrogacy.  All other expenses related to the Surrogacy will be covered by the Commissioning Parents. They will also cover all the legal fees, as well as any counselling that the Surrogate mother may require.
  3. She will get full medical attention and any medical care needed to make sure that the implanted embryo reaches full term.
  4. A surrogate mother understands that she has no right to the child once born as she has agreed in a written contract that her primary role is merely to carry the baby to full term.

Gestational Surrogacies are widely popular today however as you can appreciate there are only a handful of women who are medically, emotionally and psychologically able to carry a baby for someone else.  The reality is that there is a shortage of suitable surrogates in South Africa.  This means that there is a waiting list of people who need a surrogate and finding the right surrogate mother is way more complicated than many anticipate.

Qualifications for a Surrogate Mother:

A surrogate mother must meet the below criteria before she may proceed and is matched with possible intended parents:

  • You must be in good physical, emotional and mental health
  • You must be a South African citizen
  • You must be between 21 and 42 years old. The older a woman gets, the higher her chances are of a high risk pregnancy.
  • Her BMI must be below 35
  • You must have had at least one pregnancy, a viable birth and have a living child of her own. This will give her important experience and knowledge of the difficulties that come with pregnancy and .
  • You may not have had more than 2 caesarean sections
  • You must be willing to take a psychological screening. A thorough psychological test will determine if the candidate is appropriate to be a surrogate mother. This will reveal any issues the surrogate mother may have regarding her motivations, expectations and behaviour towards the agreement.
  • You must be a non-smoker and live in a smoke free environment
  • You must not be taking current medications that may be deemed unsafe for pregnancy
  • Must not have had medical complications related to previous pregnancies
  • You will need a strong support system at home who will support her decision to become a surrogate mother
  • You must be willing to have a background check
  • You must be someone who the commissioning couple can count on and trust implicitly
  • You must be someone who will communicate openly, honestly, and consistently
  • You must be someone who is as committed as they are to creating their dream of a family
  • You must be someone who will follow the doctor’s orders and SA surrogacy protocol diligently

Should you require any further information or wish to apply please visit: www.surrogacy.co.za

We would love to tell you more about how you can make a huge difference as a gestational carrier.

 

“Egg donation: The ultimate gift”

44232cb7e610e767efda8e042dfb8c6e“After years of not being able to fall pregnant more South African women are turning to egg donation IVF to become mothers.  Dominique Oosthuizen explores how through egg donation women struggling to fall pregnant can have children.

Receiving the gift of life

Slowly the eggs (oocytes) are extracted through the vagina of the donor with a small needle. These eggs are her hope for a family.  These eggs carry her dream to become a mother.

They are carefully fertilised in an in vitro fertilisation (IVF) laboratory with her husband’s sperm. The embryos are then cultured and grown over the next few days until the doctor cautiously transfer the embryos into her womb.

From these two cells all the babies’ organs and body parts will develop. From these two layers of cells a little miracle will form.

“When I saw their heartbeats for the first time it was surreal,” tells a donor egg recipient. “I cried and I cried and I cried. Finally! Finally it was my turn to become a mother.”

As she had only disclosed to her close family and friends of her journey with egg donation IVF the recipient decided to remain anonymous.

“There was no black or white explanation on why I could not conceive children, but I was determined to be a mother.

“Through the donation someone was able to give me such a selfless gift,” she says with great thankfulness to the anonymous donor.

She lightly laughs and adds, “The donor actually gave me twice the gift — she gave me twins. She helped me reach a dream that I once thought was unreachable.”

Donating agencies: collectors of apples

“The process of donating eggs can be compared to the collection of fruit,” says Jenny Curry, the owner of Baby2mom, a company that facilitates the egg donation process by co-ordinating the donor and the recipient.

“Every month a woman loses a certain amount of eggs — just as an apple tree will lose apples,” she explains.

“But, if you stand there with a basket to collect the apples it just means that they are going to good use. Those who are not collected will fall to the earth and rot.”

She says that instead of losing your eggs through menstruation they can rather be collected and put into good use.

“Egg donation is an extraordinary life-changing gift. It is a gift that offers hope to women who previously thought they could never have children.”

According to Curry, women who are in good health and who do not have any genetic illnesses or concerns can donate their eggs.

Companies such as Baby2mom, Nurture, and Gift ov Life have online databases where possible recipients can look at a profile of all the possible donors.

“The donor’s profile will among others provide a recipient with information about the donor’s physical profile, education/occupation, and behavioural traits,” she explains. Adding that the donor’s identity will remain anonymous.

“When a donor commits to donating her eggs she has the ethical responsibility to participate in the process as instructed,” says Curry.

“When the donor completes the process and does what is expected of her, she will receive a donation of R 6000 as approved by the South African Health Department.”

She emphasises that it is a donation and not a payment. “It is a gift for the donor’s effort, the incurred medical cost and the time the donor had put into someone else’s dream.”

According to Curry the donor has no rights towards a child that is conceived through egg donation.

“South African law says that the birth mother holds all the rights and responsibility when it comes to the child. Legally the child is the recipient’s child.”

Donating the ultimate gift

“We are born with over 2 million eggs and we lose them during our lifetime,” says Jamaine Krige, an egg donor who has donated eggs twice. “If they are going to be lost why not give them to someone that can benefit from it?

“We all know someone that is struggling to have a baby. While having children is not a priority for me right now — I know the importance that it carries to a lot of women,” she says.

“For the recipient it means the world. You are helping them get the family they have always wanted.”

Krige explains that egg donation is an important process. “Unlike adoption or surrogacy it actually affords the women a chance to play a part in the process of giving birth to her baby.

“The donor might provide the genetic material for conception, but the recipient still carries the baby. She still nurtures the baby in her womb.

“She plays a vital part in bringing the baby in to this life.”

Doctor’s advice 

Dr Paul le Roux, a reproductive medicine specialist at Cape Fertility Clinic, says that infertility exists when a women is unable to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse.

“Ovarian failure may be due to previous chemotherapy, radiotherapy and/or prior surgery,” he says.  Adding that infertility can also be due to poor egg quality because of age related deterioration or due to inherited genetic conditions.

According to Le Roux one in every three women, above the age of 40, will not be able to conceive naturally and will need fertility treatment in order to get pregnant.

Le Roux explains that once an egg-recipient has found a donor, either through a donor agency or through someone they know, both the donor and the recipient will see a fertility specialist for treatment.

“The recipient will have medication to prepare her womb lining for the embryo transfer, while the donor will have medication to grow the eggs. The donor will have to take daily injections of Follicle-stimulating Hormone (FSH) for approximately 10 days,” he expands.

“The donor will then be monitored with trans-vaginal ultrasound every couple of days until the eggs are ready to be extracted.”

According to Le Roux the IVF success rate in South Africa is approximately 35% per embryo transfer.

The reproductive specialist says egg donors should preferably between the age of 21 and 34 as “any eggs of a donor, older than 34, might decrease the success rate of the IVF”.

He also says for health reason the South African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG) suggest that oocyte donors should be limited to 6 donations.

“Medical risks for the egg donor are generally small, but risks may include ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome, pelvic infection, ovarian torsion, intra-abdominal bleeding, loss of future fertility and anaesthetic complications,” says Le Roux.

A mother’s words

“A mother is a woman who will love her children unconditionally until her last breath,” says the egg donor recipient.

“As a mother you choose to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own. As a mother you will have your patience tested to the ends of the earth.

“You will learn about your personal strengths you did not know you had and you will deal with fears you did not know existed. No greater privilege exists. Everybody deserves to be a mother.”

With thanks to journalism student, Dominique Oosthuizen for sharing her investigation into the Egg Donation industry with us!

How to grow beautiful, organic free range eggs!

chickenYou’ve been chosen by a recipient who has just invested a whole lot of time, emotions and money in the hope of becoming parents. By agreeing to be their donor, you’ve already done a truly wonderful thing, THANK YOU!

If you are wondering what you can do to improve your recipients chances at success…..keep on reading!budah

Well, there are lots of things you can do! Some of them are in the ‘can’t hurt, might help’ category – these include rubbing your Buddha’s belly, lighting your candles, singing your chants and saying a few prayers. We welcome as much help as the universe is prepared to give us. But there are even more things you can do, practical things that have been proven to increase the quality of your eggs.

Here is a list of Good Things and Bad Things that could affect whether your recipient conceives or not.

The Good Stuff

  • Folic acid (also known at vitamin B9) is a VERY cheap over-the-counter vitamin that greatly increases the quality of the eggs and prevents deformities in the embryo. It only costs a few ronts at the chemist, so we urge you to get some as soon as possible. Added bonus? Better skin and hair for you – even more gorgeousness!
  • waterMultivitamin – this is kind of self-explanatory. Anything that makes YOU healthier will make those eggies healthier too. So if you aren’t yet on a good multi vitamin, put yourself on one. Ask your friendly pharmacist for advice.
  • Water, water, water… drink, drink, drink.strawbs.jpg
  • Vegetables and fruit – the stuff your mother told you to eat as a child. She might have been off base with other stuff, but in this case she was right.

The Bad Stuff

  • Ok, I know this is going to make your sphincter clench, but smoking is BAAAAAD for you. Even if you don’t care about yourself too much, every single research study says that smoking is bad for your eggs. Egg quality is greatly reduced by smoking, so please please PLEASE try and cut back as much as you can. And if you are up to it, why don’t you use this as motivation to quit all together. You will be doing your recipient a huge favour and yourself! Seriously – smoking = very bad for egg quality
  • Smokers vs Non-smokers – how does it affect success rates:
    • # % # pos % success ave # eggs
      smokers 22 36% 10 45% 12
      non smokers 39 64% 23 59% 11

       In other words:

  • 64% of our donors don’t smoke.
  • Smokers only have a 45% success rate per attempt, where as non-smokers have a 59% success rate per attempt.
  • In other words, non-smokers fare 29% better as donors than smokers.
  • Average number of eggs retrieved is the same.
  • wine.jpgDrinking – look, we love our wine here at Nurture, so we would be the LAST people to tell you to give up, but as with everything, moderation is key. If you are going to drink yourself into a stupor, not only will you feel like poo the next day, but your egg quality will be reduced.

 

Bottom Line: Take a multivitamin (remember that taking folic acid is important to prevent neural tube defects in the early fetus), eat a diet rich in vegetable protein, low in animal protein, moderate processed starches and … drink water, lots of it. We are not saying “none” of this or “nun” of that – but a little extra tender loving care can go a long way!

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