What to look for when you’re choosing an egg donation agency

Much like trying to find the perfect date for your matric dance, Nurture logo pink

choosing the right egg donation agency for you is a critical step in your  journey.

If it’s not the right fit, the experience is going to be long, drawn-out and painful. But, if you’ve made the right choice and found the perfect partner, it’ll be a dream – and possibly even life-changing!

So here are some things to look for in choosing the right egg donation agency for you.

What’s their track record?

Let’s face it, as soon as you meet someone new, you head straight on to your phone to find their Instagram profile and learn as much as Google will allow you to. If the cutie at the bar looks dodgy online, you’ll be deleting that number, right?

It should be the same for choosing an egg donation agency. Try to find out as much as you can about the agency – from how long they’ve been in operation, to who their employees are. Has the agency ever been in the news? Do they have real references from real donors? Do they mention some of the fertility clinics that they’ve worked with?

Of course, if you can’t find any information on the agency you’re interested in, that should be a major red flag!

Do they play by the rules?

Egg donation agencies should follow the guidelines set by SASREG (which stands for The Southern African Society for Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy, in case you were interested), and they must obey all laws set out in the National Health Act regarding egg donation. Consider this essential reading: https://sasreg.co.za/downloads/Guidelines-for-Egg-Donation-Agencies.pdf

Nurture adheres to all SASREG guidelines (and then some!), and we will always put the health and wellness of our donors first.

Can you get in touch easily?

You should never have to work hard to find the right people to contact, and the people that you do get in touch with should be compassionate, professional, and easy to talk to! As with dating, chemistry is always important. If you don’t ‘click’ with your agency, it’s time to move on.

And because no one likes staring at their phone waiting for a reply… It’s important to us that our donors feel supported and loved from the start. We’ve been known to answer emails at 2am and reply to WhatsApp messages at all hours!

Do you get all the information you need, upfront?

One of the SASREG guidelines states that egg donors must be fully informed about the process, including the potential risks and side effects. If you ever feel like the agency is dodging questions or not answering them properly, take that as a red flag. You shouldn’t have to drag answers out of them – you have a right to be fully informed at all stages. And remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question!

Luckily for you, here at Nurture we’re chronic over-sharers. Seriously, if you’re interested, you can see which of our team members are dog-mad (Melany!) and what our drink of choice is (wine, please. Chardonnay if it’s going.)

Trust your gut

At the end of the day, YOU are the one that needs to make the decision on which agency to donate with. So, the biggest piece of advice that we have for you is to trust your gut.

If at any stage of your research for an egg donation agency you get a funny feeling about the agency or the people you will be working with, rather let them know that you have chosen not to go with their agency.

  1. Pick Nurture. We’ve been in the business for ten years and counting, and are positively fabulous.

Five tips for a first-time donor

So, you’re getting ready for your first-ever egg donation – exciting times! DonorEggs

By now you’ll have met with one of our fab Nurture women, been matched and are getting ready to go. Here are a few extra tips from a former donor for making your first donation a stellar experience.

Ask questions

Never be afraid to ask questions during the donation process. If something interests you, ask. If something worries you, definitely ask! If you’re not sure, or are sure and just want to make extra sure, then ask! There’s no such thing as a stupid question. This is an awesome opportunity to learn about some

rad science, and your own health and fertility – so take it!

Stay healthy

There are some quick (and cheap and easy) fixes to make sure you stay healthy when you’re getting ready to donate – and help make beautiful eggs for your recipient! Pop to the chemist to find some folic acid (which will boost your egg quality AND make your hair and skin look awesome, total no-brainer) and some good old-fashioned multivitamins. Choose more fresh fruit and veg and fewer processed foods. And (deep breath) – cut back on the alcohol and cigarettes. But especially the cigarettes – smoking has a major impact on your egg quality.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is important to promote circulation throughout the egg donation process. Drink as much water as you can, choose fluids with electrolytes, and cut down on anything that can dehydrate you.

Relax

Let yourself take time off to rest and relax both before your donation, and after! Try to make sure that you’re not scheduling your egg retrievals for times that you know will be stressful for you, and that you take the opportunities to meditate, nap, or bond with your couch and your new favourite series!

Journal and take photos

This is an amazing experience that you’re on – and it has the potential to be life-changing for you. Write in your journal, make notes on your phone and take a million photos. That way, when you’re old and grey and looking back at your life, you can remember all the small details.

Good luck!

Five Questions to Ask Before You Donate

Thinking about becoming an egg donor? Questions-to-Ask

While at first glance you might meet the basic requirements(18 to 33 and a healthy BMI) and you’re ready to jump in feet first, there are a few other important factors to consider.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start this amazing journey. So, grab a cuppa (or a glass!) and find a quiet place to think over the below.

Am I healthy?

We all know that a healthy BMI (body-mass index) is not always a clear indicator of healthy you are. You must be free of any serious medical conditions (including HIV), and mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia before you are allowed to donate. You may also be disqualified from donating if you have a history of major depression that requires you to be on two or more psychiatric drugs.

Speaking of drugs – any donors who have a history of drug and alcohol abuse will not be allowed to donate. A few glasses of wine here and there is fine – just be prepared to cut back a little while you’re donating.

And, of course, you must have regular, healthy periods!

Do I have a healthy family history?

During your screening process, you fill out a questionnaire longer than most nightmare exam papers.

In it, you will be asked some detailed questions about your family’s medical history for the doctors to see if there are any possible genetic red flags to consider. These are important! If you can’t answer questions about your family’s medical history honestly and comprehensively, perhaps now is not the time for you to donate.

There’s a list here of the medical conditions that might disqualify you if you or your immediate family suffer from any of them – so please read through before starting the application: https://www.nurturedonors.co.za/medical-conditions/

Do I have the time?

Egg donation is a time-consuming process. Apart from the daily injections that you need to give yourself (or have someone give you if you’re really scared of needles!), you must be prepared to come in for between six and eight appointments – including initial psychological screenings and health checks, and repeated scans to check out how your ovaries are responding to the medication. Additionally, you must be prepared to take at least one day off from work or varsity for the donation and recovery itself.

If you’ve got a stressful time coming up at work or varsity and know that you won’t be able to make the time for any potential donations, perhaps put it off until your schedule clears and you can focus on making beautiful eggs!

(Side note: If you don’t want to disclose to your employer or place of education that you’re donating your eggs, one of the doctors can provide you with a medical certificate to book you off.)

Can I get to all my appointments?

Do you have your own vehicle to drive yourself to all your appointments, or can you catch a lift, take a taxi, Uber or use other public transport? And can you afford to pay out of your own pocket for these trips? While donors are compensated financially for their time and effort, this only takes place after the retrieval has been completed. If money is tight, make sure to budget for up to ten trips to and from the clinic you’ll be working with.

Will someone be able to pick you up after your retrieval?

Another important consideration is the day of the retrieval itself. During the egg retrieval, you’ll be placed under a very light anaesthetic to knock you out while the doctors do their thing. And while you might feel fine, legally you are not allowed to drive yourself home after having undergone anaesthetic. Someone must be there to pick you up after and to take you home.

If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then we can’t wait to welcome you aboard! Head to www.nurture.co.za to take the next steps on your egg donation journey.

A day in the life of Tanya Rubin

Tanya Rubin

Tanya Rubin is a qualified counsellor, registered social worker and logotherapist,

and most importantly, one of Nurture’s fab donor liaisons!

This mom of two is also a former infertility patient, with one IVF baby and one “free gift”. Besides her Nurture work, Tanya continues to counsel those struggling with infertility. Talk about a superwoman!

We sat down with Tanya to find out what makes her tick.

 

Describe in 15 words or less what you do at Nurture. 

Looking after matched donors, making sure that the match runs smoothly and efficiently.

 

What does a typical day at Nurture look like for you?

Checking emails every two minutes, chatting to donors all day via email or WhatsApp, interviewing and meeting donors, keeping in constant contact with the co-ordinators and nurses at the fertility clinics to make sure all is on track with the current matches and that donors know what the next steps are, and chatting to the Nurture recipient support team almost daily.

 

What has been the highlight of your Nurture career?

Every positive result we get is like a mini-highlight on a daily basis. I am privileged enough to see both sides in that I get to screen donors and counsel recipients – it is amazing how close the match is even though egg donation is anonymous! Those are my highlights, every day.

 

What is the one piece of advice that you have for a brand-new egg donor?

This experience is going to change your perspective on life and will be forever lasting

 

Describe the average Nurture egg donor in five words.

Dedicated, compassionate, committed, awesome and selfless.

 

If you could know the absolute and total truth to one question – what would you ask? 

Why do good people have to suffer through so much pain and loss?

 

Open up your handbag / laptop bag – what are the first five things in there? 

Chewing gum. Lip gloss. My purse. My phone. Tissues.

 

What’s your superpower? 

My gut instinct. It’s never wrong!

 

Your Nurture profile talks about your qualification as a logotherapist. Can you briefly define it, and explain how you bring it into your counselling practice?

Logotherapy is based on Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning. The basic premise is to help people find meaning through suffering. For me, being a counsellor who focuses primarily on grief, loss and infertility, it is vital to help patients find some type of meaning and connection in their life when they are going through so much pain and suffering.

 

A quick Google search mentions that you previously specialised in the field of addiction. How did you move into infertility counselling?

Having been a fertility patient myself, I knew that my experience as a patient had to mean something and so I decided to stay in the fertility world and have never left. It became a part of my soul and I have dedicated every aspect of my world to helping patients – hopefully by making their lives a little more manageable while the world of infertility consumes them.

 

What is family to you?

Family is everything to me! The most important elements in my life, my whole entire world!

 

What gets you going in the morning? 

Coffee and my gym classes

 

What is your proudest achievement? 

My two perfect, beautiful children! I cannot believe they are mine

 

Your profile mentions that you’re still practicing privately as well as working with Nurture. What are you doing when you’re not at work? 

My children keep me busy rushing around all day, but when I have time out, reading, drinking wine with family and friends and going to gym would be my escape from work

 

What is the biggest misconception about egg donation that you would wave a wand to clear up? 

That egg donors donate only for money, that egg donation is dangerous and that donors will lose all their eggs and never be able to have children after.

You can contact Tanya at Tanya@nurture.co.za or call her on 0826001989