Why do women donate their eggs?

Eggs

It’s a question that gets asked all the time – why would women donate their eggs? Aren’t they, like, giving away their babies? Are they selling their eggs for the money? At Nurture, we’ve heard it all, and we’re here to say: Every woman is different and may have different motivation.

So here are a few of the most common reasons.

They need the money

Let’s get this out of the way first – donors are compensated R7 000 for their time and effort. They’re not ‘selling’ their eggs. And yes, the money does entice some donors to apply to Nurture. But egg donation is no quick buck – it’s hard work and a lot of commitment, and involves an intense screening process. Very often we find that women who are initially attracted by the idea of some extra money quickly find that it doesn’t matter as much as helping someone to fulfil their dream. It’s so much more valuable than the money!

They know someone who has struggled with infertility…

A personal connection to someone who has struggled with infertility is another motivator for donors. Our very own Melany, for example was moved to donate her eggs by Tertia’s struggle with infertility!

… Or know single people or same-sex couples who want a baby

Unlike some places around the world, in South Africa it is legal to donate your eggs to gay couples and single parents!

They genuinely want to make a difference

This is made all the more incredible by the fact that our donations are anonymous. Donors sign up because they want to make a difference in another person’s life by helping them to build their family.

They are innately compassionate people

Simply put – they care. They’re willing to undergo a pretty intense process to help a total stranger – one that they often end up forming a bond with, even though they never meet. They know how important this is to the recipient, and are invested in seeing this succeed.

Often, it’s a combination of some or all of the above.

A day in the life of Kim Lazarus

Kim Lazarus

Kim Lazarus

A veteran of 17 rounds of IVF and a mom to two teenage boys, Kim Lazarus is Nurture’s “fairy godmother”, who helps to finds the perfect match for our recipients. We chat to superwoman Kim about her day job before Nurture, her advice for new egg donors, and what she would pack in her ultimate picnic basket.

Describe in 10 words or less what you do at Nurture. 
Recipient support, local and international egg bank co-ordination

 

What does a typical day at Nurture look like for you? 
Most of my communication with recipients is via email, so a large portion of my day is spent at my desk. Finding suitable donors for recipients, based on the information and photos they provide, is a very time consuming and methodical process.  We are also busy with our new and exciting egg bank projects (local and international).  There is an enormous amount of admin involved so I dedicate specific times to this in order to stay focused. Some recipients like to meet face-to-face, so I always keep a morning open to meet them for coffee and a chat, and then of course there are our weekly team and department meetings.

 

What was your day job before Nurture?

A fabric buyer in the clothing industry.

 

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I have been married to my husband for 20 years and I am a mom to two boys aged 18 and 13.  My family is definitely my focus when I am not working. I exercise in the mornings, love catching up on series over the weekend and I have awesome girlfriends who I spent lots of time with.

 

What has been the highlight of your Nurture career?

Every baby that is born is a highlight for me but if I were to single out one event, it would have to be the birth of twins to the most amazing women who had lost both of her biological children in a tragic accident.

 

You have also worked in the surrogacy field – how did you move to working with Nurture?

Together with Tertia and Melany, I started the surrogacy program under the Nurture umbrella. When the surrogacy laws changed in 2010 it became very difficult to continue providing our surrogacy service, despite numerous attempts to do so. We closed the surrogacy program as a business and joined hands with an attorney who specialises in the field and is able to continue the service due to her legal qualifications. It was heart-breaking to see it come to an end but Tertia asked me to move over to egg donation and take over from her in dealing with recipients so that she could focus on other aspects of the business and new opportunities.

 

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

Why do bad things happen to good people?

 

Your profile mentions that you underwent extensive fertility treatment before you became a mom. How does that impact how you deal with Nurture’s donors and recipients?

I honestly am not sure how one is able to work with recipients without having some personal experience. Although I didn’t use donor eggs, my IVF journey has given me so much insight into the process.  I believe that I have probably experienced every emotion that a recipient can/may/will experience – the highs, the lows and everything in between. I sometimes wonder whether my 17 IVFs terrify or inspire recipients, but I hope it is more of the latter. I know when recipients need to be encouraged and given a little push to take the next step and I also know when to back off and let them process the information they have.

 

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

Ask lots of questions, talk to past donors, gather as much information as you can.  What you are doing is HUGE. It is life-changing stuff, not only for the recipient but also for you.  Make sure you are 100% comfortable with the process.  Be proud of what you are doing and have someone to support you.

 

Describe the average Nurture egg donor in five words.

I don’t think there is such a thing as an average donor. Each donor is so unique and special.

 

Describe an average morning in your household.

During the week we wake up around 6.  Mornings are generally very calm as I make sure that bags are packed and sorted the night before – I cannot do morning chaos as it sets a horrible tone for the rest of the day.

 

What is your proudest achievement?

Having two beautiful, healthy children after 17 IVFs over seven years

 

What is in your ideal picnic basket? 
Pizza with banana, avocado and chilli; green salad; Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc with lots of ice; Cadbury’s coconut and cashew nut milk chocolate.

 

What’s your superpower?

To remain calm in a crisis, despite my own high level of anxiety.  I can hold it together when others can’t.