One child, two biological mothers

The court recognises two biological mothers after egg from one woman was removed, fertilized and placed into second woman, reports The Jerusalem Post.

Two women, who were both intrinsically involved in bringing a child into the world, were recognized on Sunday as the child’s biological mothers by the Ramat Gan Family Court, it was announced on Monday.

The couple, who now will not need to go through a long and complicated legal process to both register as the child’s mothers, received approval from the Health Ministry in 2006 for the egg of one woman to be removed, fertilized with donor sperm and placed into the second woman.

Meretz MK postpones gay rights bill to seek support
Feiglin backtracks from meeting with gay group
However, while the second woman, or surrogate mother, who gave birth to the child was recognized by the Interior Ministry as the official mother, her partner – who has a genetic link to the child – was told that she would have to legally adopt the baby to also be recognized as an additional mother.

The couple refused to go through the adoption process and three years ago petitioned the court, arguing that if the donor mother had been a man and had filed a paternity suit under similar circumstances, his claim as the child’s biological parent would most likely have been accepted. The two women claimed the fact that their request was turned down due to discrimination on gender grounds.

Judge Alice Miller, who handed down the ruling on Sunday, wrote, “I think recognizing the donor mother as the mother of this child is a positive and essential step; it is also a way to solve a case that has special circumstances.

“Recognizing the genetic mother as a legal additional mother is also consistent with certain halachic [Jewish law] options,” she added, highlighting that allowing the donor mother to exercise her rights as a parent was a humanitarian and natural decision.

Na’ama Tzoref-Halevy, the couple’s lawyer who is an expert on fertility law, welcomed the ruling but warned that it was “a lonely victory.”

She explained that even though her clients were delighted by the ruling and the fact that the barrier to creating their own family had now been removed – due to a recent law aimed at protecting the rights of surrogate mothers – the Health Ministry no longer considers same-sex female couples for such surrogacy arrangements.

Tzoref-Halevy called the ministry’s interpretation of this law as “improper” and called on it to “stop discrimination against same-sex partners and apply the law equally as it does in cases of heterosexual couples.”

She said that there was a wide gap in Israel between advanced fertility technology and the laws that governed such procedures.

Attorney Irit Rosenblum, the executive director of New Family, an organization that champions the rights of Israelis to establish marriages and families outside of the traditional system, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that she has already challenged the Health Ministry’s policy of denying such surrogacy arrangements for lesbian couples.

She said that it was all down to the definition of surrogacy, and that within the context of a same-sex couple who want to share a connection to their child, interpretation of the law in this way is not appropriate.

“The state should advance and bless any same-sex couple that finds a way to be involved genetically or practically in giving birth,” Rosenblum said.

“All efforts that enable both women to be equal parents are for the best of the child,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Health Ministry responded by saying that the egg donors law was designed to help women who had medical problems conceiving. Currently, that law does not allow for egg donation to women that do not have medical problems.

An overseas Nurture recipient shares her good news

When Tertia asked me to tell about my experience, I had two parallel internal responses: one is that I prefer not to talk about it, and keep the whole thing to myself in order to preserve my privacy. The other was that I really would like to help Tertia to help others. So we came up with the idea of this anonymous letter…

First I would to share my warm feelings to Tertia. Though we had never met and our communication was via emails and phone, from the first moment I felt that I was in a safe place of humanity, sensitivity, empathy and patience, and above all I felt that she was doing her job out of a personal mission and from a true will to help me to be a mother!

So, here is the thing: we went the whole way and did the whole process of donation in SA – egg purchase, fertilisation and implementation. Needless to say, this process is personal. Every woman and couple have their own sensitivities and any choice is a very personal issue. However, the choice of SA demands an independent set of mind and personal involvement all the way: choosing the agency and the donor, communicating with the clinic, the treatment protocol, the journey to SA, the considerably long stay, the logistics… but in the end it was worth it!

First, SA has a very high level advanced medical system. Second, it is impossible to describe the interaction, professionalism and sensitivity we were met with. As a couple, we felt through the whole way that we are in good hands – from the early stage of choosing a donor through Nurture until later even after the implementation and the monitoring of our progress when we were already back home. So… we are in the 4th month of pregnancy after the first and only attempt. I am sure that I would say the same things about our SA experience even if the outcomes were different.

Warmly recommending! Good luck…

Good news for women over 50 who use donor eggs

The biggest single-centre study of older women who used egg donation to become pregnant has reassuring news.

A study published recently in the American Journal of Perinatology is the biggest single-centre study of older women who used egg donation to become pregnant. The research included 101 women and examined whether women age 50 and over were actually at increased risk for complications. Other data have showed that 50+ women who conceive with the help of donor eggs are at increased risk for complications during pregnancy and childbirth, including high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, premature delivery, and problems with the placenta. The scientists compared women age 50 or older with those 42 and younger who also used donor eggs to conceive. All the women were fertility patients at Columbia University Center for Reproductive Care.

The findings were largely reassuring for 50+ women, with the two groups experiencing similar rates of complications (and going against previous research showing a higher rate of problems in 50+ moms and moms-to-be). reported that the study found that “all women who use egg donation…are at an elevated risk for obstetrical complications,” especially elevated blood pressure and having a C-section, but women over 50 don’t seem to face any greater risk.


A note from one of our recipients

“I can’t believe it – my baby is a year old already. It has been a wonderful year that went by so fast. The baby has grown so much and remains so sweet. She is such a joy, she smiles quite a lot and her smile is contagious. She is a hit wherever she goes, and we are totally smitten with her.

She is very energetic and her gross motor skills are spot on. She doesn’t want to play with ‘baby’ things – she wants the real stuff that we use. She eats very well and is now a 12kg baby. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

I sincerely hope all women who wish to have babies have their wish granted because this experience is life changing. Keep on making dreams come true for others

From a very happy mother”

15 reasons to become an egg donor

15 reasons to get off the fence and become an egg donor

1. You’ll get to witness the wonders of modern medicine first hand.

2. It will make you feel powerful in your ability to make positive social change.

3. Many women and men desperately need eggs to make their families, and you could help them do that.

4. The entire egg donation process only takes 2-3 months, and only 2 weeks of that is active participation.

5. You’ll learn more about your body, your menstrual cycle, and human reproduction in general.

6. Donating eggs will give you an appreciation of the beauty and power of your body.

7. Donating eggs will give you an amazing symbolic connection to your fellow human beings.

8. The experience will deepen your capacity to empathize with others’ suffering.

9. If your recipient is infertile, you can raise public awareness about infertility.

10. If your recipient is gay, you can raise public awareness about gay parenting.

11. “I’m an egg donor” makes a great conversation starter at parties.

12. You’ll be able to look back on the experience with pride.

13. It is your opportunity to ‘pay it forward’ with some very good karma sent out to the universe.

14. You’ll be a member of a very small, very unique “sorority” of women who have donated eggs to others.

15. You will have the fantastic, wonderful, awesome experience of having the country’s best egg donor team support you through the process – the Nurture team are like a best friend times a million.

For more information about egg donation and how to apply to become an egg donor, please visit here.

Adapted from an article written by Abbie Waters

Happy 3rd birthday to Nurture’s first twins!

Our first babies – the precious twins who were born through Nurture’s first egg donor programme – turned three last week.

The Nurture gals were ecstatic with this milestone, and received an awesome letter from the twins’ mom:

Hi Nurture Aunties,

Today we celebrate our little angels 3rd Birthday, I still look at them and am so grateful for all your help and assistance in making my dream come true.

All your fantastic work is so appreciated.

Lots of love and hugs,

The link between cigarettes and infertility

Being exposed to cigarette smoke as a baby or foetus could reduce a female’s fertility, new Australian research has found.

The three-year study examined the effect that three chemicals found in cigarettes had on ovarian development and egg fertilisation.

It found females who were exposed to the toxins through cigarette smoke during the early stages of life could experience a reduction in the quality and number of their eggs, Professor Eileen McLaughlin from the University of Newcastle said.

“We believe that exposure to these toxins as a foetus dramatically reduces egg quality and quantity before birth and that this reduced fertility may be passed on to the next generation,” Prof McLaughlin said in a statement.

“It means that if your grandmother smoked – either while pregnant with your mother or near her when she was a baby – you and possibly your children may be at risk of reduced fertility.”

According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, more than one-third of pregnant Australian women under the age of 25 continue to smoke during pregnancy and premature ovarian failure continues to be a major cause of female infertility before the age of 40.

Prof McLaughlin’s research has been published in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences and the Journal of Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, and was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.


The 10 things you need to know about infertility

Tertia shares 10 things everyone should know about infertility. This post first appeared on the parenting blog Rattle and Mum.

1. Infertility is not your fault!: You are not struggling to have a baby because of something you did wrong in your past. Stop blaming yourself!

2. Infertility is medical condition: It is not part of “God’s plan” that you don’t have a child. It is not that you “weren’t meant to be a mother”. Don’t listen to that stuff. You wouldn’t say “oh, maybe it is part of God’s plan that I am a diabetic, I should just accept it and not seek help”.

3. Infertility is painful: They say that infertility patients are second only to cancer patients in what they will endure to find a cure. That shows you how deep the pain can be. Know that what you are feeling is real. Also know that there is hope!

4. Infertility can break up relationships, if you allow it to: Infertility is can sometimes wreak havoc on relationships. Between you and your husband, between you and your best friend. Be open about what you are feeling. Talk. Communicate. It is so important.

5. Infertility is indiscriminate: Infertility doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, tall or short, black or white. One in 10 couples struggle to conceive. Fact.

6. Infertility is age dependant: I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but you need to know that your eggs have an expiry date. It doesn’t matter how young you look on the outside, your fertility declines after 35. After 40 your fertility declines rapidly. Don’t leave it too long.

7. Infertility is lonely, but it doesn’t have to be: Being infertile in a fertile world is a lonely place to be, but you don’t need to do this alone. There are so many people who are in the same boat as you and who get how you feel. Join a support group like Fertilicare – you can even join anonymously.

8. Infertility needn’t be a life sentence: There is hope out there. There are amazing doctors and fertility specialists who have access to the latest medical technology to help you conceive. You can have a baby, but just don’t wait too long (see point 6!)

9. Infertility is not the end of the road: If you are struggling to conceive, there are many options open to you. Families are built in all different ways and thank goodness we have things like egg donation, sperm donation, surrogacy, adoption and foster care. If you are open to it, there are many ways to have children.

10. Infertility is hard, but getting it ‘right’ is worth everything and more: Doing 10 IVFs and having so many pregnancy losses was harrowing. My journey was a long, tough one but I would do it all again a million times over in order to be a mother. Being my children’s mother is an honour and a privilege and I am reminded every day how incredibly lucky I am that I eventually succeeded. I hope you get your ‘happily ever after’ too.

Women over age 50 not at increased risk during pregnancy via egg donation compared to younger women

Although women over age 50 who become pregnant via egg donation are at an elevated risk for developing obstetrical complications, their complication rates are similar to those of younger recipients, according to a study by Columbia University Medical Centre researchers to be published in the February 2012 issue of the American Journal of Perinatology. This is contrary to epidemiological data suggesting that these women are at greater risk of certain complications of pregnancy, including hypertension, gestational diabetes, premature birth, and placenta abnormalities.

In the largest single-centre study of older women who became pregnant from egg donation, Mark V. Sauer, MD; Daniel H. Kort, MD; and colleagues studied 101 women age 50 and over. They compared their pregnancy results with those of egg-donation recipients age 42 and younger. The two groups were evaluated for significant differences in perinatal complications, gestational age at delivery, baby’s birth weight, and mode of delivery. Although the women all received their fertility treatment at Columbia University Center for Reproductive Care, their prenatal care and delivery often took place elsewhere.

Both older and younger women had similar rates of gestational hypertension, diabetes, cesarean delivery, and premature birth. Two women in the older group experienced a serious adverse effect. A 56-year-old woman developed heavy vaginal bleeding at 29 weeks of pregnancy and had to deliver by emergency cesarean hysterectomy 2 weeks later. She recovered with no further complications. A 49-year-old woman (who would have been age 50 at term) died following acute cardiac arrest in her first trimester. The researchers believe that her death was unrelated to her pregnancy and more likely attributable to her heavy smoking habit, which she had not disclosed to her doctors.

The study concluded that all women who use egg donation to become pregnant are at an elevated risk for obstetrical complications, particularly hypertensive disorders and cesarean section; but women over age 50 do not appear to face any greater risk than their younger counterparts.

“It is imperative that all older women undergo thorough medical screening before attempting pregnancy to ensure the best possible outcome,” said Mark Sauer, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). “But, really, that should apply to younger women, as well.”

“Although many social and ethical questions surround the use of assisted reproductive technology by this age group, the current study confirms the high success rate and relative safety of such pregnancies in well-cared-for women,” said Daniel H. Kort, a postdoctoral fellow in obstetrics and gynaecology.


Why South Africa is a top fertility destination

When people hear or think about South Africa, they usually conjure up Hemingwayesque images of a sun-drenched land where majestic big game roams through unspoiled and breathtaking scenery.

They’re spot on, of course. But that is just a small part of what the country has to offer. For an increasing amount of people, South Africa is fast becoming more than just a destination where their sun-and-safari dreams will come true. These days, many people are also travelling here from all over the world in an attempt to fulfill an ultimate personal dream and desire: Parenthood.

Over the last few years, South Africa has emerged as one of the foremost fertility treatment destinations in the world, with outstanding clinics and the latest technology allowing for state-of-the-art treatment. In addition, South Africa offers a large database of first class eggs donors from all races and ethnicities. Unlike other foreign egg donor programs, future parents are able to view full information about prospective donors including family history, education history, medical information etc as well as photos of the donor as a child.

That all sounds fair enough, but why should European nationals take on the expense and time to travel halfway across the world for treatment that they could undergo much closer to home?

Why? Because not only is the treatment reasonable priced, but it is also highly successful. South African fertility clinics are rated among the best in the world. But the main motivating factor is access to the large database of donors – there is no waiting list! The wait for a donor is only as long as it takes to choose a donor that meets all your requirements. Within three months of choosing a donor, future parents could be back home, with a baby on the way.
The favourable exchange rate also enables many patients who travel to South Africa from Europe and elsewhere for fertility treatment to combine the trip with a vacation. Such medical tourism, sometimes also called ‘IVF/Egg safaris’, is becoming increasingly popular in South Africa as more patients and their partners decide to go on that dream safari while here for their IVF treatment.

The clear legislation and ethics surrounding egg donation are additional factors that set South Africa apart as a favourite fertility destination, ensuring that not only are the rights of the future parents and their prospective children taken care of, but the well-being and safety of the donor always remains paramount.

Current legislation allows egg donors in South Africa to remain anonymous. Local donors are healthy young female volunteers between the ages of 21 and 34 years of age. Although they do receive reimbursement for their donation, it essentially only covers incidentals they may have incurred while participating in the donor programme, such travelling to and from the clinic. The amount has been carefully regulated to ensure that donors donate for altruistic reasons only.. The egg donors in South Africa are therefore not motivated by money, but are really doing this as an act of extreme kindness to make a genuine difference in someone else’s life.

Excellent medical care, a wide range of available donors, similar cultures, the same language and time zone plus a very favourable exchange rate make South Africa is an ideal destination to pursue donor egg IVF for the European fertility patient. The opportunity to combine all of this with a fantastic vacation? Just what the doctor ordered.

Contact Details for Nurture Egg Donor Program
Contact Person: Tertia Albertyn
Contact Number Local: 0824418639
Contact Number International: (+27824418639)