Egg donation in a nutshell

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Egg Donation

Maybe you’ve seen a Facebook ad or a flyer. Perhaps you’ve overheard a conversation on the topic.

But what exactly is egg donation? We break it down for you.

Put a label on it

Simply put, egg donation is when one woman donates some of her eggs to another woman with one goal in mind – to make healthy babies!

There are a number of reasons for hopeful parents to choose an egg donor. Perhaps they’ve struggled to conceive using the woman’s own eggs. Perhaps there’s a medical reason or genetic condition in play. And perhaps you’re donating to a single dad or a gay couple.

Whatever the reason, the recipient has usually gone down a long, hard road before they get to you, and your hugely generous donation could be what finally allows them to achieve their dream of becoming parents!

The nitty gritty

Unfortunately, not everyone can donate their eggs. Women must be between the ages of 19 and 32, have a healthy BMI, and not have any serious medical conditions, genetic disorders, or sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV). Recreational drugs are also a no.

Egg donations are completely anonymous and handled through an agency or clinic. You won’t meet the intended parents or know each other’s names, and they won’t see any adult pictures of you.

The intended parents will read your donor profile to get to know your medical history, your family’s medical history and, perhaps most importantly, the type of person you are. Think of it as the world’s most in-depth dating profile! They will also see the gorgeous baby and kiddie photos that you provide to them – so make sure your kiddie pics are ultra-cute!

Donors are compensated R7000 for their time and effort – and it’s a BIG commitment. You will need to be prepared to inject yourself every day for around two weeks, take or change birth control to sync your menstrual cycle with the recipient’s, and make yourself available for scans and check-ups throughout the process.

All right, sounds good. I’m in.

Great! Once you’ve filled out your epic donor profile and submitted your baby pics, you’ll meet with your new Nurture BF for an initial interview to talk you through the process and make sure you’re not an axe murderer before you’re put on The List to be matched with a recipient.

Once you’ve matched, you’ll be assigned a clinic and a doctor, go for a medical exam, and meet with a psychologist to further assess your suitability as a donor.

You’ll be put on the Pill (if you’re not already on it) to match your menstrual cycle up with the recipient before you start your injections.

These are a relatively low dose of fertility medication used to stimulate your healthy ovaries to produce more eggs. You’ll need to inject yourself for between 10 to 14 days, depending on your doctor’s instructions, and they’ll throw in some additional injections to stop you from spontaneously ovulating and wasting all of those beautiful eggs.

And don’t worry if this is a lot of info – your amazing clinic team will walk you through everything!

Speaking of, you’ll need to pop in to the clinic every few days for a vaginal ultrasound with the doctor to make sure everything is as it should be, which is a great time to ask all the questions on your mind!

The Big Day

On retrieval day, you’ll be put under a light anaesthetic while you undergo something called “ultrasound directed needle aspiration”. During this process (for which you are asleep!) the doctor will use an ultrasound to direct a needle through the upper bit of your vagina and into your ovaries to “vacuum” those ripe eggs out.

You’re sent back to recovery and monitored for an hour or two before you receive your compensation and a cup of tea and are allowed to be taken home.

Then what?

Congratulations, you’re done! Go home and rest. Watch cheesy movies, have a nap, eat chocolate, pamper yourself. You’ve earned it!

The next day you can hop, skip or jump your way back to your normal life knowing that you’ve given the greatest gift anyone could ever give – the gift of hope.

Behind the scenes, your eggs are immediately examined and placed in a special culture medium where they remain for around three hours before semen is added to fertilise the eggs. An embryo transfer to the recipient’s womb usually takes place after the embryos have grown in the lab for three to five days, where they’ll (fingers crossed!) blossom into healthy babies and a happy parent!

Right, I’m definitely in.

Great! Head on over to https://www.nurture.co.za/donor-application/ and get going with your homework!

Egg Donor Recipient – “Finally our family is complete!”

597701f0e8f0b1ed0aa9283a5cdc667cNow this is why we LOVE our jobs! Another pair of beautiful baby girls joined the ‘Nurture’ family yesterday.  Congratulations to the new parents and a BIG thank you to their amazing egg donor for her precious gift!!

“Hello all

Just had to share our wonderful, wonderful news. xxxxx and xxxxxx arrived late this afternoon at 36 weeks, a minute apart.
Finally our family is complete, all thanks to you amazing ladies, of course. Words escape me…

Our hearts are overflowing with love for our precious darlings. My husband and I cannot stop crying!
Eternally grateful”

Holiday Greetings!

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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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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

What an awesome way to start our Sunday!

4ecbdf33151304f43784881b9bf4dad0“Just a quick note to introduce our gorgeous little boy!

He was born at 36w+3, is absolutely beautiful and is doing great.

I would like to say a special thank you to you all for everything, we couldn’t have received this special little boy without you! xx”

Our special recipient is expecting twins….

eggs2 copy“Please can you let “D” know that everything is just awesome. I am so overwhelmed to have such special gifts and indebted to you all for making our miracles happen. Words fail me.

Much love”

A letter from an egg donor after her final donation

Dear Nurture

I’ve just completed my fourth and probably my last donation (for the forseeable future).

Being one of your donors has been such an enriching experience and I think I’m that much of a better person for it.

I was chatting to my mum just the other day and I was raving about how awesome my skin gets – all glowy and acne free – when I’m on the injections and growing my dozen.

She asked me if that’s why I donate and I chuckled.

The conversation got a bit more intense though. She asked if I didn’t feel like I was cheating her and my dad by giving out the secret recipe so to speak.

I told her that I donated mostly because a recipe that good is worth a share. She wants grandchildren so bad…

I told her that somewhere out there, there’s a woman who wants a child just as badly. That this woman probably has a mother who wants a grandchild just as much and for a while they thought they would never get what they so desired.

Then someone told them there was a way.

It feels so good to know that I could bring happiness and a blessing to a family and that in some little way, if I decide not to have children of my own – my family’s legacy will live on. Not in the genes… but the legacy of kindness, compassion… the legacy will shine in the eyes of a mother to her child and her child to her elders.

I’m sad to close this chapter. I will definitely keep telling my friends about Nurture. And if there’s anyway I can help (minus the eggs) I would love to get involved.

x

What’s new in infertility treatment – Tertia’s reportback from ESHRE 2013

Nurture’s Tertia Albertyn attended the recent ESHRE conference – one of the world’s leading infertility forums. Here she tells about the meeting, and what the trends are.

What is ESHRE, and why did you go?

ESHRE is the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, and their meeting was held this year in London. It is now the world’s leading event in reproductive medicine, and has more than 9 000 experts attending, with many presenting a huge range of research and development into infertility.

My reasons for going were two-fold – one to learn (there are hundreds of academic presentations on various fertility topics, which this year included everything from how to identify abnormal embryos, to how music could improve IVF success). However, my main reason was to network with the various doctors, scientists and technologists from all over the globe

Were there a lot of South African representatives?

There weren’t any other egg donor agencies there, but there was quite a large South African contingent of doctors and technicians.

Is there a next big thing in infertility treatments?

I would say the next big thing is around being able to select the ‘best’ embryo for transfer. And by ‘best’ I mean most likely to result in a pregnancy and live birth. A lot of work is being done in this area. In addition, there is quite a big focus on perfecting the ‘low-cost ivf’ which will save people a lot of money and also make fertility treatment more accessible for those who would otherwise not be able to afford it

Do you think that from what you see overseas, that our fertility clinics are world class, or on a par with what leading UK and US clinics?

Our fertility clinics and doctors are certainly on par and in some cases even ahead of their international colleagues.  We have fantastic fertility/infertility medical competencies in this country

Was there much about egg donation covered?

There was a very interesting presentation about research into a single dose, long acting stimulation drug brought out by Merck. This could be really useful for egg donors as it is far less invasive and it is also cheaper in the longer term, which means it has benefits for the donor egg recipients as well. You can read more about it here.

How is Nurture doing in the UK? Do you have enough donors? How is that process of egg donation compared with the one here?

It is still early days, but our UK program is doing very well. We are always in need of more donors as the waiting list for eligible donors is so long.

If there are any young women in London between the ages of 20 and 34 who would like to donate their eggs, please encourage them to visit our site here.

Do you have any other trips lined up?

I am back to London in November for The Fertility Show.

Feature image via Marbella High Care

A letter from one special donor to her recipient

Hello Wonderful Recipients!

First of all thank you both very much for my gifts. Most of all thank you for your kind words in the card. I have stuck the card up on the cupboard in my bedroom. I read it every day! I am proud of myself, this is without a doubt the most rewarding thing I have ever done!

It was the first time I had ever been under anaesthetic in my life and I was so scared of it (way too much time spent watching Greys Anatomy). My family all prayed that everything would be alright and it was.

On the morning of the retrieval I was a lot less nervous than I thought I would be.

I changed in to one of those not to attractive hospital gowns, climbed onto the bed and felt so calm and ready. I remember the anaethatist apologizing for the needle going into my arm and I laughed and said it is nothing compared to all the injections I had been giving myself.

The doctor rubbed my arm comfortingly and the next thing I was awake with a hot water bottle on my tummy and a muffin in front of me.

I gave my Mom an extra big hug from you because she really was there for me every step of the way. As soon as we got home I was ordered to the couch with a blanket and a bowl of warm oats :-)

I am SO excited to hear about the eggs! I didn’t get any feedback so this is the first I’m hearing of it! 13 eggs! Wow!

I hope your embryo transfer goes well today. I will be thinking of you.
I can’t wait to hear good news in two weeks!

Lots of hugs and love,
Your Donor