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

On egg donation number five

Candace Whitehead is one of our donor angels, and we have loved working with her, and reading her blog posts about her donation. This post is taken from her her blog Down the Rabbit Hole (she’s a great blogger to follow!)

Right, so the past week has been insane on so many levels… The Oscar Pistorius story has kinda taken up a lot of emotional and mental energy (and it didn’t help that the increased traffic tanked our site for two days). But finally I get to sit down and do a bit of a catch-up on my egg donation.

As I mentioned, this donation was different – it was at a local hospital instead of the Clinic that I’ve done the previous four at. This meant a lot of things, but mostly a new team and a slightly different way of doing things. Mostly, it meant a lot more waiting than usual. After one of my scans, where I lay in the examination room in a robe for about 10 minutes before the doctor arrived, I decided to bring my Kindle to do some reading while I waited.

But otherwise, things went smoothly – bar one hilarious (okay, not really) incident where, while trying to remove an air bubble from my Lucrin shot (read more about Lucrin here), I forced the plunger down too hard and squirted about 2 units of the precious mixture out and across my bedroom. At 9pm.

I would have loved to have seen my face.

No harm done, though – the nurse in charge of my cycle let me come in for a 2 unit top-up – though I did feel terribly, terribly guilty because I felt as though I’d put everyone out.

Anyway, then it was go time. I was scheduled to check in for 7am and the wonderful X picked me up at the crack of dawn (both of us still yawning our heads off) and dropped me off.

And for the first time, I managed to snap a pic of my snazzy hospital arm band. Look at me go:

Then I was led to the day ward – oh, I wish I’d thought to take photos of it, it was such a wonderful, vintage institutional feeling place, very 1970s with the cream walls, though they did have a super cozy bedspread! – and was given a theatre gown and a robe to put on while I waited. It was very quiet – just me in the ward for the most part – and I didn’t bring anything to read, so I memorised the anaesthesia pamphlet that had been left on the bedside table instead.

Then, the anaesthetist popped by to ask me the usual questions (allergic to anything/have you had a reaction to anaesthesia before/when was your last operation/are you feeling well etc etc) and check my chest and heartrate, before I was called up to walk down the hall to where the little operating area had been set up. I was just about to go in when I met the doctor that was to perform my retrieval – not the doctor who performed my scans, oddly, but I was happy to go with it. The anaesthetist was absolutely wonderful about making me feel happy and relaxed, talking to me and teasing me a little and making sure I felt safe and comfortable. Then he warned me that “If I started feeling funny, it was just him” and I remember thinking that I felt absolutely fine – then I woke up in recovery.

I had a wonderful nurse taking care of me – though in my semi-unconscious state I managed to completely forget her name – who made sure I was well-equipped with a hot water bottle, a pot of tea and a mildly awful toasted cheese and tomato sandwich. And then the best surprise of all – my donor liaison popped round to hang out while I was recovering! In my stoned state I may have been a bit random and possibly quite annoying, but it was great chatting to her and getting a bit more of a “behind-the-scenes” look at the donation agency (who have just opened a branch in London, and it’s really interesting how differently they do things there!)

And she came bearing a gift – a charm that I am already wearing, though I will need to get a stronger chain for…

Anyway, they managed to get a pretty decent haul for my recipient – which I was quite happy with, because I was on a slightly lower protocol of the follicle stimulants than I usually am – and I should hopefully find out in the next few weeks whether or not the pregnancy was successful. Keeping fingers and toes crossed!

And so this is either my last or second-to-last donation. Either way, I’m a little sad at the thought of my journey with Nurture ending – I can’t begin to tell you how this experience has changed my life, in so many ways.

The fact that I’ve (so far) helped two women become mothers has been something that I wish I had the words for. It’s an incredible feeling, knowing that you have changed somebody’s life – undeniably.

As always, if you’re looking to donate – or if you want to become a recipient – visit the amazing (seriously, they’re amazing) women at Nurture. And feel free to either visit my previous FAQ post or ask any questions that you may have here – I’m more than happy to help answer them to the best of my ability.

A letter from a recipient to her donor

Dear Donor

I am so grateful to have been matched with you. You are special and unique, and God created you with a purpose. That purpose is to fill the emptiness and loneliness of the childless woman who is desperate and feels like a failure in life.

Being infertile is the most cruel and stressful experience. It eats you alive day and night.

I wish I could find more words to say thank you. I wish you good health and success in life. God bless you and your family.

Love your recipient

Nurture in the news: Real life story in Rapport newspaper

Sperm or egg donors to same-sex couples in the US could be liable to pay child support

Questions on whether or not sperm or egg donors could be liable to pay child support have been raised since a US judge ruled that a man must pay child support for the child of a lesbian couple who he donated sperm to, after they split up.

A Kansas judge recently ordered William Marotta, a sperm donor to a lesbian couple, to pay child support after they split up, raising questions of how the law protects sperm donors, reports Yahoo.

Mr Marotta and the couple he donated to did not use official channels, and instead met up using the website Craigslist, and they wrote up their own agreement.

Because the US state of Kansas did not have a legal way for same-sex couples to marry, when the couple split up, the Kansas Department of Children and Families sought out the biological father of the child for child support.

The department said that laws protecting sperm donors only if they follow state laws, such as using a registered doctor, and filling in the appropriate forms, which would normally exempt sperm donors from owing child support.

Laws in the state of New Jersey are similar to those in Kansas, said Bari Weinberger, a leading family law attorney, and managing partner of Weinberger Law Group.

He said that a judge could rule that any agreement made between a couple and a donor is null and void, unless they use official channels, and follow the appropriate laws.

He said: “In Kansas, as in New Jersey, sperm donation laws state that when artificial insemination takes place under the supervision of a licensed physician with semen donated from a man who is not the woman’s husband, the husband is treated as the child’s natural father under the law.

“The husband (and wife) both must consent to the procedure in writing which is then validated by the administering physician,” Weinberger explained, referring New Jersey Law.

Mr Weinberger went on to say that he beleived the case of Mr Marotta, could possibly highlight a grey area in the law, which needed to be updated.

He said: “New Jersey [sperm donor and artificial insemination] statute discusses husband and wife specifically, and is outdated. New Jersey now recognizes civil unions and many states are now recognizing same sex marriages, so perhaps this issue is ripe for litigation or legislative updating,”

Some states, including New Jersey, recognised “psychological parents”, such as the step-parent of a child, who could be liable to pay child support as the result of a couple breaking up.

Mr Weinberger said that these definitions, and the liability of people in relationships with children in their care to pay child support, needed to be updated and clearly laid out.

Via Pinknews

1.7 million embryos created for IVF have been thrown away, and just 7 per cent lead to pregnancy Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2255107/1-7-million-embryos-created-IVF-thrown-away-just-7-cent-lead-pregnancy

Millions of human embryos created for IVF pregnancies have been thrown away unused, figures have revealed.

They show that for every woman who conceives a child through in vitro fertilisation, 15 embryos are made, and almost half of them are discarded during or after the process.

More than 1.7 million embryos prepared with the aim of helping women become pregnant have been thrown away since records began 21 years ago, according to the new breakdown.

The scale of rejection of human embryos was made public in response to questions from peers about the level of waste generated in hospitals and fertility clinics.

Crossbench peer Lord Alton said embryos were being created and thrown away in ‘industrial’ numbers. He added: ‘It happens on a day-by-day basis with casual indifference.

‘My understanding is that you can carry out fertility treatments these days without creating large numbers of embryos to destroy them. That is where technology needs to move.’

The figures on the use of human embryos were gathered by the fertility industry regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which has recorded IVF processes since 1991.

Embryos are created from female eggs and male sperm during the IVF process. Some are then introduced into the womb of the prospective mother. Others, however, are put into storage, discarded as unwanted, or, in some cases, used in scientific experiments.

The figures released by Health Minister Lord Howe show that 3,546,818 human embryos have been created since August 1991. These have produced only 235,480 ‘gestational sacs’ – evidence of successful implantation.

As a result, 93 per cent of all embryos created – more than 3.3 million in all – are never used to generate a pregnancy. Of the embryos created, 839,325 were put into storage for future use and 2,071 were stored for donation to others. A further 5,876 were set aside for scientific research.

In all, 1,388,443 embryos were implanted in the hope of beginning pregnancies. Just under one in six resulted in a pregnancy. Of the rest, 1,691,090 were discarded unused and a further 23,480 were discarded after being taken out of storage.

The figures do not show how many of the successful implants resulted in pregnancies that went to term. Lord Alton said: ‘This sheer destruction of human embryos – most people would not know that it took place on such a scale.

‘Most people wouldn’t have any idea about the numbers of embryos being created in that process and would also feel very uneasy about them being experimented on as well.’ The HFEA said that one in 50 babies in Britain were now born through IVF treatment.

A spokesman said: ‘Over the 20 years since the HFEA was established, more than half a million people have had IVF treatment and around 200,000 babies have been born to couples who would not otherwise been able to have a family.
‘IVF involves the creation of more embryos than are transferred to the patient so that the best ones can be chosen to start pregnancy.

‘Those embryos that are discarded may no longer be needed by the individual or couple for treatment.

‘In these circumstances they can decide whether to donate the embryos to a research project, another couple or ask the clinic to destroy them.’
Embryos used for research purposes can be used only in projects regulated by the HFEA. The embryos are used to study infertility, miscarriage, embryo abnormalities or serious disease.

Couples usually pay £4,000 or more for a single IVF treatment, although costs can rise through repeated procedures in attempts to achieve a pregnancy.
Lord Howe said in a reply to Lord Alton’s written question that the fertility regulator ‘does not hold data in relation to embryos experimented upon’.
He added that it was for the HFEA to decide what information it should collect. Lord Alton said this ‘defies any kind of logic’.

Via Daily Mail