Do I qualify for egg donation?
Donating your eggs is a selfless act of kindness to help another woman. If you are finding out if you are eligible to make such an important donation, you certainly qualify as one of those special people who are motivated by altruism – a desire to help others.
There are a few other qualifications that must also be met, to make sure the ultimate goal is achieved: that the recipient of your egg donation conceives a baby and experiences the great joy of having her own child.
It is estimated that one in six couples worldwide face infertility challenges. Common among the many possible reasons for their infertility is that they have no eggs, or that they have poor-quality eggs, due to advanced maternal age (35+), health issues and lifestyle choices, among other reasons.
As a result, egg donations are increasingly needed as millions of women around the world struggle to fall pregnant. Egg donors who donate young and healthy eggs make it possible for many of these women to experience the joy of conceiving and carrying their own baby.
To give an infertile couple the very best chances of conception – egg donations are only accepted from young, healthy women whose eggs are known scientifically to give the parents-to-be the very best chance of conceiving. This also eases the financial and emotional strain on the couple trying to conceive – fertility treatments are expensive and can be very emotional, and by ensuring only the healthiest donated eggs are used, their chances of a pregnancy are substantially improved.
What is required to qualify for donating eggs in South Africa?
In general, qualifying to donate eggs in South Africa requires that you fall within a certain age group; that you are healthy, physically and mentally; and that you are able to commit to an egg donation program, which requires substantially more involvement from donors than, for example, donating blood; and that you are motivated by kind-hearted altruism.
Ages that qualify for egg donation
Egg donors must be between 18 and 31 years of age.
The lower limit of the age scale, the legal age at which you can donate eggs is 18 years. However, the South African Society for Reproductive Medicine (SASREG) recommends that donors are at least 21 years old.
The upper limit of the age range – 31 – is also important for a very good reason. Women aged 35 and older are considered to be at an “advanced” maternal age. Both the quality and quantity of a woman’s eggs deteriorates with age. Below age 35, the likelihood of conceiving is the highest, thereafter this likelihood declines with age. Specifically, after age 35, there is an accelerated decline and the likelihood of conceiving declines even more rapidly after age 40.
This is the reason for the upper age limit of 31. Egg donors at a prime fertile age are more likely to produce several good-quality eggs to give the parents-to-be the best chance of conceiving.
Health qualifications for egg donation
A woman’s state of health significantly impacts the quality and quantity of the eggs produced. For this reason, to qualify as an egg donor, you must also be in good health, both physically and mentally.
Your physical health can be determined quite simply by calculating your body mass index or BMI, which will tell you if your weight is healthy for someone of your height. For most adults, BMI gives a good estimate of your weight-related health risks.
To calculate your BMI, take your weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of your height (in metres) or BMI = Kg/M2. People with a BMI higher than 30 are considered overweight, If your BMI is over 35, your weight is a substantial health risk.
To qualify as an egg donor, you need to have an optimal BMI, which is between 18 and 30. Eggs donated by a healthy woman will give the parents-to-be the best chance of conceiving.
Qualifying as an egg donor also requires healthy lifestyle choices. Certain lifestyle choices would disqualify women from becoming egg donors, such as drug abuse. Women who smoke cigarettes are not disqualified as donors by South African legislation or our specialist doctors. The evidence is poor in terms of linking smoking to success rates in donor cycles. The young age of the donors and their young cells may be part of that conclusion. It is not clear by published evidence that it makes any difference for donors donating. This is different to pregnancy where smoking is definitely detrimental. If our results over 25 years of practice showed that our smoking donors produce fewer eggs or poor quality eggs/embryos versus donors that do not smoke, we would certainly not accept smokers as donors. Our pregnancy success rate is world-class and of extreme importance.
To be eligible to be an egg donor, good mental health is also important and for this reason, egg donors undergo a psychological assessment before donating.
Ability to commit to an egg donation program
Donating eggs require more time and involvement than, for example, donating blood or volunteering for an hour or two. For example, to complete an egg donation cycle, you will need to self-administer fertility injections for 10-12 days and to attend four doctor’s appointments during this time, as well as to take a full day off work or your daily activities on egg retrieval day. For this reason, qualifying as an egg donor requires the ability to commit time and dedication to this program.
Qualifying as an egg donor is also affected by how many times you have donated eggs. Many egg donors donate more than once, but in South Africa, an egg donor can legally donate no more than a maximum of six times, with no more than approximately four egg donations within a twelve-month period. Back to back donations are also not allowed.
Donating your eggs to another woman is an act of altruism. Egg donation is a complex process and requires more time and effort from an egg donor than other types of donations. A deep wish to help another, or altruism, is required, because although some compensation – currently R7000 per cycle – is provided to egg donors because of the extent of their time, effort and involvement, it is certainly not enough for money to be the only motivator.
I qualify! How can I donate my eggs?
As a potential egg donor, your priority should be your care and medical safety while you are donating your eggs. It is extremely important to choose a clinic that is a registered and accredited world-class medical facility.
Our team at the Cape Fertility Premium Egg Donation Program has worked with thousands of egg donors over the last 26 years in a friendly, relaxed and caring environment at our safe, advanced and purpose-built facilities in the beautiful city of Cape Town.
If you are willing to donate eggs in a safe and caring environment to help another woman fulfil her dream of having her own baby, you will be pleased to know that the first step is as simple as contacting us.
Simply fill in your contact details here, or contact our Egg Donor Fairy God Mother, Linda, on 066 22 55 003 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your information is 100% confidential and will under no circumstances be made available to anybody else.
We look forward to welcoming you to our friendly, professional and leading Egg Donation Program and supporting you throughout your entire egg donation process, as well as after your egg donation is completed.