How To Stay Safe When Donating Eggs In South Africa
Growing numbers of young women are responding to the rapidly increasing demand for egg donations worldwide. Making an egg donation so another woman can have her own baby is certainly one of the greatest gifts anyone can give.
At Cape Fertility, we believe that when making such a selfless and generous donation, your number one priority should be your own health and safety. In this article, we explain the few possible concerns involved, and provide our best advice about how you can protect yourself by being careful when deciding where to donate your eggs in South Africa.
It has been almost 40 years since the first pregnancy with donated eggs was achieved. Since then, hundreds of thousands of women, who would otherwise be unable to conceive with their own eggs, have been given the opportunity to become pregnant with their own babies, thanks to egg donations from caring and selfless healthy young women.
Egg donations entail very few possible concerns, but it is important to understand each one fully before deciding to donate. Once you have decided to donate, it is also crucial to ensure your own health and safety is the top priority and the best way to do this is to choose the right SASREG-accredited medical facility.
The few possible concerns involved in egg donation
Over the last four decades, egg donation has become a routine treatment at fertility clinics around the world. Over these many years, egg donation has proven to be safe, and advances in the medical technology, such as ultrasound, has ensured it is even safer today than ever before.
However, egg donation is a medical procedure, and all medical procedures involve some risks. The main potential concern of egg donation include possible side effects of the medication, potential risks relating to the egg retrieval process and possible concerns regarding legal responsibilities, confidentiality and your future fertility.
What is most important is that you fully understand all the possible concerns involved, even if the probability is low, and to know how to protect yourself if you decide to donate.
Possible side effects of the medication
Part of the egg donation process involves hormone medication that is designed to stimulate egg maturation. The treatment spans around two weeks and involves virtually painless injections that you can administer yourself at home.
Most egg donors experience no side effects at all from the medication. Others report PMS type symptoms like bloating, moodiness or pelvic discomfort, but these side effects often disappear when egg donors stop taking the medication.
In rare cases – around 1% of the thousands of egg donations performed each year – an egg donor may experience OHSS. It is short for Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome and it is caused when the ovary produces too many eggs and becomes enlarged as a result of the stimulation medication. Fluid may collect in the abdominal cavity causing bloating and pelvic pain.
If you donate eggs at the right SASREG-accredited medical facility, this possible concern – although quite low – will be proactively managed. For example, at Cape Fertility, you will undergo regular scans performed by medical experts, to ensure your absolute safety.
Possible risks of the medical procedure
While egg donation is safe and entails very little risk, the egg retrieval requires a short medical procedure, and as with any other medical procedure, there is a possible risk of bleeding, infection, or anaesthetic complications.
At Cape Fertility, your fertility specialist will explain the full procedure and the risks in complete detail, and also answer any questions you may have. The 30-minute egg retrieval medical procedure is also performed by a fertility specialist, using a vaginal ultrasound and a fine needle. There is no pain during the procedure performed under a mild general anaesthetic, and there is no cutting, stitches or scarring. After the procedure, you will stay in recovery for about 1 hour to ensure there are no complications.
Some donors experience some discomfort similar to that experienced with a period, for which normal pain relief medication can be taken. About 5 to 14 days later, you will have a period.
Possible future concerns
Egg donation is not only legal in South Africa, our country also offers among the best egg donation laws in the world. You will find the legislation on egg donation in Chapter 8 of the National Health Act (Act no 61 of 2003), which protects you – the donor, as well as the egg donation recipient.
In addition to strict adherence to the laws, Cape Fertility is also a leader in the ethical requirements for egg donation, as set out by both the Department of Health and South African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG).
According to these laws and regulations, egg donation in South Africa is also anonymous and confidential. Egg donors and recipients never have access to each other’s personal details and never meet. Legally, a donor egg baby is the legal child of the birth mother, not the egg donor.
Some egg donors are also concerned about the effect of donating eggs on their fertility in future. Follow-up studies among donors have shown that the fertility of egg donors is not affected and there is no proven evidence that donating eggs affects your own long-term fertility. Our Cape Fertility egg donors go on to have children of their own if and when they decide.
Choose the right SASREG-accredited medical facility
If you are thinking of donating your eggs, it is extremely important that you choose a facility that is registered with the Southern African Society for Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG), and that has signed and agreed to SASREG’s guidelines.
At Cape Fertility, a leading fertility clinic in Cape Town, we are not only registered with SASREG, but we are also absolutely committed to safe, legal and ethical egg donation practices.
When you donate through our premium Cape Fertility Egg Donor Program, your care is our priority and attention to your medical safety is our primary concern. You can also expect dedicated one-on-one attention – including face-to-face consultations with our experienced specialist team of fertility specialists, qualified nursing sisters, our resident psychologist and our dedicated egg donor co-ordinator, Linda. This team has been caring for egg donors’ emotional and medical needs for many years and have safely completed thousands of treatments.
Our egg donation process has been streamlined into 7 simple steps to make the experience as easy and hassle-free as possible for our egg donors. In addition, after your egg donation is completed, when you will also receive the maximum legal compensation for allowable expenses, which is currently R8000.
To find out more, simply fill in your contact details here, or contact 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, ever.
We look forward to welcoming you to our friendly, professional and leading Egg Donation Program!
PS: Even if you don’t live in Cape Town, you can still donate your eggs at Cape Fertility. If you are selected as a Cape Fertility egg donor, we will arrange for you to travel to Cape Town and stay here for the duration of the egg donation process, at no charge to yourself!