International Donor Conception Awareness Day

International Donor Conception Awareness Day – observed on the 27th of April each year – is supported by growing numbers of people who are taking the opportunity presented by this initiative to stand together and raise awareness of donor conception.

Donor conception means conceiving a baby using donated egg or sperm cells. These donations enable couples – who are unable to have a baby with their own egg or sperm cells – to conceive, to experience a pregnancy and birth like other couples, and to parent their child from conception. You can be part of helping build a family!

International Donor Conception Awareness Day celebrates the amazing gift of life and the selfless acts of donors who help create so many longed-for families.
Donor conception is the process of having a baby through fertility treatments using donated gametes (sperm, eggs or embryos). Sometimes it involves surrogacy too. The parties involved are the donor (a person donating sperm or eggs) and the donor recipient parent(s) who receive the donation.

Donor conception is made possible by healthy young people who are willing to do something incredible for couples they will never meet, going above and beyond so these couples who need donated eggs or sperm to have a baby, can also experience the joy of pregnancy and birth and parenting their child from conception, like other couples.

There are many different types of couples for who donor conception is the only option. Here are some examples.

Heterosexual couples

Fast growing numbers of heterosexual (mom and dad) couples across the world are affected by infertility, which refers to the inability to fall pregnant and have a healthy baby without medical assistance.

Infertility is becoming increasingly common worldwide. This is because falling pregnant requires a healthy egg and healthy sperm and, sadly, for many infertile couples, either one and sometimes both are absent. This is the result of many different possible causes – ranging from lifestyle choices and hormone problems to chronic diseases and cancer treatments.

These couples desperately want to have a baby and a family, but are not able to do so because their own sperm or egg cells are absent or abnormal.

Discovering this reality is a devastating shock to most infertile couples. What again brings hope to their hearts is the possibility of receiving an anonymous donation of egg or sperm cells. Such donations, along with Assisted Reproductive Therapies (ART) such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI), allows infertile couples to fall pregnant and have their own baby.

Some of these couples will look for a donor with physical characteristics similar to their own, while other prospective parents may use different criteria that are important to them when selecting a donor, for example, a certain heritage or religion, or perhaps a particular educational level or medical history.

But it is not only traditional heterosexual (male-female) couples who turn to donor conception.

Same-sex couples

In today’s modern world, the idea of a “family” is changing.

Same-sex couples are becoming more common, and it is also increasingly commonplace for these couples to use donor conception to build their families – whether two-mom families or two-dad families.

For example, same-sex female couples will need donated sperm cells to fertilise an egg from one of the partners. It may be that the same partner also carries the pregnancy, or it may be that the other female partner carries the pregnancy, so one partner contributes the egg and the other carries the baby, and so both share in the experience. Of course, one or both partners in a same-sex female couple may also have fertility issues and be unable to use their own eggs, in which case an egg donation would also be needed to build their family.

For same-sex male couples, an egg donation with surrogacy can open the door to building a family. It can be a complicated and expensive way to have children, but many same-sex male couples have done so with great success.

Single women

Choosing to become a solo mom through donor conception isn’t the same as being a single mother after separating from or losing a partner.

Most single women, although not all, plan to have a family with a partner. However, some women may choose to go it alone because they don’t want a partner, or have not found the right partner and don’t want to lose more time hoping or waiting for the right person to come along.

For these women, donor conception with donated sperm cells can be the answer. It can also be that some if these moms may need to use donor eggs if their own eggs are not suitable for any reason.

Single men

As with single women, choosing to become a solo dad through egg donation and surrogacy isn’t the same as being a single dad after separating from or losing a partner. Instead, some men may choose to build a family alone because they have not found the right partner. Although the practical, legal and financial aspects are quite complicated, many single men have been able to start their families this way.

Even less-traditional families

Donor conception can also be the way to build a family for transgender couples and people who are in larger parenting groups of three or four parents, such as a two-dad family with a surrogate who will also be a co-parent in the family.

Thinking about donating?

Your generous donation will enable the people who receive it to become parents and create a family.

The positive impact of making a donation that can help build a longed-for family – whether for a heterosexual or same-sex couple, for a single mom or dad by choice, or for a non-traditional family grouping, cannot be overstated.

As one mom said: “There are no words that can truly express my gratitude for the donor’s kindness and compassion. I know I can never thank her enough for helping me become a mom.”

Now that you have a better understanding of donor conception and the massive positive change it brings to the lives of so many families, you will be better able to decide if egg donation is something you might consider.

If you are willing to donate eggs to help another woman fulfil her dream of having her own baby, you will be pleased to know that finding out more about egg donation 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 linda@capefertility.co.za. Your information is 100% confidential and will under no circumstances be made available to anybody else.

At Cape Fertility, we have been leaders in egg donation for 25 years and have assisted in thousands of egg donations.

Linda has many years of experience supporting egg donors and a wealth of information to share and will answer your questions and guide you further in giving the gift of a lifetime at our friendly, professional and leading fertility clinic in the beautiful city of Cape Town.

PS: If you don’t live in Cape Town, you can still donate 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!

Spread the giving!