Alternative Pathways to Parenthood – Third Party Reproduction

At Medfem Fertility Clinic, our team of professionals strives to make the process confidential, safe and effective. We carefully screen each donor or surrogate with a comprehensive health questionnaire, physical, psychological, genetic, and ultrasound examinations. Each recipient’s health status is carefully evaluated to ensure a safe pregnancy. Our treatment options are dedicated to the ultimate goal of a healthy child.

Egg Donation: There are many reasons why a woman may not be able to use her own eggs to conceive a child. In some cases the woman may not have any eggs at all: her ovaries may have been removed from a previous operation, her ovaries may have been damaged during cancer therapy, or she may have experienced early menopause or have diminished ovarian reserve. In other cases, a woman may simply not have enough eggs or they may be of poor quality, or she may be a carrier of a specific genetic disorder.
Whatever the reason, egg donation can be an effective fertility treatment for women who are unable to conceive using their own eggs. In egg donation, embryos are conceived using eggs obtained from a young egg donor and sperm. In order to maximise success rates for the intended parents, the donor undergoes ovarian stimulation with injectable medications and multiple eggs are produced. Simultaneously, the intended mother’s uterus is prepared for implantation. As in a standard in vitro fertilisation cycle, the eggs are then harvested from the donor and fertilised with the intended father’s sperm in the laboratory. The embryos are next transferred into the recipient’s uterus so that she may carry the pregnancy. Some reasons for using donor eggs include:

  • Repeated unsuccessful IVF cycles involving poor egg or embryo quality
  • A risk of transmitting a chromosomal or genetic disorder
  • Poor response or diminished ovarian reserve
  • Early menopause
  • Removal of the ovaries

Egg donation is a wonderful alternative for couples who cannot conceive using other methods. The experience is exceptionally gratifying to the couple as well as the donor.

Sperm Donation: Donor sperm can be used in many different situations. Commonly, unwed women seek reproductive help using donor sperm. This includes women in lesbian relationships. Married couples often choose donor sperm to help build their families when other attempts to correct male infertility have not been successful or do not present reasonable chances of conception.
Most people take it for granted that they’ll have children one day. Yet one in six couples are infertile. Approximately 40% of this unfortunate event is due to male factor infertility.

Some reasons for using donor sperm include:

  • Azoospermia (no sperm present) may exist from birth or may have developed later on in life due to illness, injury, surgery or poor lifestyles.
  • Chromosomal or Genetic problems – changing 1 gamete
  • Recurrent failed IVF related to a male factor
  • Single Women
  • Lesbian Couples

Assisted reproductive treatment (ART) using donor gametes have provided new opportunities for treating infertile couples, single women and same-sex couples. Sperm banking or more formally referred to as sperm cryopreservation has become one of the major assisted reproductive treatments.
Medfem runs its own sperm bank offering a diverse cultural mix of donors. In accordance with South African law all sperm donors are anonymous – you or your future child may never learn the identity of the sperm donor.

Embryo Donation: Embryo donation is a procedure that enables embryos that were created by couples undergoing fertility treatment to be transferred to infertile patients to achieve a pregnancy. Indications for embryo donation include untreatable infertility that involves both partners, untreatable infertility in a single woman, recurrent pregnancy loss thought to be related to embryonic factors, and genetic disorders affecting one or both partners. The process of embryo donation requires that the recipient couple undergo the appropriate medical and psychological screening recommended for all gamete donor cycles. Also, the female partner undergoes an evaluation of her uterine cavity and then her endometrium is prepared with oestrogen and progesterone in anticipation of an embryo transfer.

Surrogacy: A surrogate carries a pregnancy for another couple (heterosexual or gay) or woman. There are two types of surrogacy arrangements:

  • Traditional surrogacy in which the surrogate is inseminated with sperm from the male partner of the intended parent couple (donor sperm can be used)
  • Gestational carrier in which the surrogate carries a pregnancy created by transferring an embryo created with the sperm and egg of the intended parents (donor sperm or donor eggs may be used as well). A gestational carrier has no genetic relationship to the child.

Some reasons for using surrogacy include:

  • Hysterectomy
  • Recurrent operations including Myomectomy
  • Malformed uterus
  • Damaged Uterus  – Ashermann’s syndrome
  • Medical Problems includingCardiac disease
  • Brittle diabetes
  • Potentially dangerous drugs (drugs that can harm developing fetus)
  • Recurrent failed IVF or recurrent miscarriages

We are very fortunate in this day and age to have third party reproductive options available. And we can safely say any feelings of grief and trepidation are blown to the wind once you fall pregnant and meet your little person.

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