Egg Donation (Oocyte Donation)
Despite advanced fertility treatments available today, some couples may still face difficulties conceiving because of an egg factor. In such cases, the female patient’s eggs cannot be used to create healthy embryos, and egg donation (oocyte donation) is undertaken. Additionally, egg donation, combined with gestational surrogacy, is a wonderful option for family building for gay men and couples who wish to have a biological child.
Medfem Fertility Clinic is proud to offer couples egg donation infertility treatment. We understand that egg donation is not a couple’s first choice for conception and recognise the emotional investment in the process. Our egg donation team of professionals strives to make the process confidential, safe and effective. We carefully screen each donor 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 egg donation program is dedicated to the ultimate goal of a healthy child.
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.
South African law prohibits the payment, offer of payment, or advertising of payment for eggs, sperm, embryos, or surrogacy services within South Africa.
We understand that this is a difficult decision and one that you need to discuss at length. Besides having the support of your doctor and nursing team at Medfem Fertility Clinic, our clinic psychologist will be able to help you and your partner and the potential donor to examine the issues surrounding this option.
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.
Options when seeking an egg donor
Using an altruistic donor – couples may choose an egg donor who is known to them, either through family or friends, who are willing to offer their eggs as an altruistic donation (i.e. the egg donor does not receive payment)
Select an egg donor through an agency – couples may choose to select an anonymous egg donor through a third party agency. Once a donor is found they are extensively and professional assessed by Medfem Fertility Clinic. If they are psychological and physically fit to be a donor you may begin your treatment as soon as possible.
How Egg Donation Works
Egg donation offers new hope to women who cannot conceive using their own eggs. Our South African egg donor agencies have a very large pool of racially diverse egg donors. These agencies host a pool of egg donors whom can be viewed electronically allowing you to select a donor that best suits your requirements. Alternatively you may ask the agencies to match you with a suitable donor. You can provide them with your criteria and adult pictures of yourself (if you so choose) to allow them to assist with suitable and potential matches for you.
Once you have found an egg donor that you would like to use, the agency will manage all communication with the potential egg donor. To secure your chosen egg donor you will be required to pay a match and management fee to the selected agency. This fee generally covers the following:
- Recruitment of egg donors and donor contract facilitation
- Recipient support during donor selection and recipient contract facilitation
- Initial agency screening of egg donor and recording of detailed profile details
- Facilitation of communication between the egg donor, fertility clinic/Dr and recipient
- Co-ordination of the donor’s medical and psychological assessments
- Donor travel co-ordination where necessary
- Ongoing donor support before, during and after the donation cycle
Once your egg donor has been secured the agency will make contact with us to advise that you have selected a donor. They will arrange the necessary appointments for the donor to be seen by one of our fertility specialists for a general check up, including a scan and required blood tests. She will also be assessed by our psychologist to confirm that she is fit to donate for you.
Your doctor and IVF coordinator will discuss your and the donors treatments plans with you and coordinate your cycles to determine the time line for donation and embryo transfer. While your egg donor begins hormone treatment to stimulate egg development, you will commence medication to prepare your womb lining for receipt of the embryo/s. Your doctor will monitor the donor to determine when the donor eggs will be ready for aspiration/retrieval. On the day of egg retrieval your partner will be required to give a sperm sample so the process of fertilisation can commence after retrieval. You will be called the following day and every other day thereafter with an update on how the embryos are growing. Three to five days after fertilisation the embryo/s will be transferred to your womb in a simple, quick and pain free procedure. Additional embryos can be frozen for future use.
Egg donation in South Africa is anonymous and strictly confidential. The egg donor and recipient parents never meet, nor are names or details exchanged. There is no central donor registry available for public view. Egg donation is managed with strict guidelines and protocol procedures contained in the Southern African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynecological Endoscopy Regulations (SASREG).