Infertility veteran and founder of Nurture Egg Donor Agency, Tertia Albertyn with her twins, Adam and Kate who were conceived via IVF. SOPHIA STANDER
Infertility veteran and founder of Nurture Egg Donor Agency, Tertia Albertyn with her twins, Adam and Kate who were conceived via IVF. SOPHIA STANDER

Increase in demand and supply of egg donors

By Thandile Konco Time of article published Nov 6, 2021

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Cape Town - With many couples waiting to start families later in life or opting for artificial fertilisation as an alternative, fertility clinics have noted an increase in the need and supply of egg donations.

Infertility veteran and founder of Nurture Egg Donor Agency, Tertia Albertyn, said that 15% -20% of South African couples experienced difficulties in conceiving.

Albertyn said that there had been an increase in the need for egg donors. She said that factors contributing to infertility included lifestyle issues, couples and singles opting to have children later in life, and more people becoming aware of the option of using donor eggs to start a family.

“The two questions that are most often asked by potential egg donors are whether or not egg donation will affect their future fertility and whether or not the procedure is painful,” she said.

Albertyn said that the egg retrieval procedure is done under light sedation to ensure that the donor was asleep during the process and did not feel any pain.

“Egg donation medication and procedure will not affect your chance at future pregnancy. A woman can’t run out of eggs because every month your body naturally produces several eggs which get ejected from the body with your normal monthly cycle.”

A mother of two and successful egg donor, whose identity is being protected, said that her journey to assist families on their road to parenthood began after she suffered a miscarriage in 2015.

“After having overcome the pain of losing a baby, I decided to start donating my eggs to help couples achieve the joy that comes from pregnancy, birth and raising children. I feel blessed and honoured to have the capacity to bring that love and joy to families that struggle to conceive.”

The mom said that she started donating eggs in 2019 and has since donated eggs three times. She described the procedure as only slightly uncomfortable but emotionally fulfilling.

“Apart from submitting family medical records and psychological data, I also submit things like voice notes, handwriting samples and baby photographs of myself. Once a profile has been created you will be matched to a family in need of a donor.”

She added that the most important part of the process was the psychological evaluation and having a healthy state of mind. She said that the egg extraction process was done under anaesthetic and had the same level of pain as period cramps, which is eased by painkillers prescribed by the health practitioners.

Egg donors are fully compensated by the agency for flights, accommodation, daily travelling, and the procedure along with a daily allowance.

The donor said the first step of the process is to complete an application form and if eligible, an interview will be set up with the prospective donor. Once interviewed, the donor’s information will be captured and a profile created from which families can select a donor.

Once a family has decided on a donor, they reserve the donor through payment. Once a donor has been reserved, the fertility clinic will confirm with her that she is ready, willing and able to donate.

The next step is for the donor to undergo a medical and psychological assessment which is followed by a medical assessment that needs to be done each time the donor donates. Should the donor fail her medical or psychological assessment or withdraw her participation in the donation prior to egg retrieval another donor will be found.

Fertility Law is a specialised boutique legal practice and consultancy, which specialises in the law relating to artificial fertilisation of persons. Its founder and director, Andrew Martin, said that he advised potential donors to seek legal advice before undergoing the procedure.

“No parental right, responsibility, duty or obligation arises between a child born of a woman as a result of artificial fertilisation and any person whose gamete has or gametes have been used for such artificial fertilisation.”

This law is under exemption if that person is the woman who gave birth to that child; or that person was the husband of such a woman at the time of such artificial fertilisation.

Martin said that egg and sperm donation is not commercialised in South Africa. A person from whose body a gamete has been removed or withdrawn may be reimbursed for any reasonable expenses incurred by him or her in order to donate a gamete as contemplated in section 60 (4) (a) of the Act.

“A donor's identity remains anonymous, The competent person shall not make the gamete donor file, or information there from, available to any person other than a person acting under her or his supervision, except in terms of legislation or a court order.”

Weekend Argus

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