Egg Donor FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve been listening to our donors and we’ve compiled a list of questions that we get and the answers that we give. We think that we’ve covered most of the bases, but please let us know if we haven’t!

egg donation
What is an egg donor?

An egg donor is a healthy young woman between the ages of 19-32 who donates her eggs to a recipient who can’t have a child without donor eggs. Following the removal of the eggs from the egg donor the eggs are fertilised with the recipient’s male partners sperm or with donor sperm. The resulting embryo’s are placed in the recipients womb. This process gives her the opportunity to become pregnant and have the family she has been dreaming about.

Why would someone need an egg donor?

A donor egg recipient is someone who longs for a child but is unable to produce viable eggs either due to age, illness, chemotherapy ovary damage or because of genetic disease.

What are the risks?

At Grace Egg Donors, we believe in giving our donors all of the information they need to make an informed decision. The clinics and fertility doctors Grace Egg Donors Agency works with are experts at what they do and care a great deal about our donors.

That being said, as with any medical procedure there is a risk of things going wrong.

The primary risk is a condition called Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS). This is relatively rare (1% of IVF cases). It is caused by the ovary producing too many eggs in response to the drug stimulation. This is why we make sure that you can get to the clinic for all those important scans – The doctor’s can soon pick up that your ovaries are over zealous – and will adjust the medication accordingly. i.e. lower the medication whilst you are on it. If OHSS does kick in, it normally happens a day or two after the retrieval – you will go from feeling uncomfortable to pretty rotten – You have your Grace Donors representative’s cell number – you will have the doctor’s cell number and if in any doubt, get dialling. Symptoms include feeling nauseous, extreme bloating and pain. The doctor will ask you to get to the clinic so that he can assess your condition. Normally extra bed rest and a couple of days for your ovaries to shrink back to their normal size is sufficient. IF the doctors are overly concerned, they will check you into the clinic, hook you up to a drip and administer antibiotics. Basically, your ovaries are swollen and they need an extra bit of TLC and time to shrink back to their normal size.

Please note you are not responsible for any costs related to any hospital admission due to obtaining OHSS from the egg donation.

How many times may I donate?

The South African guidelines state that a donor may donate six times or 6 viable pregnancies (whichever comes first). This can differ slightly between clinics – depending on their policy. When you are matched for a donation, we remove your profile from our website. After the donation is completed (and if the Dr has given his/her approval to Grace Donors that you can donate again), it is then up to you to decide if you would like to join the Grace Donors team again. We will put your profile back on the website a month after your last donation. That way if you get chosen straight away, you will have had three months break between donations.

What is BMI ?

Body Mass Index is an indication of the proportionate weight to height and is a medical requirement to be a donor.

Why should I donate through Grace Donors?

The Grace Egg Donation team understand the business of egg donation better than anyone else as we have been working with egg donors for many years. Before you come on board, we will have a one-on-one chat with you. This gives us the opportunity to explain the egg donation process and to answer any of your questions. We have supported over 3000 donors over the years’ and we are here to support you all the way through the process. We care about you, not just your eggs and we are here to cheer you on.

What is the first step of being an egg donor?

Recipient Parents generally look for these key aspects in a donor:
• Similar physical characteristics – which is why your toddler photo’s are so important.
• Donor family history – helps our recipients to understand the genetics and family hereditary of their donor.
• Donor personality. This is why giving a good description of who you are is so important.

What will it be like having my children running around out there?

This question really requires a bit of thought because if you hadn’t donated those eggs, they would have been flushed away AND without the recipient partner’s sperm and her womb there would be no child. So, while our recipient families are incredibly grateful for your donation, the child that results from the donation is not one that would ever have existed without the recipient family.

What if I am on birth control?

You can continue to use the birth control that you are on while you are waiting to be matched with a recipient. Once chosen, when you attend your first medical appointment at the clinic, the Dr will discuss your current birth control method with you and your course of action going forward.

Will donating eggs now affect my chances of getting pregnant in the future?

Women are born with a finite number of eggs, around 1-2 million. At puberty, that number has dwindled to 300,000 and subsequently approximately 750-1000 eggs are lost each month by a process called atresia. The eggs not only begin to diminish in quantity, but also in quality. The combination of these factors leads to a woman’s fertility beginning to decline in her 20’s and significantly deteriorating after age 35. The chance of conception for a woman older than 43 is very low.

Normally of the 750-1000 eggs that are lost, one (or two) will ovulate. With egg donation 10-15 eggs are given to another woman. These eggs would have been lost anyway.

Therefore, egg donation does not reduce the amount of eggs in the ovary.

Will it hurt?

The first part of egg donation is the injections. For the needle phobias, the needles are really small and used in the same way by diabetics for insulin injections. So, on a scale of between 1-10 with 10 being the worst, the injections barely register (promise).

The egg donation involves the extraction of eggs from your ovaries which is done under light sedation (but you will be fast asleep). The discomfort you may feel afterwards really depends on your pain thresh hold. Most of our donors experience the discomfort at about a 2 to 3 out of 10 but we do have some donors who report greater discomfort. A couple of pain killers (provided by the clinic) along with a hot water bottle and a good sleep normally sorts everything out. However, if you are worried, the clinics Grace Egg Donors work with, are on stand by to assist you.

What are normal activities after the procedure?

If you are driving yourself to the clinic on the day of retrieval, it is very important that you take someone with you so they can drive you home after the procedure (this is a non-negotiable as driving after a light anaesthetic is not a good idea.) If you are using public transport, we suggest taking a friend or family member along with you on the day of retrieval just to help keep an eye on you on your way home however if this is not possible – please note that you are kept in recovery at the clinic for a few hours after the procedure and the nurses will only allow you to be released once they are comfortable that you can get home safely using public transport.

We recommend you take it easy for a few days after the procedure – after all, you have just given an awe-inspiring, world changing gift to your recipient parents. Your fertility clinic doctor may give you some guidelines to follow post procedure.

Who pays the medical bills?

All medical costs are funded by the recipient couple.

What about compensation?

Although your gift of donor eggs is priceless, compensation for donor eggs is regulated by the Southern African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy.

Grace Egg Donors compensates donors R9000 per egg donation, broken down as follows:

  • R7000 per donation
  • An additional R2000 for travel expenses.

Travelling donors who donate in a host city, and away from home, will receive additional travel allowances which will be discussed once a Recipient has selected a travelling donor to donate for them.

At Grace Egg Donors, we acknowledge that our gracious donors spend many hours using various forms of public transport or their own car to get to and from their clinic appointments and the additional travel allowance is to compensate them for their time, tenacity, and effort it takes to be a great egg donor.

Do I meet the couple receiving my eggs?

No. Egg Donation in South Africa is anonymous. Your recipient parents will only see the information about you on your profile that is allowed in terms of the SASREG guidelines Your adult photos are not shown to the Recipients, only your Toddler photos.

Will I know the outcome of the donation?

This really depends on the recipient family and whether they would like to share this information with you. You also get to decide if you want to be informed of the outcome (where it has been put forward to share with the donor by the recipient).

Will I have to take time off from my studies or work?

Yes, you will. Depending on where you donate you will have to take time off from work and studies for clinic appointments and the egg retrieval. This is the approximate time required for a local donation:
Prior to donation
• Once off 1 hour doctor’s appointment
• Once off 1 hour psychological assessment appointment
During your donation
• 3 to 4 ultrasound appointments at the fertility clinic over a 2 week period.
• One day off

All of these appointment take place during normal office hours. No appointments after hours or on weekends.

The clinic’s reception will provide you with a doctors note for each appointment and the reason for the visits will be stipulated as medical reasons and not egg donation, thereby ensuring confidentiality.

What are the possible side effects?

Let’s chat about 2 of the concerns most of our donor’s are concerned about:
1. Weight Gain
You are only on the medication for 12 days so you shouldn’t (if you are following your normal diet) pick up more than a kilo or two – most of which is water retention which will subside quickly after the donation.

2. Mood Swings
The doctors that Grace Egg Donors Agency works with are some of the best in Southern Africa and are incredibly careful about the medication they give to our donors. As a result, you might feel a little different than normal but this too shall pass.

Can I be registered with other donor agencies?

Yes, but we ask you kindly that if you are and you do get chosen through either Grace Egg Donor Agency or another agency that you please communicate with the relevant agencies so that we don’t disappoint recipient families who might choose you.

What if I’m still not sure…

If your application is successful and you are chosen, you are given the opportunity to chat about these feelings with our counseling Psychologist before proceeding. This is a very personal decision which you must be comfortable with. We will encourage you to take time to make the right decision for you and will respect whatever you decide to do.

What if I am a virgin?

There is no problem with you being a virgin, however you do need to be aware that you will be required to undergo several internal vaginal scans and there is a risk that the hymen may be ruptured during the egg retrieval process. Grace Egg Donation Agency works with many amazing women who are virgins who donate their eggs successfully.

Will there be any cutting or scarring?

No. The eggs are extracted with an ultrasound guided fine needle through the vaginal wall while you are under anaesthetic. The egg retrieval takes about 20 minutes.

Can HIV positive women donate?

Unfortunately not.

What if I live outside of the major cities?

Grace Egg Donation Agency works with egg donors from all over South Africa. If you live outside of the area in which the recipient family’s clinic is situated, you will be given the option to become a travelling donor. All of the details for travelling donors can be found on our travelling donor page.

Can one donate eggs while still breastfeeding?

No, you will need to have finished breast feeding and have had 2 consecutive regular periods before qualifying to donate.

What is the time commitment to donate?

From the time you are chosen by a recipient it usually takes 2 to 3 months until the actual egg donation happens. The initial screening happens shortly after being chosen (2 appointments – one with the doctor and one with the psychologist). Then about 2 months after the initial screening the actual donation process begins. You will have an appointment to collect your medication and once you start injecting yourself with the fertility medication, there will be a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 4 visits to the clinic for an internal scan + the day of retrieval (this is the only day you will need to take the whole day off.) A doctor’s note can be arranged with reception at the clinic for any/all of the appointments, (this will be a regular gynae letter & will not disclose that you are donating your eggs.) To summarize – you are looking at a minimum of 7 appointments over a 2-3 month period.

Can I still have sex?

Yes, BUT, because of the fertility drugs in your system you will need to be extra careful to avoid falling pregnant yourself.

Will the child born from the egg donation ever be able to look the donor up – is there a way they can do this?

As the law stands no contact is allowed between the donor and the potential child in the future.

Does a previous miscarriage or termination of pregnancy count against me?

No it doesn’t.

Who chooses the hospital and the gynae?

Your treatment will take place at the clinic where your recipient’s fertility Dr is based. We will only know which clinic you are donating at if/when you are selected.

How many eggs do they take?

It is impossible to tell how many eggs will mature during the donation process because every woman is different and responds differently to the medication. Here at Grace Egg Donation Agency, we are less worried about the number of eggs as we are about the quality. It only takes one healthy embryo to make a recipients dream for their baby come true.