If you told me that 10 years ago donating my eggs would be something I would be blogging about, I probably would have reacted with a sceptical eyebrow raise, and yet, here we are! Welcome to this week’s blog post where I’ll share pros and cons about egg donation, and hopefully clear any misconceptions. I have already shared a wealth of information surrounding egg donations, and I will keep saying a lot about it since most of you are asking really important questions. If you think reading is too much, I have about three videos on my channel that you can watch about my journey:
A little over a year ago, I made the interesting decision to sign up as an egg donor! As I have already touched on the expectations and responded to question on my YouTube channel, here are some pros and cons to note before you make the decision yourself:
- As much as it is a big decision, personally helping someone become a parent topped my 2021 list of successful things I achieved that year. Changing someone’s life these days can be such a chore but when you actually do it, it’s fulfilling. What isn’t openly addressed, however, is the unspoken difficulty African couples – more especially African women – have to go through to have a full term pregnancy through IVF treatment. There is still so much stigma around assisted fertility which makes it intimidating for potential parents to even start the process.
- Medical check-up: For a lot of (black) donors, the free access to high quality reproductive healthcare is a huge plus, especially when considering how SA’s healthcare infrastructure is not entirely equipped to alleviate the gaps that exist within the healthcare system. This does not mean however that our clinics and hospitals cannot perform these tasks, but a quick and comfortable scan with a prestigious genae never hurt anyone.
- A learning opportunity: There are so many taboo topics in my community and I feel like if we would open up a little by learning, experiencing and sharing, it would go a long way. Imagine how better prepared our generation of aspiring mothers be if we received information surrounding taboo topics like sex, pregnancy and childbirth from our traditionalist, conservative parents. You would be surprised how many of us actually relate to this particular experience, so if you get selected to donate take this as an opportunity to learn about your body, reproductive system and fertility.
- Anonymity: One of the things I have to highlight about egg donation in South Africa is the confidentiality clause that everyone is bound to. I know a lot of people might take the offered opportunity to view pictures of the child conceived through donating BUT, I prefer everything to be kept anonymous as to avoid any rare, but unnecessary complications.
- Over stimulated ovaries: Egg donation varies from one donor to the next. Some might have a smooth process while others, like myself, may experience side effects like over-stimulated ovary syndrome where the pressure built up from the increased hormones cause inflammation in the ovaries and result in pain and discomfort. In both occasions once I completed the egg retrieval, I felt much better.
- Undocumented risks: As much as this is something that has been happening in South Africa, there is not enough research that can help with making the decision especially considering that after you donate, you don’t really know what other residual effects are, especially if you don’t have the mental fortitude to undergo such a taxing process.
- Physical Effects: I experienced a slight weight gain throughout both my donations and it was a hard pill to swallow and something I never anticipated. The hormones lead to increased hunger pangs, and a lack of discipline or following a poor diet, can result in a little indulgence weight. You will also experience bloating as you get closer to your retrieval date and your ovaries will be super tender after the procedure. If you’re an active individual then be prepared to cease all exercise and other physical activities for up to 2 weeks. Let your body heal!
- Needles: If you are someone who does not like needles, this unfortunately is not something you can do or might not be able to do alone. You will need someone to give you the hormone shots.
Overall, being a donor is so worth it for the altruism that accompanies it, just make sure to do your research and really introspect as the compensation might not always turn out to be worth it to some. I hope you’ve learnt something new from reading this blog post and even more so from all my coverage about being an egg donor in South Africa. Be sure to check out my YouTube videos for even more content and remember to subscribe to my mailing list and my channel so you can keep up with all the latest content. Alternatively, Nurture Egg Donor Program for information on how to become a donor.