Would you like to know more about being the recipient of donor eggs? This is the section for you. We answer all the questions most women ask, as simply and clearly as possible. (We’re sure your gynaecologist will discuss all these issues with you as well, though!) Future Dads, we have something for you to read, too!
How do I choose the best egg donor?
That is such a personal decision and what is important to one person, may not be that important to someone else.
Most people tend to choose a donor with a similar skin tone, eye and hair colour to themselves – that is something that is genetically passed down – but remember, just because the donor had fair hair and blue eyes as a child, that does not necessarily mean she will pass those genes on. It is all very tricky!
Things like intelligence, personality and interests – who knows? Think of all the parents you know and look at their children – sometimes even they wonder where a particular child of theirs came from!
So much of what a child becomes is due to the family they live in, the values and interests they grow up with – so most of what your child will become is up to you in the end. The latest scientific research reinforces the fact that genes are far less important in what a person becomes, than previously thought.
Let your heart speak to you – go with someone you feel you would like – and then just let it be.
How do I know if this is right for me?
When you get to this stage of your journey through infertility, this is usually the very last stop – your final hope. By this time you will have tried everything else, time is running out and what you now have to decide is:
- Do you want to adopt? Is this an option still? (The cut-off age is quite young and you often have to wait many years to get a baby)
- How badly do you want to be a mother?
- How badly do you want to be pregnant?
These are questions you need to think very carefully about, and if you need help with this decision, see a psychologist who will be able to help you work through these issues.
How will I know which donors I should consider?
Each person is different in what they consider to be important – but remember, how the child turns out in the end, is mainly up to the way you raise them. And even physical characteristics are unreliable – how often have you wondered where the little redhead came from in a family where the parents are definitely not gingers? Throwbacks to previous generations happen quite often – there are no guarantees!
It is important to note though that we cannot send you photos of your donor as an adult – it is illegal in SA to do so. You will however be able to view photos of the donors as babies or children.
We often have intended parents who don’t speak English and thus struggle to read through and understand the donor profiles. If that is the case then you can email me and just tell me what is important to you – ie. skin tone, height, etc and I will send you some profiles that suit your requirements.
If you are in Johannesburg I will personally meet with you to talk through the process and help you.
How many eggs will I get?
As many eggs as the donor produces in that treatment cycle – usually between 5 and 10. This is the optimal number – too many eggs can result in poorer quality eggs – the old story of quality versus quantity!
How many eggs will they transfer to my womb?
Most clinics will only put back 2 embryos – and the success rate is currently around 55%.
What happens with the embryos that are left over?
These are usually frozen for you to use at a later stage. That means that if it doesn’t work the first time, you can have another attempt with the frozen embryos without having to pay for a donor again. If it does work the first time (lucky you!) then you can use these eggs later to try for a second baby – and end up with true siblings!
Will there ever be any contact between the egg donor and myself?
No, it is completely anonymous and confidential – according to SA law. However, you will be able to view her donor profile which will tell you a great deal about her. The egg donor will also not know who you are – though if you agree, we can tell her a little bit about you to make it more personal for her. Remember, she is giving you the most amazing gift.
What if the egg donor wants to trace my child years later?
This is not possible as there is currently no egg donor registry in SA. Women who donate their eggs are thoroughly psychologically assessed to ensure that they are comfortable with what they are doing. They tend not to think that they are giving away ‘their children’ but rather donating eggs just as they would donate blood to someone who needed it. The child that results from an egg donation is carried in your womb, you give birth to it and it is legally your child.
What do I tell other people?
That is entirely up to you – you don’t have to say anything if you are not comfortable doing so. Remember, you will be pregnant and you will give birth to this child – and if you want to tell other people what a miracle this is, that is your decision.
Do I tell my child?
Again, that is a very personal decision and one that only you can make. When the time comes, you may feel you need some help with issues like this, and consulting a psychologist to work through your feelings may be useful for you.
Can I choose my own clinic?
Yes, absolutely. BabyMiracles can direct you to a clinic that specialises in infertility if you need one, but if you already have your own clinic, that is fine. It is important that you feel comfortable with the people you will be dealing with. If there is anything else you want to know, please contact us and we will be happy to chat with you.
My husband sometimes feels like I isolate him in my desperate desire for a baby … how do other husbands/future dads cope with this situation?
Often it seems this process is all about women and their need to become mothers – but men also have an inborn need to be fathers and feel the same sense of despair, frustration and sadness as do their partners.
Yes the process itself is much easier on men – there is very little that is required of you from a physical point of view – but your role does not end there!
Your wives or partners go through so much physically if they go through the IVF process – but it is a lonely journey to do on your own.
As men you need to be the strong shoulder to cry on (even when you feel very sad yourself), you need to be understanding of mood swings, of emotions all over the place, and be a strong support for your partner. That doesn’t mean you don’t show your own emotions – it is very important that your partner knows just how you feel as well. You need to be able to listen to her, to encourage her and keep positive even when your own heart is breaking. But equally try to find someone to talk to yourself – perhaps a counsellor who can help you work through your own emotions and give guidelines on how to best support your partner through this journey.
If you are using an egg donor and your own sperm, your wife may very well feel guilty – she is the one who can’t produce good eggs, if you had another partner you would not have to go through this process, it is costing you so much money – these are all thoughts that go through her mind. It is very difficult for a woman to accept that this child will carry her husband’s genes but not her own – try to understand how that may make her feel. It is your job to make her feel like a worthy woman and wife, someone you love and that you are prepared to go through this with her.
I know how frustrated my own husband was through the six IVFs we went through – so I am always available to chat to you if you need an understanding and sympathetic ear.