The global world has made everything smaller and the option of searching worldwide for ideal egg donation treatment has become an aspect of an increasing norm rather than such a rare phenomena. Accordingly travelling for the perfect egg donation treatment requires information about the processes, ethics and legislation. How much information recipients have about their egg donor and whether these egg donation parties are ever able to contact one another are concerns that need addressing prior to any commitments being made.
Years back, topics of donor gametes were taboo, unheard of and frowned upon. Now, a growing acceptance of egg donation IVF has become far more accepted in light of the increasing infertility as well as the greater understanding around this topic. People have more empathy because they are informed and can relate and understand that struggling infertiles are not trying to create a designer baby. It is a matter of really having a baby and the recipient’s acceptance is increased when finding as close a match to them as possible – thus the search for a close egg donor match. More information means the unknown becomes clearer and becomes internalised and therefore closer to the heart. Also so many more people require a form of artificial reproductive treatment to conceive, so the introduction of donor eggs is more easily and readily introduced and so people learn, understand and accept.
Areas typically considered for travelling egg donation include Europe, America and Africa. Factors that are known to deter people from these regions include the actual cost of the IVF and the added cost for donor eggs. This can really make the process not only unattractive, but truly unaffordable.
The governing guidelines and legislation in a country also stipulate the process and what is shared about egg donors. In some countries, complete donor anonymity is enforced – availing too little for recipients to select the right egg donor. The concept of an egg donor registry is enforced, which reduces the influence of anonymity and depending on the exact guidelines – children conceived of egg donation may be able to contact their egg donor and so this results in a lifetime commitment of being available and accessible. It also removes the decision-making from a recipient whether they want to share the details around the egg donation IVF concept.
South Africa, in particular has developed a growing trend and acceptance of egg donation. Reputable and affordable fertility clinics with high success rates have established egg donation processes as well as solid relationships with egg donation agencies, making the egg donor IVF a smooth and seamless process for persons travelling for this special process.
Hundreds of success stories are available for persons researching travelling for egg donation extending from pictures of babies conceived as a result of egg donation to the views and feelings of the parties involved. Egg donors have opened their hearts and shared their innermost feelings of how they experienced the process and how being an egg donor added value to their life in that they were able to contribute to a miracle, making possibly the greatest difference in their life. The egg donor process has been described as their calling.
Egg donation in South Africa has resulted in pregnancies worldwide to people of all walks in life and so the joy has been spread to all corners.
Due to the overwhelming demand and number of IVF egg donation programs undertaken in South Africa for both local residents and international recipients, formal guidelines have recently been introduced which require egg donor agents to comply with specific standards. These include enforcing the egg donor anonymity and upholding high levels of professionalism. Recipients travelling abroad to South Africa for egg donation abroad are encouraged to only work with these accredited egg donor agents.
The guidelines stipulate that:
Egg donor agents should only facilitate donor treatments within the borders of South Africa to ensure that egg donors have access to any suitable medical care if required.
In the protective interests of egg donation recipients – egg donors are to comply with a certain BMI level, be aged below 35 and partake in no more than six egg donor programs.
Egg donors cannot be committed on more than one egg donation program at a time. These are special people and we have to be respectful of not only their feelings and availability but also whether their egg quality is deemed suitable for another egg donor program.
The confidentiality and anonymity of egg donation is of paramount importance and only non-identifying aspects may be shared with egg donor recipients. Only childhood pictures up to age 10 may be shared and no meetings may be facilitated between parties.
Egg donors receive a fixed donation, which is paid through the fertility specialist or doctor. No payments for the actual egg donation may be exchanged from the egg donor agent to the egg donor. Travel costs may be arranged but the recipient must have full disclosure on such payments and upfront agreement for these costs. So the actual egg donation remains ethical.
If the ownership of an egg donor agency is associated with a doctor, lawyer or other association – full disclosure is required.
These guidelines are introduced to protect egg donors and recipients.
South Africa is further deemed to be an attractive destination for egg donation IVF for extensive egg donor availability. Egg donors find the egg donation program feasible because full confidentiality is assured. Recipients are afforded access to childhood pictures so they have an opportunity to affiliate features, skin complexion and a general look from these pictures, whilst full profiled information is available in the egg donor’s profile. Once again, the awareness of infertility, of egg donation and the way people can help has resulted in more information and a personal appeal. Egg donors are able to sign up with full information, a thorough briefing, access to all required information as well a solid support structure throughout the donor program.
Such an established process is in place, that recipients are provided with a full schedule of the process including medication, guidelines and exact dates to be in South Africa for the embryo transfer.
Costs for egg donation in South Africa are so well priced that it is often more economical for recipients to travel for full egg donation IVF plus a holiday at a better rate than having IVF in their own country. Egg donation costs include the rate of an IVF and the egg donation agency fee. The donor’s donation is often included in the cost of the fertility clinic as this is paid from them.
Travel arrangements can be facilitated and typically a recipient would require around 10 days in South Africa. Usually a day 10 scan is required and then five days after the fertilisation or egg retrieval – the embryos are transferred. The female partner is required for this full period while the male partner is really only needed on the egg aspiration day. Some recipients have even been known to leave frozen sperm in South Africa and instruct the fertilisation and subsequent freezing of the embryo when at a more mature level and come for the transfer when they are ready.
Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria are destinations in high demand and have an established international egg donor program to support these treatments.
For recipients travelling, they are fully empowered to keep the egg donor conception completely private so for purposes of all others, the ten day trip was purely for leisure and tourism. Many Australian travellers have been known to come in for their day 10 scan, travel for a few days until the male partner was required on the day of egg retrieval (around day 14) then tour the Cape Winelands before returning again for the embryo transfer. In other regions, recipients have visited Sun City, game farms and the coast in this time, a truly pleasant combination of medical and leisure travel.
The evolution of mankind means people in differing stages of life seek egg donation. It may be a couple of advanced age who waited to conceive, it may be a new relationship, possibly after countless IVF’s with own eggs or a single woman. Whatever the situation, South Africa embraces and accepts recipients of all races, religions, sexual affiliation, and/ or relationship status wanting to conceive.
Immediate access to the supporting fertility sister, egg donation agency and fertility specialist make German very close to Cape Town, Australia a few minutes away from Johannesburg and the UK a skype call away from Pretoria. The era of online and accessibility makes South Africa highly sought after for travelling egg donation treatments.
So the concept of travel for egg donation is a personal decision and one influenced by finding the right egg donor and if that means travelling to South Africa for the closest ideal person who most resonates with you, this is quite a reasonable and feasible solution. Developing a close relationship with the egg donor agency and finding the right one who will guide recipients through the process, provide regular updates, intervene with the clinic when required, assist with travel arrangements if required and be available for ongoing moral support is imperative to a successful trip.
In addition, as scans and taking medication to prepare for the successful embryo implantation really only makes up a marginal percentage of the time, sufficient timing is available for many other aspects that can contribute to an improved emotional state, which can only increase the chances of success. Making time to enjoy the culinary delights, some acupuncture, game farms which also offer beauty treatments all make the travel for egg donation not only a trip, but an adventure for a miracle.