Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Black women flock to be egg donors

Fourfold increase seen in practice once regarded as 'culturally taboo'

Young black women in South Africa are "reaching out to desperate couples" like never before in an attempt to help them have children.

The demand for black female egg donors has skyrocketed, with four times as many black women becoming donors - a far cry from recent years when it was considered "culturally taboo".

Black women now make up half of all new egg donors in South Africa, representing a fourfold increase from previous years.

A snap survey has revealed that women aged between 21 and 35 are flocking to egg donation agencies to help infertile women realise their dream of having their own babies.

Four fertility agencies this week revealed that, on average, 80 new applications from potential donors were received each month.

Tertia Albertyn, founder of Nurture, a donation agency in Cape Town, insisted that the women on her list genuinely wanted to help others and were not swayed by money - donors can expect to pocket about R5000 per egg cycle.

She also said there was a great demand for black babies.

"Black women, like their white counterparts, are now having children later in life, which often results in ovarian failure, particularly due to age.

"And, from a demographic point of view, you're going to have more black people needing black egg donors."

However, she said the issue of egg donation was still not openly discussed among black women.

"Most (black recipients) choose not to talk about it. A women's fertility is integral to how she is perceived in society. Her worth as a woman or wife is tied up with her ability to conceive."

Five-times donor and bank consultant Sibongile Quvane's first egg donation in 2006 resulted in a successful birth to a British couple.

The 34-year-old single mother from Summer Greens in Cape Town said she felt "fulfilled" that she had been able to make "a positive difference to the lives of a couple who were desperate to have a baby".

In the aftermath she also successfully requested a meeting with the recipient couple.

"What touched me the most is the joy that the mother felt, the way she expressed herself and her emotions. She was so grateful and thanked me repeatedly," said Quvane.

She said she had been emotionally prepared for the process and did not feel any attachment to the baby.

"There never was any attachment. I'm not affected by it and I don't have days where I sit and think about the child.

"I'm not the one who gave birth to the child and I believe that the one who gives birth to the child is the true mother."

She said she felt a sense of pride knowing that she had played a role in giving something to those in need.

"What I've done is priceless." Quvane has since donated her eggs four more times.

Read more...... Times Live: By SUBASHNI NAIDOO

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