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A Priceless Gift of Life

Times Live,  Oct 17, 2010
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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.

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. Experts say that at least 80% of new and existing donors were parting with their eggs for "altruistic reasons".

Former model Mbali Lechler runs Egg Donation SA and claims to have one of the largest donor databases of black women in the country.

"Over the past three years the demand has quadrupled. The number of young African women donating is soaring. At least 50% of our new donors each month are black African women," said Lechler, who herself had fertility problems.

The Johannesburg-based businesswoman said a growing number of black women was faced with fertility problems because of their demanding, high-profile jobs coupled with the high level of stress.

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 pocket about R5000 per egg cycle. 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," she said.

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