Be­com­ing a Donor

Glamour (South Africa) - - Think -

If you ask me, the phys­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tion and screen­ing process is rig­or­ous, and even more invasive than the ac­tual egg ex­trac­tion. If you’re not will­ing to lay out ev­ery de­tail of your life like a paint­ing so it can be an­a­lysed and dis­cussed by strangers, don’t even bother. By the time I was done, I felt that the staff at the clinic knew as much about me as I did.

“When was the last time you cried?”, “Have you ever had sui­ci­dal thoughts?”, “How strong is your sex drive?” – this was my in­tro­duc­tion to ther­apy. Soft am­bi­ent tunes played in the back­ground of the calm­ing space that was the in-house psy­chol­o­gist’s of­fice. Dr Leanne van der Westhuizen had a bo­hemian vibe about her; dressed in white linens and she spoke in a per­fectly mea­sured tone, she was ex­actly like what the movies de­picted some­one of her pro­fes­sion to be. I en­joyed my ses­sion with her and left wish­ing I could book an­other. How­ever, she cleared me as be­ing sound of mind (well, mostly) and it was on to the next step: pa­per­work.

Af­ter what seemed like a thou­sand forms and pho­to­graphs later, my donor pro­file was com­plete – right down to the tex­ture of my par­ent’s hair. (The time lapse be­tween when I filled in the on­line ap­pli­ca­tion and when I walked out of the clinic – pock­ets slightly heav­ier, uterus some­what lighter – was two months.) A month af­ter fill­ing-out my pro­file, I was in­formed that I had been se­lected by a fam­ily to be their donor. I was sur­prised, yet ex­cited. This was ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing!

Cold and rain­ing out­side, the gy­nae­col­o­gist’s of­fice was a wel­come con­trast. When I walked in, I was im­me­di­ately put at ease by the kind-faced Dr No­math­am­sanqa Matebese, di­rec­tor of Cape Fer­til­ity and one of the in-house ob­ste­tri­cians. She gave me a full pelvic exam and as­sessed my egg num­bers to see if they were suf­fi­cient enough to go ahead with the pro­ce­dure. I took a deep breath as she in­serted the tiny cam­era into my uterus, and my in­sides were mag­ni­fied and dis­played on the mon­i­tor. It was fas­ci­nat­ing and, ad­mit­tedly, very strange. Be­ing that I was only 21 at the time, I ex­pected ev­ery­thing to be all-good in that area, but a sense of re­lief did wash over me when Dr Matebese con­firmed it.

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