GIFT OF MOTHERHOOD ... fertility clinic wants egg donors
More women are being encouraged to donate their eggs to help others who are unable to have babies.
Dr Sharifa Frederick, fertility specialist at the Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit (HWFMU), a centre of the University of the West Indies, told THE WEEKEND STAR that the egg donation programme is undersubscribed, "and the unit needs more persons to come on board and donate eggs".
These eggs would be combined with sperm in a test tube, and when fertilised, are inserted into a surrogate's uterus. Frederick says egg and sperm donation services are essential to any society.
"The inability to conceive is a chronic disease similar to hypertension. As fertility specialists we need to make sure that we can meet the needs of all our clients and help them in their journey to build families which is a basic human need," she said. But the volunteering surrogates should only be motivated to assist sterile couples.
"Persons need to be trustworthy in that they need to be truthful about their intentions, their lifestyle, habits and physical health. They need to be reliable and attend all of the required screens and appointments.They can not have any devious intentions to hold the fetus or infant at ransom and make requests outside of the legal agreement," she said.
In the meantime, Frederick said surrogacy in Jamaica has been trending upwards in recent times.
The current momentum around surrogacy comes as good news to the unit, as just last year, there was a public call for women to volunteer and bear children for other women who aren't able to conceive.
"More women have come to the HWFMU requesting the services of a surrogate. There has also been an increase in women coming forward and volunteering to be a surrogate," said Frederick. "We support surrogates who wish to carry out this process for altruistic reasons who understand the desires of persons who desperately want a child but are unable to carry a pregnancy. These surrogates understand that they will be properly taken care of during the pregnancy and will also be compensated by the intended parent or parents."
Frederick said that patients who volunteer to donate eggs and provide surrogacy services get free health checks in the form of physical examinations, blood tests, STI screens and imaging throughout the process.