Understandably, if you are considering donating your eggs, you are likely wondering if there are any side effects to egg donation. The short answer is that you may experience mild side effects similar to Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Similarly to PMS symptoms, not every woman who donates her eggs will experience symptoms and symptoms will vary. Egg donors may or may not experience short term side effects from the fertility medications. Every body responds differently to the medications. At Donor Nexus, we make sure that all of our egg donors are monitored carefully to ensure minimal to no side effects occur.
If an egg donor experiences any sort of side effects, she may feel symptoms similar to PMS; headache, mood swings, nausea, and bloating.
Egg donors take hormonal medications to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. The most common type is synthetic gonadotropin hormones. These are similar to the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) which causes ovarian follicles to mature during a natural menstrual cycle. Depending on the type of gonadotropin used, this can involve an injection every day, or a single longer-lasting injection. The most common side effects while using ovarian stimulation are headache, nausea, or abdominal tenderness. For most women, these symptoms are mild. Your doctor will also monitor you for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), in which the ovaries respond too strongly to the stimulation. However, very few donors have issues such as OHSS.
To reduce the hormones your own pituitary gland releases, you will be given injections of hormonal medications. The most common medications used are gonadotropin releasing agonist (GnRH-ag) or gonadotropin releasing antagonist (GnRH-ant). GnRH-ag needs to be started the month before the egg donation, while GnRH-ant can be taken the same month. While taking these medications you may experience side effects such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, or mood changes. The fertility clinic will explain the specific medications used.
A common question we are asked is if egg donation reduces your chance of having children in the future. The answer is no, donating eggs does not affect your future fertility.
Some egg donors are concerned that egg donation will diminish their natural egg reserve; however, this is a common myth. Research has shown there is no link between egg donation and infertility. During a female’s regular menstrual cycle, about 15-20 eggs mature naturally in the follicles before ovulation, and usually only 1 egg makes it through ovulation. The remaining eggs are unused and absorbed by the body. When eggs are donated, the eggs that are retrieved are the ones that the body would have naturally discarded. The medications egg donors are on only ensures that the eggs produced will be mature and viable.
• Related Video: Egg Donor Experience by Donor J
The information provided in this blog is intended to provide a general overview of common egg donation side effects and is not to be considered medical advice. Please consult with your physician for more comprehensive information.
Warning: Egg donation involves a screening process and not all potential egg donors are selected and not all selected egg donors receive the compensation amount advertised. As with any medical procedure, there may be a risk associated with egg donation. First, an egg donor must agree to begin the egg donation process and sign a legally binding contract. The donor is required to receive specific information on the known risk of egg donation. Consultation with your doctor before entering into an egg donor contract is advised. [Ca. Health & Safety Code 125325(a)] In addition, a summary of the egg retrieval procedure must be given to the egg donor before there is a binding contract. [Ca. Health Code 125325(b)].