In Their Own Words: 7 Insights on Egg Donation Side Effects Dec 11, 2023 | by Donor Nexus

Are you considering donating your eggs and wondering what the egg donation side effects and recovery typically look like? In this blog, we share 7 insights from previous donors to help you know what egg donation side effects to expect and share some advice as you prepare for your cycle. 

7 Insights on Egg Donation Side Effects and Recovery From Previous Donors

At Donor Nexus, we aim to provide all our potential donors with a transparent understanding of every aspect of the process – and what better way to do that than to share the experiences of egg donors in their own words! In this blog, we’ve compiled excerpts from our egg donation experiences page to share what the side effects of egg donation typically look like as shared by previous donors.

1. You Can Expect to Feel Some Bloating

As perhaps the most common side effect of donating eggs, it’s normal to experience mild bloating during the ovarian stimulation phase, especially as you get closer to your retrieval date. However, if you are experiencing severe or painful bloating, please talk with your physician to be safe. For most donors, bloating and other side effects such as mild cramping will subside within a few days after the egg retrieval.

As shared by Donor J, 

“The only side effect I experienced during the cycle was bloating and very mild stomach cramps for a day or two after the retrieval.”

As shared by Donor L,

“The only side effect I had from the entire egg donor process was bloating from the medication and some more bloating from the procedure, but I think that was a small price to pay if it meant helping someone become a parent.”

2. Prioritize Your Health and Wellness

As an egg donor, side effects from the ovarian stimulation medications can cause changes in your body. The best thing you can do to help keep discomfort to a minimum is to properly take care of yourself by following recommendations such as abstaining from sexual intercourse, refraining from the use of alcohol or drugs, avoiding strenuous activities, and giving your body plenty of rest and nourishment before, during, and after your cycle! 

Is donating eggs painful? Read through experiences from previous donors discussing self-injections, recovery, and more!

As shared by Donor A,

“As long as you’re making sure you’re taking care of yourself, fueling your body with protein & electrolytes, and keeping healthy - everything is all good! The procedure itself can also feel intimidating at first, but the nurses make you feel so comfortable and it’s over before you know it. I literally woke up from the anesthesia the first time saying, “Let’s do this again!” The greatest part of it all is that you’re helping change someone’s life.”

3. Communicate With Your Doctor and Nurse

Throughout your cycle, you will have several monitoring appointments to check how your body is responding to the medications. During these appointments or any time during your cycle, don’t hesitate to talk to your nurse or doctor about any symptoms you are experiencing. The medical team is there to support you! 

As shared by Donor S, 

“Honestly, the daily injections are minimally painful and, when done correctly, have no bruising or bleeding. I almost look forward to my injections because it means I am one day closer to giving my eggs to the intended parents. Not all donors will react to the medication as I do but be prepared to gain a few pounds (easily lost after the donation). Personally, I had a rough recovery time after my first donation cycle. It took about three weeks for the bloating and discomfort to subside. I was extremely nervous for my second cycle."

Never be afraid to talk to your doctor or nurse about your body and how you are reacting to the medication. I tend to tough things out, but in this instance, it can be more harmful than helpful. My second cycle was almost pain-free compared to my first, directly caused by my nurse and doctor listening to my needs and tailoring my medication schedule. If you have any unnecessary discomfort, tell your nurse right away. It makes the process so much easier on the body.”

4. The Self-Injections Aren’t Painful for Most Donors

During the ovarian stimulation phase, you will self-administer injections into your lower abdomen. The needle used for injections is very thin and should not cause any significant pain, but you may experience bruising or light bleeding at the injection site. However, most donors say they don’t experience any bruising or bleeding when done correctly. 

Although the thought of self-administering injections can seem intimidating at first, you will be thoroughly instructed and even have access to training videos to ensure you are prepared. It’s common for donors to say they quickly gained confidence with the injections!

As shared by Donor C,

“As the time approached for me to begin the shots, I grew a little nervous wondering if they would hurt, or if I would even be able to do them myself. I was thoroughly instructed on how to do them and was informed that they are practically painless… They weren’t lying! The shots were beyond easy to give myself and I felt little to no pain at all!”

5. The Egg Retrieval Procedure Is Typically Quick and Painless

When it comes to the egg retrieval itself, it’s a very quick procedure – typically only lasting a total of 20-30 minutes! You will be under monitored anesthesia care for the duration of the procedure to ensure your comfort.

As shared by Donor L, 

“As for my egg retrieval at the surgery center, I do not remember much of it, but it was painless and in good hands—the nurses were amazing.”

As shared by Donor C,

“The egg retrieval itself was a piece of cake. I was in NO pain whatsoever. My only side effect was mild bloating for about 2-3 days, which is completely normal and was expected.” 

6. Recovery Is Typically Quick

Although each experience is unique, it’s typical for donors to be able to go to work or school the day after their egg retrieval. 

As shared by Donor B,

“Recovery was way easier than I thought it would be. My stomach was a little sore and I felt pressure but the very next day I was fine to go back to my everyday activities. “

As shared by Donor J,

“The process of the actual donation was a breeze for me. The injections for a few weeks prior to the retrieval were no big deal and never affected my daily life. At the Doctor’s office on the day of the retrieval I received the best medical treatment I think I ever have in my life! …. My recovery was super quick. I was never in any pain after I woke up, just bloated for about a week.” 

7. The Consensus: It’s Worth It!

Overall, we always hear positive feedback from our egg donors! Many egg donors feel empowered by learning about their own fertility and feel that they made a positive impact by helping others in such a meaningful way.

As shared by Donor D,

“The process is different for everyone’s bodies, my body takes very well to the medication and I always have tons of eggs so my ovaries are obviously stretched out, so it takes me about a week after surgery to feel 100% again. The recovery time shortens after every surgery I’ve had and the pain is very minor cramping and bloating. The process is so rewarding, that the temporary pain is totally worth it!” 

What Are the Side Effects of Egg Donation?

While most egg donors only experience minimal discomfort, egg donation side effects vary from woman to woman. In most cases, side effects are caused by the ovarian stimulation medications and are very similar to PMS symptoms. Potential side effects from the medications include:

  • Bloating
  • Cramping
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Breast tenderness
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue

Additionally, you may experience slight redness or bruising in your lower abdomen from the self-administered injections. Lastly, side effects from the egg retrieval procedure can include slight soreness, cramping, bloating, or spotting. 

What If There Are Complications, Like OHSS?

The risk of complications is low, with studies showing an approximate 1.5% chance of experiencing severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS is caused when the ovaries over-respond to the stimulation medications. Nowadays, most cases of OHSS are mild cases that cause temporary discomfort. If you experience breathing problems, pain in your legs, severe bloating, abdominal pain, or other symptoms of OHSS, please consult with your physician. Even if you are having a mild case of OHSS, your physician will want to monitor you closely and may adjust your medications to help alleviate symptoms.


Ultimately, our egg donors feel that the temporary discomfort was worth it for the gratifying experience of helping someone else start or grow their family. We encourage you to read through first-hand experiences shared by previous egg donors to gain a deeper understanding of the process. 

Empowering You to Make Informed Decisions Every Step of the Way

At Donor Nexus, we offer highly attentive, personalized care to our egg donors throughout the entire process. For women who are considering donating their eggs, we aim to provide transparent information and resources (like this blog post!) to help you decide whether being an egg donor is the right choice for you. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we will be happy to assist you.

Additional Resources:

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice. If you have any specific concerns or questions about the egg donation process, we advise you to consult with a fertility specialist who can provide personalized guidance and address your individual needs. 



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