How Will The Egg Donation Process Affect My Body?
Egg donation is a wonderful, tangible way to help someone achieve their family dreams. People decide to donate their eggs for a number of reasons, but always out of the generous desire to help another family grow. Understandably, potential donors may have lots of questions about the donation process. In particular, those looking to donate their eggs often wonder how the process will affect their bodies. Compared to surrogacy, where a person offers to carry another parent’s child to term, egg donation has significantly lower physical, emotional, and time requirements for the donor. However, choosing to become a donor is still a major decision, and it’s important to be informed. We’ll discuss some of the main physical effects of the egg donation process here, so you can feel confident in your decision to help someone achieve their dreams of parenthood.
At the very beginning of the egg donation process, you’ll be scheduled for some basic physical screenings to get a clean bill of health for you and your eggs. This can include a physical and pelvic exam and blood tests. The pelvic exam will be similar to your regular exams with your primary physician or OB/GYN, and shouldn’t be any more uncomfortable than your average Pap smear.
Once you’ve been matched with an intended parent, you will be prescribed hormone medication shots that you can administer at home. Most donors quickly get the hang of the process, and are able to easily administer their own shots. Some ask a family member or partner for help, if they find it too difficult. The shot itself is very simple, and uses very small needles to minimize discomfort. You may experience some bruising or mild discomfort at the injection site, like when you get a shot at your doctor’s office.
You will also receive regular transvaginal ultrasounds at your doctor’s office during the injection part of the process. These help monitor your egg growth, so they can adjust your hormone medication levels as needed. This monitoring also helps reduce the risk of Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS), a relatively rare syndrome caused by excessive hormone levels. Although “transvaginal ultrasound” might sound scary, the process is considered painless, with less discomfort than a Pap smear. Ask your doctor about the ultrasound procedure so you can feel confident and comfortable about what’s involved.
Egg Retrieval and Recovery
The actual egg retrieval procedure is very simple, and usually only takes about 30 minutes. Depending on your specific needs, your doctor will administer a light sedative or an anesthetic. The eggs are retrieved by a small ultrasound probe inserted through your vagina. Some donors experience mild symptoms afterwards, including bloating and cramping. We recommend you take the entire retrieval day to recover from the procedure and the anesthesia.
You will need a friend or family member to drive you home after the procedure as your sedative wears off. Most donors find they’re able to resume their regular routines within a day of the procedure; while you may still experience some cramping or spotting for the next few days, you should be back to normal within a week at most.
Usually, donating your eggs requires minimally invasive procedures with short recovery times and no long-lasting impacts. Each case is different, and you should discuss all the details with your doctor to make sure you fully understand any potential risks. Egg donation is a highly personal choice, and we want to make sure you have all the information you need to choose what’s right for you.
If you’re interested in donating your eggs, you can start the application process here.