Experiences of an Egg Donor: Candid Insights, Advice, and More!
Since the emergence of IVF in the 1980s, Intended Parents have utilized donor eggs as a solution for their fertility challenges. The importance of Egg Donation is recognized by many families as the only viable pathway to parenthood, as well as the Egg Donors themselves who hold their contribution close to their hearts for years to come.
Despite evidence of widespread success, potential Egg Donors may be apprehensive about undertaking such an ‘unconventional’ procedure. Concerns about the Egg Donation process, and its associated risks, may naturally lead to hesitations about the prospect of donating your eggs.
While we wholeheartedly advocate prioritizing health and safety, it is crucial to contextualize the many concerns potential Egg Donors share. This is why our team at NewGen Families is delighted to share the experiences of a four-time Egg Donor.
Whether you are an Intended Parent or a prospective Egg Donor yourself, accompany us as Timor answers some common questions that arise when discussing her experience with Egg Donation.
Is Egg Donation painful?
“The retrieval does not hurt at all, as I was put under general anesthetic. I experienced some cramping when I woke up but it was a similar experience to that of menstruation. I don’t usually suffer from cramps but my first period after the retrieval was definitely more intense. Still, I’d like to emphasize the importance of taking my own experience with a grain of salt as each Egg Donor has a different tolerance to pain.”
“Approximately 10-12 days prior to the Egg Retrieval, doctors stimulate your estrogen levels. Personally, I encountered significant bloating during this phase. I also felt like I was on a hormonal rollercoaster – intensely hungry, emotionally sensitive, and easily irritable throughout the period of injectable medication use. These symptoms persisted consistently across all four experiences as an Egg Donor.”
“On the eve of the retrieval, a hormonal shot is administered to trigger Egg Maturation, facilitating their capture during the retrieval procedure. While I did not notice distinct side effects, this particular shot was slightly more painful than the preceding injections.”
The question, is Egg Donation painful?, is one that arises from women and potential Egg Donors alike. While some may dub concerns about pain as frivolous, it is both valid and important to understand how it feels to donate eggs before making your decision.
According to Timor, it is important to separate the Egg Donation process into two parts. The first aspect of the process involves hormone therapy, achieved through the use of birth control pills and injectable medications (UCSF, 2023). These medications are necessary to prepare for the second part of the journey – Oocyte Retrieval.
She explains that while the injections were not too bothersome for her, she did experience a slight “stinging and burning sensation” when injecting one medication in particular. On the other hand, the Oocyte Retrieval procedure did not hurt at all as she was put under a general anesthetic.
According to a study in the Journal of Human Reproduction, in which >1000 perioperative and postoperative complications of Oocyte Retrieval were studied, it was concluded that Egg Donors can be reassured that overall Oocyte Retrieval is a safe procedure. However, those who choose to donate eggs have to be counseled about the minor risks” (2006).
Are you worried about Egg Donation and its effect on fertility?
“I got cold feet during my last Egg Donation because of my age. I had just turned thirty and I recently got engaged. When I spoke to my doctor, he explained the process to me very simply. He said ‘every period we experience is our body’s way of releasing eggs for ovulation. Every cycle, you’ll lose some one way or another. When he put it that way, I realized I had little to be concerned about regarding Egg Donation and its effect on my fertility.”
Egg count gradually diminishes until women reach menopause, but even in their 20s and 30s, they typically retain a significant number of eggs, ranging from approximately 300,000 to 500,000 (Dr. Suruchi Thakore, 2022). During the Oocyte Retrieval Surgery, only a handful of eggs are typically retrieved when donating your eggs.
While all medical procedures entail inherent risks, it’s important to note that there is “no convincing evidence” establishing a direct link between the utilization of fertility drugs in Egg Donation and the occurrence of adverse health outcomes, such as Ovarian Cancer (The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2013).
Remaining well-informed about the potential, albeit uncommon, side effects associated with both the Egg Donation process and the Egg Retrieval Surgery is a prudent step to ensure your safety and peace of mind as an Egg Donor.
Considering becoming an Egg Donor at NewGen Families? Explore our recent article dispelling myths and clarifying misconceptions about the Egg Donation process.
Do you regret your decision to donate eggs?
“No, because once you come to realize that your body can endure the Egg Donation process, the rewards are truly gratifying. Numerous women hesitate to undergo this procedure, perhaps due to fears of pain or emotional attachment, yet once you comprehend that your experience donating your eggs will be different from the next Egg Donor, the truth reveals itself.
“For instance, with my first Donor Child, my Egg Donor journey spanned 6 months. Today, I have an incredibly strong relationship with him, as agreed upon by all parties. Since then, I have undertaken two anonymous Egg Donations, as well as another donation where a relationship exists without emotional attachment at all. There should be no regrets as long as you set clear boundaries from the get-go.”
“Every procedure carries risks. My doctor provided me with comprehensive information about the Egg Donation process, and after careful consideration, I autonomously made the decision that this path was right for me.”
“I am elated to be able to share my journey with fellow Egg Donors who harbor similar concerns, helping them grasp that this procedure is both secure and rewarding”
In another study from the same journal, it was revealed that 91% of former anonymous Egg Donors reported being moderately to extremely satisfied with their donation experience (2000). However, as Timor eloquently pointed out, each Egg Donation journey is unique.
Therefore, while it’s valuable to consider other experiences, it’s equally vital to establish your personal boundaries as an Egg Donor. Contextualizing your concerns when making such a significant decision is beneficial, yet it shouldn’t be the sole determinant in choosing to donate your eggs.
Whether you’re considering becoming an Egg Donor or seeking a deeper understanding of the process, remember that your path is uniquely yours to shape.
Ready to embark on a meaningful journey? Reach out to NewGen Families today for more insights and information about donating your eggs.
Your transformative experience starts here. Contact us now!