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Is Egg Donation Painful: An Exclusive Interview With a 4-Time Egg Donor

Experiences of an Egg Donor:  

Since the emergence of IVF in the 1980s, intended parents have had the ability to use donor eggs as a way to build their families. Egg donation is an incredible gift to give another family and many of the egg donors and parents through egg donation in our community have found the experience incredibly rewarding. 

We understand that potential egg donors may be apprehensive about undertaking a medical procedure and may have questions like ‘Is donating eggs painful?’ and ‘What does egg donation entail?’.Our team at NewGen Families is delighted to share the experiences of a four-time egg donor, Timor Duek, to give you greater insight into the process of egg donation.

Is Egg Donation painful?

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. Oocyte retrieval is the technical term for egg retrieval and in this article we will use both interchangeably.

“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 were consistent across all four experiences as an egg donor.”

“The night before the retrieval, a hormone injection commonly known in the IVF world as the trigger shot was administered to trigger egg maturation, aiding the oocyte retrieval procedure. While I did not notice distinct side effects, this particular shot was slightly more painful than the previous injections.”“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 similar to menstruation. I don’t usually suffer from cramps but my first period after the retrieval was definitely more intense. However, each egg donor will have a different tolerance to pain.”

Were 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 didn’t need to be concerned about 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. 

While all medical procedures involve 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).

Doing your own research, in conjunction with discussing the egg retrieval surgery with your IVF doctor, are recommended so you make an informed decision about becoming an egg donor. Considering becoming an egg donor? Explore our recent article dispelling myths and clarifying misconceptions about what egg donation involves.

Do you regret your decision to donate eggs?

“No, because once  I came to realize that my body could handle the egg donation process, the rewards were immense. I understand some women are hesitant to undergo this procedure due to fears of pain or emotional attachment, but in my experience, it has been a truly rewarding one.

“My first egg donation journey spanned 6 months and today I have an incredibly strong relationship with the child, as agreed upon with his father prior to the donation. Since then, I have undertaken two anonymous egg donations, as well as another donation where a relationship exists without emotional attachment. I haven’t felt any regret as clear boundaries were set from the get-go with each egg donation.”

“Every procedure carries risks. My doctor provided me with comprehensive information about the egg donation process, and after careful consideration, I made the decision that this path was right for me.” 

“I am so happy to be able to share my journey with other women who may be considering becoming an  egg donor and reassure them that the decision can be both safe 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 is unique. Therefore, it’s important to consider different approaches to egg donation before establishing your personal boundaries as an egg donor.

Photo of Timor Duek, four-time Egg Donor
Timor Duek, 31 years old, Four-Time Egg Donor

Learn More on What the Egg Donation Process Entails

Our team has personal experience building families through egg, sperm and embryo donation so if you are considering becoming an egg donor or seeking a deeper understanding of the process of IVF with donor eggs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to learn more.

Your transformative experience starts here. Contact us now!

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