It’s natural to feel nervous before going in for any type of procedure. So is researching everything you can online about what is about to happen. Perhaps even watching a YouTube clip of others who have undergone the same procedure before you. Yet, this isn’t always beneficial for everyone. For some, it creates a greater sense of anxiety and overall dread. That’s why it’s important to be careful what sources you use, and to remember that results and recovery can vary per person.
At Virginia Frank, we understand that the anxiety and nervousness that occurs before a procedure. Particularly before that of egg donation. To help ease your mind, we’ve put together this resource that answers some of the biggest questions surrounding egg donation.
Is Egg Donation Safe?
Yes, absolutely. Egg donation is safe. Out of all the studies and successful procedures done, medical professionals have found little to no evidence proving otherwise. This includes risks of developing ovarian cancer or other health conditions with the fertility drug treatments.
Every so often, a newspaper article will surface trying to claim the opposite, but those are more narrative than anything else. Sadly, they are rarely based on fact or relevant medical research. Scientists and medical professionals have both concluded that the information within the articles do not support their research, and that they see no correlation between egg donation and an increased risk of developing a disease.
Is the Process Painful? How Many Eggs are Removed?
No. The procedure itself isn’t known to be painful. It takes about 20-30 minutes overall to allow a large amount of time to ensure safe egg retrieval. As part of the recovery process, however, donors may need to stay in the hospital for up to three days afterward. Also, they can expect to experience some cramping and discomfort.
The exact number of eggs taken can vary from person to person. However, the average is between 10-15 eggs. Donors who produce more can have 16 or more harvested during the egg donation procedure.
Are there any short-term risks to be aware of?
Yes. Just like with any other medical procedure, there are short-term risks that you’ll want to be aware of. One in ten women experience Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). This condition is said to be a result from the fertility medications, which are trying to cause multiple eggs to mature at once. Symptoms of this temporary side effect include: weight gain, bloating, headaches and mood swings.
A second short-term risk is known as ovarian torsion. This is when the ovary gets twisted. If left untreated, donors may need to have the entire ovary removed. However, due to the frequent monitoring of doctors before, during and after the procedure, the risk of these happening are pretty low. For additional information, or if you have any concerns, be sure to talk this over with your doctor during your egg donation screening consultation.
How Many Times Can I Donate?
It depends. This is a great conversation to have with your doctor and fertility specialist. He or she will be able to dive into your medical history and know how many times you could handle. On average, though, reports show women donate between 1-5 times over the space of their life. Another statistic reveals that some women donate up to 6 times. But again, your doctor and fertility specialist will be your best resource in knowing what would be healthy and safe for you.
Are there any Long Term Effects of Egg Donation?
Yes and no. As a whole, the technology surrounding egg donation is still young and evolving. There are many things that the medical world is discovering about the risks and benefits. However, thus far, the only known long term effect is how it impacts the women psychologically. Whether positive and negative. Most women experience joy at the thought that they’ve helped someone else grow their family. Anything greater than that may not be known for another handful of years.
Is Egg Donation Worth it?
Statistically speaking, yes! Giving the gift of a family to a couple or individual who couldn’t otherwise have children of their own is exceedingly rewarding. Egg donation makes dreams come true, and has impacted many lives in a positive way.
Compared to the risks involved, egg donation is an incredibly safe and common procedure. You can rest easy knowing that your doctor and fertility specialists have your best interest, health and safety at heart. If they see any red flags in your medical history, they won’t put you in harm’s way.
The decision to donate your eggs and make a parent’s dream come true is very fulfilling and empowering. But it has to start with you. Weighing all the pros and cons and seeking advice from your medical professionals. Only you can choose if this is the right path for you to bless another couple or individual, or to grow your own family.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history as an adoptee, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Virginia Frank.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and a book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.