Egg Donor Medications & Their Side Effects

Donating your eggs makes it possible for families to realize the dream of parenthood, including those with health issues and same-sex couples. While egg donors are typically excited to help others while also earning compensation, one area of concern that they commonly have is what medications they will have to take and whether there will be any side effects. If you’re thinking about becoming an egg donor, here’s what you should know about egg donor medications.

What Egg Donation Medications Do I Need To Take?

Your body needs to produce a larger amount of mature eggs than it does during its normal monthly cycle. Fertility drugs — generally daily subcutaneous injections — are essential, as they get the medication directly into your bloodstream. Among the most common egg donation medications are:

  • Birth control, the oral contraceptive pill, maintains your hormones and helps to synchronize the cycles of you and your egg recipient.
  • Lupron, or leuprolide acetate injection, stops natural hormonal production, enabling a balance throughout your cycle.
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) injection – FSH directs your ovaries to boost follicle growth, which contains your developing eggs. Taken for 7-12 days, FSH helps eggs mature faster, ensuring enough are ready for retrieval.
  • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) injection – HCG stops your natural cycle, preventing premature ovulation and allowing your eggs to mature.
  • Oral antibiotics may be briefly taken to reduce infection risk from the egg retrieval process, during the treatment cycle, and on the day of the procedure.

What Side Effects May Egg Donor Medications Impart?

Due to the higher hormonal levels, egg donor medications cause symptoms similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Often ending when you stop taking the medications, these side effects are generally manageable and won’t cause long-term health issues. Some common symptoms (as well as how to manage them) include:

  • Bloating can be reduced by drinking water and dressing comfortably.
  • Breast Tenderness can be relieved by wearing a supportive bra, engaging in low-impact exercises, and reducing your caffeine and salt intake.
  • Flu-Like Symptoms – FSH may lead to body aches, fatigue, and light-headedness. Proper sleep and low-impact exercising may help relieve them.
  • Headache – As lower estrogen levels can cause headaches, you should take over-the-counter pain relievers, get enough sleep, manage stress, and eat properly.
  • Increased Appetite – Birth control pills may boost your hunger. Eating a healthy diet high in fiber and protein will help to keep you full for longer.
  • Injection Site Reaction – While you’ll get used to daily injections, you may experience pain, redness, irritation, and bruising.
  • Moodiness and Mood Changes – To relieve these symptoms, you should take care of yourself and keep stress levels low.
  • Nausea – FSH and hCG may decrease your appetite, and cause nausea and vomiting, gastrointestinal pain, and diarrhea. Eating bland, easily digestible foods and avoiding certain smells may help.
  • Skin Changes – Acne and increased oil production can occur, but you may manage them with mild cleansers and over-the-counter acne treatments and eating a healthy diet.
  • Spotting and Discharge – The additional hormones may cause spotting or increased vaginal discharge. While normal, it’s helpful to have extra feminine products.
  • Thirst and Dehydration – As taking FSH medication may cause thirst and dehydration, you must drink plenty of water and other clear fluids.

Do Egg Donor Medications Cause Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome?

With egg donation, one risk is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). With this very rare condition, fertility drugs cause too many eggs to develop in the ovaries. You may experience severe pain, swelling, bloating, nausea, dehydration, and dizziness.
Your body typically flushes out excess hormones once you stop taking the medications. But as OHSS can be life-threatening, get immediate medical attention if you think you have it. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your concerns ahead of time.

Schedule An Egg Donor Consultation

If you have any questions about becoming an egg donor, contact Egg Donor America for a consultation today.