Is It Safe To Be an Egg Donor?
Egg donors make parenthood possible for those who aren’t able to have children on their own. From beginning to end, this process may seem alien to someone unfamiliar with the medical side of fertility, and in turn may feel intimidating or risky. This is a completely normal feeling, and should be validated by medical professionals who take your concerns seriously. That being said, it is important to go through the possible risks and precautions in order to enter this stage of your life armed with knowledge and confidence.
Is Egg Donation Safe?
Yes! The process of donating your eggs should leave you virtually unaffected. That said, any and all procedures, surgeries and medicines run the risk for side effects. These could take place during treatment, or well after you have made your donation. A thorough aftercare plan should be established to help keep your doctors up to date on any and all symptoms you have after all procedures are complete.
IVF and egg donation have been around since the 1970s, and a 2019 review of 25 studies found no significant evidence of an increased risk of invasive ovarian cancer associated with the use of fertility drugs. There is still work to be done as far as more supportive research, but at this time there is little to no evidence to support a heightened risk of infertility or disease linked to fertility treatment.
What Are the Risks?
The risks egg donors need to be most mindful of are those laid out before treatment starts. All medications and treatments, from birth control to hormone injections, run the risk of the following side effects:
- Weight gain
- Headaches and flu-like symptoms
- Changes in sleep
- Mood Swings
- Redness or swelling at injection site
A more serious thing to look out for is OHSS, or Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. OHSS causes swelling and fluid retention in the ovaries. When this fluid leaks into other areas of your body, it can become dangerous. Your doctor should be checking for this throughout each phase of the egg donation process, as well as after egg retrieval. Please contact your doctor immediately if you notice the following symptoms:
- Severe pain and cramping in the abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid weight gain
What Should I Do?
Talk to your doctor about your current health status, and discuss the details with them for as long as you feel comfortable. For some women, there may not be a significant risk of long-term effects, but everybody is different and carries a different family medical history. Your primary care doctor will help you determine a plan of action, as well as detailed options for your donation journey. Be sure to go over all possible risks and alternatives, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Take Care of the Basics
During your time as an egg donor, sleep is the most important thing you can do in order for your body and mind to repair themselves. You will benefit greatly from this simple act of self-care! Staying in tune with your body and discussing any additional care you may need to do with your doctor is also a wonderful step toward preserving your health.
Becoming an egg donor is a complex but rewarding experience, and you will have some questions about what to expect--remember that everybody’s journey is different. Giving yourself the time and space to understand the moving parts and the possible risks will make the clinical side of the egg donation process smoother. For all questions, or to discuss treatments in more detail, contact Egg Donor America today. We would be happy to walk through every step of our fertility options to help you make an informed decision.