Understanding what happens when you decide to donate your eggs to a clinic can help you make a good decision about egg donation. Many young women have begun donating their eggs for use by infertile couples in IVF (in vitro fertilization) for the satisfaction of helping those couples conceive, as well as the monetary compensation they receive for their donated eggs. For women hit hard by the poor economy, egg donation can be the perfect answer to unexpected expenses or building a nest egg for the future.
The Donor Experience
Youll be expected to participate in information sessions, fill out several forms, and go through a screening by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The FDA screening includes a psychological assessment and DNA testing.
After youve received clearance to donate, the next step of the process begins when your eggs are chosen from a donor profile. Youll likely be placed on birth control for a time in order to get your cycle in sync with that of the recipient. Once the cycles are synced, your ovaries will be stimulated to release eggs for collection. This is done through daily injections of hormones. This part of the process can be tricky, as youll be expected to administer the shots yourself. The needles are very small and arent generally felt upon insertion. However, some of the medications can cause a stinging sensation when injected.
About the Injections
Your daily injections will consist of the same hormones you would take if you were trying to conceive through IVF. Your body will probably react much as it does in the days before you menstruate, with bloating, tenderness and mood swings being very common. These hormones will stimulate your ovaries to create several follicles, with each possibly containing a viable egg. Youll be expected to abstain from sex during this process, and up to two weeks following the retrieval procedure.
Before the Procedure
You may feel uncomfortable or have some cramp-like pain in the days leading up to the retrieval. You may feel tired or out of sorts; some women report feeling pregnancy-like symptoms, such as tender breasts, heaviness in the pelvis and aching in the lower abdomen.
The retrieval procedure will occur between two and four weeks after youre chosen by the recipient. The procedure itself is considered to be very low risk. However, it does carry similar short-term risks to those involved with any surgical procedure, such as bleeding and infection.
Currently, egg donations can be completely anonymous, with the donor and recipient never meeting one another. However, over time, laws regarding anonymity and egg donation may change and any children born from your eggs may be able to look you up long down the road. Egg donation isnt something to take lightly, and studies are still ongoing to determine if there are any adverse long-term effects from ovarian stimulation and egg harvesting, although current evidence points to egg donation being safe for the donor, even after repeated donations.