Side Effects of Egg Donation: What To Expect

What to expect before, during, and after you donate your eggs

If you’re considering donating your eggs, you may be wondering if there are side effects of egg donation. Overall, most egg donors experience mild or no side effects that usually go away by themselves after the retrieval process. Read on to learn more about the possible side effects of donating your eggs.

Common Side Effects of Egg Donation Before the Egg Retrieval

This first half of the egg donation process involves taking a few different medications at precise times for a couple weeks, including injecting yourself with hormonal medications. Some donors experience soreness or minor bruising or redness at the injection site. Some donors also might feel bloated, abdominal pain or pressure, breast tenderness, or mood swings from the hormones. These symptoms are usually minor and will go away on their own by your next period after the egg retrieval.

Common Side Effects of the Egg Donation Retrieval Procedure

The egg retrieval involves a minor surgical procedure that only takes about 20-30 minutes, where you’ll be given a light sedative. You may feel some disorientation or wooziness after the procedure because of the anesthesia (that’s why you’ll need someone to drive you home after the retrieval). For the next day or so, you may also experience abdominal cramps, fatigue, or some light spotting. These usually go away after a day or two, and you can go back to your normal activities.

Less Common Possible Side Effects For Egg Donors

Most egg donors don’t experience any major complications or side effects. There are a few more serious possibilities that are very rare. A few donors experience ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) after the egg retrieval, where excess fluid collects in the ovaries and abdomen. OHSS usually resolves itself, but about 1% of donors may experience the more severe form, which might need monitoring in a hospital for about a week.

In general, as with any medication and surgical procedure, there is a small risk of allergic reactions, complications, or infection. These risks are extremely rare–only about 1 in 1,000 of donors experience any serious complications from the procedure.

There are also some activities you will want to avoid during your donation cycle. The medications used for egg retrieval make you extremely fertile, so it’s really important that you don’t have sexual intercourse until your next period after the retrieval to prevent pregnancy. You should also avoid any physical activities that involve bouncing or jumping (like running or mountain biking), as these can lead to a condition called ovarian torsion, where the ovaries get twisted and require surgery to fix.

Are There Long-Term Side Effects of Donating Eggs?

There is no evidence to suggest that donating eggs will deplete your ovarian reserve (the number of eggs you have in your body) or make you “run out of eggs” before you have the chance to start your own family, if you choose. By the time women hit puberty, they have 400,000-500,000 eggs, but only 400-500 of those are released for ovulation, while the rest are absorbed back into the body. The medications used for egg donation basically keep some of those extra eggs from being absorbed, without reducing your regular number of available eggs.

Similarly, there is no current evidence linking egg donation to serious conditions like cancer or infertility. There are some situations, like having an unknown family history of endometriosis or breast cancer, that might possibly – but not definitely – have a bad reaction with the hormone medications used in egg donation. Every egg donor at Eggceptional Fertility goes through a rigorous screening process, including their family medical history. If you have any questions or concerns about long term effects, please ask us and your doctor.

We Prioritize Your Comfort and Care at Eggceptional Fertility

Your safety and comfort are our number one priority. At Eggceptional Fertility, most of our donors experience minor or no side effects from egg donation, and we are with them every step of the way. Donating your eggs is a personal, generous decision, and we will make sure you are fully informed and confident about each part of the process. We know each of our donors is unique, so we have a personalized approach for every donor. We have a long history of taking care of our committed, compassionate, and amazing donors, and would love to talk with you about joining them!

Contact us today to find out how you can help a family’s dreams come true.


Hopkins Medicine, UCFS Health, Kaiser Health News