Over the past decade, egg donors have been on the rise in tandem with couples seeking egg donations as an alternative means of starting a family. As more women are making these generous donations, it raises the question, “Does egg donation affect the health and fertility of the donor?”
Put bluntly, the answer is a resounding No.
After decades of research, there hasn’t been a single scientific study showing any link between infertility, cancer, or any other possible long-term health concern.
Going into the egg donation process, we find that many potential donors wonder how donations will impact their future fertility and have concerns about whether they can get pregnant after being an egg donor. During the process, egg donors must take hormone-based fertility medication that stimulates and matures egg production as they undergo a harvesting procedure. But the medications used to stimulate egg production will not impact future fertility.
How does the egg donation process work?
Most women will produce nearly 300,000 eggs by the time they reach puberty. Only roughly 500 of those 300,000 will be ovulated. That’s less than half of one percent!
In any single ovulation cycle, about 15-20 eggs will be matured, and only one mature egg will be released for possible fertilization. The remaining eggs are reabsorbed into the woman’s body.
Similarly, when a donor’s eggs are harvested, roughly 10-20 eggs will be retrieved, leaving the woman with the same number of eggs she would have had if she just went through a normal ovulation cycle.
What are the potential side effects for egg donors?
This isn’t to say the entire journey is smooth sailing. There’s always a degree of risk when taking virtually any medication. During hormone treatment, egg donors may experience some side effects. These can include bloating, headaches, mood swings, nausea, and possible weight gain. But once the retrieval process is over and medication is discontinued, any unpleasant symptoms should end.
While it is rare, some donors may experience ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) or ovarian torsion. Both conditions are uncommon. OHSS affects fewer than 3% of donors and is easily treatable. The risk of ovarian torsion is even lower at just 0.3%
How to avoid complications
When it comes to best practices for egg donors, ensure that you attend all follow-up appointments. And, generally speaking, be mindful of your body during the recovery process after having the eggs retrieved.
Learn more about becoming an egg donor
To learn about what to expect during the egg donation process, contact our egg donor intake team at Family Souce Consultants. We’d be happy to chat with you!