One of the first questions we’re asked by potential donors is does egg donation hurt? We won’t lie: the donation process can be uncomfortable. From daily injections to post-retrieval cramping, the egg donor experience isn’t a walk in the park, but its rewards often far outweigh the temporary pain. Before you commit to becoming an egg donor, you should be aware of the whole picture. Let’s review the process, what you need to know, and what you can do to minimize discomfort.
The Process Of Egg Donation
Your path to becoming an egg donor begins a pre-screening application process. At Family Inceptions, we have a two-part egg donor application. In Part 1, you’ll answer a series of preliminary questions to make sure you meet the basic requirements. You must be between the ages of 21-29, in good health, and currently working toward or having completed a bachelor’s degree, among other requirements.
Next, you’ll move forward to Part 2 of the initial egg donor application. This section is much more in-depth and requires you to dig deep into your personality, lifestyle, and expectations. We like to think of this questionnaire as your life’s resume. The goal is for us to get to know all aspects of YOU in order to ensure you’re a great fit for our egg donation program. Set aside at least 60 minutes, and always answer honestly and transparently. We’ll be analyzing your responses carefully, so be sure to check your spelling and grammar. First impressions matter!
If you pass the initial donor application, we’ll invite you to the next stage: a personal interview. Consider this a two-way street: we want you to ask all of your questions, share your concerns, and get to know us as well. We’ll talk about the compensation for egg donation, the risks and procedures involved, and the pre-screening documents and records you’ll need to gather. Basically, during this 60-minute conversation, we’ll walk you through the entire egg donor experience.
Above all, we want to make sure that you’re medically and psychologically ready to commit to egg donation. If all goes well, we will move forward matching you with your best-fit intended parents! At Family Inceptions, this can take anywhere from one week to six months. It all depends on your unique attributes and our current pool of intended parents.
Once you’ve matched with your hopeful parents, it will take another month or two to complete the more in-depth medical and psychological screening required of egg donors. Don’t worry, the intended parents will foot all of the bills for this. At this point, their IVF clinic will determine the screening protocol, and all subsequent appointments will be held at your local monitoring clinic as well as the intended parents’ IVF clinic.
All egg donors must complete a psychological screening, which includes either a PAI or MMPI personality test. You’ll speak with a psychologist about you and your family’s mental and physical health history. Don’t be intimidated by this! We don’t expect perfection. Honesty, however, is a must.
As the egg donation process moves forward, we take great care to ensure your best interests are protected. Family Inceptions provides you with legal guidance throughout the process, providing you with legal counsel at no cost to you. Your attorney will create and execute an Egg Donation Agreement outlining the rights and responsibilities of you and your intended parents.
Once all the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted, it’s time to start your egg donor medication! The IVF clinic will give you a detailed cycle schedule telling you how much medication to take and when, as well as when your required in-person appointments are scheduled. This process takes approximately 21 days and may require you to attend up to 15 appointments at the clinic to monitor your production and progress.
After all of that preparation, now it’s time for the egg retrieval procedure. The actual egg retrieval process takes only 20 minutes (though you should plan to be at the office for around three hours that day), and takes place in their ambulatory surgery center.
You’ll be given mild IV sedation (not general anesthesia), so you won’t feel anything during the procedure. You may feel crampy the day after, and most women choose to take 1–2 narcotic painkillers the day of the egg retrieval, possibly one more the next day, and then ibuprofen if anything, the day after. It’s best to rest and relax at home for a day or two, but most of our donors are back to their daily routine after a few short days. You’ll need to have someone who can drive you home following the procedure, so plan to bring a friend or family member.
Learn more about the entire egg donor experience at FamilyInceptions.com.
Concerns With Injection
Many potential egg donors worry about the daily injections. If you have a fear of needles, this can definitely be an obstacle, but we’ve seen many donors overcome this in service to their intended parents. In order to prepare your body for egg retrieval, you’ll need to give yourself daily injections of medication to first disrupt your natural cycle and then to stimulate egg production. These are subcutaneous injections, meaning they are inserted into fatty tissue, usually in your belly.
As with any vaccination or blood draw, you’ll feel a slight pinch when inserting the needle. You may experience some bruising at the injection site. While these injections are self-administered, your clinic staff will give you detailed instructions about how to minimize discomfort. Usually a little bit of ice and maybe some over-the-counter pain medication will help ease any discomfort at the injection site.
If you feel uncomfortable giving yourself these shots, you could ask a friend or family member to do it for you.
Recovery from your egg donor experience is typically quite fast and free of complication. You should plan to spend at least two days resting. Take some time to catch up on the latest Netflix shows or finally read that book that’s been sitting on your bedside table! The more you can rest, the less likely you are to experience side effects like bloating or cramping. We recommend wearing loose, comfortable clothing, so bust out the sweatpants, you have our permission!
It’s likely that you’ll have some cramping following your egg retrieval procedure, but this is usually no worse than regular menstrual cramps. Use the normal remedies if you do have cramps: an over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol or Ibuprofen, a hot bath, or a heating pad applied to your belly. You may also experience some light bleeding.
Usually, you don’t need to go in for any follow-up visits, but keep a close eye on how you feel. If you experience any symptoms that worry you, call the clinic for guidance. Though rare, complications can occur, including Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. Signs include excessive bloating, vomiting, severe pain, and swelling. When in doubt, call your health team.
Does It Hurt? Answering Your Questions
- What are the physical and psychological preparations needed?
Before you agree to become an egg donor, there are some physical and psychological requirements to consider. First, you need to be in good general health, with no history of genetic disorders or reproductive health issues. You need to have a healthy BMI, and it’s a good idea to maintain exercise and a healthy diet in the weeks leading up to the egg retrieval. You will be asked to abstain from sex during the egg donation process, as you could become pregnant.
You’ll be required to undergo a psychological screening. We recommend you talk through your fears and concerns in order to be prepared for the egg donation experience.
- What is the recommended amount of egg donation?
On average, 10-20 eggs are retrieved during the egg donation process.
- What’s the typical egg donation cycle?
A full donation cycle usually involves 2-3 weeks of injections prior to the egg retrieval.
- Are there risks involved?
As with any medical procedure, there are some risks involved with egg donation. Minor risks include infection, discomfort, and swelling. The most concerning risk to watch for is
OHSS, or Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is an exaggerated response to excess hormones. It usually occurs in women taking injectable hormone medications to stimulate the development of eggs in the ovaries. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) causes the ovaries to swell and become painful. Talk to your health team about your likelihood of experiencing OHSS and what to do if you have symptoms that concern you post-procedure.
- How long will I need to recover?
Most egg donors can resume normal activities within a day or two following the egg retrieval procedure.
- Will I be compensated?
Yes! Egg donors receive compensation starting at $8,000 for first-time donors. Compensation increases for repeat donors, up to as much as $20,000 per cycle. All expenses relating to your medical, travel, legal, and other incidental costs will be covered by the intended parents. Our donors have been able to pay for college, save for their future, and purchase their first homes, all while giving the gift of life to a hopeful family. We call that a win all around! Learn more about donor compensation at FamilyInceptions.com.
- Where is the best place to donate my eggs?
You can donate your eggs through an agency or a fertility clinic program. You’ll want to do your homework before committing to work with any particular organization, and keep watch for any red flags. Research their reputation, reviews, and business history. Have they been established in the industry for several years? Are there any Better Business Bureau complaints against them? When interviewing clinics or agencies, look for transparency and honesty. If someone tries to paint egg donation as 100% risk-free and easy, that should be a red flag. You want to work with an agency or clinic that will be open about all aspects of the process, both good and bad.
Doubts About Egg Donation
The decision to become an egg donor shouldn’t be made lightly. It’s a personal decision that requires serious reflection. Our donors are empowered women who feel called to give generously to others while also investing in their own future.
For our intended parents, the generosity of an egg donor is quite literally life-changing. Because of donors, couples and individuals are able to realize their dreams of having a baby, beginning or expanding their families.
If you feel called to learn more about egg donation, we recommend taking time to educate yourself on the entire process so you can make an informed, empowered choice that can positively impact both your life and that of many others.
Making An Impact & Celebrating Life
At Family Inceptions, we have the utmost respect for the women who answer the call to become egg donors. As an agency run and staffed by many former egg donors, we can empathize with the journey from your perspective. Our shared experience means we are fully committed to guide, care, and support you every step of the way, ensuring a safe and healthy process for our donors and our families.