Not all women can conceive a child naturally and certainly, some LGBTQ+ couples and individuals rely on third-party assistance in conception. Egg donation is therefore very meaningful as it gives parents-to-be an opportunity to build their own family. Our egg donors find it is a positive and rewarding experience for this reason.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about donating eggs with KindEos, including what’s involved, how long it takes, and if there are any side effects after the egg retrieval procedure. It may help answer a few questions if you are considering becoming an egg donor.
Understanding how the egg retrieval process works
As a potential egg donor, it’s important to understand what to expect after egg retrieval in order to prepare for the process. The egg retrieval procedure itself is safe and minimally invasive, but there are a few other stages in the process that are important to know about. These stages include:
- Medical Screening And Testing
- Ovarian Stimulation Cycle
- The Egg Retrieval Procedure
- Post Egg Retrieval Recovery
Let’s discuss what happens during each of these stages and what you can expect.
What Happens During Pre-Screening
Pre-screening is the first stage in the egg donor application process and helps determine if you meet the minimum requirements of donation. Pre-screening a specialist will review your personal, family, and medical history. They will also discuss the egg donation process and answer questions you may have.
What Happens During Medical Screening And Testing
If you pass the pre-screening stage, you will undergo medical screening and testing.
The screening process is also stringent because it helps to identify any potential health risks that could affect the success of the egg donation process.
By ensuring that only healthy individuals with no known medical risks become egg donors, we can help to ensure that the egg donation process is safe for you and successful for the intended parents.
The tests assess your overall health and include tests for infectious diseases, hormonal levels, toxicology, and genetic conditions. You’ll also need to have transvaginal ultrasounds to assess your ovarian health.
After this, you will have a consultation with our fertility physician, who will review the results and conduct an onsite physical examination. You’ll also need to undergo psychological screening and counseling to ensure you are emotionally and psychologically prepared for the process. After this stage, you will be eligible to donate and we can start preparing for the egg retrieval.
What Happens During The Ovarian Stimulation Cycle
In a usual menstrual cycle, women typically release only one mature egg at a time. However, for egg donation, your ovaries will be stimulated so that more than one egg matures at a time. This is called the ovarian stimulation cycle and is induced by fertility medications and self-administered injections.
Our clinic physician will recommend an ovarian stimulation plan that is tailored to you, and may include birth control pills or a Nuvaring. The timing of these medications is very important as it helps increase the number of eggs that reach maturation.
If we have found a match for your egg donation, it may be necessary to synchronize your ovarian stimulation cycle with the cycle of the intended mother.
During this phase, we will monitor you closely, and you will need to visit the clinic for blood tests and ultrasounds so we can track egg development and hormone levels. We recommend abstaining from any sexual activities during this phase as the chances of getting pregnant are high.
The final stage of ovarian stimulation begins with a hormone injection, or “trigger shot”, which starts the final stage of egg maturation and prepares the body for egg retrieval.
What Happens During Egg Retrieval
The egg retrieval is a minor surgical procedure and usually takes around 15 to 20 minutes from start to finish. You will be placed under an anesthetic during the entire procedure, so you will not experience any discomfort or pain.
Your doctor will use ultrasound to locate your ovaries and the clusters of tiny follicles that are housing the mature eggs. The doctor will then gently guide a needle attached to a catheter through the vaginal wall. One by one, the mature eggs will be extracted using light microscopic suction.
The collected eggs will be placed in glass tubes and labeled with your unique identification number. After that, we will examine the eggs under a microscope to identify the ones with the best chance for a successful pregnancy.
What Happens After Egg Retrieval
After we complete the procedure, we will take you to the recovery area, where you will rest for approximately 30 to 60 minutes. You will probably feel groggy after being under anesthesia. We will monitor your condition until you recover and are well enough to walk around.
Following that, a clinical team member will give your post-procedure instructions on how to care for yourself and will provide you with a care package to take home. Your IVF nurse will contact you the day after your treatment to check-in and see how you’re doing.
Refer to this page on our website for the full post-egg retrieval procedure.
How will you feel after egg retrieval?
Immediately after the procedure, it’s normal to experience mild stomach cramps and discomfort in the abdomen and vaginal areas. The anesthesia takes 24 hours to leave your body completely.
Recovering from the anesthesia, you may feel disorientated and groggy, and your speech may be slower for the first 30 to 60 minutes after you wake up. The nurses and staff will monitor you throughout this time, and the symptoms will gradually resolve.
You will need a family member or friend to drive you home, as our doctors will advise against driving after the procedure. For the first one to two days after the procedure, there are some common side effects you may experience, including:
- A bloated feeling in the abdomen
- A small amount of bleeding from the vagina (spotting) for 1 to 2 days
- General discomfort and soreness in the abdomen and vaginal area
- A feeling of fullness or pressure in the abdomen and vaginal area
- Minor abdominal cramps
These side effects can range in severity, but they are usually mild. Throughout your recovery, our team will monitor you closely and will support you as needed.
What you can do to reduce the side effects after egg recovery
The side effects will usually resolve within one to two days. It’s best to take it easy for a while and avoid strenuous activities. To speed up your recovery and ease the symptoms faster after the egg retrieval, here are some things you can do:
Consider Therapeutic Interventions
Acupuncture can be effective in reducing pain, calming your nervous system, and making you feel a lot better while you recover.
Specific yoga positions that don’t strain your abdomen and hip area can also make your entire body feel better and reduce the side effects of the procedure. These can include half poses that stretch the upper back, shoulders, arms, neck, feet, and ankle muscles.
Short meditations can also help to relax your body and help with recovery, including listening to some calming music or taking slow, deep breaths for a few minutes or more.
Be Proactive If You Have PCOS
If you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), you are at a higher risk for developing OHSS that is why you need to stay on top of any prescribed medications you’re taking.
It is even recommended that you should begin preparing for egg retrieval 90 days ahead of time and continue preparing until 6-months before the operation to reduce BMI and inflammation, and increase health ensure that egg retrieval is safe and successful.
Exercise can also be an excellent treatment. If comfortable enough, movement using very light resistance, such as free weights or resistance bands, can be beneficial. This could involve the arms, shoulders, feet, and ankles. Doing a bit of resistance training releases endorphins that make you feel good.
Aside from that, light pilates-type exercises can work well to work up a light sweat, and maintain your overall fitness. Avoid overexerting yourself or exercises where you huff and puff, as this may stress your body too much in the early phases of your recovery.
Follow The Trigger Shot Instructions
Typically, the trigger shot is the cause of most of the side effects you may experience during the egg retrieval process. You should follow the instructions from your doctor carefully, as when and how you take the injection is very important.
We customize each trigger shot recommendation specifically for each donor to maximize egg growth and development. If you’re ever unsure about the specific protocol, you should look to your nurse for clarification.
In rare cases, the egg retrieval process may lead to the development of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). Although it is not common, it requires medical input, and sometimes may even require hospitalization.
Common symptoms of OHSS include:
- Extreme discomfort in the abdomen
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Rapid weight gain (over two pounds (0.9kg) per day)
If you develop any of these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.
Get The Support You Need
If you are experiencing any negative symptoms, it’s best to get in touch with your doctor. Tolerance can vary from person to person, so it’s important to seek medical advice from our clinic’s medical team if you are uncertain.
It’s also worth noting that at KindEos, we schedule a post-procedure care appointment with all of our donors to ensure that you’ll get the support that you need.
Egg retrieval recovery tips
There are a few simple things you can do to make sure you recover faster, and several things to avoid so you can reduce the possibility of your symptoms worsening. These tips can help decrease the total time to recover and help the healing process.
Things You Should Do After Egg Retrieval
There are a few things you can do after egg retrieval to make your recovery as comfortable as possible. These include:
- Get plenty of rest
- Keep your fluid levels up by drinking plenty of water
- Apply a heating pad to any areas that are tender or painful
- Go for regular short walks
- Don’t bend down and get up too quickly
- Take the pain medication from your doctor, especially if it is affecting your sleep
Overall, it’s important not to stress your body too much or too fast. Give yourself time to recuperate.
Restrictions After Egg Retrieval
There are a few things that you should NOT do after your egg retrieval process. Doing any of these can exacerbate or worsen any side effects. These include:
- Avoid strenuous exercises such as heavy lifting, jogging, cycling, or stationary cycling
- Don’t consume caffeinated beverages, alcohol, or too much sugary food
- For the first few days, avoid taking a bath, swimming, or submerging your body in water as it may cause water to enter your vagina and affect the wound from the procedure.
- Take only the prescribed medication recommended by your doctor or nurse
What is the recovery time after egg retrieval
We find most patients fully recover after one to two days. After this time, your body may still need some time to recover, but most of the side effects will usually resolve.
The incisions made to extract your eggs are minor (like a tiny incision in your arm from a surgical needle) and the body can heal quickly from them.
Embark on a fulfilling journey with a supportive team
Our egg donor experience provides comprehensive care from start to finish. At KindEos, our company ethos is to put the patient first. We do everything we can to ensure the entire egg retrieval process is smooth and comfortable, from the pre-procedure phase, the egg retrieval procedure, and the post-procedure care.
We are here to support you along the way and answer any of your questions.
Do you want to become a KindEos egg donor?