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Is egg donation painful?

Put your mind at ease and manage what to expect in this guide to whether or not egg donation is painful.

Medically verified
Written by Apricity Team

The short answer is that no, donating eggs should definitely not hurt. However, we understand that if you are considering donating your eggs, this might be a concern that you have. 

There are several stages to the egg donation process including blood tests, fertility screening, ovarian stimulation, and egg collection. During these stages, injections and blood draws with needles are required and egg collection is a short medical procedure. For some women, these can cause some discomfort as they might with any other injection, such as a flu vaccine.

In this article, we set to answer ‘Is donating eggs painful?’ by providing information about the egg donation process that can help put your mind at ease and manage what to expect should you decide to start this generous and altruistic process.

Are the hormone injections during the egg donation process painful?

The experience of hormone injections during the egg donation process can vary from person to person. While some individuals may find the injections uncomfortable or experience mild pain, others may not feel much discomfort at all. It's essential to note that pain tolerance varies among individuals.

The typical protocol for egg donation involves a series of hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries and promote the development of multiple eggs. These injections often include hormones such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and sometimes human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). The injections are usually administered subcutaneously, meaning they are given just under the skin and are done via a very fine needle, like would be seen on an EPIPEN®.

Many fertility clinics provide thorough instructions and support for individuals undergoing the egg donation process, including training on how to self-administer the injections. The injections can also be done by someone else such as a partner, family member or friend which is a great option if you are hesitant at first to do them yourself.

Some common side effects of these hormones may include temporary discomfort at the injection site, mild bruising, or redness.

Is the ovarian stimulation process painful?

Some women do experience some side effects from the medications used during the ovarian stimulation phase of the egg collection process. These side effects, however, shouldn’t be painful and most are mild. They can include:

  • Hot flushes

  • Breast tenderness

  • Headaches

  • Nausea

  • Restlessness

Ovarian stimulation can also cause abdominal bloating, like what many women experience during their normal menstrual cycle. This can last for a few hours, or several days and while not painful, may be a little uncomfortable.

Is egg collection painful?

During egg collection, a thin needle is inserted through the vaginal wall to access the ovaries. The follicles containing mature eggs are then aspirated, or suctioned, through the needle. You will either be sedated by an anaesthetist or receive a light anaesthetic which will keep you asleep, unaware of what is happening, and completely pain-free during and after the 20-minute procedure.  You may also be advised to take pain-relieving medicine one hour before egg collection, as this will ensure you don’t feel any discomfort afterwards.

Is there a recovery period after donating eggs?

You may feel a little uncomfortable after egg collection and have light vaginal bleeding, but you shouldn’t be in any pain. Most donating eggs with Apricity have gone back to their normal routine – some immediately afterwards. One has gone to a wedding following egg collection, another back to work, and another cleaned her house from top to bottom. Of course, some have chosen to go home and rest in bed with a hot water bottle and a DVD – which sounds like a sensible plan to us!

Are there any risks to donating eggs?

As with any medical processes and procedures, there are some risks, but the risks of egg donation are incredibly low.

The main risks to be aware of are:

  •  Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): This is a response to ovarian stimulation medication and causes the ovaries to enlarge and hormone levels to rise. Mild OHSS is common but is not usually cause for concern. Severe OHSS occurs in around 1% of cases and may require hospital admission.

  • Pelvic Inflammation: Infection can occur if the egg collection needle carries bacteria from the vagina into the abdomen. If there is any sign of infection, antibiotics can be given to minimise any risk.

  • Puncture of bladder, bowel, or blood vessels: Egg collection is done with a very fine needle but in very rare circumstances, this needle can puncture another part of the body during the process.

With Apricity, you will be in the safest and most experienced of hands, and we always prioritise the safety and wellbeing of our wonderful egg donors. This is something that has been demonstrated time and time again by the ease at which our donors have gone through the egg donation process. 

If you wish to find out more first-hand information about egg collection, let us know and we will be happy to put you in touch with another Apricity egg donor. You can also join our Miracle Makers online egg donor community, which connects women with one another to spread awareness, provide information and share experiences of egg donation in the UK. If you feel fully informed and have made your decision, you can register your interest in donating eggs today.

Written by Apricity Team

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