Egg Donation: 16 Side Effects of Ovarian Hyperstimulation

Egg donation is done usually for the reason of IVF treatment (in vitro fertilization, the procedure involving retrieval of eggs from a woman’s ovaries and fertilizing them with a man’s sperm to allow for fertility) or for stem-cell research. When women opt for egg donation, they receive fertility drugs in order to maturate many eggs at the same time, instead of only one egg each month. When many eggs are being ripened at once, instead of the normal one egg per month, ovarian hyperstimulation (excessive stimulation) can occur. With the over stimulation of the ovaries, fluid collects in the abdomen causing many side effects.

1. Abdominal Bloating and Cramping

Mild fluid retention and the pressure and enlargement of the ovaries from ovarian hyperstimulation can cause abdominal bloating and cramping. This abdominal discomfort is normally a temporary side effect. Taking an over-the-counter mild pain reliever (acetaminophen) may help to relieve cramping, as well as getting plenty of bed rest, and avoiding caffeine or alcohol.

2. Weight Gain

The bloating and inability to exercise during the first month may cause temporary weight gain and is common with ovarian hyperstimulation. If the weight gain is in excess of 2 pounds per day, the individual should contact her physician.

3. Nausea and/or Vomiting

The fertility medications with egg donation may cause nausea and/or vomiting.

4. Headaches

Some of the medications used to stimulate the ovaries may cause headaches for certain individuals.

5. Mood Swings

Mood swings may be experienced when the ovaries are stimulated.

6. Psychological Stress

Some of the psychological stresses that may be felt with ovarian hyperstimulation are depression, anxiety and panic.

7. Diarrhea

Gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea are possible with ovarian hyperstimulation and fertility medications.

8. Pain and Bruising at Site of Injections

Some stinging and bruising may be experienced at the site of the fertility injections given to stimulate the ovaries.

9. Dehydration

Excessive thirst and dehydration is normally a sign of a more moderate type of ovarian hyperstimulation. Drinking a lot of fluids and avoiding caffeine and alcohol may help to alleviate dehydration. When dehydration occurs, a healthcare provider should be notified.

10. Dry Skin and Hair

Dry skin and hair may occur with the use of fertility drugs to increase ovulation.

11. Insomnia

Common drugs that are given for this process may cause insomnia.

12. Tender Breasts

With ovarian hyperstimulation, breasts may become enlarged and tender.

13. Possible Infection

There is always a possibility of infection with injections.

14. Possibility of Accidental Pregnancy

When the ovaries are over-stimulated, there is more of a chance of an accidental pregnancy.

15. Darker or Cessation of Urine

A darker and decrease, or cessation, of urine may occur with ovarian stimulation. This is not a mild symptom or side effect, and a physician should be contacted. The individual should keep note of the frequency of urination.

16. Shortness of Breath and/or Chest Pain

With severe stimulation and egg donation, the ovaries can become enlarged and fluid may collect in the lungs causing shortness of breath and/or chest pain. If difficulty with breathing occurs, a medical professional should be contacted immediately and treated as an emergency.

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