Egg Donation Phase 1: Ovarian Hyperstimulation

The first phase of egg donation is ovarian hyperstimulation. It is the process of stimulating the ovaries to create multiple eggs. Ovarian hyperstimulation is categorized as mild, moderate or severe.

Mild Ovarian Hyperstimulation

Symptoms of mild ovarian hyperstimulation include some abdominal bloating, a minimal amount of weight gain, diarrhea and nausea, and mild pain.

Mild symptoms can normally be treated at home by:

  • Drinking lots of fluids
  • Avoiding beverages containing caffeine or alcohol
  • Getting plenty of bed rest
  • Keeping the legs elevated
  • Avoiding vigorous exercises
  • Avoiding sex
  • Taking an over-the-counter mild pain reliever (acetaminophen) 

Moderate Ovarian Hyperstimulation

Moderate ovarian hyperstimulation includes symptoms of excessive weight gain of more than 2 pounds per day, vomiting, diarrhea, thirst and dehydration, and dry skin and hair. Urine may be darker with a reduced amount. 

If the above symptoms are noticed, it is normally recommended for the individual to:

  • Call the physician or nurse
  • Weigh themselves twice daily
  • Keep note of the amount of times of urination

An ultrasound may or may not be necessary depending on the individual’s situation.

Severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation

With severe ovarian hyperstimulation, the ovaries may become extremely enlarged and fluid may accumulate in the lungs and abdomen. Symptoms may include darker urine or the cessation of urine, bloating above the waistline, chest pains and/or shortness of breath, calf pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, thirst, dry skin and hair, and weight gain.

If the individual is experiencing the above severe symptoms, the doctor should be notified immediately. If this is not possible, then it is best to go to the hospital. Of course, if symptoms are of an urgent nature such as difficulty breathing, proceed directly to the hospital.

Complications could include ovarian torsion for which the ovary twists and cuts off its own blood supply leading to the possible loss of the ovary, kidney damage, liver failure, blood clots, the loss of a limb, arterial occlusion (obstruction of a passage), shock and death.

Common Drugs Given with Egg Donation

Clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene) is a fertility medication taken as a pill that is quite common and inexpensive. It sends the signals to the pituitary gland to produce more FSH and LH. These hormones will facilitate the production of the eggs from the ovaries. Adverse reactions may include blurred vision, hot flashes, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, enlargement of the ovaries and possible cyst formation, vivid dreams, and the possibility of multiple births. There is less of a possibility of multiple pregnancies or ovarian hyperstimulation with this type of fertility medication in comparison to Gonadotropin and the Follicle Stimulating Hormone.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is a synthetic version of the natural hormone FSH and is usually given by injection. It helps with egg maturity and stimulates the ovaries to produce more eggs. Side effects of FSH normally include headaches, abdominal discomfort, fatigue, breast tenderness, mood swings and bloating. There is also an increase possibility of multiple births. This medication may cause ovarian hyperstimulation.

Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (Gn-RH) stimulates the pituitary gland to release FSH and LH. This medication is available by injection or with a nasal spray. The side effects with Gn-RH for egg donation are similar to early menopausal symptoms such as mood swings, headaches, hot flashes and possibly osteoporosis. 

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