Egg Donation and Fertility Myths

When you decide to become an Egg Donor, you are signing up to not only change someone else’s life, but your own as well. Given how inconsistent and often misinformed public knowledge of alternative family planning tends to be, one of the biggest ways your life will likely change is you will become increasingly aware of every single misconception people carry about human reproduction and how women’s bodies work. You may even have some of those misconceptions yourself! That’s why we’re here to help. 

Here are some crucial facts to know about being an Egg Donor and fertility, and the misconceptions that they aim to address:

Will I still be able to have kids of my own someday?

Being an Egg Donor is in no way, shape or form tied directly to developing infertility, as this common question implies. While complications from donations can and do happen, they are very rare. Many Egg Donors go on to be parents themselves. Many others do not – but it’s important to note that they are not a monolith, and do not necessarily want children of their own in the first place. Like so many other things, it is a personal decision.

Will I run out of eggs?

The root of this myth is a basic lack of understanding about how the reproductive system functions. To be more specific, it is caused by a lack of understanding about how ovaries work. By the time a young woman hits puberty, she has around 300,000 eggs. Over the span of her reproductive years, only around 500 of those eggs will be ovulated. 

Every month (or every ovulation cycle), 15 to 20 eggs begin to mature, or get ready for ovulation. Only one will be chosen by the body to fully go through the ovulation process, while the rest are absorbed back into the body. During the average successful egg donation cycle, the body matures between 10 to 20 eggs – the primary difference is that IVF prevents the additional eggs from being reabsorbed. As far as numbers go, your egg supply isn’t impacted any more than it would be by a normal menstrual cycle. 

Are there any risks associated with egg donation? 

In some rare cases, an Egg Donor’s body reacts negatively to the hormones and medications that go with the IVF process, which can lead to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which can in turn then lead to ovarian torsion, which can mean loss of the ovary in question. 

What is the difference between OHSS and infertility?

Simply being told you have OHSS does not mean you are also being told you will be infertile. It is more complex than that. The risk of infertility associated with being an Egg Donor is primarily through ovarian torsion, the likelihood of which is greatly increased by the presence of OHSS. Let’s break this down:

  • OHSS is a rare condition that occurs when the ovaries swell and leak fluid into the body. While it is generally associated with fertility treatments, there have also been rare cases of it occurring spontaneously. The most common symptoms are extreme abdominal discomfort, nausea, tenderness, and abdominal swelling. It’s not a sneaky condition, either: if it happens to you, you will be aware of it. 
  • Ovarian torsion, on the other hand, is a condition that occurs when an ovary twists around the ligaments holding it in place, which can in turn cut off blood flow to the ovary and fallopian tube. Aside from severe pain, this has the potential to cause permanent loss of the impacted ovary and fallopian tube.

While there is no such thing as a risk-free medical procedure, it’s important to note that you aren’t alone in any of this. When you use a reputable agency like Simple Surrogacy, you will have an entire team of medical and administrative professionals here to support you on every step of your journey as an Egg Donor, even the parts that aren’t so fun. Every case and every patient is different, and that’s why every Egg Donor’s medical team tailors her fertility treatment plan to maximize the number of matured follicles while protecting the Egg Donor’s individual health. Therefore it’s also very important to advocate for yourself. When your doctor asks you how you’re feeling, it isn’t small talk, and you’re not being a bother by being honest. And don’t worry – hyperstimulation doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you or your ovaries, or even that the cycle is automatically doomed. It does, however, mean that your health needs to come first. 

The reality is, many things can cause fertility struggles, including genetics and lifestyle choices, and IVF is hardly risk-free. The screening process for Simple Surrogacy includes a genetic screening, fertility testing and a consultation with a fertility physician to ensure all of our Egg Donors have the best possible chance for success, and all active Egg Donors will have access to their teams every step of the way in the event that they have any concerns about what’s happening with their bodies. 

If you are interested in pursuing alternative family planning or have questions about becoming a Surrogate or Egg Donor, please contact the team at Simple Surrogacy today. 

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