Do You Have to Take Fertility Drugs to Donate Eggs?

November 5, 2021
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Egg donation is an important and growing part of fertility treatments options for hopeful parents. As the need for egg donors increases, possible candidates for donation have many questions about the process.  

One of the main questions prospective donors ask is “Do you have to take fertility drugs to donate eggs?” Fertility drugs are part of the egg donation process. Egg donors require self-administered hormone injections to induce maturation of multiple eggs when preparing for a retrieval.  

Contrary to the idea that one egg is released each month, the reality is multiple eggs are available during each cycle. Typically, one egg matures and is released during a period. The rest of the eggs that are available, but do not mature that month, are then reabsorbed by the body as cells, and are no longer viable. This is the main reason why fertility changes over time for anyone with ovaries. 

Will Donating Eggs Deplete My Own Supply? 

It is important to understand that your egg supply reduces over time and does not regenerate. It doesn’t matter if you donate your eggs or not. Eggs that are released each month continue to decrease the overall supply incrementally during the prime years of fertility. As women age, their supply of eggs age as well, which can also affect fertility. This is a natural course of events.  

This is an important fact to understand about your own fertility. Choosing to be an egg donor helps women who have passed a threshold where their eggs are no longer viable. For many reasons, in addition to being a donor, it also makes sense to consider freezing your own eggs to preserve your fertility if you intend to delay starting a family.  You can read more about egg donation and your future fertility here. (Will Donating Eggs Affect My Future Fertility?)

How Do Hormones Work?  

The hormone injections required for the egg donation process allow more of the available eggs during that month to mature at the same time so that they may be useful for fertilization once retrieved. This does not mean that more eggs are retrieved than would normally be available. The hormones do not make more eggs available. They only help to facilitate maturation.  

Once a donor’s eggs are mature, the retrieval procedure is scheduled.  

What Is Involved In Donating Eggs?  

The egg retrieval process is a simple, quick, and normally a painless procedure. In fact, you’ll have a very good chance of resuming your normal schedule the very next day. When you become an egg donor, you will work closely with a clinic to coordinate your retrieval.  

What does donating eggs entail? Learn more about the egg donation procedure

What Fertility Drugs Are Required To Donate Eggs? 

Before injections are required, an egg donor is given birth control pills to create a timeline. Standard birth control pills help to regulate a cycle so that other medications can be timed appropriately.  

Other hormone medications used to control a cycle for retrieval include follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), lupron, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Each of these are scheduled with a donor coordinator at one of Fairfax EggBank partner clinics. Each donor’s schedule and medications are personalized.  

Learn more about these medications, their uses and side effects.  

The Hormone Injection Process 

After a baseline appointment, if your results show that you are good to start the injections to begin stimulation, you’ll administer medication injections to stimulate multiple eggs to grow and mature. You’ll also take an antagonist injection, which will prevent ovulation from occurring prematurely. We’ll monitor you closely during this period to make sure everything is going smoothly and the stimulation is going well. 

Once things are cleared, you’ll get a human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) or a Lupron shot to stimulate ovulation. It’ll be critical for you to take this shot at the precise time we advise. If you take it too early, you run the risk of few to no eggs maturing. If you take it too late, the eggs might become too mature and become inviable for fertilization.  

After these final injections your retrieval will be scheduled.  

Learn more about the egg retrieval procedure. What Happens During the Egg Retrieval? 

Learn More About Becoming An Egg Donor at Fairfax EggBank 

As you do your research about donating eggs, it’s understandable to think about your own future motherhood. After all, you’re helping families! We hope that learning the facts helps you in your decision-making process. Have more questions? Read our FAQs, click here to learn about pregnancy after donating eggs, or contact us

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